Devon 1 Exeter - week 21. We escape the thunder storms. Days that drift into each other /one hell of a days drive and a cathedral we never got to see

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August 16th 2020
Published: August 16th 2020
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I wonder what has happened to us. Covid has changed everything. Not for the good. It is Monday and the start of week 21. Week 33 of 2020. Day 223 of the year. A year that feels wasted . My head is sore . An arguement with the corner of a window frame . I wont rise up so quickly from my knees in future. I looked like the mad axeman had attacked me with blood running down my face . I know I am clumsy . How many times have I fallen over and grazed my hands and knees . Well nothing compared to the pain in my head today. A trip to the local A & E. Now that is a novelty and I guess made a change from sitting at home . So what did A & E look like under Covid? The car park was free . No-one wanted to collect money . The reception was fairly empty . 3 people in front of me . I stood with my bag of frozen chips on my head looking around . Surveying the scene . No-one on reception . Just a big red sign that said Stop here. I could see a few people waiting for attention . All sitting comfortably and looking bored . The driver who had brought me in had to leave . No one else allowed in but the patient . Everyone masked up. After a few minutes I was triaged . Blood = urgent attention . Head wound = even quicker attention . I was sent to book in and before long had my BP checked . Fine - well they thought it was fine but I knew otherwise . I said nothing . My pulse checked . Everything OK . Temperature fine . No sign of Covid high temperature . Wound glued and off I went . Headache will follow tomorrow .

Tuesday . No headache but glue stuck in hair .

Wednesday - Painful - probably bruised but it wont stop me working nor will it stop us going away for a few days . It was humid and hot and the first of a few thunderstorms hit North Wales and Shropshire . The sky lit up brighter than daylight .

Thursday Day 145 - Swim, work and another viewer . I tried my best . Even with a sore head I enthused about anything I could think of. They needed to move and wanted to stay in our village . They needed to clear their mortgage .

Friday - swim and breakfast before we set off. We left it later until after the early morning rush hour . It was supposed to be a four hour trip to Exeter

." Four hours - that is a long time for me to sit in Gabby . I wonder if I have enough food ? 6 packets of Cheese and Onion Crisps , four Tiffin chocolate cakes , some custard creams - might just last me all the way to Exeter " Listening to our travelling companion you would think we were going on an expedition . At least eating would stop him asking if we were there yet ?

The M1 was not too busy. Fairly average sort of day and drive . The M5 on the other hand was awful . Stop and go for mile after mile . We were amazed at how many motorhomes and caravans were heading our way. Where were they all coming from ?

Getting bored our little friend Sion chirped up "Scones - Jam first or cream first ? You can tell he is getting bored when he comes up with something like this . Jam of course I replied ."But why ?" Well it is easier to spread the jam first and then dob the cream on top . Perhaps you can try it out in Devon when we get there . At this rate we would not get there in a month of Sundays . Crawl past Bristol . Crawl through Somerset . It was always bad. But never like this . Whose idea was it to travel to the south west in high summer when all the kids are on holiday .?

With a lot of are we there yet we did arrive in the end . And a what a spaghetti junction of a place it is . Even with Sally Sat Nag it was complicated Roads here and roads going there . Traffic lights . We lost count of them . All that stopping at them and then crawling a few inches . We did arrive at our destination only to find that the shop that boasted it had all this and that stock and were the biggest in the country had not one thing we had come to look at .

All that was left was to try to find our stop for the night - a pub which I had booked a few days ago . Free overnight stop in exchange for a pub meal . Now we have fallen for this one before . A night in a campsite would have been cheaper after we had the most expensive food on the menu and a bottle of wine. Not this time we were going to be careful . We arrived at what was a lovely little village with some rather nice thatched Devon cottages . The car park was ininviting. Sion said "No lets be honest - it was scruffy . Loads of cars and two caravans that had not seen the light of an owner for yonks . I found one full of golf balls " Sadly golf balls were the only things of interest . A river ran behind us . The landlady was friendly . She allowed us to top up with water as Gabby had chosen to drop all our water when I opened the tap releasing the air lock . Are you eating she asked ? Yes I said and she announced that she had a party of 14 coming in at 7 so perhaps eating early might be a good idea . No problem we thought . Then she announced that she was fitting in 10 motorhomes later on her car park . I wondered where they might go . Horrific thoughts of being stuck in came to mind . No thought of how we would get out . No thought of the gaps that should be left between vans . She was packing them in high and wide . Lets go for the meal and then head the hell out of here .

The pub was small , we signed in , we gave our names and phone numbers for track and trace . The place was dark and dingy . We sat out , The menu was handwritten . Chicken nuggets and chips, jacket potatoes , fish pie , cottage pie . We eyed it up and down and nothing excited us . Hardly a nod to vegetarians unless you loved jackets or fish pie . I opted for the jacket with cheese and to be fair it was nice . But then what can go wrong with a jacket ? The cottage pie was well average or less than average . We ate up, paid up , looked with envy at the cathedral which looked lovely and headed back up the busy old motorway for the ampitheather at Caerleon . We perhaps could contact a Travel blog friend for a chat , We knew that there was a big car park all ready for us . sometimes you have to give up and realise that something is not going to work ................... Surely it cannot get any worse could it ?


16th August 2020

Cant wait for your next blog!!! lol!! The trip sounds horrific, with all that traffic and the parking at the pub! We are going to Plymouth next Friday and not looking forward to it at all now!! We went to Swansea for a few days and it seemed hard work! Couldnt get anything to eat as all the restaurants and pubs didnt have any 'walk ins' and we were reduced to queuing for a takeaway MacDonalds!! In the hotel we had to make our own beds as there is no room service anymore and breakfast was a croissant and a yoghurt in a paper bag to eat in your room!! Life just isn't the same , is it? I'm just so glad we have done a lot of travelling already!
17th August 2020

the trip
Oh God it got worse and worse and worse . We were at each others throats by the time we got home . Our country is just too anti motorhome . I hope that your trip goes better than ours did . The boy racers arrived . We should have guessed when no other motorhomes arrived . I hate Mc Donalds but know what you mean about having to get what you want . CAnnot believe that you had to make your own beds and the breakfast was awful. I feel like a caged animal at the moment . I like Plymouth . Went there many years ago when my kids were very small . Seems a lovely place although it was in the early 1980s . I remember Smeatons Lighthouse on the promenade. Life is definately not the same . We have been trying to get some viewing of houses over in Wales . The estate agents dont answer the phones . When they do they are slow to sort anything out . We have two booked for Friday in Rhuthun and plan to go in the van and hopefully park up at Pontcysyllte aquaduct . God it cannot be worse than Exeter !!!!
17th August 2020

I had some nasty things to say about English traffic, too!
The motorways and A roads are terribly backed up and the byways are single lane between hedgerows occupied by large farm vehicles. As for things not getting worse, I think 2020 is another annus horibilus...this time for everyone! I hope you found a place to park Gabby.
17th August 2020

Too many cars , too many people on our small island. It is gridlocked everywhere apart from the Highlands or Wales . We never go out in the Peak District on a bank holiday . Our B roads in Scotland are even worse . Single track with passing places . Not much fun in a van . That is why we like the roads of France - so empty compared to ours . It just gets worse

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