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Published: March 27th 2011
Also Known As: The Weekend of SARA
Our bags were packed, our feet were suitably shoed and our heads were filled with excitement at the thought of another weekend of adventure!
Our beautiful friend Sara turned another year older a few short days ago and for this monumentous occassion we decided to pack up Michelle's car and take a wee road trip to a secret location. But more on the location later...
First I must tell of the amazing champagne, but not champagne, breakfast that was provided by Michelle. Early Saturday morning Michelle awoke to prepare for us a wonderful cooked breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs and pancakes accompanied by some strong coffee to wake us all up. There was also the promise of champagne, and to her credit she did produce a bottle of it half way through breakfast. Unfortunately none of us felt ready to drink it as yet, so it got packed in the car along with our belongings to be consumed at our earliest convenience.
The drive to Devon took over 3 hours, but a drive always seems so much shorter when you are travelling with good friends. Just before we made it
to our destination we stopped for a picnic lunch in Bristol. The town of Bristol looked much like any other city, although to be fair all we did was drive through to Victoria Park and then drive out again.
Our picnic lunch consisted of fresh grained bread, copious amounts of ham, cheese, tomato and Doritos. Michelle managed to find a Dorito shaped like the UK (minus Cornwall) which was very useful when a few moments later Sara declared she had no idea about the geography of the UK. The meal was finished off with a birthday scone with jam and clotted cream while watching the large numbers of people out walking their sausage dogs. Apparently the people of Bristol love them!
After our filling lunch we made the half hour journey to our final destination...Bickleigh Castle. This used to be a royal castle but has been privately owned for quite sometime now and is currently used as a B&B specialising in weddings. We were lucky as there was to be no wedding this weekend, so we had the entire place to ourselves.
Our host was very gracious and made sure we were settled into our choice of
rooms and then promptly offered us a cup of tea. We spent the good part of the next hour laughing at some of the ridiculous photos the resident photographer has taken from people's weddings.
This hilarity caused us to work up quite the appetite and as the sun had well and truly set by now, we felt it was time to meander into town and russel up some dinner. Being a very responsible driver, Michelle gave me free reign of her precious car, and we managed to find our way to a local pub for dinner.
Dinner was nice, not much to talk about really, just normal pub fare. The pub was huge and filled with lots of people trying to get a jump on romantic dinners for Valentine's day so our raucous laughter was possibly not as appreciated as it should be. We didn't stay long as we knew that a bottle of wine and champagne was waiting for us on our return to the castle.
The rest of the evening was spent watching bad English reality TV (B-grade celebrity wedding-offs to be precise) and the end of 'Valentine's Day' while consuming said wine and champagne.
The next morning we awoke, excited by the promise of a cooked breakfast. Little did we know what was instore for us...
Our breakfasts themselves were amazing, but the woman serving them was unusual. When we arrived in the dining room for breakfast she promptly asked us if we would like coffee or tea, to which we all replied coffee. She returned with some toast and a teapot filled with...tea. At first we thought it might be weak coffee but alas it was not to be.
Once our cooked meals had arrived the cook decide to ask us about ourselves. We started to tell her what our occupations were, but only got around as far as Sara because once she said she was a nanny the cook was off and running about how she baby sat for her grandchild all the time etc. To make matters worse she had a strong accent and only half of what was being said was discernable. We couldn't seem to stem the tide of words and only just escaped in time for a tour of the castle.
The lovely English gentleman, who owned the castle, had agreed the night before
to take us for a tour of his castle. It was really interesting and he knew a lot about the royalty who had stayed within the walls. The highlight of the tour was definitely when he allowed Michelle to play us some Mozart on their harpsichord. Absolutely amazing! And if I can work out how I will post a snippit of the video of her playing.
Once our tour was complete we packed our car once more and decided to head to Exeter with the promise of an amazing cathedral and a good coffee thrown in.
The trip to Exeter was fairly uneventful, it was more the pedestrian zone that Viktor our GPS sent us up, that made it eventful. Thankfully a friendly policemen pointed us in the right direction and we soon were parking the car and making our way on foot to the cathedral.
The cathedral was incredible, it was huge and the vaulted ceilings were awe-inspiring. There is no way of putting it into words really, look at the photos for an attempt at explaining a bit of the grandeur.
The coffee was also awe-inspiring. It was an amazing recommendation from one of
Paul's colleagues and if you are ever in Devon you should definitely check out the Boston Tea Party. The coffee was amazing and the home baked goods were the perfect accompaniment. A great boost for us before the return leg of our trip.
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