Posted by: digibirder | July 13, 2008

Devon – part 6

Tuesday 24th June:
There was a bit more cloud today, but it was still fine and sunny and warm. We went into Kingsbridge first thing, as Keith wanted to try and get his hair cut, but the barber already had a queue of customers waiting so we wandered back to the car, en route to which we popped into a shop where Keith bought a new pillow – yes, another one! I was beginning to think we wouldn’t get all this stuff into the car for the journey home. And then where to put all these pillows when we do get home!! We have quite a stash of them already, as Keith is still searching for the perfect pillow. We had taken three with us on holiday, so we were falling over them by this time.

We then drove on to Sharpham Vineyard where we took the self-guided tour around the vineyard and then back for a tasting of some of their wines. The grapes were not yet fully out, and they only had white wine for tasting, but a couple of them were really nice, so we purchased those, along with a couple of their cheeses, which we also tasted. Then we went outside to the open-air café and had a lovely lunch – Keith had paté and salad and I had some cheese fritters and salad and we followed those with a delicious chocolate brownie with clotted cream. Mmmmm!! The circular walk takes you through the vines and alongside the River Dart.

We came back to the campsite via some rather scary narrow lanes – I’m not too keen when there’s grass growing in the centre of the road, and the vegetation is touching both sides of the car – but we did discover some rather quaint little villages, and a couple of nice country pubs, although we didn’t stop. On arrival back at the tent, we sat and read in the sunshine for a while before preparing our quiche and salad for dinner. Later on we went for a stroll around Slapton village taking a few photos, then came back to get ready for an early night. I was beginning to get a bit of a sniffle, and just wanted to curl up and get warm in my sleeping bag.

Some views of Slapton village.

Managed to clone some intrusive road markings from the above photo

I thought the double window above the church door was a little unusual

Wednesday 25th June:
My sniffle had turned into a full-blown cold overnight and I didn’t have a very good night’s sleep, so I didn’t feel like doing a lot today. However, the sun was shining so we decided to make an effort and go out. I had mentioned wanting to go to Salcombe again so that’s where we headed. We thought we would see how I felt once we finished there, and then make a decision either to go somewhere else or go back to the site.

It was busy, but not as bad as last time we were there two years ago, which I think was a weekend day in July, hence there were probably more people about anyway. Also, on this occasion, we arrived fairly early – about 9am, so the crowds hadn’t yet descended. It’s not a big town, so you can get round it fairly quickly, but the streets are very narrow and people with no knowledge of the place, or who are just plain foolhardy, insist on driving through causing chaos. There is a park-and-ride service, but we remembered that last time we parked in a residential area a short walk from the town, so we managed to find that space again and had a pleasant wander into town.

A pleasant little bay just down from the parking place

Almost there – looking towards the town along the estuary

Salcombe is a very well-to-do place, and very geared up to the sailing fraternity, with many of the shops reflecting this. The hotels look very posh and the houses are something else! The house on the left of the above photo is for sale. I didn’t check all the particulars, but if you have £3.75 million to spare it can be yours. It’s a bit big for us!! We bought a hot Devon pasty and a bottle of apple juice for lunch and sat on the quayside watching the yachtsy folk play on their yachts. Then as we started making our way back to the car we bought the most delicious ice cream we have ever tasted.

I decided to try on some trousers and a top in one of the shops. As I put my hand in the pocket of the top I felt a hole in the seam. When I mentioned it to the assistant she was quite apologetic and looked for another one for me, saying she would have to send that one back. Then she made me an offer to have that one at a reduced price. As I am quite handy with needle and thread, I thought that would be OK, so she suggested £20. I almost bit off her hand, as that was £18 knocked off! I would have expected five or maybe even ten pounds, but that was more than a bargain and I really couldn’t refuse. I think she may have later realised the original price of the top, but she couldn’t then go back and change the offer, so I was very pleased indeed.

As we wandered further up the hill, Keith spotted a sailing dinghy get into difficulty. There was a bit of a strong wind blowing and the fellow in the boat found it difficult to keep it upright. The wind just took him right over and he had to jump out. With the boat on its side, someone in a small motor craft came to his rescue and almost managed to get the boat upright, but the fact that the sail was still up was making it difficult to control due to the wind, so eventually it went all the way over. Another boat joined in and they managed to get it towed to the opposite beach where they then managed to get it the right way up and get the sail down.

After ‘doing’ Salcombe, I didn’t feel like going on anywhere else, so we went back to the site and sat in the sun reading again. We had another home-made cream tea, and then started to prepare the dinner. We started preparations quite early, as we were having the lamb shanks purchased at the farmers’ market the other day and they needed a couple of hours in the Remoska cooker. We had boiled potatoes and broccoli with them and they were delicious. While the dinner was cooking, I amused myself by throwing oatcakes to the Jackdaws to try and get some more photos. I had the ErgoRest attached for these and used my Sigma 135-400mm. The birds were coming fairly close, so I managed on 200mm focal length for most of these images, only using 400mm for the 4th image. All were cropped only very slightly and then sharpened.

During the cooking and eating of dinner, we were entertained by an elderly couple erecting their trailer tent. It took them at least 45 minutes just to get it level, even before they started getting the main canvas in place. If we hadn’t been cooking, eating and digesting dinner, we would have gone to help, but it was amusing watching them go back and forth with poles and bits of awning. I heard him say to another camper that they had had this tent for a few years, but in between camping trips, due to their age, they forget what to do! I think they were at it for at least two and a half hours, then they disappeared, presumably to get something to eat. I felt like recommending the Camp-let trailer tent to them. We are pitched and done inside an hour. Not that I’m gloating, or anything!

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