Easter could have been spent in Riga, Latvia. But why go through the rigmarole of sourcing a visa for an Aussie when we could go to Exeter instead?
The Georgian Lodge B&B housed our room up several flights of skinny terrace house stairs. Overlooking a public car park, I could imagine it held a patch of muddy grass in days gone by to tend to horse and carriage. Flanked on all sides by Georgian terraces, it is a quiet spot close to the city centre. And the wide ledge outside the window was perfect for keeping our picnic cool. They do a good full English breakfast in the morning too, hold the black pudding :-/
With a few days to spend we first headed for Exmouth to enjoy a breezy picnic overlooking the shallow waterway at low tide. With the football on the radio we picked at our favoured antipasto laid out on the parcel shelf in the car boot – because we’re classy like that. With the sun shining, dogs playing on the sand and families battling to enjoy fish and chips in the buffeting wind, we enjoyed our olives, hummus and strictly non-alcoholic beverages in plastic wine goblets. And Julie didn’t feel much need to yell at the referee down the radio.
We continued our drive along the coastal roads through the villages and towns due to be overcrowded by summering tourists in bathing huts, ice-cream shops ready to go. The green hills tilled with fields stopped abruptly at clifftops into dark beaches and rolling seas, as if someone has taken a giant knife and cut away the land leaving but a whisker of hedgerow at the edge. Pleasant esplanades separated shop front from sea dotted with old fashioned ornate lampposts. Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.
During our time in Devon we also took a drive through the Dartmoor National Park. Whether it is a usual feature or the weather gods thought it would be funny, we’re not sure, but the clouds hugged low to the ground, fogging the windswept moor. We didn’t manage to see the wide views across the low bushes, instead feeling safer to lock all the car doors and keep the windows up as we drove through the eerie, heavy closeness. It certainly made it memorable. Also stuck in my mind is the sight of a dead grey horse, bloated and rigid, all four legs stretched out straight. Definitely locked the doors.
Even though the clouds kept delivering rain we pressed on and came across a centuries old stone bridge. It’s these remnants of bygone eras that I do enjoy living amongst while here in the UK. History is fascinating!
We took the long way home, along the Dorset coastline, stopping to watch brave paddlers in the beautiful town of Lyme Regis. A town crier completed the authentic English experience by announcing the imminent start of the rubber duck race. As one does. We settled for ice creams on the beach and walking along the esplanade resplendent in historic buildings and quaint coffee shops.
Major highlight for me was a surprising road sign pointing to “Fortescue”, a tiny blip on the map on the road to Sidmouth. It doesn’t even show up on Google maps…and there’s an Upper and a Lower Fortescue. Of course!