Best bits of our half term break continued … (Part 1)
Wednesday – Trying to rain … again! Walked round the shops in Honiton, a town not far from the coast and then after lunch, the rain clearing, on to Budleigh Salterton. This small quiet seaside town was the childhood home of the Elizabethan sailor Sir Walter Raleigh. The famous Pre-Raphelite brotherhood painter John Everett Millais painted ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ here.
Wonderful ice cream (a ‘moreish‘ Turkish Delight flavour!) Home through Branscombe – the beach appeared as if it was still closed to the public with the cause, the cargo ship ‘Napoli’ which ran aground in January 2007, visible from all along the coast.
Thursday – Morning, absolutely pouring! Felt really sorry for the dripping donkeys at the famous Donkey Sanctury near Sidmouth. Said ‘Bonjour’ to some of the very large shaggy Baudet donkeys from Poitou. (It was fun to see them here as we had heard about them and seen pictures when we were on holiday in the Charente-Maritime on the mid-west coast of France.) The Sanctuary should be praised for its successful breeding programme as not long ago these donkeys were very few in number and facing extinction. Great cafe at the sanctuary where we retreated from the rain but once we had eaten there was sunshine or the afternoon. Down at Sidmouth we watched the huge waves crashing over the prom and saw some very wet (but very happy children).
Friday – Last morning spent at Beer, with absolutely glorious weather.
The name Beer has nothing to do with the drink but derives from the old English word for woodland: ‘bere’ or ‘beare’. Short sleeved Tshirts at last – c’est la vie! Wandered on the beach among the deck chairs and unbrellas and round the boats and fishing nets – this is very much a working fishing village. We peered in the rockpools – enjoyed the view from the cliff path – (I) envied the members of a local painting club on a day trip – enjoyed crab salads under an umbrella at the cafe on the beach… Finally back to Sidmouth with its red sandstone cliffs for a final walk along the front – attractive Regency and Victorian buildings, some with ornate ironwork balconies and some in the mock gothic style – a final (blackcurrant this time) ice cream – and at last our first real outdoors picnic of the week in the evening sunshine, every crumb coveted by the ‘eagle’ eyed herring gulls.
Saturday – Wonderful weather again – settled at last but rather belatedly as it was for the ride home!