Monday, 2 April 2012

Sunny days in Devon

I have to apologise, not least to the friend who wondered whether my blogging silence meant something was wrong. I'm sorry to say it means approximately the opposite - that I've been having rather a good time, partly because I've been in the book-writing "zone" and partly because we went away for a long sunny weekend to South Devon coming back a week ago.

We stayed in Newton Poppleford for two reasons: a) it's near Jane's revered and lovely parents, and b) it's where I found a promising disabled friendly bed and breakfast. Brookfields proved to be better than I'd dared hope. It's run by a couple, David and Rosemary, who'd previously owned a nursing home and therefore understood my needs well. Our bedroom had a wetroom en suite which, of course, is ideal. There was plenty of room both sides of the bed. And the breakfasts were amazing. David and Rosemary seek out the best from every source, working on the principle that they give their guests what they themselves would like. And they are excellent and generous cooks. When we eating out with Jane's parents at midday, we had the continental option - well, you can't do much with that, can you? It was fine, but not as extraordinarily yummy as the full English.

I suppose what was best about Brookfields was the hospitality. It isn't the hotel-type B&B; it's a home. Even Axy, the dog, is friendly and welcoming.

Friday was Sport Relief day. We'd decided to make use of our National Trust card and visit Killerton House, just on the other side of the M5. It's an impressive house, built originally as a stop-gap, for the Acland family. Happily they decided to stick with it rather than build a grandiose permanent house on top of the hill. It's grand enough as it is, with beautiful grounds (not that wheelchair friendly) and an accessible ground floor. Jane indulged one of my vices at lunchtime with a packet of quavers, which was kind of her.

About midday there was an influx, a torrent of primary school children, 200 of them in blue, yellow, green and red tops. They were, we realised, marking Sport Relief, competing in ages round different distances, including a course of up to a mile. It was beautiful sunny afternoon; parents and peers shouted encouragement. What better way to end the week - pupils and for teachers! And for us it proved diverting entertainment.

St Luke's, Newton Poppleford
Our Italian evening was, I'd say, average, although the service was excellent - as were the quite different services we attended on the Sunday. The first was in St Luke's, Newton Poppleford, which Rosemary took us to in the morning. A delightful friendly relaxed yet reverent Communion service. It reminded somewhat of Stanford, which is quite high praise! After a cream tea in the afternoon we headed off to see the sea and then to join our friends at Christ Church, Exmouth. Here we had excellent worship music, and a memorable sermon on Psalm 1 and pee charts! On the way back we sampled Krispies' award-winning fish and chips, which I have to say were just as good as their reputation. Back at the B&B we were plied with sloe gin and red wine - "and so to bed" after a great day.
Christ Church, Exmouth

Jane returning with the clotted golden treasure!
Before coming home on Monday, we had to pick up some clotted cream for a member of our family (and ourselves, to be fair) from what is agreed to be the best supplier in Sidmouth. We spent another couple of mellow hours with Jane's parents, this time in Sidmouth Garden Centre's remarkably good and reasonably priced restaurant. Our progress was almost brought to a halt by an accident blocking both directions of the A303. However instead of following the official diversion we successfully circumvented it and were home in time to feed the dog. Although physically taxing, as all changes from routine inevitably are, with a disabled body to look after, we both returned stimulated and ready to enjoy the week of unbroken sunshine which followed. Breaks are physically tiring and take a bit of recovery time, but mentally they are essential for riding the stresses of disability - which is the reason why funding which makes them possible must not be cut. The alternative, carers being unable to carry on, would cost the tax-payer much more, with two casualties to deal with. I await with some trepidation the government's proposals for creating a viable care system.


  1. Glad you had such a good break. Looking forward to the fruits of your time in the 'book writing zone.' (Anonymous simply because I'm too inept to crack the system!) Pat.

  2. Thanks for signing as anonymous, Pat, as this has encouraged me to explore the 'anonymous' option, as I have never been able to leave a comment before, as I cannot crack the system either! And so, Michael, you may have missed out on many pearls of wisdom from other blog readers!
    Just to say that I enjoyed reading about your exploits, and am relieved to know that you were absent simply because you had been too busy to update your blog, rather than for any other sinister reason! Sounds as though you had a fab time!
    Jules xxx
    PS Happy Easter!!

  3. YAY! It worked! Thanks again, pat!

  4. You were a few days early for the walk of witness on Good Friday in Exmouth!/revdjamesh/status/188217367854202881/photo/1

  5. Glad you enjoyed yourself! I've lived in Devon all my life and never particualarly missed life in the city. The views and the nature surrounding are unbeatable.