A Life in the Slow Lane

About Face

Our thrust down England’s south west peninsular has petered out at Looe. Sarah’s hospital appointment has come through and so we have turned Basil’s nose in vaguely the correct direction and started our long journey home.

Before we leave Devon though, we want to see Sarah’s Uncle Geoff and Aunt Sarah and so we have spent most of the day manoeuvring Basil along, what must be, England’s narrowest A roads to North Devon. The journey was only 60 miles but it took us the best part of 3 hours.

The main roads in this part of the world are still partially single track and those parts which aren’t, are still very narrow. As a result Basil, and I, have been put through our paces, because with the hedgerows being so high it is constantly necessary to brake in anticipation of what might be around a corner and guide Basil’s bulk through tiny gaps between hedge and oncoming vehicle.

At one point, on a single track road, we came face to face with a 40 tonne HGV. He had a queue of cars behind him, I did not. So I was required to reverse several hundred yards until there was space enough for us to pass and even then the HGV had to pull in his wing mirrors. Basil’s are fixed. Sarah and I work as a team when undertaking this type of manoeuvre. Sarah keeps her eye on the rear view camera while I reverse using the wing mirrors. This type of driving gives me a new respect for drivers of large lorries.

Basil at the CL

We have chosen a CL on the Hartland Peninsular, called Fosfelle Country House, which is £15 a night with electricity, toilet and really nice shower (50.986814, -4.473813). The one annoyance is that they have charged us £1 per night per dog, which is a first for us in the UK, although quite common on the continent. Also, much to our amusement, the CL has a resident herd of 5 alpacas, which when we arrived were very curious about us indeed. Sarah has tried feeding them carrots, but they don’t seem keen. Melek, on the other had, who does like carrots, or anything that will fit in his mouth, was most indignant. He is a dog who very rarely barks, but when he saw Sarah trying to feed his beloved carrots to the strange looking South American animals, he let her know his thoughts in no uncertain manor.

Basil thinks he’s part of the herd

I’ve had a bit of excitement on the wildlife front. While I was standing and surveying the edge of the site, for birds I admit, I thought I saw a flash of white against the base of a large tree. I moved to within about 10 metres, thinking it was possibly a piece of paper blowing in the breeze, when much to my surprise a stoat popped up its head, looked at me for a few seconds and then rapidly beat a retreat. I think it is the first time I have clearly seen a stoat in the wild.

I’m not sure how this chap knows where he’s going!

I have decided I will bring this section of the blog to an end after this post. We hope to see Geoff and Sarah tomorrow and then we will be heading home. We may, or may not, make a stop or two on the way, but we have not really decided yet.

Generally the weather and the lack of easy parking for motorhomes has made this little adventure less pleasurable than it might have been. We’ve had some good walks; seen some interesting sights; and enjoyed some fine British pubs. But I suspect we will think twice before starting a long trip around the UK as early as March in future.

With luck we should be on the road again before too long. We had already decided to base ourselves mainly at home in July and August due to crowds and the expense of camping in the summer, but we will perhaps get away again before then or failing that in September with possibly a visit to Southern Europe for the Autumn. When we do start another lengthy trip you will have to put up with my blogging again.