Friday, July 11, 2014

Devon: Day 1

UK14 -- Day 1: June 22-24 (Sunday/Monday)

Sitting on my gigantic bed in the Garden wing at Fursdon House, watching the sky change colors from pink to lavender into blue through the wavy old glass of a window overlooking a rose trellis, air heavy with that English mix of roses, lavender, and horse manure.  Just returned from a quiet walk through various gardens, ripe with lavender and roses and euphorbia, geraniums, peonies. Breath-taking views over the steep rounded hills of Devon. "Everything in Devon's on angle" seems pretty true, the fields so steep you wonder why the cows don't topple off them, and the gardens terraced with stones stairways with treads like ladders. The ride down to the local pub for dinner was a breakneck hurtle between dense hedgerows so narrow they nearly touched both sides of the van. Sudden curves outward to vistas of green checker-boarded fields as lumpy as roller coasters, an occasional old oak or tattered cyprus poised lonely again the sky.

Waxing lyric because I'm almost overwhelmed wi exhaustion...barely any sleep for 36 hours. But pleasantly replete with Pimms, followed by ok pub food, served by a host/ chief who wrote everyone's name down next to their order, "So I'll know you if you come again."  
How tired we are. Pimms after being up for 30+ hours

Flight was okay; so was long ride to Devon, mostly freeway, so not as much sense of being in England except for dizzying, sleep-deprived disorientation of traffic turning in the wrong directions.  Had the first of several tech glitches at airport where the dongle I'd rented wouldn't work.  when the tech guy got there, we tried 5 others, none of which was functional, and two of which had notes in the cases complaining they didn't work.  The one that worked in the airport worked for about an hour on the road and hasn't worked since.  It's charging so I can pop the battery and reset again, but have had to depend on the house wifi, which works only near open windows, and only on the left side of my giant bed.  So that's why I've been posting only once a day and not texting much, if any.
Quaint thatch in nearby village of Thorveton

I've decided to give up on the tech and just enjoy, taking pictures and writing.  Actually feels good to disengage.  Unfortunately my wireless camera doesn't want (so far) to synch with house wireless, so those pics won't get added to blog until later.  And after only about 25 pictures total in its whole silly life, the battery ran out on picture two today.  It's charging too.

Sunset in Thorverton churchyard

Sorry to be so whiny.   Luxury grade problems, and I'm willing to trade tech karma for weather karma.

Anyway, the place we are staying is an enchanting 17thC country house and farm, with sheep and horses and quite nice gardens.  I'll report more on it after our house tour tomorrow on Wednesday.

As I write this, it's actually the end of Tuesday, day two, spent in Lyme Regis and a little village called Abbotsbury where there is one of the three biggest Swaneries (swan nesting grounds) in England.  Lots to talk about, but it's 10:30 already and we have to be on the bus for Hestercombe at 9:15 tomorrow morning.  I broke 10,000 steps today ( 5.58 miles) but feel only the kind of healthy tired you'd expect from a day strolling in the sun.  Definitely picked up some color today -- Lyme Regis was downright hot and I forwent the walk to and out on the Cobb as much because my skin was beginning to sizzle as because my knees were aching.

Tomorrow is a much easier day, and I'm hoping to catch up a bit -- on writing and thinking and labeling pictures. And just absorbing all I've been seeing, especially the flowers which as always ravish me with color and texture and smell.

Having a pretty good time with the people on the tour, though some of them are republicans, but so far the jokes have been fairly gentle.  You'd be quite amazed at how much I'm holding my tongue, not difficult in this group which often sounds like a flock of excited starlings.

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