29.09.2016 - 01.10.2016 16 °C
Thursday morning we got up as loudly as possible in the hope of repaying the people upstairs for their late night foot stomping, furniture moving tendencies. We showered loudly, we breakfasted loudly and we did the dishes loudly. Yeah. Showed them.
We trundled down to the subway and got ourselves to the airport for the bargain price of €1.40 (€2.80 for Steph because the machine ate her money - still infinitely cheaper than getting to Tullamarine) and went to our respective terminals.
We made it through check in, security (yes I got checked for explosives again) and passport control without too much hassle - two hours later we were at the gate and being bussed towards our plane. We sat patiently for awhile, before the pilot announced that as we were still waiting for another busload of passengers, they would open up the cockpit and let anyone who wanted to come and have a look and a chat. It was like being back in the 90s again - and a truly excellent strategy for keeping passengers happy. Monarch lost points for having the smallest amount of legroom of any plane so far, but regained those points for having the chattiest and friendliest pilot of all time.
We arrived in Birmingham and were confronted with a formidable looking woman at immigration who turned out to be incredibly efficient and did no interrogation whatsoever. Win. Next hurdle was the car hire. The car we had booked was not available, and we were made to feel like a huge inconvenience because we didn't want to pay more to get a bigger car. In the end, we only had to wait about 20 minutes before Warwick Capperccino (the light brown Fiat 500) was available for us to load up with our luggage and then we were off on a roadtrip once more. It actually felt slightly disconcerting to sit on the left hand side as a passenger, as I'd finally gotten my head around the fact that the driver sat on the left in Europe. We were headed to Torquay, and it took about an hour longer than it should've. Because roadworks, because traffic. But we enjoyed hearing all the "new" songs that were exactly the same as the "new" songs that were being played when we were in the UK nearly two months ago.
We made it to Torquay and met our most incredibly lovely Airbnb hosts before walking to the nearest pub for a big hit of vegetables. The next morning our tradies curse continued, with plumbers hard at work before 9am. It couldn't quite take away from the pleasure derived from eating breakfast while looking out over the bay, but did affect the serenity quite significantly and we were keen to leave the house ASAP.
We set off for a stroll along part of the South West Coast Path - we met some Lancastrians on our way to Anstey's Cove and it was there that we found the serenity we had been looking for. No plumbers drilling, no whipper snippers snipping, just waves gently lapping and a light breeze circling around. We soaked up the views with a baked spud, and then set off around Hope's Nose despite some fairly average signposting and a slightly ambiguous map. The coastline was rugged, windy but lacking a bit in the sea-bird department. We made it back to our apartment to find the plumbers had departed - thank goodness! Dinner was back at the pub (it's always nice to have a 'local' when you're travelling) and that was another day done and dusted.
On Saturday we embarked on a very important quest - to have a Devonshire tea in Devon. Equipped with a recommendation of the best cafe, we walked the slippery public footpaths into Babbacombe and found ourselves at Angel's Tea Rooms. Small but very popular, we expected to be turned away or at least be told we would have to book for later in the day but no - the tea gods were smiling upon us and we had no trouble getting a table outside, where we could appreciate the sea views. You would think that a place famed for cream teas would have a simple menu, and I was expecting the biggest decision to be picking how much cream I wanted on my scone. But no. My memory of the menu is a little hazy, but there were at least twenty sandwich filling options, all available on four types of bread (which could be toasted or untoasted) and you could have any of about eight different types of scone and which tea would you like to go with it? Overwhelming. We ended up choosing a full tea which was a sandwich each, two slices of the most scrumdiddlyumptious cinnamon toast each, a scone with jam and cream each, and half of a giant slice of carrot cake each. Plus a pot of tea, of course. We tucked into our spread of deliciousness and kept eyeing off the clouds, willing them to pass without raining on us. We were lucky with the first lot of clouds, but then the second lot sought revenge. I barely had time to say "I think it's going to rain" before it bucketed down on us. We acted quickly and managed to get our tea and treats under shelter without too much damage, and then resumed our cream tea enjoyment sitting under the roof, as if nothing had happened. And the clouds passed on by, acting as if nothing had happened. Cheeky.
For the record - the food was amazing, but so filling. Our friendly waiter must have recognised the look on our faces because he offered to wrap up the cake for us to take away before we had even asked. And so, feeling proper English, we strolled the streets of Babbacombe, admiring the beach, the charity shops, and the Oscar Wilde house (apparently spending one winter there is enough for a place to make a claim on you). Just when we were really enjoying ourselves, Simon discovered that he was hatless again. Uh oh. Losing one hat was unlucky, but two? Thankfully we were about to find the hat this time through some strategic retracing of steps. And then I threatened to superglue the hat to his head, because the ninking budget did not allow for the purchase of a multitude of hats.
We made it back home without getting rained on (victory) and Simon made soup for dinner so he was forgiven for his hat-losing tendencies. When partnered with the night view over the harbour and our new favourite television show ("8 out of 10 cats does countdown" - think Letters & Numbers mixed with Good News Week), that soup was pretty much the ideal way to spend a Saturday night. Especially since we had carrot cake for dessert! Living the dream.