Visits! Trips! Expeditions!
I should re-title this Blog. Perhaps ‘Notes From a Wet Country’ or ’50 Shades of Grey Clouds’ or just ‘Not Waving But Really Really Drowning’ such has been the theme of some of the most recent posts and, there’s no getting away from it, the drizzle, mizzle, pizzle, will feature in this one too. Happily, however, this post chronicles all the fun things I have done despite the ever present precipitation.
So July came round far sooner than expected and in order to top up my postman’s tan that I caught miraculously whilst on holiday at Westward Ho! I planned another trip to Devon. Partly in response to living in a city centre and not having my own garden, also going on a flying visit to the grimey City of the Olympics (which i think it’s been re- named as) and partly because Devon Country Diary’s garden must be looking amazing by now. I also wanted to crack on with some more plein-air painting and go up to Dartmoor or by the coast again.
Armed with paints, new canvas boards and lots of good will I entered the Devonly county….on a National Express bus. A much nicer experience than I would have imagined possible. I recommend them highly now! Rain stopped play on arrival with the sky touching the thatched rooftops I quickly realised there would be no painting on the moor or by the sea. With no view to paint I revisited some photos that I had taken on my previous painting holiday to the Westcountry and did a few little pictures of Port Isaac. In between times…paint was drying or something… I was easily distracted by Wimbledon and the Tour de France and lunch at The Beer Engine at Newton St Cyres. Delicious! Do visit and do try their beer, made on site. All three meals we ordered were excellent being very elegantly presented and tasty. Best of all there is very little pretension, none even, amongst the staff or other punters.
After almost a week in Devon I headed up to Sheffield for Rich’s birthday. Sun and soul food were on the menu there but again the heavens did not oblige us so our Carribean/ Jamaican cross BBQ plans were altered slightly. As you can see from our photos it only increased our fun as we invented ways of bringing the sunshine in. A daylight light box was installed along with turning on the heating and inflating a palm tree all helped.
Some superstitious people find the number 13 ominous and some people think Fridays are bleak too. Combine them and you have Friday 13th a veritable bone quaker! Not for us though! We took it all into our stride as we helped Rich celebrate his birthday at Owlerton Stadium watching and betting on the greyhounds. ‘Dinner’ was included in our entry price, as was a lucky dip accumulator (a bet which you need every one of your 6 greyhounds to win their race before a payout) and a drink. I opted for a classy red wine and took a punt on a dog whose name I liked the look of. Yes! I won the jackpot! No I didn’t ☺ but I thought I was going to. So many near misses rolled that after a while I decided I would place bets on dogs coming second. This is known as a place. If your dog comes first or second then you win a little. This ploy combined with stabbing my finger blindly on the track notes gave me a couple of wins. A couple of quid that I was inordinately pleased with. The Tote ladies looked on with sympathy.
We all had a giggle and a flutter and enjoyed ourselves immensely. It was great fun and a brilliant way to spend a wet evening. The next day we created our own island paradise and gorged ourselves on amazing home cooked Caribbean and Jamaican food washed down with Piña Coladas. We all dressed as summery as possible despite the thermometer mocking us and pretended that it really was a summer birthday we were celebrating. Rob takes the prize home for most effort, dressed in Hawaiian colours with the tan to match!
It’s late now so I’ll follow up the rest of my exploits tomorrow otherwise I shall forget to include bits and not blog properly. Need to edit a few photos as well. Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed it!