stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Surf heaven diary

Day One

First you must understand that I do not surf! However, it was a nice hot day, but cloudy so not too hot in the car when driving down to surf heaven in Devon.

I had decided to leave about ten a.m and reach Barnstaple by lunch time. Fortune smiled on me, and I found a multi storey car park, that was on my way out of town - and right in the centre of the shopping streets,

The covered Pannier market was a delight, and I bought cherries, some lovely wholegrain bread still hot...

....And I got some lovely cheeses, one soft and creamy and made in Devon. Mmmm. Glad I had borrowed a tiny fridge from the LLF.

Oh and I got some milk, just in case the village shop hadn’t got any. Actually it did, but nothing very fancy (apart from the wines) everything else was very ordinary corner shop stuff AND an assistant that looked like the young Granville from "Open All Hours" on UK TV. I wonder how many people comment on it to him - I didn’t dare, but I did stare!

I’m ahead of myself - back to Barnstaple - I had a wander into some clothes shops, but couldn’t find anything to buy that I liked and/or needed!

So drove out of town, just a few miles - and into a traffic jam in the small village of Braunton - all surfing shops and pubs - and a set of traffic lights! But the hold up didn’t matter, more time to stare at the houses and bungalows.

And on to my first sight of Croyde Bay, over the sand dunes.

For a few days of peace and quiet, I had chosen a slightly unusual place - the holiday camp run by my work union (Unison) But it is cheap and has a brilliant location. Mostly families go there, from all over the UK, and thoroughly enjoy all that it has to offer in the way of entertainment and organised activities

( you can see the tennis courts in the foreground) and of course the beach and the surfing.

But I just wanted somewhere clean, comfortable and near the sea. It is only a two minute walk through the sand dunes.

There are rock pools at either side of the wide bay, but the only shells on the beach seem to be mussel shells, I have become a bit of a shell snob since Iona (and even Shell Bay in Dorset)

The sun set right next to Lundy Island out to sea, and I had the beach to myself. Bliss.

Day Two

A lovely hot sunny day, but quite windy. I saw some people paragliding like huge birds, and turned around to see a buzzard enjoying the similar thermals on the next hill !

I popped in the car and ran the gauntlet of Devon lanes to go around to the next bay. Devon roads are mostly very narrow, single track, deep sided, sunken between fuschia hedges, twisty affairs and it’s a bit like Russian Roulette whether you get a clean run to the next junction or not. Farrm tractors an added hazard! This is the view along Woolacombe Bay, looking north from Putsborough.

I enjoyed idly watching the scene - a kid doing a sort of Nazca lines thing, aided by an excitedly bouncing younger sibling who has no idea what is happening, but its all jolly exciting making lines in the sand; families constantly trekking with bags, surf boards and towels to a distant coveted spot; kites being flown; a sister being taught beach cricket as father and brother will need her to field; canoeists hauling their craft to the distant sea; a lone family pitched in the middle of vast tract of beach…..and the beach café served Earl Grey tea and smoked salmon sandwiches.

Day Three

I got quite a bit of sun while on the beach and strolling around the nearest village, so I wasn’t sorry it was a cloudy day. I had my plans and swung into action. So arrived before Broomhill Sculpture Gardens opened, so I had them deliciously to myself.

I wandered in the wooded valley, all the time hearing the tumbling of the small river in the bottom. The sun decided to come out for a bit and showed up the sculptures, thoughtfully placed on the hillsides and beside the rambling paths through the trees. Delightful. Having been fairly quite for the last two days, it was easy to slip into watchfulness, and soon I was enjoying seeing trees and branches with the same eyes I was using for seeing the “art” What fun - I realised I was admiring some large gunnera leaves as if they were a bronze sculpture, not coated with mud from recent high water!

The experience was delightful, and the small river was just perfect. A separate photo diary of some of my favourites in the next post.

But I had an enjoyable coffee on the terrace, when a couple of immaculately turned out horses and their lady riders tiptoed elegantly between the shiny aluminium tables plus assorted diners, and some of the equally glittery sculpture with total unconcern. Totally British!

The sun had gone for the rest of the day, but I had decided to picnic on the cheese and bread on the top of the sand dunes back at Croyde and would not be dissuaded by a bit of cloud. Here is my view of the scene - not a walking boot in sight, Also totally British in that you cant see the layers of pullovers and hooded tops I was wearing!

Tabor left a comment "Take your favorite drink, blanket and book and music. Then sit facing the breeze and breath in and out...and remember all the bloggers that are sending you their best energies!! "

Well I did just that coincidentally - the drink was Earl Grey Tea; I bought a new "cream coloured soft as you can imagine" blanket; the books were the East Wind Melts the Ice plus the new Bill Bryson book and Marc Keane on Japanese gardens; and the music was the contents of my wonderful Creative Zen mp3 player! And here I am, facing the breeze - and yes, I did think about you bloggers. Such good advice Tabor!!

To be continued...


At 12:16 pm, Blogger Val said...

I am getting such a thrill from knowing that I too am reading two of those books at the same time you are!

Love the last photo.

At 1:04 pm, Blogger Kerri said...

It sounds like just the ticket for a little rest and relaxation. Your photos illustrate the thoughtful text beautifully, and give me a sense of the peace you must've been feeling. I can imagine myself sitting of that vast stretch of beach, breathing that wonderful sea air....ah!...thank you Val!
Glad you were able to get away.

At 4:56 pm, Blogger Zen said...

Wonderful shots! The sunset is magnificent! The feet at the beach is sublime...

It is good to re-tune to nature.

At 10:31 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

Gee, nobody EVER takes my advice...certainly not my kids. I don't know what to say.

At 9:09 pm, Blogger Rowan said...

It seems that you found what you were looking for - the sunset photo is just fabulous.

At 7:38 am, Blogger Reflection Through The Seasons said...

Hello Val....
Sorry I haven’t visited for a while, I’m desperately trying to catch up with my blogging friends. Thank you for your recent visit and the comment you left. So pleased to hear about the wedding and how lucky to get a glorious day with the weather. I’ve seen the wonderful picture you’ve posted of the bride and groom.

What a lovely post you’ve written about your trip to into ‘Surf Heaven’. Stunning sunset, woodland and seascapes pictures! I can identify well with the lanes you describe, I have to hold my breath like that on our local lanes too. Thanks for sharing your trip Val. I could feel you relaxing as I read. Marion


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