Monthly Archives: May 2014

All aboard!

It’s been a decidedly grey and drizzly week here in Devon, making getting out and about that little bit more challenging. However it did give us the excuse to revisit one of our favourite local attractions: the steam train that runs between Kingswear and Paignton.

This train will always have a special significance for our family. It was on a day out just after Christmas in 2012 that my waters broke and I began to go into labour with Arthur. We began what I’m sure will be an annual tradition with a trip on the steam train for his first birthday, but haven’t actually been back since. This time round he was much more aware of what was going on: he responded excitedly with ‘choo choo!’ when I told him about our plans in the morning, and his excitement increased tenfold once we were actually on the train.

image

We travelled in the Devon Belle observation carriage for the first time – it’s one of only two left in operation in the whole world, and gave us a fantastic panoramic view of the countryside as we chugged along. We were right up by the engine for the first leg of the trip, so the steam enveloped us whenever we passed under bridges giving everything an otherworldly aura that just added to the sense of travelling back in time.

image

The stations decked out with their vintage signs added to that too, as did the engines in the sidings and the trains that passed us on the other track.

We travelled along the river and through verdant woodland, though the best views were reserved for the stretch of track alongside Torbay: even with clouds shrouding the headlands it looked pretty spectacular.

image

When we pulled into Paignton we watched as the engine refilled with water before being moved to the other end of the train to pull us back towards Dartmouth.

image

As well as being pretty awesome to watch in itself this left us with an unobstructed view for our return trip – just the line disappearing behind us as train made its way back along the coast.

image

Arthur was keen to make the most of the view from every possible angle, enjoying the freedom of travelling without being confined to a car seat!

image    image

image    image

I’m not sure there are many more perfect ways to appreciate the beautiful place we live in than by trundling along in a steam train. It gives me a little thrill every time I see the plume of steam rising up across the bay, or hear the whistle echoing in the wind. I’m very glad that Arthur seems to share my enthusiasm, and I’m already looking forward to our next trip!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall



 

Word of the Week: Oddparents

Today the word that sums up the week that was is:

image

We had two very special visits this week, from two of my very best friends. Two out of the three people in fact who we chose to be oddparents to Arthur.

You may ask what an oddparent is, exactly. We were keen to have significant adults in Arthur’s life from outside his extended family, but as we’re not religious godparents didn’t seem quite right. He has guardians, but they are separate – much more of a legal, worst case scenario role. Rather his oddparents, Bez, Sue and Ryan, will hopefully imbue his life with some of the passion, creativity and uniqueness that has made them our friends for so long.

I think it was that spirit that has made this week so much fun. When Bez arrived with Huw, we threw ourselves into BrixFest – the 1940s themed festival that took over the town for the second May bank holiday weekend.

image

image

It was awesome to see them both, but fab to have an extra pair of hands too: someone Arthur enjoys hanging out with so Leigh and I could remember what it’s like to hang out with each other!

image

No sooner were they gone than Sue turned up. Arthur was very excited to see her and to show off his ukulele skills…

image

Unfortunately our earlier visitors seemed to take the sun away with them, but that just made us even more determined to make the most of her stay. We took the ferry over to Torquay, which as it always does made me wonder why I don’t do it more often. Beautiful as the bay is from the land I always get a bit of a thrill from actually being on the water.

image

We went to see the penguins at Living Coasts, and ended up getting mesmerised by the fish in the aquarium. I’m not sure who enjoyed the underwater bubble more to be honest!

image

We even managed to squeeze in a trip on the steam train, travelling in the observation car which was pretty exciting for all of us.

image

So all in all a brilliant week, though it was sad to say goodbye. Hopefully it won’t be too long before more oddparent adventures!

 

The Reading Residence

 

When Only Paper Will Do

image

I almost forgot to mention that I’ve been musing on the novel writing process over at The Reading Residence today as part of Jocelyn’s #bringbackpaper campaign. However much I love my computer, there are times when only paper will do… Pop over and find out more – there’s lots of papery goodness to ogle at in the Papery Peep linky too!

 

image

C is for Cadgwith

image

A captivating cove in a hidden corner of Cornwall, Cadgwith has hardly changed in the thirty something years I’ve been visiting my family there. Thatched cottages nestling in the hills that roll down towards the shingle beach, fishing boats pulled up high on the pebbles out of reach of the sea or battling the waves to bring in their daily catch. C is for Cadgwith.

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast.

Kynance Cove

view of kynance

Continuing the themes of exploring and beach fun that ran through our trip to Cornwall last week, we spent a fantastic afternoon at Kynance Cove. It’s not an easy beach to visit. To start with you have to get the tides just right: at high tide there’s no beach at all, just the waves crashing around the serpentine rocks. Then there’s the walk down from the car park – incredible views but steep and slippery. There is a route that’s apparently suitable for pushchairs but I was very glad of my Connecta! Once we made it down, though, it was clear it had been worth the effort: turquoise waters, white sand, and dramatic cliffs rising high above us.

The timing of it all meant we were well overdue lunch when we arrived – there was no doubt Arthur was hungry but it was definitely a challenge getting him to sit still for long enough to eat a sandwich…

IMG_9966

He was much happier once we’d stripped him off and put him in his little wetsuit – raring to go and explore!

IMG_7527

Another layer to protect him from the sun and he was off – running towards the sea with us following in quick pursuit.

IMG_7499

He loved sitting in the sand with the water swirling around him, but even though I was right there this did begin to make me nervous – there are some pretty vicious rip tides at Kynance at low tide, and even in the shallows things looked a little unpredictable.

IMG_4074

We managed to distract him for a while with the pools that formed by the rocks. He was curious about the seaweed strands that hung down and tickled his toes, and spent ages flicking sand onto his legs to watch the patterns that it made.

IMG_0449

When he was ready to head back towards the sea we managed to divert him into a larger pool that had formed in the sand. He loved splashing around at its edges, and a couple of times tried to fling himself in for a swim!

IMG_8387

After a while even Arthur began to get chilly, but soon warmed up with an impromptu game of football. He loved chasing around after the ball, and even managed to kick it a couple of times! He hasn’t managed that before, and was almost as impressed as me with his new skill.

IMG_3922

He was less impressed when we told him it was time to go – I swear my little boy would happily live his life on the beach if we let him! But he soon began to realise the appeal of being warm and dry and was all smiles again before too long.

IMG_7889



Tropical Trebah

As well as catching up with family and enjoying the beautiful Lizard, we managed to fit a bit of exploring into this trip to Cornwall. There are so many brilliant places to visit nearby, and one of them is Trebah Garden.

We set off from Cadgwith to Helford Village, getting the ferry across the river for a quick lunch at The Ferryboat Inn. Arthur had his usual fish and chips, particularly enjoying dipping the chips in the mushy peas – a new and vitally important skill!

image    image

We decided to take the scenic route to Trebah, walking alongside the river until we got to the tiny village of Durgan – so unspoilt and picturesque it’s like stepping back in time. It wasn’t an easy walk though, and by the time Arthur had nodded off as we followed the path up to the gardens I was certainly feeling like I’d had a bit of a workout…

image

When we actually stepped into Trebah, though, there was no doubt that it had been worth it. The gardens sprawl over a valley, lush vegetation lining the paths which lead back down towards the river and massive trees towering above it all. Some areas had been carefully crafted, others appeared much more wild – the overall effect was of a tropical paradise rather than an English garden.

image

image    image

image

As Arthur continued his nap we were free to wander for a while, and I found myself seeking ideas for our garden at home. The flowers were so beautiful that even I, notoriously not green-fingered, couldn’t help but be inspired!

image    image

image    image

When Arthur did wake up, he was blown away by the place he found himself in. He pointed all around saying ‘Rose! Rose!’ (his universal word for ‘flower’ at the moment), and was thrilled by all the birds he could see and hear enjoying the gardens too.

image

He was even more excited when our meandering took us to a little play area where he rode a horse and became the captain of a ship. He was so taken in fact by that little red wheel that I thought at one point we’d never be able to lure him away…

image    image

image    image

image

We did have to move on eventually, but fortunately Arthur’s disappointment was short lived as there was still plenty more to keep him entertained. He was fascinated by the tadpoles in the fountain pool, and when we slipped into the cafe for a much needed cup of tea he was kept busy by the toys he found there.

image    image

It was so lovely to find somewhere different to explore, especially somewhere that had so much for all of us to enjoy. We’ll definitely be back – I’m intrigued to see how the gardens change with the seasons – and I would very much recommend a visit if you ever find yourself in that part of Cornwall. You can find out more about it here!

 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall