Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fremington Part 2


The next day – against his better judgement I persuaded MTL to drive us down the farm track. It was full of pot holes and instead of going straight to the river Taw, snaked round curves and bends with the road surface deteriorating by the yard. It was a very bumpy ride and not having a 4 x 4 MTL was worried about his oil sump. There was no way to turn round so we had to continue – at a snail’s pace - until at last there was space by a gate, so I left himself to try to turn round and I walked, following the track – determined to see where it led to.

How deceptive that view from the bedroom window had been. At last the track ended on a deserted beach; everything was shrouded in sea mist and I could just make out a ghostly looking ship aground on the shore; no sign of the Quay in that visibility. Back I went to the car and admitted MTL had been right all along. We went inland for lunch but as soon as we got back to the cottage I walked down through the fields – right to the Quay this time. Of course there were cars and a car park and I discovered that out on the main road from the cottage, the next turning right was a narrow drive to the quay and café. I walked back up it just to make sure. The café looked great and was immensely popular. Fortunately I discovered it was closed on Monday so we planned to have lunch there on Tuesday.

It was well worth all the palaver and we had delicious sea bass caught by their own fisherman. I wish I could remember the name of the wine – it was special to them and all I can think of is Bacchus. The café is on the Tarka Trail, about 2 miles from Barnstaple and 4 from Instow and after pottering about the Quay I decided to do as much of that part of the trail as possible during the week.

There was lots of useful information in the cottage and one inn they highly recommended was the Rock at Georgeham. Henry Williamson, who wrote ‘Tarka the Otter’ started his writing life there when he bought a cottage to heal himself after WW1. He named it Skirr Cottage after the noise the barn owls made in a space under the thatch.

We drove up to Croyde and then on to Georgeham where the Rock Inn lived up to its reputation – in fact MTL deemed it a gastro pub. I’m a bit like the princess- who- could- feel- the- pea –through- mattresses, about seats. I damaged my coccyx in the fifties when an over eager photographer balanced the chair I was sitting on, on the edge of a table with predictable results I particularly abhor those foreshortened pews you sometimes get in pubs, which I find excruciating. The chairs in the conservatory at the Rock deserve a mention: they have a Mackintosh look and are bliss to sit on.

I wondered if the vines in the conservatory were real and MTL said no there were no grapes. However the waiter told us the grapes had been picked the night before and they were going to make their own wine.

One day we drove to Instow for lunch at the Boathouse. I had always wanted to try it but whilst we stayed at the hotel there wasn’t the opportunity. After a good lunch we parted company; MTL to drive back to the cottage and I to walk the four miles back to the Quay and then up and up to the cottage. We ate out at a different place every day and didn’t have one duff one – and there are still more to try out should we go there again.

On the last day we went to The Cedar’s Hotel and our waiter was a dead ringer for Rob Brydon – so every little thing he said seemed enormously witty.

I almost got as far as the bridge in Barnstaple but the weather was lowering and it was a very lonely part so I called it a day. There was a bit of excitement though; I came to a bridge with steps going up to a track, thought it looked familiar and walked until I came to the cottage – it was the dreaded pot-holed track and I had cut out the Quay and the long haul up through the fields. Yay!


Eryl Shields said...

Well done on all counts, it sounds like you earned your delicious lunches.

PI said...

eryl: we ate quite modestly in the evenings so few chores.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It sounds like there is GREAT Food to be had in that Area....If you didn't have one bad meal, AND there were many more goody places to go to...! WOW!
Again, I love the pictures, my dear....This is such a very very Charming area....! I cannot get over you walking the four miles here and many other miles there....
I am having a lot of trouble walking these days---In Pain with almost every step, so I do envy you being able to see so much of the countryside on foot!
What a WONDERFUL Week, Pat!

R. Sherman said...

The next day – against his better judgment I persuaded MTL to drive us down the farm track. (Emphasis Mine)

I do hope that YTL received some sort of reward for this at the end of the day beyond the sea bass. I pictured stereotypically stoic British gentlemen on the left side of the front seat, stiff-upper-lipping his way along a rutted farm road which he knew from the outset would suck in spades.

Good lord, do you realize how much this man loves you?


Cheers, dear and thanks for the smile. I needed it.

PI said...

Naomi: I do sympathise - since I had three leg fractures in my fifties - I have really appreciated mobility and I wish it were easier for you and for MTL.

Randall: he was driving so was on the right - depends which way you're looking. Oh I see you are looking from outside:) Every day I get evidence of how much and sometimes can't believe my luck.
I also have the ability to know exactly what he is feeling without him uttering and it was a very uncomfortable drive - all round. You're spot on.
At this moment I am catatonic with exhaustion and just hope I can make to my bed.
It wasn't the mileage but the speed.

Sheri said...

Absolutely love your photos, especially since I will be in England from 31 Oct - 8 Nov.

Fiona said...

Oh, happy memories of Barnstaple and Croyde. We lived in the now defunct air base at RAF Chivenor and my son was born in Barnstaple hospital twenty years ago.

Did you go to Braunton Burrows? In Croyde you can have clotted cream on top of your ice cream. Yum.

PI said...

Sheri: I really hope the weather is kind. Just now we are having an Indian summer.

Fiona: I'm glad to have awakened happy memories. Years ago we did the Croyde and Braunton Burrows area more thoroughly but our movements are more restricted now and parking can be a problem.