I’d not been on a trip down to Devon since I was a kid.
I’m not one of those resentful, bitter people who finds fault with the way his parents raised him or questions the values that he was taught.
Nope – other than a strange obsession with cooking Mac’n’Cheese every Friday night for almost 20 years straight, my parents did a pretty bang up job of making me who I am. Some of the fondest childhood memories that I still have knocking about in my noggin are of our holidays down to Devon.
Those oddly stilted, ill-fated trips will be forever lodged in my mind as a series of Fawlty Towers-esque semi-disasters, which had no right being as fun as they were. Our little three-person unit was constantly besieged with the worst weather that the British summer could throw at us. Without the trusty internet or GPS systems, we were perpetually lost, struggling in vain to navigate using a dog-eared road map that hadn’t been relevant for 15 years.
We were never the kind of family to complain though, which is probably why I have so many good memories of us struggling against the elements to erect the decades-old tent that my Dad insisted on bringing. The same goes for the game attempts my Father had at producing a full English on a single hotplate and the astounding chilliness of the sea on the Devonshire coast, which we would always try to brave nonetheless.
These might not sound like the most idyllic of memories, but these were the holidays that stuck with me the most and gave me my first real taste for adventure, which has led to me writing this blog.
In the spirit of those early holidays, I decided to organise a weekend away with the people who birthed me, partly as a way of catching up and also as a way of getting a fresh perspective on one of the most popular tourists destinations that the UK has to offer.
Thousands of people visit Devon every year to make the most of the warmer climes and feast their eyes on a number of attractions, both man-made and natural. It took a lot to convince my Dad not to dig out the old tent from the loft, but his attitude certainly changed when we arrived at Gitcombe, a collection of smart holiday cottages set in a truly scenic part of South Devon.
Peter and Joanne O’Brien own and manage the eight cottages on the site, they’re very proud of what they’ve accomplished in their little corner of Devon and so they should be.
As we were holidaying in the off-season the prices were a good deal cheaper, however, the colder weather did mean that the aquamatic pool cover was definitely staying closed on the outside pool. That didn’t stop us from enjoying a dip in the heated indoor pool or the hot tub though.
Although it was tempting to take refuge in the warm snug of the cottage for the weekend, the chilly beauty of the Devonshire countryside was waiting for us – and we weren’t about to leave it out there waiting for us…
This post is continued later…