Saturday, April 28, 2007

What I did on my holidays, part 1...

Left Falmouth at 10:00, and had hot, hazy weather all the way up. Stopped off at Exeter services for coffee (remembered to pack the flask which was a good start, last year I left it sitting on the dining table). Brought food with us too - cold pizza and pork pie, the long-distance navigator's snacking of choice...

Two red Ferrarris zoomed past on the next stretch, which was a lot less galling than the point we were overtaken by a phlegm-yellow Smart car...

Stopped again for a pee at Gordano services - their loos are painted a radioactive bubblegum lime/yellow and their lights flicker. Eww.

Went over the Avonmouth Bridge which was fun (although the barrier is at head height so you can't see much other than mud). Still, the bridge is impressive. £5.10 toll to let you into Wales.

Drove through Monmouth (right through it, due to a slight miscalculation in navigatory directions, as I was scrabbling for a Fleetwood Mac tape as we were going through a tunnel: "Yeah, turn off here". Er, or not. Still, it was a very nice town, very bustle-y and pretty in the sunshine - felt a bit like Helston in looks/structure.

Back on route as far as the directions went, and it was north through Hereford and then past Leominster and Ludlow. The hills draw in on you, and you start imagining bandits. Well, I do...

Turning off the main road at Craven Arms (a town rather than a pub) it was about another eight miles to Clun (through Clunton - a town sign crying out for tippex abuse if ever there was one.)

After a bit of a false turning we eventually found the
cottages at 16:30 and were greeted by the owners (Sue and Peter Murray) and their two dogs (Hetty and Jasmine. Little and large, but I don't know which one's which yet.)

There are three cottages, of which ours is Keeper's Cottage, and has its entrance further away from the others, which is good. Not that I'm antisocial or anything. Much.

Made of local stone (very local, the quarry is somewhere on this hillside) it's a relatively recent build, and is absolutely fantastic.

Downstairs has a very nice living/dining area with a well equipped kitchen at the end, and upstairs there is a lovely bedroom with bathroom off, in its own little room built out over the porch with a slipper bath.

Only quibble so far (no, I am never entirely happy, so sue me) is that there is no lock on the bathroom door - not *such* a problem, only there is no catch whatsoever. So it just sort of rests in the doorframe and swings gradually open. No, I know I'm not sharing the house with a horde of strangers but I like to be able to at least close the door. On the plus side, you can take your mind off this while sat on the loo by watching the rabbits frolic in the field opposite.

We have fabulous views down into the valley - one of the bedroom windows looks west and gets the setting sun - you can see right down to where Clun nestles in the valley - and if ever a town nestled anywhere, this most definitely does.

I had ordered eggs and milk, but we were also provided with complimentary local bacon, smoked salmon mousse, bread, Tyrrells sausage and mustard crips, and a small Victoria sponge cake (the latter of which we've already eaten).
At half seven, Sue brought our first ordered meal to the door - spicy meatballs with tagliatelle. How civilised's that!

We were too knackered to do much after dinner, other than drink wine and play cards - went to bed at ten. The valley was quite bright with moonlight.



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