In England's green and pleasant land (Day 188)
The words in William Blake's Jerusalem "in England's green and pleasant land" sprang to mind as we drove the two hours to Exmoor. What a beautiful country this is.
After scanning various ID documents, printing air flight invoices, filling in the Claim form, writing a subsidiary letter, going to the Post Office to post this all to the Travel Insurance Claims Department, we finally get on to the road to Exmoor. Phew!
The satnav took us a very weird way, over the River Avon and then back again and then I missed a turning. Never mind, only an additional 3 minutes.
For some reason, we thought it only took an hour down to Exmoor from Bristol. Our memory failed us, it was more like two hours. No matter, the journey was wonderful. Through green tunnels of tree lined roads, past rolling hills covered with patchwork fields, William Blake's Jerusalem springs to mind "In England's green and pleasant land". Perhaps Tim and I are looking through fresh eyes, this really is a beautiful country, so lush and green with so many flowers along the kerbside; bluebells, foams of cow parsley and sunny Welsh poppies.
We arrive at Tim's Mum's. Their garden is looking spectacular with an amazing rich bright pink bush and deep blue flowers contrasting it. I wish I know more plant names. Kath was sitting in the sunshine and got up to give us a big hug. So lovely to see her and she's looking well. Bryan had been relaxing in the summerhouse and came to greet us.
We walked down the road to the cafe. They live in Winsford, in Exmoor. A very pretty village in a valley with beautiful hills surrounding it, the river Exe running by the side and Winn Brook flowing through the village. We often have a giggle about Tim's Dad coming out of The Royal Oak pub late one night, and in the dark, missed the bridge and ended up in the brook. He got back to Kath's dripping wet. She suggested he got upstairs for a hot bath - "Just give me a whiskey" he cried, shaking with cold.
The cafe was closed (Open Wednesday to Sunday) so we jumped into the car off to Dulverton. As we reached the small town, a lorry was coming towards us. Tim pulled in as tightly as he could and within an inch the lorry squeezed passed. Some time ago, Kath was going bell ringing there and the same thing happened. That time, the lorry got severely stuck so Kath, being nimble, climbed over the car to inform the rest of the bell ringers that her friends were stuck. It all happens in the countryside you know!
We finally got to the Copper Kettle cafe; despite it being after the 3 pm cut off for lunch, they offered us sandwiches which were very tasty. Lots of chatting and then it was time for us to make our way back to Winsford, We took a different route this time! We needed to get back to Bristol so said our fond farewells until we see them in August.
We had arranged to pick John's girlfriend up from her work at 7pm and meet John for dinner. Georgia works in a great location, just down the road from Clifton Down, a very beautiful and iconic area of Bristol. I can imagine the downfall of working there; there are lots of lovely shops to tempt us to buy...buy...buy! She was waiting by the road. As my Mum would have said, she is such a chirpy young lady, always seems happy and light.
We met John at Boca bar in the Paintworks for Gin, grapefruit and tonic and a very nice pizza. It was so lovely having some quality time with them both, hearing about their plans, John's business Body Care Therapy, which is doing so well, Georgia's new job at Synergy.
They dropped us off at our Airbnb and we rushed upstairs. The sun was just setting and the colour of the sun was a vibrant red. Stunning. Our photos just don't do it justice. Bed for me. I was feeling knackered, I think all that has been happening has finally caught up with me. Time for rest before we head off on our next adventure.