Caves, Cannons and Geriatric Broadband: South Devon 2016

Some of you guys might be getting a little fed up of Alice posting “about me holidays”. Well, with the help of Simon Pegg, I’ve only got one thing to say to you people:

Haters gonna hate.

In true white, middle class style I’ve just got back from a break spent at the family’s holiday cottage (South Devon). The little village of Stoke Gabriel on the River Dart has, for many years, been a destination for the Bennett clan. It’s a location close to my heart, a little chocolate box of a village with plenty of charm and boats.

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It’s pretty nice, huh? Well, as someone that’s been holidaying there for cracking on fifteen years I can certainly vouch that Stoke Gabriel is a village that keeps giving year after year.

Before we could reach our holiday cottage though we had to make a stop off in the local, equally pretty, town of Totnes. Not that Totnes isn’t a nice place to go:

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Totnes

In fact it prides itself on being a very welcoming place:

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They even were very supportive and welcoming of national coffee shop chain Costa Coffee.

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So much that Costa went “you guys are so nice that we just can’t build our coffee shop in your town, you guys use it for a charity shop instead.”)

It’s a nice enough place but it was just that, due to our desire to not spend Saturday parked up on the M5 near Bristol, we’d left the Cotswolds early enough to arrive in Totnes at 8:45am, six hours too early to get into the cottage. Morning spent doing the traditional Bennett activities of “Spotting The New Shops And Working Out If They’ll Last the Year”, losing Papa Bennett to the cheese stand in the farmers’ market, and Mumma Bennett going to Totnes Castle (owned by English Heritage). Not to visit the Norman castle, but purely to raid the English Heritage gift shop of raspberry curd.

Here is a helpful diagram to explain:

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(Not to scale)

Top Paint/design skills there.

Once we’d spent a sufficient amount of time and money on cheese, jam and pies (courtesy of Morrisons’ reduced aisle and the effects on Papa Bennett), we headed back to the cottage to unpack and unwind. Well, three of us unpacked. I took to throwing India’s clothes across the room in a political statement-come-demonstration in a bid to force her to put her socks and swimsuit in a less in-you-face location.

Sunday we went to Kents Cavern, an extensive series of underground caves and tunnels. Much to my surprise, despite the poor lighting my new iPhone (I have an iPhone now, don’t you know?) took half decent pics. img_0199

However, don’t be fooled, the caves were dark at points and even had spooky faces in the walls.

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Because India studies Human Geography she didn’t know what to make of it all. She felt very lost and confused in the cave systems.

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“India! Don’t go down there!”

At the end of the caves there was an exhibition, including a reconstruction of human settlers using the caves for protection. I didn’t really understand what the curators were trying to portray – all of my hungover mornings with friends look like this?

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Bacon, mindless staring into the abyss, a random baby showing up, what’s new there?

I found this guy very relatable:

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Following on from the beauty of the caves, we progressed onto another natural feature: the tourist gift shop.

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(David Tennant would have been very happy.)

Outside, India found a new outfit and posed for an attractive series of photos.

Another day we went to the up and coming town of Brixham:

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As long as you’re not OCD on your hygiene it has a great sweet shop:

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And if you’re not OCD on quality, there’s many shops stocking a wide range of products:

On the holiday there was also a family outing to the county capital of Exeter city. During our day out we went on a delightful free tour of the city which took us from the city centre right down to the historic quayside. Whilst we learnt a great deal of many facts and history about the city, highlights for me were posing with this cannon:

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And this ferry sign:

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Who said I wasn’t easy to please?

Speaking of education, I also got chance to visit a delightful little zoo in the village of Shaldon and learn all about a range of small animals, notably of the primate variety.

 

I even learnt a new language:

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“Ah! So that’s why I’m still single! I need to up m seductive face…”

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“…and learn how to get other females off my man whilst keeping his attention.”

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“Sorted!”

Shaldon also had some other charming features, such as the local custom of leaving labels on beverage fruits…

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…A large mermaid (one which puts my housemate to shame)…

…and a very large passive-aggressive sign targeted at dog fouling:

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It truly is a very wonderful place.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Devonshire holiday without a few technical issues and scraps in the cottage, the main one of this holiday being the internet. The broadband, for whatever reason, decided to be rather temperamental for most of the week. At the lowest point we had two laptops and my mobile phone all desperately trying to look up website information, with no one having any success whatsoever. Amongst the shouting “I’M TRYING TO LOG ONTO THE SITE!” and “try turning it off and on again” and even the classic “oh just give it here! You’re doing it wrong! Huh, it’s not working” I was sat in the middle just laughing. “Great family holiday this is, I come for some relaxation and get lumbered with a geriatric broadband connection! Get the leaflet drawer out, we’d have found out about the Red Coat guides half an hour ago if we’d gone there first.” Inadvertently the broadband issue turned into a family competition every time it went down. Never has Googling cinema times of Jason Bourne been so exciting!

Overall, aided hugely by good (well, half-decent) weather we all had a great time once again in Devon. Now that it’s SEPTEMBER…

(Sorry, not sorry)

…it’s all a go-go on Autumn/Halloween/Christmas. The day we got back from Devon the weather changed instantly. Seems God wants to start buying his tinsel early this year.

But if you think that’s miserable enough, just take a look at this pointlessly long sign for sale in a gift shop n Totnes:

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How did that make you feel Mr. Seagull?

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