Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Pains, Trains and Automobiles

 It's Wednesday morning, 6.30am, and the weather for the day of gardening ahead looks very promising. I think we may have another sunny day. Lots of lawn mowing and pruning to do.
 
Saturday was supposed to be a day where we headed down to Looe to pick up Celia, as she had been staying with her sister and brother-in-law Pastor Pete. A day of driving, broken in two with lunch and a much needed catch up was planned. It was a clear, cold and sunny day, and we made a nice and early start, with a view to get down there at around 12 noon. The driving was good, and the scenery lovely, as we eventually reached southern Dartmoor, with only about an hour to go. 'That doesn't sound like road noise, can you hear that rumbling?' said Amanda. 'I can't feel anything......hang on....it's the road surface......no, damn, somethings wrong!' says me, as after about a mile of sixty miles per hour driving, a hum turned to a rumble, which turned to a knocking, and then a vicious grinding. I made a quick turn off the dual carriageway, and immediately entered the one horse village of Buckfastleigh, home to Buckfast Abbey. We found a tiny garage, and the owner sat in a chair sunbathing. I asked if he could kindly tell me what was about to fall off the car, and he did indeed very kindly put it straight up on the lift, and after about five minutes came back with 'Your drive shaft is knackered, you ain't going anywhere in that!' 'Have you got far to go?' he said. 'Looe', says me......'Hahaha.......nope, no way!' says he. So there we were, stuck in Buckfastleigh, and Celia stuck in Looe. We arranged for Pete to come to our rescue, and drive us back to Exeter, where we could catch a train home. He would be about two hours, as a family 'get together' meal was planned for our arrival, and all was prepared and ready, and so they would quite rightly eat first. In the meantime, we bought newspapers, and pens for the puzzles, and entered the only pub in town, a strange and gloomy place, with a few of the local rednecks looking at us like the scene in The Slaughtered Lamb in 'An American Werewolf in London'. The beers were all weak, airated and pale to make matters worse, and we sat there with long faces for the next two hours, doing endless sudokus. We were dressed for a car drive, not Dartmoor in March, and there wasn't even any heating on. The car was to be fixed on Monday, and so Celia must stay a little longer and pick it up for her own return journey home from the garage. A wasted journey, but hey ho, the train home should be quick and painless.
 
 
The ticket person at Exeter soon made it very clear that one doesn't really travel from Exeter to Bournemouth without a 'little' complication. What was a two hour car drive, was to be a six hour train drive that involved three separate trains, a bus drive (which we were informed was provided, but in fact it cost extra money, which we didn't have, but the very kind bus driver looked at us and took sympathy), a walk of twenty minutes across a town to a connecting train, and then a lift home from the station from Dom. To make matters worse, being Saturday, each separate train brought a fresh collection of rowdy and drunken football supporters from the various locals towns. Occasionally though, through the shivering, hunger, thirst and tiredness, we would catch each others eye and grin. It was miserable, but also a little surreal and mad. We got home at 8.30pm, a day from our lives not to be claimed back, that achieved absolutely nothing, except perhaps for a lesson in patience, and the chance to come across a rather brilliant garage owner, and a bus driver risking his job to give us a free ride. A BIG THANKS to both of you.
 
We were going to do some work on the allotment and in our own garden on Sunday, but we were simply too tired, and so after a long lie in, headed over to Sherborne Castle about an hour away. Although the house is closed until April, they opened the gardens for two days, so that others could enjoy the spring flower display. Originally the home of Sir Walter Raleigh, it boast beautiful grounds landscaped by that wizard garden designer Capability Brown. It was the perfect way to relax after such a stressful day previously, and so lets walk around the lake, and just chat gently.
 
Just below the terraced herbaceous border is The Orangery. We thought of string quartets, strawberries and champagne while looking here.
 
 
 The house itself is quite austere in appearence, and the soft gardens sort of wrapped their protective arms around it, as it sits atop an exposed and windy hill.
 
 
 
 The boathouse marked the start of our lakeside walk. Inside was an old boat that was similar to the covered venetian types.
 
 
Oh yes, we could indeed see ourselves living here.

 
It was quite cold, but beautifully sunny, and the walk very romantic.

 
 The lakeside walk kept offering up such wonderful views of the house. Capability Brown at his best.
 
 
I thought she was beautiful.
 
 
 On the opposite side of the lake we relaxed among the daffodils.
 
 
 And try as I might, I couldn't see any more problems on the horizon.
 
 
 There are a number of very large Cedrus libani, introduced to the grounds in 1735. Very large, but compared to our oak trees, not that old. I wanted to build a tree house in this one, but Amanda wouldn't let me.
 
 
 We talked with a lovely couple of people along this informal daffodil walk. They too were photographers, and we all laughed as we shared our tales of things that can go wrong with a picture, when faced with a stroller in a red cagoule.
 
 
The estate tree surgeons do good things with stumps that are left. This seat overlooked the whole of the lake, and onwards to the house.

 
Ah yes....that will do nicely thank you!

 
Take care.
 
PS: Celia returned safely on Tuesday!
 


14 comments:

  1. If the delay of Celia returning to the family home was a ploy to punish me with her elongated stay then it did not work! I told you that I should deliver you to Poole, perhaps next time you might take advice from the Old Looe-Nattic. I will confess that it was a great pleasure to spend the last few weeks with my sister-in-law but please keep it a secret between the 2 of us!!! Enjoy the rest you well deserve.

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    1. Pete, glad you enjoyed her company so much, and just as well given the unexpected extension.

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  2. You are not having the best of times with cars and vans. Good luck.

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    1. Thanks Adrian,
      I am tempted to dust the bicycle off.

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  3. I admire how you stayed cool through such a day of car and transportation troubles. Your walk at Sherborne castle seem to have been very pleasant. You certainly have had enough car troubles for one year.

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    1. Hi Alain,
      I am fed up with vehicles at the moment, and enjoying walking in places like this instead of getting behind the wheel.

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  4. Oh dear ~ more vehicle problems. I hope this will be it for quite some time for you.

    It looks and sounds like you had a lovely time on Sunday though and that's a blessing.

    I love the tree chair that you and Amanda sat in, really cool. The daffs are so wonderful. I don't see them down here except in the grocery store as potted plants to be thrown away.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Good morning Lorraine,
      Sunday was indeed lovely, however, your garden is looking especially lovely at the moment as well.

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  5. So sorry you lost the day and time with family. An adventure for sure. Sounds like Sunday was very good though. Always fun to find old tree stumps put to another purpose. People often carve them into animals and such here. My favorite are bears.

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    1. Hello Sherlock,
      We don't see them often enough, and so a disappointment to not make it down there.

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  6. That's a real bummer when your car dies and you're far from home. However, it did lead to an adventure.

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    1. Hi Red,
      Although only about a hundred miles, it took too long on the train, but yes, an adventure nonetheless.

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  7. You are right about the house
    It's a bit hard looking
    The gardens however are lovely

    Hey btw
    I'm getting married!

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    1. Congratulations John, nice one!

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