Flattening the Curve in Devon

Braunton Devon

Private! Keep Out! That’s sort of become our mantra hasn’t it? Perhaps we should all have this sign on our front doors. Sounds really rude but it’s all about social distancing and just doing as we are told. Tough times for the whole world but it does feel like the majority of people are acting responsibly and trying their very best to follow the official advice.

Life for us is no different to anyone else in that we are keeping ourselves to ourselves, staying in as much as possible, and sticking to that two metre rule. As you will know we had a reasonably traumatic journey back from our stay in Tenerife (Rescue Flight from Tenerife) and then an equally exciting time getting down to Devon from the south east of England (Social Distancing across England).

Braunton Devon


Travelodge Update

After being turned away from the Barnstaple Travelodge with extreme prejudice we obviously got busy and fired off a couple of seriously unhappy emails to the company and completed the relevant complaint forms on their website but didn’t hear a word from anyone for 10 days! Not great customer service eh?

So after a lot of investigation and even more effort I managed to eventually start an online chat with one of their customer support staff. It didn’t go well unfortunately with the lady in question avoiding any responsibility whatsoever and continually trying to end the chat. Without going into too much detail I managed to escalate the call and eventually was contacted by someone more senior. More emails back and forth before finally they agreed to a full refund. Twelve days after they cancelled our booking! Would we have heard a word if I hadn’t made such a fuss? Dreadful customer service.


Life in Devon

We are now well settled into our self-contained apartment on the outskirts of Braunton in North Devon. It has everything we need and more to comfortably survive the next couple of months of this worldwide crisis. With a big kitchen/diner and private bedroom we have space to live and relax and try to get on with a restricted lifestyle. Jo is especially loving the fully-equipped kitchen as it allows her to embrace one of her favourite hobbies of baking.

Braunton Devon

Braunton Devon

The lovely couple that we are renting from, Rose and Jim, could not have been more helpful. Nothing is too much trouble even though we are all being ultra-careful with social distancing. They kindly allow us to use part of the garden in the sunny weather so we’ve got it all.


Our Daily Walks

Probably the best thing about living here, and it will end up being the place that we have lived in for longest for over five years, is that there are countless footpaths and bridle paths right on our doorstep. We go for a long walk every single day from our front door and hardly see another person as it’s just that little bit far from the town. Every day sees a new route and we are trying our best to explore every hill and valley with reasonable walking distance from here.

Braunton Devon

Now I know that so many people are restricted to urban walks and the same roads each day so have to say that we know how unbelievably lucky we are to be able to hike around such beautiful countryside. We are trying to avoid the beach areas as it doesn’t seem quite right at this time to be walking on the beach when so many others are not able to but we have skirted the shoreline and seen it from the top of a few hills and did to cross the edge of Croyde beach the other day which was lovely.

Braunton Devon

Braunton Devon


Daily Routines

We decided as soon as we were settled that we had to try and set ourselves a few goals and activities over these restricted weeks. The idea of just vegging out and watching TV all day just fills us with dread and isn’t our thing at all. Don’t get me wrong, we do like a good film or drama series but we restrict our screen time to evenings only. Nothing wrong with it just not our thing.

So we have decided to try a few new activities and organise our days a little. Reading and crafts have always featured in our lives but last week I decided that I wanted to learn how to bake. You might think this isn’t a big deal but believe me it is. I’m hopeless at cooking and have never baked. So I started with cheese scones. Under Jo’s patient stewardship I managed a reasonably good first effort (I think).

Braunton Devon

Trying another batch tomorrow but with no co-pilot this time. Flying solo with no parachute! Wonder how that will go.

Braunton Devon

Jo made some Easter cards, baked amazing Biscoti biscuits, repaired bags and sandals and clothes, and we decided that we needed to do some proper learning. So we are both trying to learn all the Kings and Queens of England since 1066 along with historical facts about many of them. It’s tough going as there as so many but we test each other on our walks and have great fun getting the facts wrong and eventually right. So far so good.

Lots of emails, WhatsApps, texts, and phone calls to our sons, family and friends are keeping our spirits up and helping us stay ‘connected‘. It’s no different to everybody else of course.

So make sure that you all make the effort to stay in touch with your nearest and deepest. Oh and us of course!

Braunton Devon

30/03 – 05/04/2020

39 comments

  1. Glad to read you have settled in so well. Looks a delightful,place to be holed up for awhile. You’ve been fortunate to get hold of some flour for baking. We’ve been trying to get some for the last couple of weeks but the shelves are still bare. It’s not the end of the world as we can source everything else including delicious hot cross buns from our local bakers shop which we’ve been eating loads of. Should hopefully get some flour on 22nd when our first online order finally arrives! We live in a semi rural area so also have lots of lovely walks on our doorstep too. Take care. M.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those quiet long walks are essential aren’t they? We’re so lucky to be in such a lovely part of the world and be able to head out hardly seeing anyone. The flour issue is annoying as all of the shops are empty now as I assume everyone has the same idea of home baking. Hopefully it settles down soon. Need more scones here!!

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  2. So, Travelodge, will you stay with them again? I bet their policy was to try and fob off as many people as possible to protect their dwindling revenue. Well done you for keeping on it with it.I would expect nothing else. It’s so odd that this enforced stay will be the longest you’ve stayed somewhere for 5 years. I bet it will feel odd for you 2. How long before the wanderlust kicks in? Stay safe guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure about staying with Travelodge again after all of the drama, all depends on the cost doesn’t it? So weird that it’ll be our longest stay since we were in Coxheath in 2015 too.

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  3. You are very fortunate to have such wonderful local walks. Well done with the baking. There is a national flour shortage in NZ. Well, there is plenty of flour but only in 20kg commercial bags. The flour companies went through 4 years supply of retail bags in 1 month!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Same here with the flour, the shelves are all completely empty. Everyones got the same idea of home baking I suppose. Just keeping our eyes open for any each time we go. Got some left for another crack at some scones in the next few days. With no help this time though so anything could happen.

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  4. Hi Jonno and Jo, so glad to read your latest post and to hear that all is well in your part of the world. We too are lucky with the space around our property and can get out and walk without seeing anyone else. The newly opened rail trail is also a great place to get outside and get some exercise without getting too close to people. I haven’t been able to get any flour to date but have managed to use up old stock and have also done some baking. We’re coming into Autumn here and have had the fire on already due to cool nights. Take care and enjoy your spring walks. The house looks like a perfect base for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Having a bit of open space with opportunity to get out for exercise and fresh air is a real benefit at the moment isn’t it? We are so grateful to have been able to stay here. Big shortages of flour here as well, we were lucky to get a single bag but it’s not looking good for anymore for a while. I guess everyone is baking.

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  5. If you have to stay put for a while, this looks like the ideal place to do it. Your little home looks very comfortable and the surroundings are delightful. We made a similar decision to have a daily routine and some regular jobs. I’m working my way through the house doing an “autumn” clean and Mr ET is painting all the window frames. I’ve decided to join Becky’s April squares challenge to pick up on my blogging too. Good luck with the cooking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is lovely down here and much quieter than other parts so we’re really enjoying the long walks. I need a lot of luck if the baking is to progress.

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  6. Travelodge do have awful customer service. I stopped staying in them years ago after a horrible experience in one in Torquay where some drunken louts were fighting in the hallway and screaming and banging on our door all night. I complained the next morning, and the desk woman was totally uninterested, so I sent them an email on their website, and corporate didn’t care either. The worst!
    On a more pleasant note, you’re lucky to have such wonderful scenery to walk through, and your scones look lovely. We managed to get some flour last week, but have had no luck with yeast. We can get normal white bread, but not the artisan sourdough I used to buy from the market every week, so am treating myself tomorrow by making no knead bread, which only requires a quarter teaspoon of yeast per batch, so I can ration out the two packets I have left.
    I am already pretty good with US presidents and monarchs of England (the history degrees are good for something, and my tea mug is an English Heritage one that has little cartoons of all the kings and queens on the side, which helps!), but I’d like to start memorising prime ministers one of these days!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Travelodge aren’t good at customer service at all but we have used them a fair amount as they can be so cheap. May have to rethink that in the future now if we can. The shops down here are completely empty of flour, seems like everyone has the same ideas about baking. Got a bit left though so could be another batch of cheese scones tomorrow. Like the idea of prime ministers, that could be our next challenge. We are now good for all monarchs since 1066 and now adding some years and major events to that list so all good.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That biscotti looks yummy. Pleased to read you are comfortably settlled for now. It sounds like you’re doing pretty much what everyone seems to be doing to keep themselves positive – eating, exercising, cooking, eating, exercising….. funny how we can occupy ourselves for a whole day, day after day, with basically the same old routine. Funny thing is I’m not bored at all. Also, amazingly I’ve only gained approximately 1/2 kg, despite scones, biscuits, home made hot cross buns, and home made Cinnabon’s. I wonder if I’ll stay that lucky throughout. – I feel like the scales must be broken as from what we’re cooking and eating I shouldn’t be able to fit through the gate by the end of this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So many are baking and eating more aren’t they that it’ll be amazing if there isn’t a lot of weightgain. We’re actually trying to eat as healthily as possible but with the odd cake or scone as a treat. They last days. Plus we seem to be walking miles every day so that helps a lot. It’s so easy to just sit back and eat bad food though, and could get harder as the weeks go on. We’ve been so lucky to be in this apartment in this beautiful place that we’re not struggling at all so far.

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  8. Glad you finally got a full refund back from Travel lodge. Like you say, their customer service was/is atrocious. Nice to see you have both settled in nicely. Well done on your cooking Jon, those buns looked tasty😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • So relieved to get the Travelodge situation eventually sorted, although still irritated that I had to do all the chasing up. We are well settled into our new little ‘home’ and enjoying the sunshine and long walks. Hopefully more walks and cooking to come!

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  9. Glad you sorted out the refund! Also glad to see that you have a nice place in which to stay and explore. Very hard now to make plans even for summer for both you and potential pet sitting projects but in the meantime keep that positive approach and trying new activities.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m surprised with Travel Lodge, surprised they’d risk getting the bad press. We had something booked with Premier Inn in June because of the uncertainty, had to cancel and full refund straight away, they were brilliant.
    Impressive buns there, look yummy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We cancelled a Premier Inn booking too and they were so good, immediate refund and couldn’t have been more helpful. Got Travelodge sorted eventually but it was hard work. Buns were well tasty.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice blog Jon! Looks like a really nice place to be spending this time! Glad you’re both getting the daily exercise in. The variation is size across those cheese scones is excellent! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sounds like you’re in a great place. Gorgeous hilly views and scenic walks and a nice kitchen to bake in …you’ll be a Masterchef in no time! 😁 Take care and enjoy.

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