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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
Trying another batch tomorrow but with no co-pilot this time. Flying solo with no parachute! Wonder how that will go.
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!
30/03 – 05/04/2020