Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Very Satisfactory Day

Please pardon my absence. Something is eating my wireless connection, chomping savagely at it while I try to work. From time to time, I am able to stay online long enough to send a tweet, and/or maybe I can read a couple of tweets or Facebook entries, but then there's the ghostly, ghastly sound of bytes being chewed and swallowed, and then I get the message that (and here  the diffidence of my computer amazes me) I appear to be offline.

I've given up and borrowed Robin's laptop, because he has finished with it for the day. I suppose I could have borrowed it before, but it's on Vista. Need I say more?

So, here's what has been going on.  For the last two days, we've driven to Exeter. Yesterday we took a riverside walk and went for coffee. Today we took a longer walk, then split up to do our singular things.

First, the walk:  We walked from the car park to the quay, downriver to the first bridge, across the bridge, and along the canal. One of the first things we saw were seagulls playing "chicken" on Trews Weir while their audience of ducks looked on from the comfort of a perch near the shore.

There weren't just gulls and ducks out there today. There were people -- lots of them -- on foot, on bikes, walking alone and in couples, walking dogs -- Labs and border collies, border terriers, Westies, Jack Russells, dogs of indeterminate parentage, and even a Bassett Hound -- the first of those that I've seen in England.

Oh, and there were swans. I've taken about a dozen swan photos in the last couple of days, because the swans are nesting. They don't have the time  to worry about whether somebody is standing there, taking their picture, so for once they stay still. These two were across the canal from us, but yesterday I photographed a  couple setting up a nest across the footpath from the river, up against a brick wall. They ignored me, too. I'd show you their picture, but it's in my computer.
We had it in mind today to walk to the Double Locks, about half an hour's easy walk. We did want to have coffee on the way out, but the place we meant to go turned out to be closed, and we didn't feel like walking all the way back to the top of the quay to get to the cafe we knew was open -- so we just kept walking. As it turned out, there was a pub at the Double Locks (of course there was-- there's always a pub at a lock!) so instead of coffee, we had lunch. I had a goat cheese & Mediterranean vegetable wrap, which more than made up for the caffeine deprivation.

This photo shows the back garden of the Double Locks Hotel. This is a proper English pub, where you can stop for a pint or for a meal, and bring your kids along -- as well as the dog. While you drink your beer and catch up on the local gossip, the children can play on the swings or the slide -- or even, in this case, have a game of volleyball. There is also seating inside, of course, where you can watch some football or play a game of darts while the dog dozes under your table. Even as a non-drinker, I do like English pubs. They're very friendly.

I left my straw sun hat in the car, because I figured there was a much better chance of our being rained on than of my getting a sunburn, but I was wrong. The weather got better and better as we walked, and even my short-sleeved cardigan was feeling a bit too warm.

By the time we got back to the quay, it was time for me to head for the cathedral. I still hadn't had my English liturgical music fix (Buckfast Abbey didn't count!) so I wanted to attend Evensong at Exeter Cathedral. Robin  had intended to wait for me down on the quay, but he noticed that there was a river excursion boat leaving in  few minutes, so he decided to do that, instead.

Having seen Robin off, I climbed the hill to the cathedral and settled in for an hour of  pomp and ceremony (of a muted, Sunday Evensong sort) and beauty. The choir that sang the service was the Voluntary Choir (the B-team, I think), but they did a creditable job, and I was happy.

Robin and I had agreed to meet at the car at 4 p.m., and we managed to do that. I did not get lost in Exeter, and I did not get run over while crossing the street -- to my amazement. You should see me getting ready to cross a street here. I look like Noddy. My head swings back and forth, back and forth, and even when I do finally step out, I'm never quite sure I've looked in the right direction at the right time. I did nearly step out in front of a car yesterday. Robin stopped me. Thus, my making my way all the way from the cathedral to the car park today left me feeling quite smug.

We came home, watched the beginning of today's French Open tennis, then left to have dinner at the Avon Inn, Robin's local. He goes down there for a pint of an evening, but generally I stay at home and write my blog or read a book and make dinner. This time, we both went, and I got to meet Gary, Karen, and Brad, who took over the pub just a couple of months ago. Delightful people, delicious food.  Then we came home to watch the rest of the tennis match, only to find out that Paris isn't getting our weather. The people in the stands were frantically opening umbrellas, and just as I turned on the television, the match was called on account of rain.

Tomorrow we'll probably head out to the Avon Dam for one last walk there, because we leave here on Tuesday morning.

Sighing a little.


willow said...

I'm loving these little travel logs!

AngelMay said...

Have a great trip home, Sandra! And a safe one!

Sandra Leigh said...

Willow, glad you're enjoying them -- I'm trying to be sure that I remember. If I don't write things down, they tend to disappear into the mist. btw, LOVE that avatar.

Angel May, I wish you the same. See you on the other side!

John Hayes said...

You've had so many fine outings! Safe journey home!

I've had a similar connection problem to the one you describe (to a lesser degree, but still annoying). I believe part of it is my firewall, ZoneAlarm, which eats up memory & bandwidth like nobody's business. & I also believe my old & mostly re-built pc is just getting kinda tired. Good luck with your situation!

Sandra Leigh said...

Hi, John. We're in Dorset now, spending the night with Robin's brother and his wife, so I'm getting a chance to play a little online. I gave up altogether over at the caravan. I'm wondering whether I've just overloaded my little netbook with photos and it's gasping.

FireLight said...

This post is the next best thing to being there! Isnt' it just the most enchanting place, this England?
And thanks for "JABBERWOCKY"....a personal favorite of mine!

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