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After being in Devon for a week, I caught the train down to Portsmouth. I’d wanted to visit ever since they had named a street there after one of my favourite authors books (The Ocean at the end of the Lane), and there was a ferry going to the Channel Islands (which I had also wanted to visit for ages) leaving from Portsmouth so it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss!

I had had real trouble finding somewhere to sleep for the 2 nights I was there as I hadn’t realised school holidays started that weekend but I found somewhere on airbnb (a new experience for me!) and got there about 7pm. I had some dinner and then had an early night.

The next day I left fairly early and walked down to The Ocean at the end of the Lane, as I had some guerilla knitting I wanted to put up there. No hassles, one person asked what I was doing was part of an organisation as they had apparently seen a few other people doing it that day too!

As you can see, the guerilla knitting isn’t my best as I wasn’t sure how tall the posts would be, so I had to do all the words separately.

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Words by Neil Gaiman, knitting by me.

After sewing the knitting up, and taking a few pictures, I wandered down to the beach and started walking towards the historic docks. It was a pretty nice day – a bit windy (heaven forbid it NOT be windy at the beach!), and there were lots of people out as there was a running event on that was going on on the road running parallel to the beach. I meandered along, taking lots of pictures (there’s a ton of memorials down there!), and eventually got to Portsmouth Castle.

It’s free entry so I went in and had a look around. It’s a fascinating castle, and I spent a while wandering through, and chatting to a woman working there about Portsmouth.

After I’d had enough of a look, I decided to go to the D-Day museum, as it’s basically directly opposite the castle, and I figured I could always learn more about D-Day! The D-Day museum was well worth a visit! I particularly enjoyed the Overlord Embroidery, which is 43 separate panels depicting the progress of Operation Overlord (the code name for the invasion of Normandy).

Image copyright D Day museum, Portsmouth.

After I had finished at the museum, I was ravenous, so continued along the waterfront in search of something to eat. I eventually ended up in a shopping centre close to the Historic Dockyards, and had a curry for lunch.

As it was getting dark (it was a very late lunch!), I quickly headed over to the Dockyards to have a brief look around.

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HMS Warrior

 

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HMS Victory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had a bit of a look around the Mary Rose gift shop, but I didn’t really have enough time to go inside and have a proper look (something for another day), then went and bought some food for dinner and the boat the next day, then walked back to my accommodation.

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I just realised that I’ve left a bit out of my report of Devon, and figure it’ll be easier to write an addendum rather than edit it!

When I was working in the Scottish Borders, one of the kids kept asking me to knit them a teddy bear. At the time I was knitting something that still hasn’t arrived yet, so I can’t name it, but needless to say I didn’t have any extra yarn with me.

However, once I had finished the gift that must not be named, I still had a heap of some of the yarn left, so I figured I could go ahead and knit a teddy bear. Unfortunately, when I went to start the bear, I realised I hadn’t downloaded the pattern, and there wasn’t any wifi where I was, so I had to adapt another pattern slightly. Hence, the creation of the Cyber Teddy! Part Cyber Man, part teddy bear (hopefully the Cyber Man won’t try and convert the teddy part!). Also unfortunately, the green is slightly zombie-ish, but I think I worked around it!

Once I had finished knitting this amazing creation, I had to decorate it, and this happened in Devon. Happily, T is also a crafter and so had buckets of buttons and ribbon to choose from, and I eventually went with these!

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The zombie cyber teddy!

I’m told that it’s now been named “Ted”!

Immediately after being in Aberaeron, I got the train down to Devon (no holiday in between this time!). The trip down was fine, apart from a small snafu where the train I was booked on didn’t exist anymore (not sure how I managed to book myself onto a train that didn’t exist, but at least I wasn’t the only one). Luckily the platform manager at Wolverhampton was super helpful, as was the conductor on the train, so I got in to Newton Abbot not too much later than I was supposed to.

I was picked up by E, and taken back to the house, which wasn’t far away. I was shown my unit (T (E’s wife) & E own a bed and breakfast, and I had my own truly gorgeous unit). I dumped all my stuff and headed over to the main house. E & T had dinner guests, and T had made a really nice vegetarian curry for dinner. Everyone was really friendly and we had a nice evening, talking about places people had travelled to.

I was there to help clear some things out of the house (ironically, given how bad I am at throwing my own stuff out), but as the rubbish skip wasn’t arriving until Monday (the following day), on Sunday morning T & E’s guests left not too late, and we (T, E, and I) went to an apple pressing festival being held at Cockington Forge. There was lots of stuff on and we had a good wander through some of it (you had to pay to get in to part of it, but as you could hear what was going on outside, and we weren’t that keen, we didn’t go into that bit). Lots of crafty people there, and I bought a tiny giraffe button that I’ve yet to do anything with, but enjoy looking at!

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Scientific testing of whether I like my cream tea the Cornwall or Devon way!

 

When we’d had enough of the festival, we went and had a cream tea (something I wouldn’t feel right leaving Devon and not having done!). I found out that I apparently have my cream tea the Cornwall way (scone with jam and then cream, scone with cream then jam is the Devon way!). We then drove down to the beach and went for a bit of a walk.

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Torquay Beach

The next day the skip arrived, and we got to work loading it up. Apparently I have quite the skill in getting your moneys worth in terms of how much stuff you can get into a skip with no space left! By the end of the week, we’d completely filled the skip up, and it was almost perfectly flat on top!

While I was in Devon we also did a few trips out. The first was to Coleton Fishacre, a jazz era home owned by the D’Oyly Carte family (patrons of the Gilbert and Sullivan). I think this is one of the newest National Trust buildings I’ve visited (I usually stick to the older ones), but it was interesting nonetheless! The gardens were still looking pretty good (despite it being the end of October, and they had beautiful sea views (although not from the house).

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Coleton Fishacre

 

We also did a trip out to Greenway, which was once Agatha Christie’s holiday home. This was also really interesting, and was definitely my favourite of the 3 properties I visited here in Devon! There was a fantastic orchard, and we picked some chestnuts off the ground in the parking lot (my first experience with whole unpeeled chestnuts!).

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Greenway

 

I also did a short walk down to Compton Castle, once owned by Sir Walter Raleigh’s half brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert. As I knew basically nothing about HG, it was interesting to find out more!

Reviews: my review of them:

“I had a truly awesome time with T and E helping out in their b&b! They were kind, friendly, funny, and a real pleasure to be around. I helped E to do a bit of clearing out. They were lovely enough to show me around Paignton, and took me to 2 of the National Trust buildings around where they live. The work was relatively easy, and the food was great! I had my own unit to live in, all meals provided (I had breakfast in my own unit with presupplied cereal, toast, and fruit). I worked different hours each day depending on what T and E had on, and as previously stated they took me on outings when I wasn’t working.

I would not hesitate to go back!”

Their review of me: “If you are looking for a helper who is hard working, willing, cheerful, easy going and fun to have around then look no further email DL and snap her up!

DL has just spent a week with us helping my husband E clearing rubbish from the garden and generally helping out. Whatever we asked her to do it was done willingly and with a smile, she is fun to have around and is very good company. We would have DL back any time and there is an open invitation for her to come back, we hope she does! Bon Voyage DL x “

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