I simply can't skip to Day One without talking about Night One. Especially since I was traveling with a two year old on an 8 hour time difference. It's not something you skim over. If you're a parent, you're probably DYING to find out just how much of a nightmare it was.
Ok, so it wasn't great. But like the flight, it wasn't a nightmare.
Ms. Daisy went down around 10pm after being read several books, and we followed not far behind. Unfortunately, she woke up not two and half hours later. Ouch. Granted, her tired body and mind were telling her it should be 4:30pm, not gone midnight.
In our own desperation and exhaustion, we did something we have never done before: we put Daisy in our bed with us. She rolled around for a good 45-60 minutes, trying to get comfortable (she's not used to running into to people in her bed either) but then finally passed out around 3-ish, I think. (The times are a bit fuzzy at this point.) Since she was so sleep deprived, the only thing we had to suffer was her fidgeting and whispering to herself about the "Wheels on the bus."
At around 5am, the sun started to make it's journey above the horizon and the birds began chirping. The cows began mooing, The hens began clucking. The geese began squawking. I dozed in and out, just happy not to be on mommy duty, until around 8:30am. When I returned from making a coffee upstairs, this is what I was greeted with. Of course, I had to run back upstairs to grab my camera.
Shortly after this, I played mean-mummy and woke them both up. The only way through jet-lag is to pretend you don't have it, I find.
Our first excursion was to Ilfracombe, the coastal village not five minutes from where we were staying. I had been there probably once or twice before, when I was a kid, but didn't really remember much about it except that it was quaint and reminiscent of almost every seaside town I went to on holiday as a child. Since this whole jaunt to Devon was about recreating the "Great British Summer Holiday" for Daisy and Hubby, it was a great place to start.
Most of the British coastline is lined with cliffs.
The harbor, which completely disappears during low tide. Hubby was astonished about how far out the tides go. It is pretty typical in the UK to have two tides a day (semi-diurnal) and for the water to travel 40 feet or more each time. (Don't fall asleep in your deck-chair at low tide!)
Daisy paddling on the rocky Ilfracombe beach. We were not expecting the weather to be so accommodating, or we would have made a trip up to Woolacombe where the sand dunes are. (Note: the nuclear-looking building in the back is in fact The Landmark Theatre.)
We meandered around the town, popping in and out of stores, taking pics (me) and eventually stopping to rest in the garden of a local Bed and Breakfast for lunch, where Mum enjoyed her very first (of many) sandwich-with-modest-filling.
Many of the stores and pubs displayed Union Jacks and the St. George Flag in preparation for the upcoming Royal Wedding celebrations.
The Union Jack represents the U.K. (Great Britain - England, Wales, and Scotland - and Northern Ireland) and the St.George Flag represents England. You'll also see the Old Glory in there too for good measure. (Unsure why, exactly. Maybe they knew we were coming?)
I am doomed to go back soon because, in all the time I was there, I actually did NOT get one of these. Amazing really, given how much rib-sticking food I consumed.
In case you were wondering, I would have picked the Large Cornish Traditional.
I did, however, revel in having some of these. Man, how I miss the great British potato!
Honestly, I think it's time for the U.S. to embrace the Jacket Potato with topping, you know?
Ilfracombe is a pretty and bustling little town, very typical of a coastal town in England. It brought me right back home, literally and mentally, and brought back wonderful memories of my childhood spent in many a similar place.
It was especially fun to begin Daisy's initiation into the children's coin rides that are EVERYWHERE in England and, on which I gained my first love of rides of all kinds. It put a lump in my throat to realize that she loves them too.
We found them everywhere after this and we never passed one by.
Then it was off on a pony-and-trap ride through town before Daisy literally crashed in the minivan back to Trimstone Manor.
Daisy, riding through Ilfracombe.
Later that afternoon, we explored the grounds of Trimstone Manor, which sits on more than 40 acres and dates back some 400 years. (Those in the U.S. can now understand why I don't get too excited about monuments from the 1800s.)
(Our little self-catering cottage was located right in the middle corner.)
There was also a trampoline in a middle of the gardens, which we all bounced on. Bad backs be damned!
And a converted coach-house, turned game room, which we never got to take advantage of.
But most of all, what I enjoyed - what I had missed and wanted to share - was the gently rolling, green countryside, the moist, clean air, the refreshing breeze, and the sounds of so many birds chirping away from dawn to dusk. Next to my spot on the beach in Negril, Jamaica, this comes a close second as my "happy place".
And so ended day one. Tomorrow... The BIG SHEEP. (All will be revealed.)