Whenever we go to England, people ask us “How was London?” We typically don’t go to London. As with this trip, we visit friends and John’s family near the city of Bristol, a couple of hours west of London.
Today we went even further afield to visit Lorna Doone. Well, we didn’t visit Lorna Doone herself, but the area that is the setting of the romantic novel by the same name.
John’s mum (mom) Barbara recently told him that she likes the “Doone Valley,” so John suggested the three of us go there today.
I am always delighted to drive through English countryside. It looks amazing even with raindrops on the camera lens.
It rained all day today. We spent most of the day in the car. I sat in the back seat so that Barbara could sit in the front. And we all had a really good day.
Our first destination was the Staghunters in Brandon for lunch.
I asked John to place the order since he speaks the language (although the barman asked John where he was from because he detected a bit of an American accent).
I enjoy English bitter and like to sample the local beer. I had a pint of Exmoor Gold. I had the same again when lunch arrived.
Having cottage pie and a pint (or two) of beer for lunch in an old pub made me feel like I had left home far behind — and probably made John feel like he had returned.
After a hearty lunch we set off to explore the area. John drove us through little lanes that sometimes seemed no wider than our rental car.
In some places, the trees were enrobed in moss so thick and lush that it seemed less like the handiwork of nature and more like an enchantment.
At one point the voice of the virtual SatNav (GPS) woman telling us where to go could not make sense of a roadblock. I consulted real maps printed on actual paper, just like in olden times. We managed to find the church in Oare.
It is where, in the book, Lorna Doone gets married.
we returned to the car that John had parked nearby — next to where the sheep were parked.
We encountered many animals on our day’s journey. They seemed to be lurking around every bush.
When a group of Exmoor ponies came running up the roadway toward our car, I was so surprised, I barely managed to take a photograph.
We also encountered a few fords.
At Malmsmead, the water level seemed a bit high from all the rain, so we decided not to go through the ford crossing Badgworthy Water. We went over the adjacent bridge instead.
We stopped to take some photos because it is a place that Barbara wanted to show us.
When the Royal Mail truck came along, Barbara asked the driver if he would be crossing the river through the ford; he cheerfully said he would. So we watched and cheered him on.
When we were finally heading home, Barbara made a comment that summed up the day’s journey for the three of us — you just want to keep driving on these lanes to find out what will be around the next bend.
live. enjoy. repeat.