The Gardener’s Eldest Daughter, T, came to stay overnight, so we took her out for the day. She goes off travelling in a month, and we want to see as much of her as possible before then.
The Gardener took Flossie for a good, energetic run before we loaded her and ourselves into the car.
The weather couldn’t have been kinder; cool in the shade, hot in the sun, ideal for taking a dog out, who might need to be left in the car for short periods. We went to Killerton House. Lots to see inside the house, while Flossie snoozed in the car, parked prettily under trees, and a cafe and grounds that were dog-friendly, so that she didn’t have to be parted from us for long.
The Objects of Desire exhibition was nicely varied, old and ultra-modern. As ever, the old interested me most. Undeterred by the unsettling comparison between our own waistlines and those demonstrated by the corset display and the antique frocks, we had the most enormous and delicious local ice creams, bought from the kiosk in the children’s play area. Sheep wandered about; Flossie is not interested in sheep, but ice cream – now that’s another matter.
And then we went off to the seaside. Budleigh Salterton! Location of the delightful books written by Joyce Dennys, Henrietta’s War and Henrietta Sees It Through, it’s a well-heeled, largely unspoilt town with a glorious coastline. (It’s also known by some – unkindly, I think – as God’s Waiting Room….)
No one seemed to be obeying the Dogs on Leads rule at the far end of the beach, where the River Otter meets the sea. So Flossie managed to swim in both. She swam, ran, retrieving a water bottle in lieu of a ball, and swam some more, really enjoying the fast-flowing water.
A lovely, talkative man with binoculars pointed out to us the subtle changes in the water of the estuary that indicate sea bass hunting for smaller fish. T spotted a dorsal fin; I was less fortunate – binoculars are not always easy to use!
T paddled in the sea; she says it only really feels like summer when you have done this. She and her father reminisced about how difficult it had been to extract her, protesting despite being blue with cold, from swimming in the sea when she was little. I enjoy hearing The Gardener and his girls remembering times together long before I knew any of them.
We were sorry to leave this lovely spot. We had all enjoyed each other’s company very much, and plan another day out before T leaves for New Zealand. But it was time to take her home to Taunton and to get ourselves and a now-starving dog back home too. I sat in the back of the car, and occasionally heard small, whistling snores from Flossie, flat out on her bouncy waterproof bed.Today, Flossie wishes to notify us all that while our Grand Days Out are very enjoyable, she has decided to have a Grand Day Off.
Please Do Not Disturb.