Natasha and Delilah's September Adventure

by Natasha Stonebridge | Monday 18th November, 2013

Natasha and Delilah's September Adventure

The week started well, with a flat tyre...doesn't bode well I thought to myself. Not for a driving holiday. But this wasn't just any old driving holiday. This was bucket list, dare to dream, vintage vehicle, wonderful week with my pukka pooch kinda driving holiday. Couple of things to note. I hadn't driven a vintage vehicle for about 20 years and my pukka pooch hates cars. She does a slow death walk around cars, on the upshot that we'll walk past it and not actually get in it. So. Tyre fixed, dog in car, and I'm off down the M5. I pull up, literally - you'll see when you get there yourself and you must - to the place where the vans live. It's like walking into Thomas the tank engine world and I'm half expecting him to whistle past. The vans are resplendent, in all colours and sizes, shining like new pins, and very much loved. I meet Battenberg and I'm scared, intrigued, excited and eager. Packed and ready to go my van instructor is giving me some great advice regards which road to take and then it hits me hard. Ahhh, I now have to drive this thing! Terror takes over, and I'm off in a now or never, down the black run and I'm driving....a 1962 VW split screen. Me, dog and the van I'm responsible for a week for chug off. The route is spot on and I'm cruising, around bends, up hills, along tracks and down a bridle path (thank you sat nav). However my driving prowess intact I negotiate in reverse up hill, find a turning point and we're off...again. I love this van, I love this world, I love the sea, I love the sky. It all feels right and dandy and when I pull into the field that will be our home for the night I am a grinning loon. The view is something, see pic, and there's a hook up (van lingo) and hot water. I surprise myself by just getting on with it. The girl in pearl earrings that's more boutique than b&b (unless its a boutique b&b) is setting camp up for the night. Chilli on, vino poured, dog on lap, the waves literally lulling me to sleep. There is nothing not to like, love about this moment. Someone needs to tell the dog. It took her a few days to adjust. I thought the promise of costal walks, beaches, and sharing a bed with mum for the week would do it. But she took umbridge to Batts sunny blue disposition. She mistrusted the van, that was unsure of who he was at any given time; lounge, dining room, bed, she challenged it all, and as soon as we landed anywhere jumped out, ran a bit, turned, sat and watched with heightened senses. I persevered and so did Batts, and in the end so did Delilah. She loved looking out of the window at the world from her bed as we moved past cliff, sand, surfers, ice cream, castles, (old people). We kept it simple and took to the Atlantic Highway. We did Northcliff, Bude, Widemouth Bay (sandy beach walks and outstanding surfer action), Tintagel (steps a wonder for the gluts) Boscastle (honey and lavender ice cream from the place next to the bridge), Padstow (took hake and chips back to Batts to keep him amongst the party), stunning Watergate Bay (the beach club under the famous Fifteen for a stopover), and then back to Okehampton via Tavistock and a spot of ale and chips. And now the sad bit. There's a lull in the magic as we pack up on the last morning. My bacon buttie doesn't have the same crunch as we realise we're about to say goodbye to what now feels like a old and trusted friend. Even the dog won't get out and leave Batts for a morning stroll. We arrive back and the team greet us with smiles and how did I do's. I procrastinate and put off the inevitable unpacking the van and packing the car. The dog does a runner - again. She wants to stay with all the vans..... So with promises of next year I drive badly away...can't get the hang of the gear stick in my car, and I keep trying to plunge the clutch.... On the way back up the M5, I see a van. A pretty bay streams past the other way and I catch myself and start to sob like I've left a piece of me behind. And I think I did. I went into this week with the usual busy work load worry and left the week more relaxed than ever. Batts took my worries and catapulted them away into the sea, the showed me the time of my life. Thanks Mister Berg, till next time :-)


Posted in News
on Monday 18th November, 2013
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