We left Norman’s Bay by 11.00 and headed west, to Noss Mayo near Plymouth. On the way we took a detour and visited Salsibury, which was lovely. We only meant to be there for half an hour but we took a couple of hours to wander around and visit the cathedral. I saw one of the original copies of the Magna Carta which was pretty exciting (after having read about it in history).

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Peter deviated from his usual coffee and bought hot chocolate which we drank as we walked around, along the river.

We then decided at about 4.00pm to go to Stonehenge as it was only 8kms away. I remembered not being so impressed with it last time, but this time we all let out a “wow!” when we drove over the hill and saw it in the distance. Perhaps it was because the weather was so nice, or the time of the day, or the lack of crowds, or the fact that we got in for free without having to queue! (using our Historic Places card), but I really enjoyed going around and listening to the audio commentary.

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After leaving, the next impressive thing were the tiny lanes on the way to Noss Mayo. There was only just enough room for the car, and every so often there was a slight increase on the edge of the road where you could pull over if something was coming the other way. On each side the road was a tall hedge so you felt like you were driving in a tunnel. Who needs to go to Disneyland for a thrill ride!

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It was worth the all the trouble of getting there – Noss Mayo is a picturesque village on the banks of an estuary. All the roads are narrow and hilly so we had fun finding our place. When we did we had a very steep driveway to negotiate, scary! Peter managed to get up with only burning a bit of rubber, but then he had to ‘turn on a pin’ to park next to the garage. That took a bit more thought and planning to make sure we didn’t tumble off the edge of the driveway! The first day I helped by directing out of the car, the second day I helped the same, the third day I sat in the car with my eyes shut, the fourth and fifth day I even had my eyes open while he whizzed the car up.

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The people in Noss Mayo were very friendly. We met our neighbours (who shuddered about our driveway so I thought Peter was doing pretty good) and they invited us for dinner. They’d owned hotels for 30 years of more, and they knew how to make a great meal!

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Afterwards, I had to go sleep propped up against a pillow (I felt like King Henry III after one of his feasts – did you know his bed was so small because he slept sitting up, as it aided digestion. I can vouch for that). Daniel and Amy had a great night, they chatted and chatted like they’d never had a chance to talk before.

Unfortunately the weather wasn’t so great so we didn’t sightsee as much as we’d originally wanted to. But we needed to spend a lot of time planning our Europe part of the trip while we had internet as the next 3 or 4 weeks will be without internet. It was certainly a lovely home to be stuck indoors in! It was modern and light with a great view and we all enjoyed being there tremendously!

One exciting thing with our planning was that we booked a cruise for near the end of our travels! We’re all very excited about it! We’ll be going back to Venice (which is such a great place!) and then we’ll be sailing around the Mediterranean for 7 days. I can’t wait – there’s something for each of us, even a jogging track for Peter! We fly out to the USA a few days later before heading home.

We decided that we couldn’t stay cooped up all week, and on Wednesday we drove to Plymouth and walked around the Barbican and the Hoe. The weather was great (it was suppose to be raining but the sun came out instead).

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Fun things at Plymouth.. but the best to look at was..

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..the cake shops

So we kept going on our planned Shane Harrison drive (he loves to drive for miles and miles without stopping – just look at sights through the window of the car as you drive past!) Well, Shane, we did try. We had a map and a 5 hour drive plan and everything. What we didn’t count on was the sunny weather (it was suppose to be raining, we took raincoats not sunhats and all got sunburned) and the beach at Looe. Yes, we found a beach with sand and a cool village to walk around. Every second place sold bucket and spades so we bought a spade and the kids spent the rest of the day digging in the sand and dipping their feet in the water.

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The other thing that sold it to us was the 40p ferry ride from one side of the inlet to the other (about 40 metre). The ferryman gave Daniel and Amy a turn each at steering the boat which they were excited about. Daniel even ‘parked’ the boat!

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The only bad thing about the village were the seagulls. One of them divebombed me when I had some food in my hands, and a whole bunch of them chased Amy when she was walking along with some food in her hands. She had to throw it to them. Nasty birds.

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We left Looe about 5.30 and drove a little bit further onto Polperro, a fishing village. Everything was shut when we got there and most of the tourists had left so we had fun walking around. It was a very nice place, reminding us of the Greek Islands. The kids had fun in the cave on the beach and about 7.00 we drove home to Noss Mayo. What a great day!

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In fact, the whole week overall was great! Even though we spent a lot of time indoors, we did get out for walks and actually I got another sinus infection which made me pretty tired so it was good to take it easy (staying up till midnight trying to book accommodation doesn’t usually class as taking it easy – but I did get to sleep in!).

Talking about sleeping in, there was one day when none of us got a sleep in – the Friday – it was Amy’s ninth birthday. We went in at 7.00am, Daniel playing Happy Birthday on the ukelele, and woke her up for a few presents and a nice breakfast. It was the same day as we had to move to another house, so her birthday consisted of watching a video on the computer in the car and going out, yes you guessed it, to MacDonalds for tea before grocery shopping for the week.

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Noss Mayo is a lovely place, and the people are friendly – we would love to come back again sometime!

(Week 17: Saturday 9 June 2012 – Saturday 16 June 2012)