(Woolacombe Beach this evening)
Today I slipped down to the South West of England to stay for a few days with Emma in a house she has rented for the week near Woolacombe on the North Devon coast. She would like some company with her children, and I need to do some writing, without the distraction of London life.
Since I didn’t get my planned away break recently, this is my approximate substitute. Emma and I have been all around the world together, but we are just as happy sitting watching the rain lash against the windows in Devon, as we are swimming off Benirras in Ibiza, or museum wandering in Munich.
This part of England is all new to me: although Devon and Cornwall are often yoked together, they are two very separate counties, with different identities, and I am looking forward to my first Devonshire cream tea. (I won’t be partaking in the surfing for which this part of the coast is famous.)
It takes almost exactly four hours from London to Woolacombe if one doesn’t get stuck in a convoy of caravans and RVs on the M5. We set off separately, but met up en route at our dear friend Laura’s for a cup of tea and a sit down in the garden, near Taunton in Somerset, before the final hour or so cross country to the coast. The weather grew progressively worse, and by this evening the rain was falling in a Biblical fashion over Mortehoe, where we are staying, and Woolacombe where I had gone to forage for vital supplies — loo paper, milk and, er, beer.
I’m writing this shivering in bed, and trying to hold onto the memory of lying in bed in London yesterday, luxuriating in the heatwave warmth, with a fan casting a breeze over me. The forecast is set for rain all week, but we are hoping for pockets of sunshine. Not that I am supposed to be frolicking on the beach, but it’s nice to have some sun to toast your toes whilst you bash away at the keyboard on a deadline.