On Friday, we traveled west to North Devon (57% Leave). I got in a bit of a temper regarding the trains: the one to Exeter was fine, but then we needed to wait 40 mins for a local Pacer train (bus on tracks) to ramble the hour northwards, which arrived fifteen minutes after the last bus (19:47). So much for a unified transport system. We got a taxi, in which the driver, on hearing that we had come for a wedding, complained about people coming up from London to get married in a beauty spot. Considering the economy of Devon is 90% cream tea based, I didn't think she had much of a point. Anyway, we stopped at a B&B which was not exactly cheap yet still felt that margarine, fruit-free jam* and instant cofee were suitable breakfast ingredients. This is Brexitland.
* Give me Tiptree, or give me death.
The view though. We arrived in the dark and woke up to rolling dunes
, only slightly marred by there being a whacking great golf course in front of it. We walked down half a mile to the wedding venue, a beautiful art deco hotel, gleaming white against the blue sky. I could imagine Agatha Christie turning up to sun herself on the terrace and solve a few murders.
The outdoor pool was closed, but I could see ghostly ladies in modest bathing costumes and swimming caps doing lengths before climbing out for a gin sling and a newly fashionable sun tan. The room, in keeping with this old fashioned charm, had marks on the table and floor, but a proper bathroom, with a proper bath. The service was as equally retro with a doorman, overly friendly/helpful staff and people who apologised when you got in their working way, which made me squirm a little. When we go away, we usually stay in B&Bs or, if abroad, pensiones: hotel life is odd to me. Eventually the groom and best man appeared, somewhat worse for wear having stayed up until 3 the previous night. After a short and sweet service, we drank prosecco in the gleaming sunshine, looking at the view.
The meal was held in a room like a liner, long and thin with beautiful mirrors. The wedding DJ who was surely in his twenties had a yen for the 70s: The Commodores, T-rex, The Sweet. It occurred to me that ten years ago, official wedding DJs played Motown, because the parents then were baby boomers. Now the parents of thirty-somethings getting married are '70s kids. Still, the floor fillled when he played Wham!, The Weather Girls, Madness and other 80s hits. There was also a photo booth:
Other wedding disco observations: Children will dance like the characters in They Shoot Horses Don't They, to avoid being sent to bed. James Brown is wasted on the over-50s. The bit where Lulu comes in in Relight My Fire is genius. It's still a toss-up between Dancing In The Moonlight and Mambo Number 5 as to the world's worst song.
The next day we took a bracing but sunny walk down the beach and used the pool and sauna, unfortunately this latter activity was cut short by an invasion of horrendous children. I admit to paedophobia, but these ones were hitting their ping-pong ball against the sauna glass and aiming to do a ten child pool bomb, aided and abetted by their responsible adult, taking a photograph. I can see why parents bring kids here (lots to do without needing to flash too much cash), but I can also see why people go on Saga holidays.
We got a cab back to Barnstaple and met up with Clare and Martin, Ange and Rob in a pub. Everything is shut so we go for a surprisingly nice lunch at Pizza Express, then it's back to grey old London.