Ray of False Hope

Our Devon world looked a little brighter this morning in that the rain had ceased and, surprise of surprises, even the sun put in the occasional appearance under the still threatening clouds. Having studied yesterday’s weather forecast for today, however, I wasn’t particularly hopeful that the improvement would be very long lived. Nonetheless, after a leisurely breakfast consisting mainly of coffee, Carol and I set off to investigate Plymouth leaving Rosemary and Steve to be visited by friends.

Just as “one swallow does not a summer make”, neither “does one brief glimpse of sun a dry day make”. ‘T was obvious from the colour of the sky ahead of us that we were heading in an ill-chosen direction and, sure enough, exactly as we drove across a line marking the beginning of the Dartmoor Park, the rain once again began falling. How appropriate! By the time we found the Plymouth Park & Ride scheme, it was falling quite hard.

Riding on a bus for the first time in more years than I can count was quite enjoyable. The scheme was excellent and we were soon alighting near The Hoe. As luck would have it we’d hit a rain intermission, too, so we stowed the umbrellas and struck out for Carol’s main objective. The naval memorial at The Hoe bears the name of her great uncle who was killed on HMS Defence in the Battle of Jutland on 1st June, 1916. No sooner had Carol located her great uncle’s name on the memorial than the rain started up again so she grabbed a photo or two, we redeployed our briefly stowed umbrellas and headed back towards the covered Pannier Market looking for a roof and supplies for the evening.

As befits a coastal town, Plymouth’s Pannier Market sported a couple of excellent looking fish counters where we couldn’t resist a couple of gurnard for our last night’s dinner in Devon. If we don’t have any sunshine, at least we could prepare sunshine food so we grabbed the ingredients for a reliable ratatouille to go with them.

Not being a day for sauntering and taking in the sights, we didn’t get to see very much of Plymouth but, on our limited experience, neither of us was particularly impressed. I’m no historian but, given that Plymouth is a naval dockyard, I imagine it suffered considerably during WWII. For whatever reason its current architectural style, or lack of it, seems to share much in common with Aylesbury (where I spent considerable years working) in being largely very unattractive 1960s concrete. Now that we know how to deal with the Park & Ride scheme, we’ll have to return for a better look, including the waterfront, during more conducive weather.

Here we are back at Wortham Manor for our final evening and it is still raining. The near constant rain during our visit has transcended the merely boring and has reached the heights of thoroughly frustrating. It’s been raining for 5½ days out of 7 and not just showers, consistent day-long rain.

We will have spent an enjoyable week in truly memorable surroundings with excellent company but it will have been in weather which has been as bad as any I can remember.

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