Sunday, June 22, 2008

Leaving Anglesey

Whenever we leave the island to travel over to Manchester to see our family and friends we always feel a wrench. So it was doubly so when we left the island on Friday the 13th of June to drive first to Somerset and then next day to Devon. When we lived in the Greater Manchester area it was no problem because we drove straight onto the M62 and it was motorway all the way and a quick journey too. But these days we have to get round some pretty large mountains in order to join the motorway south to Devon. Previously we were travelling there to stay with Pauline's mother. Sadly, she died last year, leaving less reason for making the journey.
However, we had decided to take a week's break in South Dartmoor so that we could include a visit to Mum's grave in a tiny cemetery belonging to a Methodist Church in Ilsington. We stayed outside Taunton with our very good friends, Arnold and Elaine who are always pleased to see us. This time we saw only a short glimpse as they were off to take their holiday in France the following day. So we let ourselves out the following day and went to Honiton for a brief meeting with Beverley, Pauline's cousin.
Later we made our way to Newton Abbot and bought some flowers and a holder to place on the grave. It was a little tearful, but we were rewarded by the rain holding off till we got back in the car. Next stop was Harbourneford where our acommodation lay. It is a small hamlet approached along single track lane from each direction. We offloaded our luggage and settled in the lovely accommodation.
The next day we visited Buckfast Abbey and saw the Abbey itself and a small Methodist chapel in the grounds. But we were nagged at by the threat of a petrol shortage as the tanker drivers were on strike. We need not have worried because the local filling station was able to conduct business as usual with regular deliveries coming in. On the Monday and Tuesday we did much of our travelling on two steam railways. Monday saw us travelling on the South Devon Railway which follows the River Dart from Buckfastleigh to Totnes. The following day we used the Paignton to Dartmouth Steam Railway to visit Dartmouth.
For the rest of the holiday we visited places in Devon and Cornwall and were able to compare their roads, lanes and hedges with ours in Anglesey. Travelling down single track lanes was nothing new because we do it all the time in Anglesey. But it was noticeable how the hedges were not cut back as neatly as ours in Anglesey. The countryside was beautiful and possibly outshone some of the Anglesey terrain. The people were were very different. There were essentially two types. The first comprised people born in Devon and they were friendly and hospitable as we have experienced often. But the second type was the group of people who have earned enough money in the South East to go and live in glorious Devon. Don't they think they are the bee's knees!? It was the first time Pauline had noticed this difference and she was shocked.
Essentially this group comprises people who have made a bit of money and now wish to demonstrate this to the whole world. Traditionally wealthy people never behave like this. But the nouveau riche are a pain in the ....! They talk incessantly and laugh at other people's misfortunes, talking down to them at the same time. We decided we could never live with people like that. Thankfully none of our friends and neighbours in Anglesey are remotely like that.
Is it any wonder that we resent leaving our lovely island to spend time among such undesireables? Here we have good roads, clean towns and villages, smart hedgerows, mostly polite drivers and tractor drivers who pull into laybays to let the accumulated queue disperse. Where else can you say that? Of course our Chief Constable tries to fleece us by claiming "Arrive Alive" vans are less expensive than static speed cameras. But just check how much money is available to the local road safety volunteers and their efforts. Then you will see just how much cash is raised by operating supposedly highly visible vans to catch the unwary driver who drifts over the speed limit. That is one point Devon has over Anglesey - but it is the only one.
Anglesey versus Devon comes out as Anglesey 99 Devon 1!


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