We drive south for a wedding. And here is a warning. Never try to drive to Devon on a bank holiday weekend.
And most certainly do not attempt it after a lockdown when the world and his wife are trying to get out from behind their four walls.
With its spectacular coastline and scenic national parks ,this very English county is a pretty place – and it comes with some fun claims to fame.
The first Jack Russell
Who knew that the first Jack Russell was bred in Devon? Or that this place is home to the oldest working gin distillery?
We all know that Devon is famous for its cream teas. But reaching such a utopia means the chief and I are on the road for a maddening 14 hours.
Travelling down the M6 and M5, roadworks follow roadworks. Queue meets queue. Temperatures rise in the heat and tempers start to fray. Never again, we say…
A nod to Scottish roots
At least the wedding is a good one. A nice old fashioned church ceremony followed by lashings of fizz at the family home.
The bride is beautiful, and the handsome groom makes a nod to Scottish roots. After all, these are, in part, Campbell nuptials, so thistles serve as buttonholes.
Dinner and dancing ensue and some hours later as we climb exhausted into bed, I wonder about the name.
The meanings of things
A Devon is a breed of red cattle. These beasts can apparently walk for miles and are good foragers.
Then there is another explanation. Devon can mean ‘deep valley dwellers’. Which makes sense here in Scotland where there is a Glen Devon in Clackmannanshire.
There is also a river of the same name, with Robert Burns waxing lyrical about the Fairest Maid on Devon Banks.
In this valley there was once a castle and a Devon Valley railway. But both have long gone. Which is a great shame.
Meanwhile, the MacNaughties…
Back at the ranch, meanwhile, the MacNaughties are being well looked after in our absence.
Delilah the Chow Chow goes to a family friend, whilst a near neighbour comes in to mind the oldest and youngest MacNaughties.
In times past when we went away, all doggies would be taken to the nearby stables to be looked after by Steph.
There was a casualty
But the Norfolk Terrier puppy is not yet house-trained, and the Cocker Spaniel has become less than hygienic in his old age. So, neither can be trusted to behave in someone else’s house at the moment.
It works out fine and no-one seems the worse for their brief abandonment.
On our return all three seem quite content. The only casualty is the kitchen lino which is gradually being chewed up. Then that’s the puppy for you.
How lucky we are
We muse on our travels. I barely know the south-west of England. And I would like to put that right.
But only in the quiet season.
Perhaps we have become spoiled here north of the border. But I had forgotten how packed the south is – and how lucky we are to live where we do.