14 June 2015

Expat Adventures: The Road Trip in Search of...

One of the best and worst things about an English summer is the extended daylight hours.  In late May it starts getting light around 3:45 am and there is a little glow in the sky until around 11 pm. This makes getting a decent amount of sleep for someone like me who rises whenever the sun does a bit tricky unless you have blackout curtains but it does make planning for outdoor activities much easier.  There is still the need to layer up because the temperatures are on the chilly side but at least you have daylight to play in!

This is what made Wednesday's epic road trip possible, we covered 712 miles down south and back home with only about 2 hours of it driven in the dark--yes our drive started at the unholy hour of 5:30 am! There was a lot of ground covered and while we didn't get to spend much time at any one place the objectives of the trip were accomplished: my partner got to do something he loves--drive through places at speed while pointing out interesting landmarks in passing, put some miles on the new front tyres, and we took a few photos of historic trees.  Yes, the objective of the trip was to visit a couple of the 50 Great British Trees.

First stop not counting the Starbucks refueling (where they oohed and ahhed over my American issued personalised gold rewards card) and to allow the dogs to do their business was the Heavitree Yew in Exeter...or it would have been but for some reason we thought the tree was at the Heavitree Pleasure Grounds.  It is quite a pretty and bustling park and we did find a historic tree, just not the one we were in search of!  Oh well, it got us out of the car and Ben got to frolic off leash (Elsie doesn't get that privilege because she has NO recall whatsoever and likes to put her front paws on people's legs) while we figured out where we should have been.

The 'other' tree

Quite old but not the green plaque we were looking for

The arch in the picture above is apparently quite controversial because of the amount of money spent in upkeep, it seems to be a target of frequent vandalism/graffiti as well.  What I do want to point out is the sign on the building for The Gun and Sport Shop.  Quite a few people are under the impression that ALL guns are illegal in the UK and that simply isn't true.  There is certainly a more stringent licensing and certification process but it isn't impossible to own a firearm. Anyway back to the tree!

The church through the daisies

The Heavitree Yew is in the churchyard of St. Michael and All Angels, like most here it is a very pretty church but it also has a air of being very busy and cluttered! The yew is right next to the entry and when we were walking up we were almost bowled over by a man rushing out 'in search of a body'! He was very apologetic and it was almost like a scene out of a television programme. 

The Heavitree Yew

50 Great British Trees Commemoration Plaque

I wonder how many people have sat in or climbed this tree

Quick pic of the Church interior

Beautiful sky

Always love the gargoyles

Water spout above an entry

So that was the first planned stop of our one day road trip southwards, what we didn't take time to see was the Exeter Cathedral, perhaps another day we will stop to see it but honestly I much prefer the smaller churches to the massive cathedrals so I wasn't terribly disappointed about skipping it. There will be another post or 3 about our insane drive soonish! 

All image editing courtesy of Real World Image Retouching

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