A holiday at Croyde in Devon has by now become a more or less annual tradition for some of us. In fact, looking back over my photographs, I’ve been 4 out of the past 5 years and I know I’ve been at least once before that. I enjoy going to Croyde because it has the tourist attractions of good beach, surfing and beautiful scenery without giving way to tacky entertainment strips and rubbish pubs. There is an added advantage now that we are so familiar with the place that it feels like home and I can relax straight away. We usually go in early September, after all the kids have gone back to school so it is not too busy but before the weather gets too nasty (hopefully).
This year we went from 02/09 to 09/09 and stayed at the excellent Surfs Up, rented from http://www.choicecottages.co.uk. The house was excellent with plenty of space for us all to sleep and plenty of room for us to hang out in the house if the weather got too bad to venture out. Added to this there was an excellent garden with a hot tub in the corner perfect for warming up after a swim or a walk. Unfortunately, the tub wasn’t big enough to hold all 10 people that the house can accommodate.
John and I had the day off so we left home around lunch time. We had been given the job or accepting the food delivery and needed to arrive by 6pm. In the end we were there by 4:30 and had plenty of time to explore the house before the Sainsbury’s van arrived with a phenomenal amount of food. Everyone else had to work and travel down after so we had the house to ourselves until about 11:30 when Helen, Aimee, Kat, Josie and Harry arrived. Sharan and Sam weren’t due to arrive until 2am so we didn’t wait up for them!
Saturday started promisingly bright and sunny. Helen, Aimee, Josie and I headed down to look at the beach and the village. The beach was very busy with lots of surf school people making the most of the weekend. I left the girls shopping for a wetsuit and headed back home for lunch. After lunch the weather turned for the worse and started to rain. It was raining so hard that I had to get out of the hot tub and go back inside!
We played some of the games I had brought (Martian Fluxx and Munchkin) and hid from the rain. Dave and Ellie turned up in the afternoon and added to the already alarming supply of booze. After dinner Harry produced some amazing cocktails that kept us amused for hours.
Today was probably the best weather we had all week. After a relaxed morning and a cooked breakfast for lunch courtesy of Helen, Kat, Dave Ellie and I went down to the beach for a swim. The water was pretty cold but not too bad compared to what we have experienced there previously (for example at New Year!) and once we were actually swimming we warmed up a bit. The surfers in their wetsuits laughed at us as usual but we had a good time. We still only managed about 10 minutes though before we decided that it was time to head home.
We got back to the house to find everyone except John had gone out shopping. We quickly got in the hot tub to warm up and John kindly brought us drinks while we relaxed. We were eventually forced from the tub by driving rain.
We played the first of many games of Munchkin in the evening which went well, despite me teaching everyone the rules slightly wrong. Everyone enjoyed the game and a lot more was played over the holiday.
I didn’t take many pictures today so all you get is Ellie doing a bad impression of the headless horseman using Dave’s oversized head.
Today I woke to furiously bad weather. Wind was thrashing the trees about and rain was lashing down out of the dark grey sky. Looks like today will be devoted to indoor pursuits. After a while we realised that Josie had got up early and gone out in this awful weather to take her first surfing lesson! We all wished her luck and were glad it wasn’t us.
Mostly the day was spent reading, playing games and, once it became acceptably late in the day, drinking a lot.
Weather was foul again although not as bad as yesterday. Played a few games and did a 1000 piece jigsaw with Dave, Ellie and John. Spent some time in the hot tub reading. Dave and Ellie produced bangers and mash for dinner. The high point was the gravy which was more of a vegetable stew than gravy and was served in two cafetières due to the lack of jugs. These unlikely receptacles were pressed into service again for the desert to hold the custard! After dinner everyone sat around telling childhood stories and tales of previous visits to Croyde.
Today is the day that it has been decided that we will be having a (very belated) birthday party for Kat (her birthday is in January!). Helen and Aimee have decided that the party will be fancy dress with a theme of characters from childrens literature.
John and Kat have gone off to Tintagel to visit the castle and see if they can find King Arthur so we have all day to prepare costumes and decorate etc. Sharan made a couple of cakes and another was bought “just in case”.
Some people went out shopping and came back with some excellent crafting supplies and scavenged cardboard boxes to make costumes as well as some decorations and prizes for games etc. In the afternoon there was a mass crafting session where everyone seemed to be making hats! By the time Kat got back, everyone had their costumes ready and the decorations and cakes were done. All was hidden away in one of the bedrooms. Josie made an excuse to take Kat off for a chat and we all ran around like maniacs getting our costumes on and putting decorations up. Helen and I were also tending the 2 barbeques at the same time. Kat must have had a shock coming back into the living room to see us all standing there dressed up.
Either our costumes were good or Kat’s knowledge of characters is excellent as she was able to guess who we all were without needing clues. There was a brief pause while Kat and Josie got into costume then the party got started.
After everyone had eaten their fill of the BBQ dinner, there was cake and games including some drinking version of team based Fluxx which I don’t really remember. After all that, Aimee forced us all to watch the Spongebob Square Pants Movie which amazingly was not utter pants.
In case you didn’t guess from the pictures and captions above, the costumes in no particular order were:
- Sharan – Harry Potter
- Sam – The Artful Dodger
- Harry – Caesar (probably the one from Asterix)
- Helen – Mowgli
- Aimee – Little Match Girl
- Josie – Mildred Hubble (I think)
- John – Captain Hook
- Ellie – Scarecrow
- Dave – Tin Man
- Me – Mad Hatter
- Kat – Author of us all
Today is the last full day in Croyde and for a change the weather was not terrible. John and I walked into the village to buy some souvenir fudge. Later in the afternoon Kat, Dave, Ellie, John and I made the traditional walk up the hill to visit the tea shop and have a cream tea. Unfortunately our usual tea shop was closed but we found a National Trust one back down the hill a little that was excellent. They weren’t able to give Ellie gluten-free scones so she ate her own that she had made. The Teas were enormous, so much so that we think they may have brought us one too many! Once we had recovered from the cream tea, we wandered back to the house and sat in the tub again for a bit.
Sharan and Sam left us in the afternoon as Sharan has a lot of work to get done on her new flat. It was sad to see them go.
While some of the others were out surfing, Kat and I made some dinner out of the leftovers. Leftovers may be the wrong term as there was enough chicken, tomatoes, couscous, onions, broccoli, vegetarian sausages and rice to make a large meal for the 9 of us remaining. And there was a bag of potatoes we didn’t use!
The Last Day
We had to be out of the house by 10am so we were up quite early and packed. The spare food was distributed to anyone who wanted it and everything was packed into the cars ready to go. Helen, Aimee and Josie all want to go for a last surf before they leave. John and I decided to hang around with Kat and Harry in the cafe in the village for a bit while they wait for the surfers to be finished. When the surfers got back they said that they were planning to visit Cheddar Gorge on the way back. While it was tempting to re-visit this attraction that I hadn’t been to since a school trip probably 20 years earlier John, Kat and I decided to head back and leave the others to it.
The Croyde experience 2011 was finally over and all that remained was for John to drive us back home to Fleet.