The Dunks do Devon (again)


Somehow, presumably by some sort of wizardry and magic, we are now officially in charge of a 5 year old. Yes, today is Bear’s 5th birthday; 5 years of being a super-calm and definitely-got-my-stuff-together Wonder Mum, worthy of some sort of catalogue photoshoot or something.

I jest, obviously. We are NOT that family.

We have just come back from a lovely week in Cornwall. “But the title above says Devon?”, I hear you cry! You’re not wrong, and so begin our pre-birthday summer holiday shenanigans…

Devon-bound (via Cornwall)
Back in 2013 we holidayed in Beaworthy, Devon. We weren’t brave (or stupid) enough to fly abroad with our headstrong and pretty tantrummy nearly-2 year old, so we opted for a lodge in deepest, darkest Devon. By ‘deepest’ and ‘darkest’ I mean we had no phone signal but we were still only 20 minutes from a Tesco because, well…we’re not THAT adventurous. With The Boy now the same age that Bear was then, and with the same stroppy tendencies, we decided back in February that we would do the staycation thing in Devon again. Imagine my delight 4 days before setting off to get a call cancelling our holiday. Long story short, I might have cried on the phone to the holiday people, and I might have gone ever so slightly batshit at the company that cancelled on us. Oh, what larks!


First day trip and humidity had taken hold of my hair good and proper

And so we found ourselves relocated to Cornwall, a gorgeous lodge on the edge of a lake. We had the luxury of kids entertainment in the evenings and a pool and soft play on site, but we were still in the middle of the countryside. This was ideal, not because we are massive countryside kinda people, but because at least we’re not disturbing too many people when The Boy has a meltdown.

We love car journeys (this is a lie)
It took us 6 hours to get to there, because it always does. We often wonder if we are in some sort of motorway-based ‘Beadles About’ prank because every time we go anywhere it takes FOR EVER. Bear talked pretty much the whole way (“Why aren’t we going to Devon again?”, “Is Devon near Heaven, because they do rhyme?”, “But how old actually IS Jesus?”, and The Boy appeared to either cry or fart for the duration.

Along with Bear’s Question Time, our second favourite game to pass the time on a loooooooong car journey, is counting down the miles. It goes something like this, feel free to play along at home:

Bear: “Are we nearly there yet?”
Us: “No. We haven’t left Wales yet.”
Bear: “How many miles are left until we are there?”
Us: “106.”
Bear: “How many miles are left until we are there?”
Us: “104.”
Bear: “How many miles are left until we are there?”
Us: “100.”
Bear: “How many miles are left until we are there?”
Us: “97.”

(And so on and so forth. For 6 HOURS).


A little game The Boy likes to call ‘How to fit a whole croissant in your mouth’.

Our first little outing was to Port Isaac. It’s where they film Doc Martin, which we’ve never seen, but it was a very pretty little village with hills and pasty shops and cute little cottages. Then on we went to Padstow, a beautiful little fishing village that will forever hold mixed memories for Paul. Good ones, because he invested in (by that I mean ‘ate’) a proper Cornish Pasty from a bakery that is home to the World Championship Winning Cornish Pasty. Apparently this is actually a thing, and apparently it was very delicious. Bad memories (for him) courtesy of being shat on by a seagull, which was not in any way hilarious (it was) but absolutely typical of the kind of ridiculous luck we appear to attract.


This is one very good reason why people have 2 children, surely?

Eden Project was awesome – if you ignore the emotional breakdown that The Boy had because we wouldn’t let him play with a bin. We were feeling all righteous buying a healthy organic lunch made from stuff they grow there, and never thought we would see the day that we would be out in public and buying fussy-eater Bear make-your-own fajitas with homemade corn chips, grated cheese, sour cream and a chicken/veg filling. Yet here we were, doing just that! Naturally, she ate the wrap (with nothing on it) and the posh Doritos. We shared the rest between the 2 of us while The Boy eyed up the nearest bin.

Dairyland Farm Park was an experience. Does anyone else ever picture happy family trips to farms, bottle feeding baby animals, petting bunnies and guinea pigs? Anyone else ever frustratingly disappointed at the reality? We never seem to learn. All Bear wanted to do was play in the park – apart from a pony ride she didn’t pay much attention to the animals at all. And we had to take The Boy out of the vicinity of the goats after a very loud screaming session because we wouldn’t let him feed stones to them. Seriously, surely instinct will tell anyone – of any age – that feeding stones to a goat is not going to end well?


“Would you like any sauce with those stones, Mr Goaty McGoatface?”

Given that we had ventured that far, we thought we may as well go the extra 90 minutes to Lands End. Naturally, it took twice as long as that because tractors and traffic (and Jeremy Beadle, God rest his soul) saw us coming. I felt really lucky to be there – it’s surreal looking out to sea knowing that you’re stood on the furthest possible step of land. Of course, Bear’s highlight was the park. It certainly wasn’t the little exhibition about all the people that have completed the Lands End to John o’Groats challenge over the years. There we were, explaining to her about how cool that is, pointing at maps and being all cultured. Then she announced – very loudly – that “this place is really boring for children, isn’t it?” while we placated her brother with his third bag of Quavers. #makingmemories


Lands End – a one thumb up/one thumb down kinda place when you’re nearly 5.

Big birds
The evening entertainment for the children was spot on. What’s not to love about a bar well-stocked with regional ciders, beer and gin where children can just charge around like lunatics while being entertained by a guy dressed as a giant seagull? In the interests of clarity, it was not the same seagull that disgraced himself down the back of Paul’s t-shirt in Padstow. Although we never did see the 2 of them together, so I could be wrong…


Meet Sid.

Before kids, we holidayed in hot countries where we relaxed with books and cocktails and no adults dressed as giant birds (that we knew of). 5 years on and we will have some very fond memories of Cornwall, despite booking to go to Devon. Happy birthday to our big girl – our resident chatterbox, our little adventurer and our embracer of chaos. While neither me nor your Dad will be dressing up as a seagull to celebrate your special day, I can assure you we won’t be giving you organic fajitas. It’s birthday cake and Quavers all the way, promise.


One thought on “The Dunks do Devon (again)

  1. Lovely, made me laugh again. Just done a long journey home from SW France with teenagers. 2 days in the car including a 6 hour break on a ferry. Can be just as frustrating. Holidays with no children are just over the horizon.

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