After leaving Canada we flew back to England via Charles de Gaulle in Paris. This would have to be the most unfriendly, chaotic airport we have been through this year and this was flight number 21 so we have been in quite a few airports. The difficulties came because we had a connecting flight and had to change terminals. Finally we landed in Birmingham Airport, a destination I had been quite rude about and I am happy to have been proved wrong. The people were super friendly, the systems speedy and efficient. Of course there is a huge size difference between the two airports but……
So off we went to Teleford and a few days with my Aunt Kim. Such a warm welcome and a very pleasant time catching up. Then it was off to Devon to the little village of Plymtree for a one week workaway. Plymtree is a small village not far out of Exeter, it is very picturesque and friendly. We were working with a well known glass maker called Siddy Langely. You find out more about her work at http://www.siddy.com she is incredibly talented and her work is beautiful. Siddy has sold her Devon longhouse and is in the process of building a new house and glass studio. For a week we worked alongside another couple who are there on a long stay, we (actually mainly Mike) helped with getting the exterior ready for cladding.
One of the brillant things about workaway ( http://www.workaway.info ) is that you get to experience things you wouldn’t as a tourist. While in Plymtree we went to a concert in the village hall, we went to the village pub and wondered around the roads which in some cases were so narrow we thought they were driveways!
The other amazing opportunity we had was to make some glass coasters with Siddy. You can see this process in the pictures below. It involved using broken glass and putting it into a mould which is then placed in a kiln where the glass melts and then is cooled very slowly. We are REALLY pleased with the result and now have a permanent memory of our time in Devon.
After a week it was time to collect another rental car and drive north towards Scotland. The drive gave us the opportunity to visit a few places we had on our to do list. The first being Sampford Courtenay, a beautiful village in west Devon on the slopes of Dartmoor. We have a friend who is named after this village, his great grandfather left here to come to New Zealand.
From here we headed north and encountered something we have read about and heard but not seen. A traffic jam on the M5. What should have taken 4 hours took over 6 hours, there was a horrific accident that brought traffic to a complete stop for a while and after that it was slow until we were a long way north. The fact that it was the first Saturday in August also meant that every man and his caravan was out. Oh and did I mention the rain?
We got as far as Morecambe and spent the night there. The next day we were up bright and early and off north going via the Lake District. Even in the rain this is spectacularly beautiful. This was followed by the scenic route to Edinburgh and now we are at our next workaway on the first farm in the Scottish Highlands. I will tell you more about that next time!