Toilets, Tarka and tea

One thing I hate, no, detest about holidays is the need to use public toilets. As a member of the Weak Bladder Brigade I have the added bonus of needing the toilet quite frequently and, sometimes, immediately. We were climbing a very steep hill to Baggy Point one day last week and we had got too far to turn back when I realised I needed to pee. And quite urgently. But unlike the male of the species I couldn’t just nip behind a tree or bush, I had to carry on walking and admire the view whilst desperately pulling out all my reserves in the pelvic muscle region to stop myself, well, peeing. And then I had the joy of the very steep and stony descent back down the hill (at least a twenty minute walk) before I would reach the cafe, which I hoped to hell had a toilet. What my lovely family don’t understand is that as desperate as I am to pee, I can’t walk quickly with a full bladder. It takes all my effort to concentrate on not peeing that I can’t possibly walk quickly as well. Luckily, I made it back to the cafe without incident (and believe me, there have been incidents – which have left me distraught for days) and all was well. But crikey, this needing to pee NOW thing does mean having to use some of the most vile public “conveniences” imaginable. You can’t be choosy even though your entire being is screaming “NO BLOODY WAY”. You have to endure odours, floors that look like they haven’t been cleaned EVER, seatless loos, paperless loos, loos that don’t lock. The list goes on. I try to plan ahead and certainly have favoured options – National Trust can generally be relied upon to be reasonably decent, especially if it’s a newer Visitor Centre or cafe. I have been known to spend upwards of five quid in other cafes just so I can use their facilities – the problem being if you buy a beverage you’re really only going to have the exact same requirement an hour later. Perhaps that’s why I spend so much time in cafes?

Enough of this. Today we have been cycling. A lot. All day really. We’re in quite close proximity to the Tarka Trail here at our second week home and we wanted to make as much use of it as possible. So we’ve cycled a 24 mile round trip to Barnstaple, taking in Bideford, Instow and finally Fremington Quay in Barnstaple before turning around and coming back again. We have been across bridges over pretty streams and rivers and seen beautiful bays and some rather sheer drops on either side of us. We didn’t see any otters in the river (where the story Tarka the Otter got its inspiration) but we had a tasty carvery lunch en route and an ice cream at the quay (ice cream being a daily occurrence at the moment!) to give us some energy – ha ha! A did really well and managed most of the day without complaint, until around 8 miles from our end point when she developed a headache, and so an enjoyable cycle was had by all.

K has always been a coffee drinker and I’ve rarely known him to drink tea. He’s never been one of those people (like my lovely brother) to check his watch before deciding which hot beverage was suitable, but this week he’s been drinking tea like the proverbial builder. I’ve become quite excited that the numerous teapots (don’t ask me why?) that I have squirrelled away in a cupboard might actually get some use. I even have aspirations to be like the vicar lady on Gogglebox with her teapot and array of knitted (I can feel a project forming) teacosies. Such fun!

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