No hurricane yet…Passion…

An inviting hammock in the side yard of the garden.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon: 
From this site:

“Devon has the country’s only 16-sided house (see photo below):

If you’re ever filling in a request list on Zoopla, making it clear what your house must have – three bedrooms, parking, nearby school, must be a hexakaidecagon, (in mathematics, a hexadecagon is sometimes called a hexakaidecagon or 16-gon, which is a sixteen-sided polygon) you won’t be in much luck. The only 16-side house in the country is A La Ronde in east Devon. It was built for two spinster cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, returning from a grand tour of Europe in the late 18th century. The interior decoration includes a feather frieze, gathered from native game birds and chickens, laboriously stuck down with isinglass and a shell-encrusted gallery, said to contain nearly 25,000 shells. It sounds like it was designed by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen after a head injury – but worth a visit.

This morning’s weather report reads as follows:
“It comes as Britain braces itself for one of Europe’s strongest-ever hurricanes to bring 80mph gales and 16ft waves from Thursday. Six hundred-mile-wide Hurricane Lorenzo is forecast to hit the Azores off Portugal with 100mph winds on Tuesday then spin close to Britain by Thursday, the Met Office said.” -13 hours ago.”

There’s even mention of the possibility of snow. To our surprise, it snows in the UK, primarily in Scotland but also in Wales, where we’ll be in 11 days. But, most of the snow (not substantial amounts) occurs in January and February and often only in the mountains, which won’t impact us since we’ll be long gone.
The paddock we can easily see from the living room window.
Sadly, most of our time here is spent indoors with the heavy rains day after day. When the sun makes an appearance, it only lasts for a few minutes. On many occasions when the sun peeked out from behind the clouds, we’d begin readying ourselves to take off on a road trip, and moments later, we were removing our shoes and rain jackets when the rain had returned.

We’ve resigned ourselves that this is the way it will be over the next 11 days. Instead of fussing over this situation, we’re exploring the farm as soon as the rain stops and the sun emerges. 
Our favorite giant duck.
Living on this farm is truly enchanting. At any hour of the day, we hear the myriad ducks, geese, and chickens making endlessly varying sounds along with the baaing of the sheep only 20 meters (65 feet) from the house. It’s all music to our ears.

It all falls in line with our passion for animals which we’ve been able to foster in many locations worldwide. No doubt, we’ve lived in many areas where wildlife was rarely spotted, nor did we encounter any barnyard animals.
This doesn’t mean we haven’t had a good experience in those areas. It’s merely a different experience.  Instead, we focus on the area’s history, architecture, and scenery, whether a quaint village or a big city.  There is always something that stands out as unique and fascinating.
Ducks are considering their next move.

Of course, there are always the people, and that above all is the passion we share regardless of where we may be. One of the main reasons we enjoy cruises (the next occurring in 24 days) is the opportunity to meet new people and, on occasion, encounter a few we’ve met on past cruises.

The primary means of enhancing the cruise experience is to dine in the main dining room for breakfast and dinner at a “sharing” table. Occasionally, we’ll have breakfast in the buffet, and there again, we may meet other passengers sitting at a table they’re happy to share.  We’ve made many friends throughout the world on cruises.

We seldom dine in specialty restaurants for two reasons: the added cost and, two, the circumstances are such whereby it’s difficult to meet others when most tables in specialty restaurants are for two people. We’re perfectly content with the food in the main dining room, which at times may be mediocre at best.

These ducks and chickens are on a mission.

However, we don’t cruise for the food. Many passengers do, finding the all-you-can-eat aspect most appealing. We can eat all we want when we’re cooking our delicious meals. We don’t need to be on a cruise to do this.  

The only limitation we place upon ourselves when preparing our meals is to avoid overeating and gaining weight. We can’t be in a position where we don’t fit into the few clothes we each have in our one suitcase.

Mondays keep coming quicker and quicker. It must be a by-product of aging. The days flying by in a blur of pleasant experiences, good conversation, accomplishing tasks, and planning for the future. It’s all good.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 30, 2018:

A little affection between the two warthogs in the garden. For more photos, please click here.

Hurricane Lorenzo coming this way…A useful greenhouse on the farm…

Renate suggested we pick all the tomatoes and other vegetables remaining in
the greenhouse.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon: 
From this site:
“Devon was the last place in the country to execute witches:
By the late 1600s, the rest of the country had given up executing people as witches and instead started giving them columns in the Daily Mail. But the last English executions for witchcraft happened in Exeter in 1682 and 1685. Temperance Lloyd, Susannah Edwards, and Mary Trembles of Bideford died in 1682, and Alice Molland died in 1685 in Heavitree. They were accused of causing illness and death by the black arts.”

We selected a few of the larger ripe tomatoes and a variety of cherry and grape tomatoes.

We are not worried about Hurricane Lorenzo based on the fact we are not living on the coast. But instead are located inland in Devon.

This morning we spotted information from a few news sources.

From this site, Metro News, published within the past hour:

“The UK could be hit by 70mph winds and torrential rainfall when the remains of Hurricane Lorenzo arrive next week.

The UK could be hit by 70mph winds and torrential rainfall when the remains of Hurricane Lorenzo arrive next week. The country was struck by heavy rain overnight, and the bad weather is set to continue when the storm sweeps across Britain on Thursday. 

The Met Office said there was a potential for Lorenzo to bring strong winds and flooding and described the weather system as a ‘real beast.’ Hurricane Lorenzo has strengthened into a Category 5 storm in the central Atlantic Ocean, making it the strongest storm ever observed so far north and east in the Atlantic basin. 

The US National Hurricane Centre said late yesterday night the storm has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (257 kph). Lorenzo moves north at ten mph (16 kph) and is centered about 1,410 miles (2,269 kilometers) southwest of the Azores, a Portuguese island chain.

Hurricane Lorenzo
Map of the expected course of hurricane Lorenzo from this site.

Yellow weather warnings were put in place from 6:00 pm on Saturday to 5:00 pm on Sunday, warning of persistent rain and a risk of flooding across the northwest and southwest of England and Wales. 

Lettuce next to a fallen apple with a butterfly.

Areas such as Devon and Cornwall could see coastal gales of up to 50mph, while between 30mm and 40mm of rain is expected to fall within the warning area over the weekend. Cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Bangor, Swansea, and Cardiff are also covered by the weather warning.”
Based on our location and this map, we could experience heavy winds and rain in 24 to 48 hours. We were hoping to head to Tiverton tomorrow morning to shop, but if high winds and torrential rains have commenced, we may have to head to the tiny shop in Witheridge to get what we need for a few days.  

Two ducks were sitting on the fence at Pond Cottage.

Right now, we’re considering driving to Tiverton to at least get our shopping done. With many shops closing at 4:00 pm today, we won’t have much time and need to head out shortly.  

The fall remains of what must have been a lovely flower garden during the spring and summer months.

In the interim, speaking of updates, we finally received the refund from Easirent of EU 2100, US $2297.62 (as of today’s values).  What a relief! We’ll report back with updates.

At the moment, it’s raining, but there is no wind, so that it may be best we get on our way.

A few flowers remain in the cooler weather.

Have a fantastic day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 29, 2019:
Elephant’s feet must carry a lot of weight: “Elephants are the largest living terrestrial animals. The average male African bush elephant is 3.20 m (10.5 ft) tall at the shoulder and has a body mass of 6,000 kg (13,228 lb), whereas the average female is 2.60 m (8.53 ft) tall at the shoulder and have a mass of 3,000 kg (6,614 lb).”  For more photos, please click here.

One year ago…Time flies, blah, blah, blah…A favorite year…

This lamb is half the size of the others.  Renate explained she never grew to full size due to a genetic anomaly..

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall: 
From this site:
Devon has Europe’s Oldest Cinema:
Torbay Picture House was opened on 16 March 1914 and is believed to be the oldest surviving purpose-built cinema in Europe. In its early days, it featured a 21-piece orchestra, with each member paying a guinea to perform. There are 375 seats: 271 in the stalls, 104 in the circle, plus three private boxes at the back seating an additional eight. A project is currently underway to bring it back into use. We can’t say for sure, but the first film shown was probably the original Police Academy.”

“They say that time flies when you’re having fun.”  We’ve found that time flies regardless of how much fun we’re having. During the past difficult last three months in South Africa flew by in a blur, from February to May 2019, waiting for me to heal enough to fly to Ireland.
One of the entrance gates to Renate and John’s 500-year-old seven-bedroom house.
Now, as we recall Ireland and the three months we spent in Connemara from May to August 2019, passed so quickly, the memories seem distant and far removed from our reality.
Now, as I’m quickly returning to my “old” self (old, indeed) we’re able to look back to our 15 months in Marloth Park, South Africa, focusing on the amazing months we spent in my favorite place in the world.
The lush green pasture.
It was about one year ago that I found myself saying to friends and perhaps even posting that I was in the midst of experiencing “the best year of my life.”  With our many friends close at hand with an outrageously busy social life and of course, the constant flow of wildlife both at “home” and in Kruger National Park, life couldn’t have been more pleasing.

Regardless of the hot weather, the mozzies, the insects and the prospect of snakes at every turn, we found ourselves entrenched in the magic that living in the bush offers.
Some have asked, “Did the cardiac by-pass surgery and its long and painful recovery tarnish any of our South African experience?”
The sheep in this particular paddock had been sick or have some disability.
No doubt, the last three months in Marloth Park were difficult, especially when I was too ill to be able to go out onto the veranda to interact with our wildlife friends, until the last few weeks before we departed in May.  
However, I’ll still stand by my statement that the first 12 months we spent in Marloth Park as being the favorite year of my life since we’d begun our travels almost seven years ago. It was a dream fulfilled.

The proverbial question is…will we return?  Our hopes remain that immigration will allow us to return and remove our status as “undesirables” for the three months we overstayed during my recovery.  
This is the biggest goose we’ve ever seen.
We’re scheduled to return on a cruise from Lisbon to Cape Town in November 2020, hoping to stay in Marloth for another three months, minus the few days we’ll spend in Cape Town.  
If we don’t receive the waiver, we’ll have to cancel that Azamara cruise and possibly lose our GBP 892, US $1100 deposit we paid long before I became ill.  We’ve decided to continue to wait to see if we’ll be approved for the waiver over the next few months.  If not, we may choose to get an immigration lawyer to assist in this process.

In the interim, we’ll continue to make plans for the future planning around the cruise as we continue to wait on the waiver.  Neither of us cares to have plans up on the air but in this case, we’ve decided to be patient and forge ahead
This dock on the pond outside our door is covered in moss due to the humidity.
This morning farm owners Renate and John stopped by to bring us fresh towels, a new down comforter and duvet with matching pillowcases, a dozen eggs from their chickens and feed for the ducks, geese, and chickens along with different feed for the sheep.

Once the rain stops we’ll wander out to the greenhouse to pick tomatoes and stop to feed the animals some “pellets.”  Ummm…farm life…we like it!

Have a delightful weekend!

Photo from one year ago today, September 28, 2019:
From a recent visit to the “hippo pool” in the Crocodile River bordering Marloth Park.  For more photos, please click here.

Living in the moment…The simple life…

A chicken in our garden, right outside the door.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall: From this site:
“Devon “invented” the first Jack Russell Terrier
The Jack Russell Terrier was created by the Reverend John Russell – born in Dartmouth, went to school in Plympton, rector of Black Torrington. He bought a dog with stumpy legs, huge ears and was great at digging around in filth. The white and tan dog was excellent at digging out foxes which had gone to ground.”

We often hear comments such as, “Live in the moment. Don’t dwell on the past or the future.”
Roses blooming outside our door.
A considerable part of the joy we experience day by day is wrapped around our current lifestyle, our past travels, and the anticipation of experiences yet to come.  
No, this doesn’t mean we forget about where we are at any given moment. As shown in today’s simple photos, a chicken looking in the door was an experience in itself. Even in our old lives, we would have giggled over a chicken looking into the house.
For those who raise chickens, which more and more health enthusiasts are tackling these days as interest in free-range chicken and eggs has grown, a single chicken looking into the house may not be as big a deal as it is for us.
She approached the door when she saw us inside. “You got any pellets?”  she clucked!
We found ourselves giggling over this seemingly insignificant event. A short time later, we captured more photos of the farm and its farm animals when the sun peeked out for a few minutes.

We started a walk with the sun shining, heading across the road where the Dorset sheep are located in a paddock. Alas, no more than five minutes from when we left the house, it started pouring again, and we rushed back to the house. 
She was awaiting our reaction and the possibility of food.
Are we bored hanging around the farm? Not at all. We love this simple farm life with little obligation other than keeping the house clean, gathering firewood, grocery shopping, cooking our meals, doing our laundry, making and changing the bed, all of which is not unlike what most of us do daily.

We don’t have a cleaner here for the three weeks on the farm. Sure, we have our fair share of clutter, including items on the kitchen counters where we often leave out bowls and pans we use frequently. But, we both work to stay on top of keeping the house spotless, exactly how we like it.  

In our old lives, clutter was out of the question, but now, although we don’t have newspapers, snail mail, and work-related clutter, we have lots of adapters and cords cluttering our space lying all over the living room floor, including our HDMI cord. We always have to walk carefully around these cords when there are few outlets in most holiday rentals.
Although it’s very cool, flowers are still blooming.
It’s not like the US, where there are often outlets on every wall.  In many countries, there are only one or two outlets in an entire room. We’ve never had outlets in the bathroom. We work around it.  

Tom figures all of this out upon our arrival at a new location and somehow manages to ensure we each have ample plug-ins for our digital equipment using our power strips and universal adapters.

Although we’ve assigned ourselves specific tasks, we’re always willing to help one another, regardless of the task. Tom is still babying me by not allowing me to carry heavy objects, bring in groceries or help with the firewood. I doubt this will ever change, but I do my fair share around the house, especially now that I feel well.  
Colorful flowers in the garden.
As more and more time passes, I think less and less about the problematic past seven months and spend more and more time reveling in the joys of past experiences and embracing those for the future.

We’re both very grateful for this life.

May you find gratefulness in your simple days!
Photo from one year ago today, September 27, 2018:
This was my favorite photo of impalas, taken in Kruger National Park.  Impalas have exquisite markings on their faces and bodies. For more pictures from our self-drive in Kruger, please click here.

Farmer Tom…Also, credit card rewards…

In the rain, Tom was using the wheelbarrow to bring the wood to Pond Cottage.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall: From this site:
Devon has the world’s country’s bakery
“I know what you’re thinking. The clue’s in the name. But like they don’t get cream teas right, our Cornish cousins didn’t invent the pasty either. The earliest recorded recipe for the pasty was discovered in 2006 and dated back 500 years. Yup, it’s in a Devon book. So, you can go to Europe all you like and get them to say Cornish Pasties have to be made in Cornwall. Doesn’t make it so. If you like, we can also prove we invented Cornish Piskies, the Cornish language, and the writer and director Joe Cornish.

With the weather in the 14C, 57F range, the past several days consisted of almost constant rain, and it became pretty cold in the Pond Cottage. It’s been so hard. Using the woodstove was our best option to warm up. We’ve been bundled up in our sparse warm clothing.  

The past two nights, I wore socks to bed. It makes us wonder how cold we’ll be when we get to Minnesota in November, with the winter season rolling in. We recall a blizzard on Halloween in 1991 as described here and below:  
The woodshed…a building on this 500-year-old farm. 

“In eastern Minnesota, the Halloween Blizzard shattered many of the previous October snowfall records. The 8.2 inches that fell in the Twin Cities on October 31 was more snow than had ever been recorded in any October in its recorded history. Over the next two days, the snow continued to fall, leading to additional snowfall of one to two feet (30 cm to 60 cm). By the time the snow ended on November 3, the storm had dropped 36.9 in (93.7 cm) on Duluth, the largest single snowstorm total in Minnesota history at that time. The Twin Cities received 28.4 in (72.1 cm), setting a single-storm record for the metropolitan area. In all, at least one foot (30 cm) of snow fell in a swath approximately 100 mi (160 km) wide from south-central Minnesota, northeastward into northwestern Wisconsin, and into the Minnesota Arrowhead. A more narrow band of 2+ ft (60+ cm) of snow fell from the Twin Cities to Duluth and northward.”

As it turns out, my son Greg and wife Camille have offered to loan us winter clothing while in Minnesota. If necessary, we’ll also buy a few items, such as warm jackets, sweatshirts, and sweaters, leaving them behind when we depart.

As mentioned in a post a few days ago (see the link), we were awaiting a credit from Easirent Car Rentals in Ireland. Over six weeks had passed, and we’d yet to receive the EU 2100, US $2308.71 they’d charged to our account. It was not a “hold” but an actual charge.
The dry woodpile from which Tom collected wood.  The kindling is to the left of the woodpile.  The owners encouraged us to use all we wanted. We’re using the wood-burning stove/fireplace to heat the house.
The credit appeared on the card last night.  We sighed with relief. We didn’t want to deal with the negativity of the threatening phone calls for one more day! Fortunately, after pressing them with the threat of reporting them to the Irish equivalent of the Better Business Bureau, they finally came through.

While I was reviewing our various credit card balances online, which we generally pay off in full on the first of each month, Tom suggested we use accumulated rewards points on our cards toward any credits we may be paying off in a few days. We hadn’t done this in a while.

When we used the points this morning, we paid off $1397.37 on the cards. We’ve recently become more mindful of only using cards that provide the most reward points.
With all the vegetation and rain, it’s not unusual to see moss growing on the trees.
When we shop, we use a card that offers the most points for groceries. When we pay for travel-related expenses, we use two other cards, one in Tom’s name and another in mine. It’s working well for us.

The sun was shining when we awoke this morning, but it was raining again when we had our coffee. We’re looking forward to getting out. Most sightseeing venues near Devon require a drive of one or two hours on the narrow winding roads, which we aren’t willing to tackle in this rainy, windy weather.  

We’ll continue to wait patiently for a sunny day or at least a day without too much rain. In the interim, we’re enjoying the cozy fire in the woodstove while continuing our research.

May your day be sunny and bright!

Photo from one year ago today, September 26, 2018:

This male lion was cuddling up to this female.  For more of our lion photos, please click here.

The narrowest street in the world…Heavy rain keeping us in…Update…

See the description below of the narrowest official street in the world. (Not our photo).

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
“Devon has the narrowest road in the world (from this site):

Parliament Street in Exeter bears a plaque claiming it to be the narrowest street in the world. At its thinnest, it is about 0.64 meters (2 ft 1 in). At its broadest, it is 1.22 meters (4 ft 0 in). It used to be called Small Lane but was renamed Parliament Street to poke fun at the Government for passing the 1832 Reform Bill Funny,? The German’s claim they have the narrowest street in the world – but that’s just a gap between two houses. Parliament Street runs from High Street to Waterbeer Street. In 1836 the residents of Waterbeer Street paid to have the street widened. The council hasn’t done that yet. Maybe after the new pool.” (See the main photo).

Before I started preparing the post, we tackled the pouring rain and made our way from the house to the car. Needing a few items from the grocery store, it made sense to only drive to nearby Witheridge rather than head back to Tiverton, a 40-minute or more drive in the rain.

With it raining as hard as it has, added to the reality we were totally out of photos, we’d hoped to take more photos in Witheridge. Doing so was tricky when both the camera and I got soaked even while wearing my rain parka. It was not a good day for taking photos and attempting more sightseeing.

Sheep grazing near Pond Cottage.  This paddock is where the older rams reside to live out their lives.

Instead, we purchased the few items we needed and headed back to Pond Cottage to build a roaring fire and hunker down for the remainder of the day. In checking out the long-range weather report, it appears it could be raining for the next ten days.

We apologize for the lack of good photos for today’s post. We did the best we could under the circumstances. On Monday, if it’s raining when we return to Tiverton to shop, we’ll visit a few museums in the area. Rain or shine, museums are always a good option.

With our taxes done, our recent “paperwork” completed, and various supplies ordered that will be shipped to us from the mailing service. We now have more free time to begin researching our upcoming trip to India in five months.  

When we didn’t feel like driving in the pelting rain, we went 10 minutes to this small market in the village of Witheridge. They had everything we needed at reasonable prices.

All we’ve booked for India to date has been the exciting train trip on the Maharajas Express departing from Mumbai on February 2, 2020, ending in Delhi on February 8, 2020, and also the fabulous cruise embarking on April 3, 2020, from Mumbai, India and arriving on May 2, 2020, in Greenwich, England, a 29-night cruise. 

We need to begin further research on staying in India from February 8th to April 3rd, almost two whole months. We haven’t decided yet if we’ll rent a series of holiday homes or stay in hotels. If you’ve visited India in the past few years and have any suggestions, that would be greatly appreciated!

Tom had suggested we wait to book anything further for India until we had a better idea of how I’d be feeling. Now, after being off the three awful medications and being able to walk for the past month, my strength is quickly returning.

St. John the Baptist church is located in Witheridge.

It is no longer painful to walk, and the breathing issue (aka dyspnea) I was experiencing has diminished each day. The wounds on my legs and the hematoma on my right thigh are almost completely healed, and my sternum continues to be less and less painful when I move specific ways. 

Overall, I feel tremendous and hopeful for plans for the future.  Barring any unforeseen setbacks, I’m good to go anywhere we’d like to go in the world. We’ll continue to purchase global insurance, which is available annually for long-term travelers at a much better rate than we’d paid in the past.

Ultimately the international insurance we had all these years proved useless when they refused to pay my medical bills, claiming I had a pre-existing heart condition, which I did not have nor was aware of.  

Row houses in the village.

We could commence a lawsuit against the insurance company, but we’ve decided we don’t want to make our lives all about a legal matter, constantly on the phone with lawyers.  

Life goes on. And, we’re grateful that “life goes on!” We’re thankful to have survived the trials of the past seven-plus months, and feel free to return to our world journey with peace of mind and contentment.

May your day present you with peace of mind and contentment!

Photo from one year ago today, September 25, 2018:
The baby tried drinking from the river on her own while mom stood nearby to watch for predators.  Giraffes are vulnerable to predators in this position. For more photos, please click here.

Reviews of rental car companies…The good and the not so good…Photos of our new home in Witheridge…

Renate and John took all the lovely photos we’re sharing today.  This is our holiday rental, Pond Cottage, at night.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
“Devon has the slowest roads in the country (from this site):

Not only do we have more roads than anyone else, but it also takes you longer to use. A survey by international travel experts Inrix, who provides live traffic information to people like the BBC, this year named Exeter the slowest city in the country during rush hour. Yes, slower than London. Traffic crawls through the city at just 4.6mph at the busiest times of the day. You can walk faster. Businesses in Exeter spend more time stuck in traffic than businesses in London.

Over the past three days, it’s been raining around the clock. Yesterday, it was cold. We started a fire in the wood-burning stove to keep us warm and kept it going all day, well into the evening.  
It’s too cool to use the beautiful pool.

It was delightful to see the roaring fire and to hear the crackling of the dry wood. It reminded us of cozy cold days in Minnesota, although it certainly isn’t as hard here as it was there.

There is heat in this house, but we don’t use it to help the owner keep costs down. The fire was an excellent alternative, especially when all the firewood comes from downed trees on the 150-acre farm.

The living room where we’re currently situated as I prepare today’s post.

On another note, over the past several weeks, we’ve been dealing with a frustrating rental car issue resulting in countless phone calls to resolve it.

On May 12, 2019, we rented a car from Easirent (a rental company in the UK) in Dublin for our three-month stay in Connemara, Ireland. We were shocked at the rental office when a deposit of EU 2100, US $2308.71, was required along with a tax of EU 712, US $826 (neither of which were mentioned when we rented the car online). This huge sum was not just a “hold” on the credit card, but they actually “took” the amount from our credit card.

There’s a freezer on the opposite side of the kitchen (not shown in the photo), which is the same size as the under-counter refrigerator shown here.

We returned the car, filled to the brim with fuel and with no damage whatsoever, on August 9, 2019. We were told when we booked the car and then again when we returned it. We’d see the substantial refund within ten business days. That was 46 days ago. No refund.

After three weeks had passed from the return date, I started calling, inquiring as to when we’d receive the refund. First, I called the location we’d rented it to ensure they’d properly processed the return. 

The master bedroom with skylights with a remote for opening and closing their shades. Each of the two almost identical bedrooms has en-suite bathrooms.

They stated, “Deposit refunds can take as much as three weeks. You should see it in a few days.”   

From the original “10 business days” to “21 business days?” This was not acceptable. However, we knew we had a backup plan if they didn’t refund the money…we could contact the credit card we’d used for the rental and request they handle it.  

We’re a little too early to see the leaves turning.  

On one other occasion, we’d gone through the credit card company when we were to receive a refund from an airline when they’d canceled the flight. It took months, contacting them over and over with no results.  

Finally, we took the issue to the credit card company, and they resolved it in days, not months, giving us a full refund. Now, we were faced with doing the same, with the same credit card company.  

An aerial view of the two houses and farm buildings on the 150-acre property. Pond Cottage is closest to the pond shown between the trees in the forefront of the photo.

We preferred not to have the credit card company handle the refund if we could help it. It’s possible they’d flag our account showing multiple requests for refunds.  

I went up the line…searching higher up at Easirent to find the appropriate management to speak to. Yesterday, I had no alternative but to threaten with the prospect of contacting an attorney and muddying their name on our site. 

A few hours ago, I was told by a “higher-up” that the credit was processed at 8:51 this morning.  No apologies.

Many ducks and geese reside on the farm. They enjoy the pond and daily feedings.

He explained it could take a few days to appear on our credit card. I don’t understand why a credit would take so long when charges appear immediately, but we’ll give it a few days and see what happens. Frustrating, to say the least, and also time-consuming.

When we rented the first and second of two cars here in England through Europcar at the Exeter Airport, we were thrilled with the cars, the customer service, the low deposit, and the ease of the entire process on both occasions.

We’d used Europcar more times than any other rental company over the years and always had a great experience. Why did we choose Easirent this only time? For some odd reason, pricing in Dublin was considerably higher at Europcar for the three-month rental than Easirent. We chose Easirent without doing enough research on the company. Our error. We’ll never do this again!

Pond Cottage during daylight hours.

So now we wait to see if the refund comes through in the next few days. If it doesn’t, we’ll ask the credit card company for assistance. We’ll report the outcome here in the next few days.

Yes, traveling can result in situations such as these, whether over the short or long term. We learn as we go and carry along with us the knowledge we’ve acquired along the way.  Even after almost seven years, we still don’t always get it right. We continue to learn from our experiences as we enthusiastically look to the future. 

May your day be filled with peace and contentment.

Photo from one year ago today, September 24, 2018:

From this site“The giraffe’s main predator is the lion, which can accelerate to almost 50 miles per hour. His second worst enemy, the hyena, can reach 35 mph. If a lion and a giraffe ran a race side by side, the lion would beat the giraffe to the finish line. However, the giraffe is not about to give a predator an even start. He uses his great height and excellent eyesight to spot a pride of lions as far as half a mile away and gets a head start. Lions can sustain their top speed for only about a hundred yards, so they run out of gas before the giraffe does. Hyenas can be more dangerous because they hunt cooperatively. They can take turns sprinting to keep the giraffe from slowing down to catch his breath.” For more photos, please click here.

Continued…Life on a farm…An experience like none other…

John was excited to share details of this rare tree with us. “It is a Wollemia Nobilis. Wollemia is a genus of coniferous tree in the family Araucariaceae. Wollemia was only known through fossil records until the Australian species Wollemia Nobilis was discovered in 1994 in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorges 150 km north-west of Sydney. The genus is named for the National Park.”

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
Devon has the country’s oldest bakery (from this site):
It isn’t only pasties we’ve been making forever. We’ve also been making bread and biscuits since before America was born. How do we know? Jacka Bakery on the Barbican made biscuits that went onto The Mayflower for the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is the oldest bakery in the country, even older than those sandwiches you get in South West Train buffet cars. Just think, if Jacka hadn’t been there all those years ago, we might not have the USA today. You’re welcome. We also used to have the oldest hotel in the country, the Royal Clarence in Exeter, but that is temporarily burnt to the ground.

Yesterday morning, we jumped into the car and took off for Exeter Airport to return the vehicle and get another car. Having decided we’d only rent cars for one month because our credit card insures the car for 30 days only.
The pond next to our house, Pond Cottage with a few ducks and geese.
Since we have no home or car in the US (or anywhere else in the world), we can’t use those policies to cover rental cars. Over the past few years, we’ve taken a chance to arrange 90-day rentals without added insurance, although the rental agreements cover a portion of the loss if the car is damaged.

There’s no way we’d be interested in paying an extra GBP 10 (US $12.43) or GBP 15 (US $ 18.65) a day for added insurance when we often don’t pay those amounts for the rental itself.  Also, I don’t drive in foreign countries when the stick shifts in on the left and driving is on the left side of the road. I’m not a good enough driver for that level of coordination!
Wet logs on the bottom, dry logs for our use in the fireplace, at the top of this pile.
Nor do we want to pay equal amounts per day by adding me to the policy. When we go to the US in 46 days, we’ll most likely rent two cars, enabling us the freedom to visit with the family at our leisure.

As a rarity, we’re staying at my friend Karen’s home in Eden Prairie, which she kindly offered.  We’d stayed with Karen during our last few weeks in Minnesota before leaving to begin our travels.  
There are numerous barns and paddocks on the 150-acre farm.
We kindly refuse most offers to stay in the homes of others throughout the world when we have our routine, which may not work well for our hosts. Having remained with Karen in the past and the ease we felt in doing so, we’re comfortable staying with her again.

Of course, we’ll be busy with family most days and evenings and plan to eat most of our meals out to ensure we don’t impose on Karen, family, or friends. With my restricted way of eating, it’s too much to expect hosts to figure it out. I’m sure we’ll have a few meals with Karen and her significant other.
Lush greenery is prevalent on the 150 acres.
Anyway, back to the car rental… With heavy rain and an inconsistent GPS signal, it took much longer than we’d anticipated to make our way to Exeter Airport and then, once there, to find a petrol station. Sure, I asked my phone for assistance. With the poor signal, each time indicated the closest was 10 or 12 miles from our current location.  

We continued to drive around the area of the airport until we finally found one five miles away.  We’ve never had such problems getting from one location to another in any part of the world due to the lack of a consistent internet signal. 
Renate, the owner, suggested we keep the gate closed and the front doors.  Otherwise. The ducks and geese will enter the house.
However, we chose to live in the country, and it’s a small price to pay for the beauty of the area and our joy in living on a farm. We have good WiFi (although slow) at the cottage, for which we are grateful.

We stayed calm. We finally headed back to the airport to return the car and collect another. We asked for the exact vehicle with the new contract, and this was accomplished at ease. We’ve had great rentals and customer service at a company we’ve used time and again, Europcar.
A handy feeder for sheep and other barnyard animals.
At last, we were back on the road. We decided to shop yesterday when we realized how far it is to get to Tiverton from the farm to the grocery shop, which we’d planned to do today. We easily found the Tesco Superstore, comparable in size to a Walmart of Costco.  

We’d planned a couple of favorite recipes to make during the week. Still, we could not find the ingredients, including Italian sausages or any well-seasoned sausage without wheat or sugar.  
This is the area where the sheep are sheared once a year.  John and Renate have a company with workers from Australia or New Zealand in their “off-season” (Southern Hemisphere) that shear their sheep.
One of the second recipes required coconut flour, almond flour, and flaxseed. When we saw the sizes of the bags of each, we decided it made no sense to have leftover ingredients we’d have to dispose of when we leave England in 31 days.  

Instead, we revised our grocery list on the app on my phone. We decided on preparing easy dinners for this remaining month in the country: a protein source, a variety of vegetables, and a salad (and rice for Tom). 
There are acres of orchards on the property.  Over this hill is a garden from which we can pick whatever we’d like that’s remaining from the growing season.
We didn’t return to the Pond Cottage until 4:30 pm, put away the groceries, prepared an excellent dinner, and settled in for a quiet evening. It’s cloudy and rainy again today. Should the sun come out, we’ll get out to further explore the farm to take more photos.
We want to thank our readers for the kind and thoughtful messages we often receive by email from many of you. Rather than use the “comment feature,” many prefer to share their stories via email to maintain a level of anonymity. We never post the contents of any email we receive without the authorization of the sender. We love hearing from YOU!

Have a great week ahead!

Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2018:

It was hard to believe we captured this scene close to sunset at the Crocodile River. For more photos, please click here.

Life on a farm…An experience like none other…Once again, adapting…

John, our exciting and attentive host farmer, has beautiful stories to tell. A former physician and world traveler, he’s a wealth of information. He took us on a partial tour of the 150 acres farm. On another day, we’ll see more.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of road – the longest network in the country. The county is home to everything from single track rural lanes across Dartmoor and Exmoor to major highways like the A38 and A30 – as well as the M5.”

There are chickens, ducks, and geese on the property, along with many Dorset sheep.  (Photos coming soon of these adorable sheep which are kept for their wool, not for slaughter.

Many of us have ancestors that farmed. In Tom’s case, it’s undoubtedly true when both of his parents, grandparents, and some of his siblings were born on a farm. I would have no idea if any of my ancestors were farmers.

We both love living on a farm. It must be in our DNA. It’s hard to imagine living in a typical city when over the past weeks, we’ve lived on two farms, reveling in every aspect. Of course, part of the enjoyment is based on the fact that we don’t do any of the work.

The acreage is diverse and beautiful.

People we’ve met along the way have asked if we “house sit” or work on farms as compensation for living quarters. As much as they may be appropriate for some travelers, it is just not quite our thing.  

We travel as retirees, although we spend hours preparing and working on our posts, taking photos, and conducting research. As we mentioned many times in past posts, we don’t feel our site is a “job” based on the enjoyment and benefit we derive from writing our stories each day.  

If the weather were warm, we’d certainly use this pool, but it is very calm and frequent rains, as it is today.

Should our level of enthusiasm or interest in continuing to post each day ever changes, we may have to reconsider. But, for now, we can no more imagine ending this process than we can in ending our world travels. 

We can only strive to be healthy, diligently watch our budget and be adaptable to the many nuances properties and locations present to us along the way. Nonetheless, we’ll always encounter situations that aren’t ideal.

A small pond near their house and the barns.  Soon, we’ll share photos of the pond outside our door of the “Pond Cottage.”

In this new location, a well-built former barn renovated to perfection still has some nuances which we must adjust to, primarily small things such as a difficult-to-navigate stairway to the second floor where the bedrooms and bathrooms are located.

There’s a tiny under-counter refrigerator that requires bending over to access (although there is, much to our delight, a separate under-counter freezer). The bed is somewhat low and not as comfortable as we’d like. To avoid being nitpicky, there are other small things not worthy of mentioning here.

John planted 600 sequoia seeds many years ago, and now there are over 400 trees.

But, we’re living on a gorgeous farm and in a beautiful house, and we appreciate being here more than we can say. The owners are over-the-top wonderful, and the nearby villagers are kind, welcoming, and friendly. We couldn’t ask for more.

Funnily, neither of us feel compelled to get out sightseeing right now as we’re immersed in the quiet solitude on this gorgeous property. Tomorrow we’ll head to Tiverton to check out the bigger of the villages in the area.

No doubt during our three weeks here, we’ll get out to see the local points of interest, most of which is beautiful scenery. There is so much to explore here at the farm that we can stay busy for days. Also, the hills and rolling terrain are ideal for me to build strength in my legs.

This is a young sequoia tree, but it may become as massive as many seen in Northern California in generations to come.  

Yesterday, our tour with John was exciting and informational. His and his lovely wife’s love of their farm is evident in every acre of land, the well-kept nature of every building, and the loving care of their barnyard animals. We’re honored to have the opportunity to be here, with them only a short distance away and all the beauty and wonder surrounding us.

Soon, we’re off to Exeter Airport to return the rental car and get another. We’re hoping the rain stops and the sun comes out so we can explore on the return drive.

May your Sunday be blessed with joy and wonder!

Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2018:
“Gee…the eggs are all gone, but I think I’ll lay in the bowl to let them know we want more.” Bands of mongooses came to see us almost every day. Tom would scramble raw eggs for them and serve them in this bowl. When the eggs were gone, lying in the bowl was an excellent way to express their enthusiasm. For more details, please click here.


We’ve arrived in Tiverton, Witheridge, Devon…Another beautiful farm…Balance of Bodmin Moor photos…

An otter was lounging in the sun.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
Devon is a county in southwest England. It encompasses sandy beaches, fossil cliffs, medieval towns, and moorland national parks. The English Riviera is a series of picturesque, south-coast harbor towns, including Torquay, Paignton, and Brixham. The South West Coast Path follows the coastline, taking in the towering cliffs of the northern Exmoor Coast and rock formations on the fossil-rich southern Jurassic Coast.”

The drive from Treveighan to Witheridge consisted of narrow roads requiring 30 turns, according to Maps. We only made one wrong turn when we encountered a detour and had to get back on track without a signal.
Although this bridge looks wide in the photo, it is only the width of one car.
Of course, I’d saved the directions on Maps, but with 70% of the country, roads unmarked, it was a guessing game. However, it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to live in these four country homes in Cornwall, England, and the last, in Wales.
As we drove toward Witheridge, we encountered many historic stone houses.
When we arrived at Pond Cottage in Witheridge, the treat awaiting us was reminiscent of our arrival only two weeks ago at the Tredarupp farm after our fantastic two weeks overlooking the sea in Falmouth.
St Petrock & St Keri Church in Egloskerry, Launceston.
This visit to Cornwall, England, consisting of these shorter stays than we’ve been used to in many other countries throughout the world, may have sparked a new level of enthusiasm for both of us. Could this be our unique way of traveling the world, shorter stays but more locations to explore? We’re beginning to reframe our thinking.
On a narrow road, we carefully passed a woman on a horse.
As we further research our upcoming two-month trip to India in a little over four months, we’ve decided India will undoubtedly be an ideal location to live in four different areas giving us a broader view of the world than staying in one location for three months.
Bodmin Moor is a 208 square mile area.  Many farms adjoin the area.
This is not to say we’re sorry we’ve stayed three months (or more in a couple of cases) in various holiday homes. We were blissfully able to immerse ourselves in the culture and the community while gaining a sense of “belonging.” We have no regrets.
These birds remind us of the Helmeted Guineafowl we had in our garden in Marloth Park.
However, with the current reality of my ongoing heart condition, it makes sense to expand our horizons and see all that we can over the next few years until we can’t carry on, which is inevitable, based on our ages.
A common Fallow deer, often seen in the wild in the UK.
We haven’t unpacked. We took out the single plastic bag with the bare minimum of toiletries and could riffle through the blue bag if we needed something additional. The bulk of our clothing remains in our luggage after we’ve dug out the few items we’ll wear in the three weeks we’ll spend here.
The grounds at Tamar Wildlife Centre are tree-lined with lush vegetation.
The most significant part of the unpacking here was putting away the foodstuffs we brought with us, both perishable and non-perishable. But, this was no more time-consuming than a return trip from the supermarket.  
Not indigenous to the UK, there are several wallabies in the open wildlife area.
We won’t have to shop over the weekend based on what we have on hand, although I’m looking forward to doing so by Monday when we’ll have a chance to explore further in Tiverton, one of the larger villages in the area.
A wallaby and possibly here, joey.
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll share photos of our new location. We’ll travel to Exeter Airport at noon to drop off the current rental car and execute a new one-month agreement.  We’re planning to keep the exact vehicle, if possible since it easily holds our bags.

This morning we awoke to the sounds of the ducks and geese and roosters crowing in the pond the house overlooks. Soon, we’ll tour the property with the owner taking photos to share tomorrow.

Enjoy your Saturday!
Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2018:
No expression on this cape buffalo’s face can more clearly illustrate his disdain over the hot weather and lack of water nearby. For more photos, please click here.