The Lundiary: Lunday Eve

In the real world, the frenzied preparations for Frankenmas are reaching their climax – amidst the traditional worries that the festival has become too commercial and that we’ve lost its true, horrifying meaning.  I myself may put up my Frankenmas tree later today, decorating it with silvery lightning bolts and, indeed, actual bolts.  Meanwhile, here at GofaDM, it is Sunday which means its time to turn off your phones and out the cat: this is no time for interruptions.  Yes, it’s time to settle down in a comfy chair for the next, thrilling instalment of the Lundiary…

Lunday Eve

In which our hero travels to darkest North Devon and starts a narrative….

The day started much as any other: filled with the quotidien elements of normal life admin along with the emails, MS Office documents and conference calls that make up my soi-disant working life.  Meals were a tad more eccentric than usual as I attempted to use up any scraps (some fairly sizeable) that seemed unlikely to survive in a viable state in my fridge while I was away.  I do feel that refrigerator hygiene is very important for any life to be considered truly civilised!

The morning was also spent with one eye on the weather forecast and another on my mental state as I finalised the packing for the expedition.  How could I best optimise the balance between warm and waterproof clothing? How much entertainment in the form of books (physical and electronic), podcasts, music and episodes of Only Connect and various BBC4 documentaries would I need to maintain my fragile grasp on sanity?  As a friend had noted the previous day, I would be alone on the island (other than for my friends and its other occupants: human and otherwise) with just my demons for company.  There would be none of my usual psychological props: cultural events or my continuing commitment to make the internet a stranger (and in my view, better) place.

Eventually, the die was cast and I just had to hope that my decisions would prove to be sound and enough to avoid my being airlifted from the island in a strait-jacket…

Despite my antiquity and two (count them, two) Geography O Levels, I am constantly surprised how far this country stretches to the west of Southampton. In consequence, I was rather glad that C+N had offered to fit me into their car for the drive into the setting sun: the distance to cover was rather larger than anything I have attempted in a single run for many years.  A significant chunk of this journey took place on the fabled A303: which I like to think of as the West Country’s answer to Route 66 – though it has yet to be celebrated in song (to the best of my knowledge), just in the name of a rifle. Thankfully, hold-ups were only modest – nobody wants to see a bare road – and so we reached our overnight billet in time for a sensibly-timed dinner.

We were staying in the Hoops Inn, a hostelry which worked hard to conceal its basketball theme from the casual visitor, in a settlement called Horns Cross.  Coming so soon after another settlement called Fairy Cross, I did start to wonder if the denizens of North Devon have some unresolved anger issues.

The Inn offered a very decent dinner: the rack of vegetables was particularly fine.  Don’t judge me, sometimes you do need to use enhanced interrogation techniques to get the best from a courgette.  The meals did have one little foible: every course (except desert – though I did only sample a single exemplar) was accompanied by a small mound of rocket.  Not just any mound, the rocket had clearly been pressed into a ramekin (or similar chalice) in order to hold a specific shape. I promptly decided to rename the inn as the Rocket and Ramekin  to more accurately capture its unique vibe: let’s face it, it had never really committed to the NBA.

It was over dinner that I first properly read the information pack about the island and where we would be staying: some might say this was a trifle late in the process.  It was the inventory that particularly piqued my interest. In a kitchen which seemed very thoroughly stocked with utensils, cutlery and crockery the inventory went out of its way to make clear that neither axes nor saws were provided.  By this stage, it was clearly too late to bring my own. This was clearly going to make dismembering the bodies significantly more of a chore…

Later in the evening D+J joined us, having had a few navigational issues on their journey to the west.  Equanimity had been restored by the time of their arrival and we shared a few (rather brown) ales together before retiring for the night.

My room at the inn was pretty decent, though the window proved unwilling to close (and I had no access to Task Manager to force matters).  As I lay supine in my bed, with the open window to my left and a hard-working radiator to my right, there was quite the thermal gradient across the room.  Despite this potential for the spontaneous generation of within-room weather, I slept pretty decently by my standards.

I believe I can promise that, next Sunday, the diary will actually make landfall on Lundy: stay tuned…

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