One good thing came out of my car breaking down today. This has been just the second occasion that I have spent any time with my daughter’s boyfriend and I have decided that he is a love. Why? The way he reacted to our plans going awry. We left home at 10.30 and should have been at Hound Tor in less than an hour, but my car broke three miles from home. While I waited for the mending man they took the dogs off for a walk, got a taxi home to pick up girlies car, came back to take the dogs off my hands again while the mending man followed me limping to Halfords. We went to browse a motorbike dealership while a new battery was sorted and I began to understand his passion and just how knowledgeable he is about bikes. I felt thoroughly out of place there though – never seen so much power and shine under one roof.
We got my car back, headed home for a quick snackette and situation re-appraisal and around 2pm set off for the moor again. This was supposed to be a treat for him, his first trip to one of Nina’s and my favourite places. I thought how sweet of him to squidge his six foot three into the back of my tiny Sadie, leaving Nina and I to chunter on, as the glory of the south Dartmoor hills opened up on the horizon. Dido and Daisy his new best friends gazed adoringly at him as he slipped off to sleep and only woke as we thundered over the cattle grid and got our first view of the lovely granite outcrop that is Haytor.
‘Wow’, Nina and I in stereo, just as we have a hundred times. ‘What do you think Steve, isn’t it stunning?
‘Uhhh’, he’s awake but not as we know it.
He recovered in time to scramble up Houndtor ten minutes further on,
and was a very happy puppy with his ice cream, camera and a focus worth of scruffy sheep in need of threading. Down the other side of the hill with views clear back to East Devon
lies the ruins of a mediaeval village where Steve and Nina made ‘Grand Designs’ that even included a granny annexe (on the edge of said village way beyond the cowshed), although he wouldn’t commit to which granny!
I should probably take it as a compliment that he managed to fall asleep again while I barrelled through the back track to Ashburton; if I had been the passenger I’d have been clinging to the dashboard muttering to any goddess I could think of. I think he then managed a few miles of wakefulness but was gone again through Totnes and until we parked in Dartmouth.
Coffee and chips by the waterfront kept him going as did the crossing on Higher Ferry but quelle surprise, we lost him again until Paignton, which is perhaps best slept through.
I’m fairly sure that Steve enjoyed Devon; he did get to sleep his way through countryside quite different from flat, overbuilt Portsmouth. Our rolling hills and picture skew villages giving way to azure sea are clearly soporific and I’m looking forward to sending him to the land of Nod again soon. It was great having such an easy guy around when the car was poorly; I know a few who wouldn’t have been so laid back.