After our journey down to Cornwall we were pretty sure that the journey back wasn’t going to be fast, but I don’t think we realised just how long it was going to take.
We said our sad farewell to Fiona and everyone else at Coombe Mill and headed east with an aim of stopping off at the National Trust’s Castle Drogo. We’d seen signs for the castle on our journey down, but had run out of time then to be able to visit.
Now, the thing that’s slightly unique about Castle Drogo at the moment is the fact that they’re in the middle of a huge piece of conservation work there whilst staying open to visitors. It’s a unique situation.
It was quite fascinating to see what they were doing, but to be honest it was pretty tough to go round with the kids as they didn’t really appreciate what was going on there, and there certainly wasn’t time to read much of the information about the work. We were also unable to go up the scaffolding as the children were too young – again another shame.
In the basement (at least I think it was in the basement) there was an exhibition to tie in with the First World War Centenary. It was a bit of a rush going round yet again, but I did have to stop and pause to look at the artwork on some of the war time posters (which I always love) and this amazing sculpture of two men disappearing into a wall. I struggled to get a good photograph of it, but it really was remarkable and even the youngest visitors stopped to look at it.
We did however enjoy wandering round the grounds and especially liked The Silver Sound Trail which was described as “a beguiling tapestry of sounds … created by shining objects associated with the Castle” [sic]. As far as Master C was concerned it was shiny things that he was allowed to touch and he could make lots of noise with them. Needless to say he was rather excited.
Castle Drogo really was the highlight of our day. The rest of the time was just spent in the car. A quick loo stop around Bridgewater and then dinner at Fleet services and that was it. We saw a huge number of villages as we tried to avoid the queues by heading off the M5 and towards the A303 and whilst it was nice to daydream about life in a small village it was a hellish journey. The kids were amazingly behaved considering, but it was no surprise that when we did get home they went a bit bonkers, running around and wanting to play with all their toys before they would go to bed.
It’s such a shame that Cornwall is so far from St Albans as the journey at either end of the holidays is tough, especially with children. The week in the middle was wonderful though, but we might have to work on some sort of teleportation technology before we head back!