Friday 26th May

Getting everybody together

The problem with adults is they all want to do their own thing. Kids are reasonably easy to manipulate: they can be overtly bribed, or shouted at. Any sulks evaporate quickly. With adults, well, we compromise.

Today is a Friday before a Bank holiday weekend. Aiming for an early start I squawk parrot-like "Let's get down there early, and enjoy the delights of Ilfracombe without rushing." (Buffoon.)

Bernie arrives from Cambridge, complete with the children at 13:00. (OK - we can still make it in daylight - easy.) Laura arrives with son, Barry, at 13:30. (OK - still make it: it's still light at 22:00.) We all end up in the local pub for lunch, but we stay far too long. (Food, and chat was good - why get "aggy" ?) So yes, I'm responsible for being late too! We leave at 16:00. (The hotel at Ilfracombe has a night porter - we let them know we'll be late.)

Journey - on a Bank Holiday Weekend!

A34, via Oxford, M4, M5 jct25 to collect Andrew from Taunton. ARRRGGH tail backs. 3 miles at 5 m.p.h. on A34, and an hour of stop - start on the M5! Andrew phones and demands to be picked up at 20:30 at Taunton Railway Station. Bernie and Laura get there a mere 20 minutes late.

Ilfracombe isn't far. Er, yes it is - over 50 miles! We split. I go the proscribed fast way via Jcn27 (longer, but with dual carriageway). The others take the direct scenic route via the Exmoor National Park. 

Petrol Stations close early in North Devon.

We finally meet at the hotel at 23:00 - relived and amazed - for the last few miles our cars had been running on empty - not very relaxing!

Jenny flew in from Peru, to be collected by Nina and Jennifer at Heathrow at 18:00. The plane arrived on time, but the M25 crush got them:  Jenny was collected at 21:00, and they finally made it by 02:00 Saturday morning.

Imperial Hotel, Ilfracombe

The hotel is entirely adequate and cheap. Ideal for our stopover. It's a large rambling building, geared up for coach parties and the blue rinse brigade.

Night Life in Ilfracombe

Friday Night at 23:30 in Ilfracombe consists of a kebab shop - we couldn't find any other places still open.

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