Finding religion

What is it about buffets? Do people suddenly grow bigger bellies to accommodate all their eyes can devour?

Breakfasts at the hotel are served ‘buffet’ style. The choice is good and quantity, massive. Even sampling one of everything - black pudding, sausage, bacon, tomatoes etc - would be a banquet, but guests still find the need (and space) to return for seconds.

Of course that might be all they intend to eat before dinner that night. Let’s give some of them the benefit of the doubt - but not the couple who sat next to me and were then spotted in the bar at 1pm, ordering more.

Me? What was I doing there? Oh just passing through, you know how it is.

There’d been more rain during night. I hadn’t heard it. All the bedroom windows were open and the constant sound of the River Exe rushing past the hotel blocked out all other noise. Virtually.

Before 7am, the sound of horses clippety clopping from the stables echoed around the yard. It was barely light but off they went. The local hunt was meeting at nearby Withypool, but I wasn’t sure if that’s where this gang were off to.

I had planned to walk to Withypool from the hotel. But once I heard about the hunt, I decided to stay away from the area. I really didn’t want to make the front pages of all the papers as the ‘walker who’d walked her last’. Being stampeded by a hunt and their hounds wasn’t my idea of fun.

No, leave Withypool for another day, I decided.

Yesterday’s mountainous climb had taken its toll on my poor limbs, so I decided on more of stroll than a walk. Of course, I hadn’t bargained for all that rain. Puddles had turned into mini-lakes and paths I would normally take weren’t there. Standing water, stood. I stood too and then re-planned my exercise.

Up the hill from the hotel is an interesting little church. Its location demands that only the devoted attend - more muscles strained.

From the far side it’s possible to climb up to Dunkery . I wasn’t going ‘up’ today. A detour along a stream which later feeds into the Exe confirmed that we’d had an awful lot of rain during the night. So I took another path which reappears in the village.

After a morning of writing, this brief hour or so of fresh air was enough to get the belly rumbling again. The air was a little chillier than the day before, so I pondered a bowl of soup. ‘Brussel Sprout and Cheese’, pardon? I’d heard right.

I chose my seat, a table outside at the far end. The wimps couldn’t take the weather, I thought as I spied the empty tables. The soup was delicious, there was a tang of sprout, but it was more a subtle tang than the stench of over-cooked sprouts you might expect. With the soup and roll washed down with a half of Exmoor Ale, the afternoon was set fair to accommodate the highlight of any holiday - an Exmoor Cream Tea!