Going Solo – Road Tripping In Southwest England

Yesterday was a day of exploration for me. Since moving to Cornwall I’ve not had the same need to be in the drivers seat as I previously did in the US. This change in position from driver to passenger and the ease at which I made the transition surprised me having been somewhat controlling when it came to driving in the past.

My previous career in pharmaceutical sales kept me on the road daily for years and I’ve driven back and forth across the US and as far north and south as you can go on several occasions with all manner of short trips in between. I drove for a couple of years on the German autobahn with no set speed limits in my late teens and early twenties while stationed there during my army tour of duty.

Having been to the UK three times before meeting my husband John, I had a rental car each time where I was the designated driver. While much of that driving was limited to the wide open spaces of the western part of  Scotland, I did make the trip twice from Isle of Skye to a London airport covering a distance of 650 miles, all while sitting on would normally be the passenger’s side of the car, while driving on what would be considered the wrong side of the road in America.

And did I say, the car has a manual transmission as many do here and because I sit on the right side to drive, I have to shift with my left hand. It’s not as hard as I thought it might be, but you can see why I was content to enjoy the ride with John behind the wheel.

So you have to wonder with all of that driving experience, why make such a big to-do about yesterday’s excursion. My solo road trip was important because it was the first time since moving here that I drove alone and for such a long way. I’ve done a few trips alone of five miles or less and I know that thirty miles isn’t really that far, but this trip had me pointed in an unfamiliar direction as I made my way to a village in Devon to meet up with a new friend.

Armella, is an American who lives in St Louis with her British husband. Over the last few years she has done an amazing renovation on a property that she and her husband inherited from family. After finding me through an Expat Blog site, she sent an email a few months ago and yesterday, I fastened my seatbelt and went for a little ride … alone.

It was actually pretty easy once I got underway. I did make a wrong turn at one point, but followed my intuition until I found my way to the pretty little village where Armella and I met for lunch at the White Hart Inn and Pub. I also had a chance to see the work she’s had done on the property during a tour of the rental house before her new tenant moves in a few days.

I didn’t take any photographs of the rental property as there was scaffolding blocking much of it with work being done to an outside wall, but I do have one or two of Cardinal Kiss Cottage named for a love of the St Louis Cardinals, and the three x’s on the outside wall that offer additional wall support. After one of her renovation folks referred to the x’s as kisses, she decided kiss should be part of the new name.

Armella will be back and forth from the US to the UK for a while as she isn’t quite ready to retire to Devon yet, but after spending only a short while with her I could tell it’s only a matter of time before she’ll be one of my more permanent neighbors.

Cardinal Kiss Cottage (See the Church to the right)

Notice the river that runs past the cottage, you’d never guess that CKC was an abattoir before it became a holiday home for Armella and her husband.

The upstairs window in the bedroom.

The amazing view from the window above.

St Bridget’s Church Bridestowe

6 thoughts on “Going Solo – Road Tripping In Southwest England

  1. Congrats! May it be the first of many trips, and may you enjoy the driving as much as the arriving. I learned on a manual and drove one for years but got an automatic some years ago, and it makes a huge difference especially if your trips tend to be in traffic. Less to hassle with. It does take a bit of getting used to so you’re not trying to change gear with the door handle.

    I see photographic outings in your tea leaves….:-)

  2. Know exactly where you are coming from on the driving thing… Even after 8 years in the UK, I still sometimes went to the wrong side to get in! Pretty soon you’ll be bombing around those great Cornish roads…

  3. Yes, but watch out for those Cornish road walls masquerading as hedges – ganite, quartz and slate ivy-clad hedges. They take plenty of doors and bumpers (that’ll be fenders to you fellow Americans) but NO PRISONERS.

  4. Bravo and how delightful was that trip? thanks for sharing. How amazing is the blogging community. Armella and her hubby own a beautiful property in seemingly idyllc spot. Ahh.

  5. You are so kind to describe our reno project in your 1st solo driving adventure, thank you. I, too, freeze at some of the trips I venture out on especially around West Devon and Cornwall. Was I ever thankful an English girlfriend read the maps while driving down thru Mousehole(pronounced Muzzle) then on to Minack Theater. Had it not been a spectacular venue, I would have been moaning all the way back to Bridestowe! After years of renovation, I am now getting a few days on each trip to discover the other gifts of the journey in the WestCountry. I am going to try to get to Dartmouth on this next trip so I can attend a fish cooking class. As my hubbie says, that’s a long way to go to learn the nuances of cooking fish pie. Hopefully, we can connect this trip. Armella

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