A holiday! My mum and I managed to visit Devon for a four-day break a week after hotels were allowed to re-open. It hadn't all been plain sailing as, from memory, we had four bookings cancelled by two hotels ( which had either not re-opened or which we had booked for earlier than 4 July when a date had not been set for hotels re-opening).

I am not going to say that we only went to Devon. Tiverton, where I was at school for five years, always brings back mostly fond memories and I would miss not coming down at least once a year. It has of course changed but not dramatically. I am sure that Tivvy's one-way system has changed from the early '80s: it was useful as a pedestrian then, especially when banned from town, to know which roads to take to make good an escape if seen or pursued by a teacher in a car.

We had an easy enough journey down and were not surprised to see on arrival that the beautiful Grand Western Canal was busy with fisherfolk, sunbathers, people on inflatables, and walkers. We stayed in the new Premier Inn which is very central and pleasant. The parking is not ideal and means either using the convenient but expensive multi-storey close by or using others within a few minutes walk.

The hotel is naturally modern and comfortable but the key cards were, as the saying goes, a challenge at times. Breakfast was provided by way of boxes and contained ample. I was delighted to see that my room overlooked a meadow which a friend and I used during our school days to reach the town, when banned. It brought back fond memories. There was a donkey which had something wrong with it and would look at us askance with its head almost upside down and a somewhat inverted view of the world.

After settling in, we went to the canal basin in Tiverton and re-visited another fond haunt, the Canal Tea Gardens. Idyllically placed and set in the lawn of a delightful cottage, this too is a highly popular place, and deservedly so.

The Globe Inn in Sampford Peverell, around five miles from Tiverton, is yet another favourite haunt and we ate well there in the evening. It is strange following the one-way system in shops and pubs but naturally it is something we have to become used to.

We visited Sidmouth on our first full day. This was quite a result as last year, we failed to make it, the old Sat Nav having directed us down a road which was barricaded at the end and that was that. This year, with a new Sat Nav, we set off more confidently only to find that the new instrument could not find a signal. We did at least find signs and made it comparatively easily.

It is a delightful town with its promenade and striking cliffs and is naturally popular. With fine weather also, we enjoyed the views whilst I was pleased to see the cricket club which trebles up with the tennis courts and croquet lawns. It strikes me as being a very decent place to play any of the above sports.

We didn't do so well on the return. There may have been a turn-off to Honiton which I may not have seen. I obviously didn't see it as we saw once again hitherto unknown delights of Devon and ended up in Ottery St Mary and quite well lost. Again. We did redeem the situation to a degree.

We ate at the Fisherman's Cot in Bickleigh, the local Devonian beauty spot and a place which anyone kind enough to read these jottings need not be eagle-eyed to know is a place which I have visited on several occasions. The meal was nice but the walk afterwards was spoilt by a driver who carefully stopped on the narrow bridge yet still managed carelessly to run over and kill a stationary pigeon.
A section of the glorious Grand Western Canal near Tiverton
The Canal Tea Gardens near the Tiverton basin, a favourite haunt of mine.
The view from my Premier Inn room. The meadow closest to the road was a frequently used way of reaching Tiverton when we were banned.
Sidmouth promenade
Bickleigh bridge, near Tiverton
Buckfast Abbey
Tiverton and the River Exe
Old Blundellís School, Tiverton

There were fewer dramas the following day reaching Buckfast Abbey. It seems a long way on the map but as the quickest way is straight down the M5 before continuing on to the A38, it only took an hour (which was infinitely slower than the 45 minutes ventured by Google Maps). I managed to negotiate the crossover from the M5 to the A38 successfully without taking the A380 to Torquay.

We enjoyed seeing the Abbey once again and even attended Mass at midday. It was a relief to find the Abbey and its shop open, bottles of the renowned Buckfast Tonic Wine being easier to buy than might have been the case had the shop been shut as I believe had been the case the week before. The weather forecast had suggested rain but, fortunately for us, it came when our sightseeing had been finished.

We had another walk along the canal before leaving. It is one of my favourite places and any walk, however short or long, is beautiful. Our journey back along the motorway was comparatively uneventful but there was noticeably ample traffic. We have a couple of further trips booked which include going to North Devon (where we once lived) and Cornwall. Overseas trips are still naturally difficult but the current climate does give us opportunities to see some of the wonderful parts of our own country.