Tourists' arrival is a sign normality is returning, but we must remember the hardships faced

The picturesque views available on walks in the south west

The picturesque views available on walks in the south west - Credit: Piers Motley

Exmouth auctioneer Piers Motley writes for the Journal

Piers Motley-Nash

Piers Motley-Nash - Credit: Piers Motley-Nash

By the looks of some reports, half of the UK is heading to The South West and who can blame them.

One Saturday (April 17) we headed out to Blackbury Camp and found a few footpaths through fields and forest. Billy, our Labrador was most impressed with a small lake half way round which he discovered again when we had to backtrack. 

Chatting to my friend, he said "before all this we'd have just met in the pub" and how nice it was to be out, being healthy and enjoying much more.

It didn't stop us having a late lunch on the way home for a bottle of ale and a pasty at Otterton Mill, with the picnic table area opened up again it all felt rather normal. 

The church bells started up for the funeral of Prince Philip and a minute's silence was sort of observed, with young children and ducks reminding us that life goes on.

Supposedly 13 million joined the funeral and I've heard what a good send off it was, but we celebrated his life by not pausing ours, after all it's been paused for some time.

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Saturday night was a further treat of a Chinese Takeaway, our first for maybe six months, and a good film. 

Sunday I was out walking Billy around Venn Ottery, watching the farmers busy ploughing the fields for a variety of crops, the cry of buzzards wheeling in air currents and other walkers out enjoying the day. On the way home I found a few Green Lanes to drive along before my phone went with my wife saying she'd got to Exeter with my daughter but had forgotten payment cards.

I then made a quick dash out to drop her a card so new shoes and clothes could be bought for the second half of term, before returning home for lunch and mowing the lawn.

We've even been thinking about a holiday. Having been brought up for most of my childhood in Avonwick (when it had a population of just over 100) and on the edges of Tavistock I don't relish the expected hoards that shall be coming down to The South West.

A trip to the remoter areas of Derbyshire, The Peak District or the Lakes sounds quite appealing. 

For most of us life is rapidly returning to normal with all those things we've missed becoming routine or even expected again.

I hope all those who have found the pleasures of the small and often free things continue to seek these pleasures out. I know we'll be continuing our walks with our friends.

However, the airing of a private grief to the nation is a reminder of all the hard times people have gone through and that as a nation the past year shall have a lasting effect for a long while as we find our way through this next chapter.

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