Continued...Life on a farm...An experience like none other...


John was excited to share details of this rare tree with us. "It is a Wollemia Nobilis. Wollemia is a genus of coniferous tree in the family Araucariaceae. Wollemia was only known through fossil records until the Australian species Wollemia Nobilis was discovered in 1994 in a temperate rainforest wilderness area of the Wollemi National Park in New South Wales, in a remote series of narrow, steep-sided sandstone gorges 150 km north-west of Sydney. The genus is named for the National Park."
Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
"Devon has the country's oldest bakery (from this site):
It isn't only pasties we've been making forever, we've also been making bread and biscuits since before America was born. How do we know? Jacka Bakery on the Barbican made biscuits that went onto The Mayflower for the sailing of the Pilgrim Fathers. It is the oldest bakery in the country, even older than those sandwiches you get in South West Train buffet cars. Just think, if Jacka hadn't been there all those years ago we might not have the USA today. You're welcome. We also used to have the oldest hotel in the country, the Royal Clarence in Exeter, but that is temporarily burnt to the ground."
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Yesterday morning, we jumped into the car and took off for the Exeter Airport to return the rental car and get another car.  Having decided we'd only rent cars for one-month based on the fact our credit card insures the car for 30 days only.
The pond next to our house, Pond Cottage with a few ducks and geese.
Since we have no home or car in the US (or anywhere else in the world) we can't use those policies to cover rental cars.  We've taken a chance over the past few years arranging 90-day rentals without added insurance although the rental agreements cover a portion of the loss if the car is damaged.

There's no way we'd be interested in paying an extra GBP $10 (US $12.43) or GBP $15 (US $ 18.65) a day for added insurance when we often don't pay those amounts for the rental itself.  Also, in foreign countries, I don't drive when the stick shift in on the left and driving is on the left side of the road.  I'm not a good enough driver for that level of coordination!
Wet logs on the bottom, dry logs for our use in the fireplace, at the top of this pile.
Nor, do we want to pay equal amounts per day by adding me to the policy.  When we go to the US in 46 days, most likely we'll rent two cars, enabling us the freedom of visiting with family at our leisure.

As a rarity, we're staying at my friend Karen's home in Eden Prairie which she kindly offered.  We'd stayed with Karen during our last few weeks in Minnesota prior to leaving to begin our travels.  
There are numerous barns and paddocks on the 150-acre farm.
We kindly refuse most offers to stay in the homes of others throughout the world when we have our own routine which may not work well for our hosts.  Having stayed with Karen in the past and the ease we felt in doing so, we're comfortable staying with her again.

Of course, we'll be busy with family most days and evenings and plan to eat most of our meals out, to ensure we don't impose on Karen, family or friends.  With my restricted way of eating, it's too much to expect hosts to figure it out.  I'm sure we'll have a few meals with Karen and her significant other.
Lush greenery is prevalent on the 150 acres.
Anyway, back to the car rental... With heavy rain and an inconsistent GPS signal, it took much longer than we'd anticipated to make our way to Exeter Airport and then once there, to find a petrol station.  Sure, I asked my phone for assistance. Each time, with the poor signal, it indicated the closest was 10 or 12 miles from our current location.  

We continued to drive around the area of the airport until we finally found one five miles away.  We've never had such problems getting from one location to another in any part of the world, all due to the lack of a consistent internet signal. 
Renate, the owner suggested we keep the gate closed and the front doors.  Otherwise. the ducks and geese will enter the house.
However, we chose to live in the country and it's a small price to pay for the beauty of the area and our joy in living on a farm.  We have good WiFi (although slow) at the cottage for which we are grateful.

We stayed calm.  We finally headed back to the airport to return the car and collect another.  We asked for the same car with the new contract and this was accomplished at ease.  We've had great rentals and customer service at a company we've used time and again, Europcar.
A handy feeder for sheep and other barnyard animals.
At last, we were back on the road.  When we realized how far it is to get to Tiverton from the farm to grocery shop, which we'd planned to do today, we decided to shop yesterday and easily found the Tesco Superstore, comparable in size to a Walmart of Costco.  

We'd planned a couple of favorite recipes to make during the week but were unable to find the ingredients including Italian sausages, or any well-seasoned sausage without wheat or sugar.  
This is the area where the sheep are sheared once a year.  John and Renate have a company with workers from Australia or New Zealand in their "off-season," (Southern Hemisphere) that shear their sheep.
One of the second recipes required coconut flour, almond flour, and flaxseed.  When we saw the sizes of the bags of each we decided it made no sense to have leftover ingredients we'd have to dispose of when we leave England in 31 days.  

Instead, we revised our grocery list on the app on my phone and decided on preparing easy dinners for this remaining month in the country: a protein source, a variety of vegetables and a salad (and rice for Tom). 
There are acres of orchards on the property.  Over this hill is a garden from which we can pick whatever we'd like that's remaining from the growing season.
We didn't return to the Pond Cottage until 4:30 pm, put away the groceries and prepared an excellent dinner and settled in for a quiet evening.  It's cloudy and rainy again today.  Should the sun come out, we'll get out to further explore the farm to take more photos.
 
We'd like to thank our readers for the kind and thoughtful messages we often receive by email from many of you.  Rather than use the "comment feature" many prefer to share their stories via email to maintain a level of anonymity.  We never post the contents of any email we receive without the authorization of the sender.  We love hearing from YOU!

Have a great week ahead!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 23, 2018:
It was hard to believe we captured this scene close to sunset at the Crocodile River.  For more photos, please click here.

Life on a farm...An experience like none other...Once again, adapting...

John, our interesting and attentive host farmer has wonderful stories to tell.  A former physician and world traveler, he's a wealth of information.  He took us on a partial tour of the 150 acres farm.  On another day we'll see more.
Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
"Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of road - the longest network in the country. The county is home to everything from single track rural lanes across Dartmoor and Exmoor to major highways like the A38 and A30 - as well as the M5."
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There are chickens, ducks, and geese on the property along with many Dorset sheep.  (Photos coming soon of these adorable sheep which are kept for their wool, not for slaughter.
Many of us have ancestors that farmed.  In Tom's case, it's certainly true when both of his parents, grandparents and some of his siblings were born on a farm.  I have no idea if any of my ancestors were farmers.

We both love living on a farm. It must be in our DNA.  It's hard to imagine living in a typical city when over the past weeks we've lived on two farms, reveling in every aspect.  Of course, part of the enjoyment is based on the fact that we don't do any of the work.
The acreage is diverse and beautiful.
People we've met along the way have asked if we "house sit" or work on farms as compensation for living quarters.  As much as they may be appropriate for some travelers, it just not quite our thing.  

We travel as retirees, although we spend hours each day preparing and working on our posts, taking photos and conducting research.  As we mentioned many times in past posts, we don't feel as if our site is a "job" based on the enjoyment and benefit we derive out of writing our stories each day.  
If the weather was warm, we'd certainly use this pool but is very cool and rains frequently, as it is today.
Should our level of enthusiasm or interest in continuing to post each day ever changes, we may have to reconsider.  But, for now we can no more imagine ending this process than we can in ending our world travels. 

We can only strive to be healthy, diligently watch our budget and be adaptable to the many nuances properties and locations present to us along the way.  None the less, we'll always encounter situations that aren't ideal.
A small pond near their house and the barns.  Soon, we'll share photos of the pond outside our door of the "Pond Cottage."
In this new location, a well-built former barn renovated to perfection still has some nuances which we must adjust to, mostly small things such as a difficult to navigate stairway to the second floor where the bedrooms and bathrooms are located.

There's a tiny under-counter refrigerator that requires bending over to access (although there is, much to our delight, a separate under-counter freezer), the bed is somewhat low and not as comfortable as we'd like.  To avoid being nitpicky there are other small things, not worthy of mentioning here.
John planted 600 sequoia seeds many years ago and now there are over 400 trees.
But, we're living on a gorgeous farm and in a beautiful house and we appreciate being here more than we can say. The owners are over-the-top wonderful and the nearby villagers are kind, welcoming and friendly.  We couldn't ask for more.

In a funny way, neither of us feel compelled to get out sightseeing right now as we're immersed in the quiet solitude on this gorgeous property. Tomorrow we'll head to Tiverton to check out the bigger of the villages in the area.

No doubt during our three weeks here, we'll get out to see the local points of interest most of which is beautiful scenery.  There is so much to explore here at the farm that we can stay busy for days.  Also, the hills and rolling terrain is ideal for me building strength in my legs.
This is a young sequoia tree but in generations to come, may become as massive as many seen in Northern California.  
Yesterday, our tour with John was interesting and informational.  His and his lovely wife's love of their farm is evident in every acre of land, the well-kept nature of every building and loving care of their barnyard animals.  We're honored to have the opportunity to be here, with them only a short distance away, and all the beauty and wonder surrounding us.

Soon, we're off to Exeter Airport to return te rental car and get another.  We're hoping the rain stops and the sun comes out so we can explore on the return drive.

May your Sunday be blessed with joy and wonder!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2018:

"Gee...the eggs are all gone but I think I'll lay in the bowl to let them know we want more." Bands of mongooses came to see us almost every day.  Tom would scramble raw eggs for them and serve them in this bowl.  When the eggs were gone, lying in the bowl was a good way to express their enthusiasm.  For more details, please click here.

We've arrived in Tiverton, Witheridge, Devon...Another beautiful farm...Balance of Bodmin Moor photos...


An otter lounging in the sun.
Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
"Devon is a county in southwest England. It encompasses sandy beaches, fossil cliffs, medieval towns, and moorland national parks. The English Riviera is a series of picturesque, south-coast harbour towns including Torquay, Paignton, and Brixham. The South West Coast Path follows the coastline, taking in the towering cliffs of the northern Exmoor Coast and rock formations on the fossil-rich southern Jurassic Coast."
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The drive from Treveighan to Witheridge consisted of narrow roads requiring 30 turns according to Maps.  We only made one wrong turn when we encountered a detour and had to get back on track without a signal.
Although this bridge looks wide in the photo, it actually is only the width of one car.
Of course, I'd saved the directions on Maps but with 70% of country roads unmarked it was a guessing game.  However, it's a small price to pay for the opportunity to live in these four country homes in Cornwall, England, and the last, in Wales.
As we drove toward Witheridge we encounter many historic stone houses.
The treat awaiting us when we arrived at Pond Cottage in Witheridge was reminiscent of our arrival only two weeks ago at the Tredarupp farm after our fantastic two weeks overlooking the sea in Falmouth.
St Petrock & St Keri Church in Egloskerry, Launceston.
This visit to Cornwall, England consisting of these shorter stays than we've been used to in many other countries throughout the world may have sparked a new level of enthusiasm for both of us.  Could this be our new way of traveling the world, shorter stays but more locations to explore?  We're beginning to reframe our thinking.
On a narrow road, we carefully passed a woman on a horse.
As we further research our upcoming two-month trip to India in a little over four months, we've decided India will certainly be an ideal location to live in four different locations giving us a broader view of the world than staying in one location for three months.
Bodmin Moor is a 208 square mile area.  Many farms adjoin the area.
This is not to say we're sorry we've stayed three months (or more in a couple of cases) in various holiday homes.  We were blissfully able to immerse ourselves in the culture and the community while gaining a sense of "belonging."  We have no regrets.
These birds remind us of the Helmeted Guineafowl we had in our garden in Marloth Park.
However, with the recent reality of my ongoing heart condition, it makes sense to expand our horizons and see all that we can over the next few years, until such time as we can't carry on, which is inevitable, based on our ages.
A common Fallow deer, often seen in the wild in the UK.
We haven't really unpacked.  We took out the single plastic bag with the bare minimum of toiletries and can riffle through the blue bag if we need something additional.  The bulk of our clothing remains in our luggage after we've dug out the few items we'll wear in the three weeks we'll spend here.
The grounds at Tamar Wildlife Centre are tree-lined with lush vegetation.
The biggest part of the unpacking here was putting away the foodstuffs we brought with us, both perishable and non-perishable.  But, this was no more time consuming that a return trip from the supermarket.  
Not indigenous to the UK, there are several wallabies in the open wildlife area.
We won't have to shop over the weekend based on what we have on hand although I'm looking forward to doing so by Monday when we'll have a chance to explore further in Tiverton, one of the larger villages in the area.

A wallaby and possibly here joey.
In tomorrow's post, we'll share photos of our new location.  At noon, we'll travel to Exeter Airport to drop off the current rental car and execute a new one-month agreement.  We're planning to keep the same car, if possible since it easily holds our bags.

This morning we awoke to the sounds of the ducks and geese and roosters crowing in the pond the house overlooks .  Soon, we'll tour the property with the owner taking photos to share tomorrow.

Enjoy your Saturday!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 21, 2018:
There's no expression on this cape buffalo's face that can more clearly illustrate his disdain over the hot weather and lack of water nearby.  For more photos, please click here.

The Bodmin Moor...Exciting place to visit...


The Daphne du Maurier room on display at the Smugglers Museum at the site of the Jamaica Inn & Restaurant.
Fascinating Fact of the Day Bodmin Moor, Cornwall:
"Bodmin Moor, one of Cornwall's designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a remote, bleak heather covered upland granite moorland still grazed by moorland ponies and bisected by the main A30 road."
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An under-glass display of Daphne du Maurier's many novels. From this site: "Dame Daphne du Maurier, Lady Browning, DBE was an English author and playwright. Although she is classed as a romantic novelist, her stories have been described as "moody and resonant" with overtones of the paranormal."
As it turned out we discovered that Bodmin Moor was simply not an area that can be thoroughly appreciated in a one day drive.  Travelers can easily plan four of five days of jaw-dropping experiences in this majestic area in Cornwall.
The Farm Shop at Jamaica Inn and Restaurant.
Yes, it requires a fair amount of planning ahead, which, unfortunately, we did not do which we later regretted.  Also, the satellite signal was poor and unavailable for a better portion of today's drive.  With all the narrow roads with hedgerows impeding the view in many areas, its easy to get lost.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables.
It definitely would be advisable to take a paper map and carefully outline the areas you'd like to explore.  We failed to do this, reliant upon a Maps signal which no doubt prevented us from the full experience.  
Locally raised grass-fed meats.
You know how frustrating it is to get lost when using Maps with the voice continually saving, "Signal lost" or in a more frustrating tone, "Make a legal u-turn," when a u-turn isn't necessary.  We'd saved the directions on my phone but with so many unmarked narrow roads it was easy to miss a turn.
A wide array of English wines, liqueurs, and liquors.
Tom, good driver that he is, stayed calm and drove cautiously around the endless array of single-lane roads and quickly adapted to direction changes.  I so appreciated his calm when I was trying over and over again to get a signal to keep him on the right track.  We both persevered.
Antique English porcelain figurines.
As mentioned above with poor planning, we missed a lot and ended up seeing very little as compared to what we could have seen in one afternoon.  While having lunch at the popular Jamaica Inn Restaurant which included museums and shops. located in Bolventor, Launceston, we did our best to decide what appealed to us the most while enjoying the scenic drive.  We opted for Tamar Otter & Wildlife Centre located in North Petherwin, Launceston, Cornwall.
These pipes were used in England for smoking cocaine and other drugs in the 1920s and 1930s.
For us, this wasn't a good decision.  The centre was beautiful and well designed with a plethora of various indigenous and non-indigenous wildlife but essentially, it was a zoo with an open wildlife area contained therein.  For children and those who've had little exposure to wildlife, this is an excellent place to start.
Women and men's historical pieces are displayed in the glass cabinet.
For us, after over two years in Africa, loving what wildlife is all about and...their freedom in the savannah, we have a hard time enjoying zoos where animals are confined.  It breaks our hearts to see them in pens and cages, unable to live the life they are meant to live.
Representation of certain character from the 1700s.
There is an open and wild area of the facility where many birds, deer and oddly, wallaby's lived.  We totally agree that such a facility has benefit for those who may never have an opportunity to see animals in the wild, which is probably the majority of the population in many countries.
Articles of shoes and clothing from the 1700 and 1800s.
We decided to make the best of it, wandering through the lush surroundings and stopping to appreciate every living being along the way while we took many photos.  The park wasn't crowded but we did see several other visitors along the way.
The front garden of the Jamaica Restaurant and Inn where visitors languished over beer and other beverages.
As mentioned above, before we visited the wildlife centre we stopped for lunch at the Jamaica Inn Restaurant, we took advantage of the many sites to see right on the property such as the Smuggler's Museum, the Farm Shop, and the well-known Daphne du Maurier room was which packed with fascinating period pieces reminding me of her many popular books, some of which I'd read years ago.
Tom wasn't comfortable in this position for long.  From this site: "The pillory is a device made of a wooden or metal framework erected on a post, with holes for securing the head and hands, formerly used for punishment by public humiliation and often further physical abuse."
We took many photos, more than we can share here in one post.  Since we're leaving here today to head to our next location, we'll be posting the favorite of our photos over the next few days while we get settled in our new location.
Traditional red phone booth found in the UK.  There are currently 5,023 red phone boxes, or kiosks as they're officially known, up for grabs across the UK including 970 in the South West, 741 in Scotland, 555 in London, and 419 in Wales.
A few days later, we'll begin posting stories and photos of the new location In Devon, Cornwall, including the property, the grounds and much more. Please check back for more. We're loving the beauty of Cornwall and can't wait to see more.

May your day be rich with new experiences!
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Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2018:
A yellow-billed heron sitting atop the back of a hippo at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park.  For more photos, please click here.

So you want National Healthcare???...Humm...Prescription hell..

Poldark Locations
A map illustrating the various locations in Cornwall where the TV series Poldark is filmed.
Fascinating Fact of the Day Bodmin Moor, Cornwall:
"The Moor contains about 500 farm holdings with around 10,000 beef cows, 55,000 breeding ewes and 1,000 horses and ponies. Most of the moor is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has been officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as part of Cornwall AONB."
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Soon, once the laundry is done and we're done here, we're heading to Bodmin Moor to check out the scenery which we've heard about over and over again. Also, we've been aware that some of the scenes from the British TV series Poldark (another favorite of ours) was filmed in the Bodmin Moors. Tomorrow, our final day in St. Teath, Bodmin, we'll post photos from the moor.

We'd hoped to have gone to Bodmin Moor yesterday but with other immediate tasks on hand as you'll see below, we postponed it until today.  Fortunately, it's sunny again today which motivates us to continue on with our plans.

In the interim, we have an important story to share especially for those readers who have desired a national healthcare service in their country.  It may not be all that its "cracked up" to be after all, based on comments we've heard over the years from our British friends and others.
A little love among the pygmy goats.
 Many have the perception that such a national service is "free."  That's hardly the case.  The citizens pay for the cost via many taxes imposed on many products, services and expenses of daily life.  Tourists pay VAT taxes and taxes on food, dining out, tours, housing and more.
"The National Health Service is the publicly funded national healthcare system for England and one of the four National Health Services for each constituent country of the United Kingdom. It is the largest single-payer healthcare system in the world."

Now, we have a personal example to share about the National Healthcare Service in England.  Recently, I noticed that one of the two medications I take for hypertension is running low.  I thought I had plenty more in our luggage but alas, after I searched through everything and I couldn't find it.
The goats get along well with the chickens that wander into their paddock.
I wouldn't doubt that during the time of the worst of my recovery when I wasn't thinking as clearly as I am now, I made an error and missed refilling the one.  I surprise myself that I didn't screw up more during that period of time!  

In looking back at prior posts I realized I started up again exactly two weeks after I had the cardiac by-pass surgery.  Here's the link to that day.  And, I didn't miss a beat (no pun intended) when I returned the hospital for the two-leg surgeries a few days apart. Here's the link to the story I wrote when I returned to the hospital for five days for the leg surgeries.

As a result, I'm not beating myself up for missing the refilling of the one prescription.  I just needed to figure out a way to get it filled at a local pharmacy without going through a big hassle.  I was overly optimistic, to say the least.
Goat love standing on the highest structure wherever they may be.
First, we tried several pharmacies in several small villages.  Pharmacists are able to sell a one or two-month dose of any non-narcotic medication to a customer on an emergency basis.  The drug I needed was definitely non-narcotic.  

I had enough medication to last 14 days so I assumed I had plenty of time to figure this out.  The first pharmacist in the town of Camelford agreed to refill it on an emergency basis if I could provide proof that the medication was prescribed for me.

Since I had enough to last two weeks, I returned with "the proof" a week later and he flat out refused to refill the medication!  He said if it was an emergency, I wouldn't have waited a week to bring him the proof.  He stated I needed to see a doctor for a new prescription.  Oh, good grief.  I must admit I stormed out the door in a huff, totally unlike me to do.
This cutie posed for a photo.
I didn't want to see a doctor.  We'd heard how hard it was to get an appointment with a GP and, I didn't want to have to go through everything with a doctor I'd never see again. We tried a few more pharmacies to no avail even with the proof in hand.

From there we tried a few more pharmacies again without any luck.  We resigned ourselves to the reality, that a doctor appointment was necessary.  Then, the fun began!

There are several doctors in the various small towns around us.  I called each and every one of these and was told they had no openings, now or in the near future.  There was nothing they could do.  

My only solution would be to go to the hospital, which would take hours and cost quite a bit for a US $20 prescription.  In doing so, they may have required I go through a number of needless tests in order to be given the prescription.
The next day I asked property owner Lorraine, what she'd suggest I do.  She proceeded to tell me about dialing 111, not 999 (an emergency number comparable to 911 in the US).  She felt by called this "helpline" they'd figure out a solution.

Immediately, I called 111 and after a barrage of questions, they gave me two numbers to call the next morning at 8:30 am and to explain I had registered my request with 111 and I'd be given priority consideration in getting a 5-minute doctor appointment.

At 8:30 yesterday morning, I called the numbers I was given and still was given the run around that no appointment was available.  I persisted explaining I only needed a five-minute appointment and I didn't want to have to re-contact 111 for further instructions.  

As it turns out, patients are required to be given priority treatment when they've gone through 111.  Finally, one of two receptionists relented and booked me in for a 3:50 pm appointment yesterday, requiring us to arrive at 3:30 to completed paperwork. No problem.  

We were there 30 minutes earlier than required and after the five-minute appointment with an elderly doctor, we walked out the door with the prescription in hand.

We wondered what would have transpired if I hadn't been so persistent.  We've heard stories of citizen dying from their inability in getting urgent doctor appointments as explained in this article as shown below:

"Patients dying on NHS waiting lists 'surges by 10,000'

The number of patients dying while waiting for treatment has increased by over 10,000, according to reports.

A freedom of information request to NHS Trusts, carried out by the Express, revealed that the number of patients dying while on a waiting list rose from 18,876 in 2012/13 to 29,553 in 2017/18.

The information request also saw that across dozens of NHS Trusts, there was an increase of more than 50%.  But this number could be higher, as only half (67 of 135) of the NHS Trusts responded, the paper reported.

One NHS trust in the South-west saw that the number of people who died on a waiting list rose by 250% - from 652 in 2012/13 to 2,289 in 2017/18.

At the same time, a North-west NHS Trust reported that its figure had doubled from 147 to 305, while one in the East of England found it had increased from 392 to 577.  This comes as the latest figures from NHS England saw that only 87.8% of patients are seen within 18 weeks, below the 92% target.

And as of June this year, there were 4.11m people on waiting lists, 280,000 more than in June last year, and representing a 60% increase since June 2010.

Having seen this situation first hand and having heard about it from many UK residents, we are convinced this type of system is seriously flawed both in the UK, Canada, and many other countries.  


No, we weren't charged for the doctor appointment which we happily offered to pay but were refused.  Why are taxpayers paying for tourist's medical needs?  Are tourists coming here and staying a few months in order to jump on the "free service?"

When we get the prescription filled in the next few days, we will be charged but were told the price will be five times more than we've paid in the past.  Maybe, in essence, we're paying after all with the outrageous cost of the prescriptions itself.

Of course, we're no experts on healthcare and the US system is also seriously flawed as it is in many countries throughout the world.  We continue to live with the reality that our own international insurance failed us in South Africa and we had to pay the huge bill out of pocket.


We learn as we go.  

We'll be back tomorrow with our final post from the Tredarupp Holiday Cottages and begin making our way toward Witheridge, a two-hour drive.

May today be a learning day for you, with a good outcome.  Be well.
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Photo from one year ago today, September 19, 2018:
Based on our position in the line-up of vehicles our photo-taking-advantage was limited.  For more photos, please click here.