Monday, 15 September 2014

'It's a wonderful place, the moor....'

'It's a wonderful place, the moor,' he said, 'such wonderful secrets. 

It's so large and mysterious.'

These words, so very true, uttered by Stapleton, from

 'The Hound of the Baskervilles', 

which just happens to be one my favourite books.

"It's a wonderful place, the moor," he said, "such wonderful secrets. It's so large and so mysterious

Whatever the weather, the drive across Dartmoor 

is one of the most beautiful in the country.

You can quite understand why the artist William Widgery and his son,

 Frederick John, felt so inspired to produce such wonderful paintings.

We often do this lovely journey to Tavistock...and each journey 

is a real treat.

And finally, one of my favourite extracts from the said book, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:

'The wagonette swung round into a side road, and we curved upward

 through deep lanes worn by centuries of wheels, high banks on either side,

 heavy with dripping moss and fleshy hart's-tongue ferns.

 Bronzing bracken and mottled bramble gleamed in the light of

 the sinking sun. Still steadily rising, we passed over a narrow

 granite bridge and skirted a noisy stream which gushed swiftly down, 

foaming and roaring amid the gray boulders. 

Both road and stream wound up through a valley dense 

with scrub oak and fir. At every turn, Baskerville gave an exclamation of delight, 

looking eagerly about him and asking countless questions. 

To his eyes all seemed beautiful, but to me a tinge of melancholy

 lay upon the countryside, which bore so clearly the mark 

of the waning year. Yellow leaves carpeted the lanes and fluttered 

down upon us as we passed. '

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Getting around...

Here's my dear Mr Snippets waiting patiently to wave his flag

at the South Devon stage of 'The Tour of Britain'! ;-)

We're in Bovey Tracey...and here they are...whizzing by!

Luckily, we didn't have to go far from home to watch this part of the race.

But we did venture a little further, last week....across to North Cornwall.

First stop...Cowslip!

It's always a pleasure to partake in a cuppa and cake, at this delightful spot.

A wander around is just enough to cleanse the soul!

'A thing of beauty is a joy for ever', as Keats once wrote.

It all brings a smile to my face, that's for sure!


Simply beautiful!

The next day:

We find ourselves in Tintagel. 

It's a pretty little place; a sort of cross between Totnes and Glastonbury with

various things ethereal and a touch of magic about it!

Well, that's what I think!

This is The Old Post Office

It's now owned by The National Trust

Built in the 14th Century as a yeoman's farmhouse, it's name

dates from Victorian times, when it briefly held a licence

to be a letter receiving station.

Set outside in the wall is a Victorian letter box, dating back to 1857.

We enter... and then exit and we discover a hidden delight

 at the back of the property.


That done, we walk to the Camelot Castle Hotel, which overlooks the

stunning, rugged coastline of North Cornwall and, of course, 

the iconic Tintagel Castle.

On Sunday , we continue our tour and here we are in Boscastle.

We all know the story of how Boscastle was hit by that terrible

flash flood, ten years ago.

Today, all is quiet and very serene; the sky is blue and the sun beats down.

It's a perfect day.

It's a lazy day for us... after a wander around Boscastle, 

we have Sunday lunch and then an afternoon walk at a place

called Bossiney.

We catch sight of this old Sun Fire Office fire insurance sign, on

this old building.

These signs were put up to show that the said building was insured against fire;

each insurance company being identified by its own particular emblem.

How about this for blue sea and sky? ;-)

It's not a bad life! ;-)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The Grand Tour...and more! ;-)

Now this story, above, is really interesting and obviously there is much to debate and not forgetting the many pros and cons of taking your children on such a trip!

However, I know that a similar experience hugely benefitted me!

When I was about 11, my parents took my sister and myself on a journey. However, we 
did this during the 6 week summer holidays, rather than take a whole year. And so off we went on our 'Grand Tour' of Great Britain. Taking a rough course of,  'up one side of the country and down the other', (with slight deviations every now and again) we must have covered a good number of miles in our Ford Consul, which was almost identical to this; same colour, different
number plates :

You see, my dad was a bit of a history fanatic! He taught history; he lived and breathed history and he lived in the past (actually, he was steeped in history and he lived in the past for most of his life!)  Thus, we visited almost every cathedral in the country and we descended upon castles (Bamburgh Castle left a lasting impression on me!) and ancient monuments, galore. We trekked along Hadrian's Wall, (joining the Romans for dinner at Housesteads!) ; stood ( roughly) in the place in The New Forest where King William 11 (Rufus) was shot (ouch!) ; re- lived a similar incident in Battle, where King Harold was shot in one eye (supposedly) ( ouch!); we stood at that spot where Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral (another ouch!) and we went to Runnymede where The Magna Carta was signed (in 1215) by King John. We said our pretend, 'I dos' at Gretna Green...and oh, there was so much more!

Yes, I've been, 'where it's all happened'! ;-)

I  do know that, at the time, I didn't appreciate it all, but I now see that the benefits for my future were absolutely immense.

But that's not all! As well as our 'Grand Tour', on other occasions, my mum and dad took us to see the Tall Ships; we experienced the thrills of power boat racing off Portland Bill; we put on a united cheer as Sir Francis Chichester sailed into Plymouth;  we've watched the QE2 sail in and out of Southampton and we've watched in awe and wonder, at Loch Ness, hoping to see the elusive, 'Nessie'. And there were so many other things nautical....the highlight being punting on the river in Cambridge, (where my dad didn't have a clue what he was doing)...and this will definitely bring a smile to the faces of those who knew my dad! My dad and a punt, just shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence, let alone let him loose on the river, with one in his hand!  My dad was an incredible sportsman in his younger days but that didn't include rowing or punting! Ventures into all things nautical went a little too far at that point ; I was glad to get back on dry land! We all were. Hairy or what?! But it remains in my mind as one of the most amusing highlights of my childhood! And I live to tell the tale. Incidentally, I also know a bit about the Cambridge colleges, as we 'traipsed' around those too!

My mum and dad took us to quite a number of sporting venues such as cricket at The Oval, where we watched  Gary Sobers (or 'Sir Garfield' as he is now known)  lead a fantastic 'West Indies',  as they walloped England. ( I have never seen so many balls 'hit for six' in my life and that was when cricket, for me, became less than was nothing short of superb.) After England won 'The World Cup' in 1966, my mum and dad took us to a match where we were close enough to touch (yes touch!;-) the arms of Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters, as they got off a coach to get ready to play for their club, West Ham. We did the many sights of London,  the  Radio and Motor Shows at Earls Court and the Children's Show at Olympia. We stood at the top of The Post Office Tower and marvelled at the city below as it revolved...well it seemed like it!

As we grew older, we were taken to the theatre, the cinema, the ballet, tennis at Wimbledon. You name it... I was very fortunate, I think. It was my parents who introduced me to the wonders of The RHS Chelsea Flower Show and RHS Wisley. 

I  have to admit that I somewhat shuddered when, in my early 20s, it was suggested that we re-visit Cambridge for another nautical experience ... but it was ok, my fears were quelled as this time it was to watch the Cambridge University 'bump races'...and that's a fascinating experience if ever there was one! My dad took no part in that , save to jump out of the way when the cyclists flew past shouting ' Tow Path, Tow Path.'

I've seen battlefields, bridges, spires, burial places, stately homes and famous people's abodes,  I've visited gardens, museums, sporting venues and oast houses ( I had to mention those as they always fascinated me as a child) and the Blackpool Illuminations which were...well, illuminating! I've visited historical buildings with roofs and historical ruins without.
I've walked on those very places where history has been made, making my own history in the process! 

I know my own country and the counties within it, pretty well, I think...thanks to my mum and my dad. My dad always said that you should know your own country. I think he was right.

And so, if those children in the newspaper report are half as lucky as I was, then they will be very, very fortunate indeed!  Their experiences will last them a lifetime...just as mine have.
I only wish that I could  'tag along'!  ;-)

Friday, 22 August 2014

What good is heritage if it dwells in the past ? ;-)

Standing at one of my favourite places in Topsham, I can spy, 

over the other side of The River Exe,

Topsham Lock Cottage.

And here it is again, in the window of my favourite little shop/ artist's studio.

Tony Isham has become a favourite of ours since we spotted the

lovely painting of the Brixham trawlers, in his window.

Talking about the Topsham Lock Cottage, this charming place is situated between

The Exeter Ship Canal and The River Exe.

It's wonderful to think that this little building is still being

used for people to enjoy, albeit in a different way.

For part of the year it is a self catering cottage; 

for the other part it is a cafe.

(pic above is from their website)

 Click here to find out more .


Topsham is always a pleasure and especially so when the sun is shining

and you are in good company....which I was! ;-)

 Pretty little touches give this little town an attractive quality.

 We stopped for a drink at The Passage House Inn.

We wandered down to Topsham Quay, stopping to look at

The Vigilant... once ' Champion of the Thames.'

Many years later, she is being restored and quite rightly so!

This is, after all, our maritime heritage.

It all makes fascinating reading :

All in all...a very pleasant day ;-)