Red river

I’m currently in what I regard as my home – if anywhere can be home given the number of times we moved house throughout my childhood, which habit I continued as an adult, not to mention my current peripatetic lifestyle. Devon, the place I lived in the longest, and especially Torquay has my heart and is home. It’s good to be spending time with J&B and I’ve managed to catch up with two sets of close friends.

The site here just outside Brixham, is not my usual type of site – being quite large and kiddy orientated – and is rather expensive due to the summer holidays. But it’s great as a base and B has lent me her car for the duration, bless her, and it does provide the most amazing views of the river Dart.

 

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Dart ferry
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First evening

 

Last night’s sunset was spectacular.

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Red skies
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Red sails

’nuff said …

🙂 🙂 🙂

More Moor

Still got the claggy weather, lousy light for photography (don’tcha just love editing suites?) but enjoyed a bit of a drive over the moor.

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HMP Dartmoor

The outside of the HMP Dartmoor in Princetown is exceeding grim and I can’t begin to imagine how it felt to be incarcerated there in 1809 when the first prisoners were admitted. Originally built to inter thousands of French prisoners from the Napoleonic wars they were joined by Americans in 1813. With the end of the wars all remaining prisoners, many had died of diseases in the extremely overcrowded conditions, were repatriated to their respective countries. The prison was then closed until 1850 when it was reopened as a prison for convicted criminals. Having been a high category in the past, today it is a low category prison.

Moretonhampstead had no parking for R0X1 but we had fun a clambering over Postbridge clapper bridge. The clapper bridge dates back to the 12th century and has survived uncountable floods of the East Dart river. The “modern bridge” has also survived many a torrent.

Postbridge, “modern” and clapper bridge

Got back to site and with less than 24 hours left here I finally managed to get R0X level on the ramps!

Off to the Bezzies tomorrow and a few wine-o-clocks!

🍷 🍷 🍷

Deepest, darkest, (dearest) Devon.

We arrived yesterday and I’d quite forgotten how much I love my home county. For the first trip of this year I’m spending a few days in Devon, prior to visiting the Bezzies just over the border in Cornwall. The plan was to introduce LWD to Dartmoor, unfortunately for today at least, the weather decided not to cooperate. I know the moor well enough not to go wandering alone when there’s very low cloud, drizzle and patchy fog. Instead we caught the bus into Tavi from the campsite, and yes at this time of year in this neck of the moors I need the umbilical cord firmly attached to the national grid, and was immediately delighted to be back in Devon. LWD was welcomed on to the bus, the driver greeted me with an enquiry about my health today, and once in the ancient stannary town I was surrounded by broad Devon accents and heard words such as “backalong” – mmm, home – nice to be back!

Tavistock, a longtime favourite, is a lively town on the river Tavy, and looks totally “uncorporate” having more independent shops than usual and stolid Victorian buildings, including the Pannier market. Today the town was full of warm friendly Devonians (hardly a grockle in sight!) chattering in groups and hailing one another across the street, not a few of whom also greeted LWD (not one shop denied her admittance) and me.

Despite the dreary day we had a goodun …

🙂 🙂 🙂

[Until]… the breakdown.

So after my walk to Crackington Haven and my relaxing coffee I boarded the 595 towards Boscastle.

The bus was halfway up the hill when the engine faded and the driver said “We’re not going to Boscastle in this bus”. He reverse coasted the bus back down the narrow hill, through the sharp bend at the bottom and into the bus stop on the wrong side of the road (there being no pull in on the other side). Passengers disembarked, most throwing in the towel and getting on the bus ¾ of an hour later, going back the way they came. Two of us waited the two hours for the next bus to Boscastle to arrive. One lass because she had no choice and me because I’m a glutton for punishment.

My abbreviated visit to Boscastle was very enjoyable, a good walk around and the purchase of superfresh locally grown fruit and veg. The runner beans and strawberries had been picked only that morning.

Then there was this chap ….

Poser

less of a Character … and very much a Poser.

It was good to see that almost exactly 10 years on from the devastating flash flood the village is thriving. It’s a shame that a hundreds of years old cottage was too damaged to be repaired but it’s been rebuilt and a storm channel has been incorporated into the repaired river banks. Looking at it on this peaceful day it was almost impossible to believe it’s the same place the television cameras recorded the metres high torrent of water sweeping through relocating trees, all the cars from the car park and anything else that was unable to move out of the way (think the boxing day tsunami).

So … Friday, and it’s goodbye to Western Greyhound; I’ve loved your routes but not always your dilapidated buses (and one particularly irritable driver – you really need to get a different job mate). Goodbye too, to Cornwall. I’ve had a great time.

Hello North Devon, First Great Western and the Tarka Line, equally dilapidated (trains) but hopefully less incidents!

🙂 🙂 🙂

Shakedown cruise …

R0X1 took rather more shaking than I would’ve wished, more of which later.

Picked her up on Monday morning and packed with indecent haste. K, the Smart One and I had an Indian takeaway in the van on Monday evening and I slept peacefully overnight whilst parked outside the flat! After a final stowage the road beckoned on Tuesday morning.

As I am now officially Nomaggsrush I used the non-motorway, prettier route to Devon, more practice with the LHD and using the gear stick and handbrake with the “wrong” hands. My biggest problem tho’ was remembering what the clutch is for – I’ve been driving K’s automatic for the past few months!

My first campsite “The Old Orchard” is lovely, 9 pitches only 4 of which are in use.

 

Tranquility base

tranquility base 

Very peaceful surrounded by fields, little traffic on the lanes. The main road, with a bus stop, is only ½ a mile away.

 

Quiet lanes

quiet lanes

 The shake happened Wednesday morning. Having finally worked out the mysteries of the gas system I went to fill up with LPG. The incident was partly my fault as I wasn’t at that point very aware of how much my wing mirror sticks out (am now), but certainly the oncoming van, which wiped out said mirror, was far out in a rather narrow street and exceeding 30mph. The bang made J jump, he was in the passenger seat right next to the mirror!! Chappie at Halfords was extremely helpful and I have temporary mirrors stuck in and straps holding the housing together.

 

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the mishap

I’ve been buying out Wilko as I discover various needs for small living – e.g. a hanging shoe caddy is far more practical than a shoe box. And those new double sided sticky velcro thingies are wonderful for hanging things on the wall.

 

Sticky velcro hung

 

Luckily Wilko stuff is cheap as I couldn’t find the box with all my glassware and mugs and had to replace them 🙂

Caught up with J and girlfriend. They came for breakfast and survived my first cooking attempt on the stove. R0X1 has met with approval from them and from P&S and H&C who have also visited.

Saw an advert for Tiverton balloon festival on 11th – 13th July. Now that may be worth a visit …

Off to Cornwall on Monday and my campsite – my best friend’s drive!

🙂 🙂 🙂