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Sunday, 27 September 2015

From Dartmouth To The Queen of Crime Writers...

Well little bloggies, although I'm still writing about my tour with my American friend, I am actually writing this post in Green Bay, Wisconsin, as I am here on a visit for three weeks. I'm sure I will be writing about this visit at some time in the future! 

Anyway, for now, we are back in Devon. On this particular day, we woke up to sunshine and bright blue skies, so I decided to drive to Dartmouth.

Dartmouth is a pretty little town, in an area of outstanding beauty in the South Hams, and contains many Elizabethan buildings with narrow streets and stone stairways, as well as a good selection of individual shops to browse around. 

One of the most famous streets is The Butterwalk, which was built between 1635 - 1640. 

From the quayside, we took a boat trip up the beautiful River Dart, which would take us to Greenway, the Summer home of the crime writer, Agatha Christie, who created, amongst others, the unforgettable characters of Miss Marple, and Hercule Poirot!

Just as an aside here, the town of Dartmouth was a base for American servicemen during World War 11, and one of the departure points for Utah Beach in the D-Day landings. It's sister town is in Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Here are some photos I took along the River Dart, on what out turned out to be just a perfect day for a boat trip. 

Here we are just sailing by the boat house at Greenway...

As soon as we alighted from the boat, we had a steep climb up to the property itself - well, we ARE in Devon! On the quayside, we were immediately taken back in time at the sight of the vintage bus. The sort of bus, incidentally, that I used to ride on all the time as a child. Eeeek!

The property is now owned and maintained by The National Trust, and I think they do an excellent job, because you really do get the impression that the family have just popped out for a walk and will be back at any minute!  We had a glimpse of the house as we were climbing up the path ....

I was really taken by this driftwood horse's head amongst the plant sales ....

Here is Miss Diane in front of the beautiful house, which looks right down over the River Dart....

You can see that it was pretty quiet on the day we were there, which made it all the more special and peaceful. 

Here we have the priceless collection of first editions of all Agatha's books, and the actual typewriter that the novels were written on. 

The gardens were also quite beautiful. The following shots were taken by The Orangery..the first one is of cherry blossom, with a carpet of bluebells beneath, and the second one is of the magnificent wisteria...

Well, I do hope that I have given you the feel of our day out. I think, for me, it was one of my favourite days.  Anyway, I hope to see you again soon. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

.....On To Port Isaac, Home of Doc Martin!

So we are still in Cornwall, but driving along a pretty little road into Port Isaac, a picturesque fishing village on the Atlantic coast of North Cornwall.

These days, the little village has become very well known as Portwenn, the fictional village featured in Doc Martin, and where filming of the series takes place. Diane is a fan of this charming series, as am I, so it was rather nice to go and see where all the action takes place, much of which is based around the little harbour...

My goodness, there is a very steep hill leading down to the village.  Cars have to be parked at the top of the hill, because of the very narrow streets.  Perhaps during the peak holiday season, there is a little bus that runs to and fro, but it certainly wasn't there on the day we visited. Going down was bad enough, but we were on our last legs by the time we had climbed back up again, after a very pleasant few hours looking round the village and taking our photos. Luckily, Diane was still able to laugh ....

Can you spot the sea right down in the distance?!

The little souvenir shop with photos of the cast of the series ...

I am delighted to say that we found a couple of little tea shoppes!...

Here is a photo of the little narrow streets. You can see now why you can't take your car into the village...

The crystal clear waters around the coast of Cornwall always look so blue...

Here is a photo of Doc Martin's house, up on the hillside...

I did wonder what the villagers thought about the hordes of tourists who converge on them every year. Do they look on it as a curse, or a blessing?  I suppose all the local businesses do very well out of it. Here in England we are presently watching Series 7 of this comedy drama, and all the characters continue to amuse us in their own unique English way!

In my next Post, we will be returning to Devon, with a boat trip up the beautiful River Dart and a visit to the summer residence of the famous Crime Writer, Agatha Christie. Hope to see you then!

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Tour Continues....

One of the first things I explained to Miss Diane when she was talking about coming to England, was, whilst I could prepare an interesting Itinerary, so that she could see lots of beautiful places, I had no control over the vagaries of the British weather.

End of April could be cold and damp, or pleasantly warm. I think we would all agree that if someone was visiting our part of the world, wherever that might be, we would want them to see it looking at it's very best! In the end, I decided that we would just have to make the most of whatever the weather decided to throw at us.  The important thing, surely, was to enjoy our time together, and have FUN!

In the end, apart from a couple of damp, drizzly days whilst we were 'back at base' as it were, I felt that we were very lucky. Alright, it wasn't exactly hot, but we weren't getting drenched every day either, and almost all our photos show blue skies, which is always a bonus. 

This first photo shows Diane outside another charming gift shop in the fishing village of Mousehole. (Mowzel!). 

Here we have boats in the small harbour. Along with agriculture and tourism, fishing and boats play a huge part in the daily life of Devon and Cornwall. 

We then moved on to St Ives, which, for generations, has been a mecca for artists, because of the wonderful light you will find there.

Obviously, food played a big part of our trip (well, alright then, and the occasional glass of wine) and here we were enjoying dinner in a 'posh' shack, right on the beach. Bliss!

Of course, I had to introduce Diane to the Devonshire and Cornish cream teas that we are famous for!

Cornwall is also famous for the 'Cornish Pasty' and at Carbis Bay we had the most wonderful fish and chips, which this Country is also renowned for. 

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the photos today. See you again next time ....

Sunday, 20 September 2015

On to Cornwall....

After reaching Devon from the Cotswolds, Diane and I just spent a couple of days relaxing, before setting off for Cornwall.  Americans, apparently, are big fans of the British TV Drama, Doc Martin, and Diane really wanted to visit Port Isaac, where the series is filmed. But more of that later...

I must say here that there were two things that Diane found so different from back home in Wisconsin..first of all, she couldn't get over the narrow lanes with their high hedges, so that you just couldn't see what was coming in the other direction!  Perhaps this photo will give you some idea ...and secondly, she was amazed at the HILLS!  Devon and Cornwall ARE very hilly, and these hills invariably lead right down to the sea. 

On our drive down through the countryside, we even had to drive through a ford (a ford is a shallow place where a car can cross a river or a stream).  This really was showing Diane the English countryside at its quirkiest, and here is the ford in question ...


To be honest, I'm not sure we should have been on this small country road, but all I did was listen to the very nice lady on the SatNav!!

We stayed at a hotel in Carbis Bay, which was right on the beach.  We had balconies which overlooked the sandy beach and the ocean. It was wonderful to go to sleep with the sound of the waves lapping against the beach. 

I'm anxious not to make these posts too long, as I don't want to bore you, so I will leave it there for now. Next time we will visit St Ives and Mousehole.  This quaint little fishing village is actually pronounced "Mowzel", but Diane preferred Mousehole!

See you next time...

Friday, 18 September 2015

I Was A Tour Guide....

Yes, it's true ... I was a tour guide for three weeks at the end of April. My good friend, Diane, who lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was flying to England for the first time, and I wanted to make it special for her. 

After leaving the hustle and bustle of Heathrow Airport, I had decided to stay for a few days in the Cotswolds on the way down to my home County of Devon. 

I felt that The Cotswolds would really represent what Americans would think of as being typically English. In fact, Diane said she felt as if she was appearing in an episode of Midsomer Murders!

Here is Diane at Bourton on the Water, along with a few more pics of the area. 

We actually stayed at Lower Slaughter , which is one of the prettiest villages, although we thought the name was a little unfortunate. We thought perhaps some grisly murders had been carried out there in years gone by, but, no... one villager told us that the Farmers used to bring their cattle into the village for slaughter., but, rather boringly, I think it was named after a Knight in the days of yore! 

We came across some quirky little signs on our walk ....

This is a pic of The Old Mill at Lower Slaughter. We went for a lovely walk all around here, and across the adjoining fields.  At the back of The Mill was a delightful little gift shop and ye old tea shoppe!

Next time, I'll show you some more of the tour. This time in my very own little corner of the world.

Meanwhile, I hope you are all keeping well wherever you are reading this Post. 

Did We Have More Fun?

I seem to be feeling a little nostalgic recently. I'm sure it has something to do with Autumn approaching. I was wondering, did children of my generation (born in 1947) have more fun as children than the children of today. These days, they all seem to be on their smart phones, tablets, or X boxes etc., and sometimes they seem to be in a virtual world of their own.

When I was a little girl, I can remember that I used to love being out in the open air!  I used to spend hours playing with my friends. Who else remembers the following activities?!  

We seemed to use our imagination so much more when I was a child as well.  Do you agree, or am I just getting old?!  Don't get me wrong, I love keeping up with all the new Technology - having three grandchildren, I think it is very important for me to do that, and I love it when they show me how to play certain games on their Tabkets, although, for some reason, I just can't seem to get the hang of Minecraft! 

Another activity I used to love during the Summer months, was making dens!  I'm delighted to say that, when we were over in France a while ago, the whole family helped to make a den in the forest for Eli and Ruby, and they absolutely loved it. Proving, once again, that the simplest things often bring the greatest pleasure.