Featured Photos April 19, 2024 – Location Scouting in Exeter, plus A Study in Stone Reference

Featured Photos April 19, 2024 – Location Scouting in Exeter, plus A Study in Stone Reference

DC Spiller’s books, The Devonshire Crime Thrillers, and Dan and Alan’s adventures in The Devonshire Mysteries are all almost all set in the local area, and I sometimes like to scout out locations.

In Exeter the other day, I was thinking about the grittier world of DC Spiller and decided to look for the seamier side of the city. Heavily bombed in WWII (as you’ll know if you’ve read Accomplice to Murder) Exeter is a city of contrasts. Beautiful old buildings and picturesque streets of small shops are surrounded by hastily built, and rather boxy, concrete and brick buildings with all manner of designs.

As we walked through the area known as Sidwell, I thought back to Dan and Alan’s first story in A Study in Stone. The area and the legend of Saint Sidwell, a figure known by variants of that name, e.g. Sativola, figure in the story, and I thought how great it would be to capture a picture of the woman herself.

I looked up and there she was, portrayed on the side of a building. I don’t recall seeing that image before, but that might just be my memory playing up. At any rate, it was a nice surprise, and I included a couple of photos below, along with my location-scouting shots.

I hope you find them interesting.  

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Featured Photos April 07, 2024 – Barcelona part 2

Featured Photos April 07, 2024 – Barcelona part 2

A few more photos from our recent trip to Barcelona.

I hope you enjoy them.

We stayed near the Arc de Triomf, and the area around it and nearby park were both busy from dawn until dusk (and beyond). As you can see, the park was flat as a pancake, so we went for a few runs in the warm evenings – a treat compared to the hills of Devon. 

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Featured Photos March 30, 2024 – Barcelona

Featured Photos March 30, 2024 – Barcelona

A change of scene is often very welcome, and you couldn’t get much more of a contrast between our quiet, tiny village and the restless hubbub of Barcelona.

It was warm, the people were friendly, the food was good, the architecture was stunning, and there was always, always, something going on.

Below are a few photos. I may post another batch soon, but I’m being very selective. I won’t bore you with the scores of photos I took.    

I hope you enjoy these glimpses of Barcelona.

The Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s great work

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Featured Photos March 10, 2024 – Lustleigh

Featured Photos March 10, 2024 – Lustleigh

The small Devon village of Lustleigh wasn’t the model for Embervale in the Devonshire Mysteries, but it conveys an idea of the kind of place I had in mind.

Thatched cottages, a friendly-looking pub, a small shop, a church and all surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Dan and Alan would love it here – especially the pub. 

I hope you enjoy these few photos.

 

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Featured Photos February 28, 2024 – Parke

Featured Photos February 28, 2024 – Parke

Spring is in the air.

Near the town of Bovey Tracey, Parke is the slightly confusing name of a house and estate.

Once privately owned, the house and estate belong to the National Trust, and the house is home to the headquarters of the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

The grounds have plenty of paths for walking, cycling and, of course, running. We’ve visited it many times, and there’s always something different to see.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

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Featured Photos February 13, 2024 – Bovey Tracey

Featured Photos February 13, 2024 – Bovey Tracey

The nearby town of Bovey Tracey is often mentioned in the Devonshire Mysteries, so I thought I’d share a few photos to give you an idea of its leafy environs.

Generally shortened to one word, Bovey, and pronounced ‘Buvvy’, the town is an old one and still small, but it is an official town, complete with a mayor. I sometimes mention real-life issues in the books, and you’ll find Alan chuntering about the building of new houses. Bovey is a case in point. Quite a few of the surrounding fields are being turned into housing developments, and it’s not hard to see why. People want to live in a small town on the edge of Dartmoor, and the old houses weren’t built for those demands. Towns need an influx of young people and families to thrive, but if there’s no infrastructure for those people, there will be issues, e.g. with schools, doctors, transport links and so on. And if people jump in their cars and drive to an out-of-town supermarket for their needs, then there’s a chance that they won’t contribute much to the town.

That said, it’s a nice town and there have been lots of improvements. A new library and community hub was built, and an old pub that was almost falling down has been restored and converted into an arts centre that will one day include a small cinema and cafe. I’m looking forward to that.

I offer all this as background information to the books rather than as social commentary, and I hope you enjoy these few photos.

The old mill is a rather fine building, and it now houses a craft centre, gallery and cafe. The items for sale are made by local craftspeople, and it’s interesting to see the furniture, ceramics and so on. There’s a lot of skill on show, and these handmade items are things of beauty.   The V-shape stonework in the foreground is the edge of the bridge I was standing on – it’s a sort of refuge in the centre of the bridge where you can escape from the passing traffic, which is just as well as there’s no pavement on that side.

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