A New Year Walk on Hound Tor – The Landscape of Dartmoor and the Devonshire Mysteries

A New Year Walk on Hound Tor – The Landscape of Dartmoor and the Devonshire Mysteries

Readers sometimes tell me that my photos of Devon help them to imagine the setting for Dan and Alan’s adventures on and around Dartmoor, so I hope this set will be of interest.

In the fourth novel of the Devonshire Mysteries, Accomplice to Murder, Dan, Alan and a glamorous figure from Dan’s past visit Hound Tor. Don’t worry, I won’t give any spoilers, but below, you can see the hawthorn tree that’s mentioned in the book.

In real life, it was a fresh and sunny day, and the quality of the light gave a real depth to this intriguing and wild place. Whether you read the books or not, I hope you like the pictures.

Sue and Lottie heading uphill, the tor on the horizon.

Getting closer.

To see the full set of photos, please sign in. Registration is free. Thanks.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
Happy New Year

Happy New Year

At last I’m getting back to work, so the featured photos should be rolling out regularly, usually every week.

I took these on a Boxing Day trip to Teignmouth. It was a gloriously sunny day although there was a chill breeze. It was certainly bracing and a great way to blow the cobwebs away after all the eating and drinking of the day before. The light, to coin a phrase, was fantastic.

I hope you all had a restful and enjoyable time over the holiday season, and a huge Happy New Year from Sue, Lottie and me.

We’re going to need a bigger boat.

There’s something fishy here.

To see the full set of photos, please sign in. Registration is free. Thanks.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
Happy Christmas, Season’s Greetings and  Generally Festive Goodwill to All

Happy Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Generally Festive Goodwill to All

It’s that time of year when many of us give ourselves over to the festive spirit, and I’m looking forward to sharing some time with family and eating lots of seasonal treats.

If you’ve been wondering why you haven’t heard from me for a while, it’s because I have been away from my keyboard for about a month. Unfortunately, I have a trapped nerve in my neck, and it’s made it distinctly uncomfortable to sit at my desk. Even now, I am dictating this so that I can stand up and move around. I’ve been given some exercises by a physiotherapist, and they seem to be working. At any rate, I am slowly getting better, so I should be fighting fit very soon.

I’m looking forward to getting back to work on the next Devonshire mystery, and I hope to resume the sending out of newsletters early in the New Year. I have lots of plans and ideas about ways that I can deliver more content for you all. As well as the newsletters, I will, of course, keep taking and sharing the photos that so many of you enjoy.

Thank you one and all for your encouragement and support. It really does mean a huge amount to me that you have chosen to invest your time in reading my work, and I am privileged to have such a lovely bunch of friendly and helpful readers. It’s amazing to me that the characters and stories I’ve dreamed up are alive in the minds of readers all around the world. It seems miraculous that readers who may be separated by thousands of miles can come together in an imaginary realm. Some of you may have strolled to The Wild Boar in Embervale for a pint of ale, while others may have travelled to far-flung planets or distant futures. Others may have dared to encounter the Darkeningstone and journeyed across millennia to a time when the spirits were very much alive in the minds of our ancestors. All these worlds began life as a hastily typed sentence or two or a scribble on a pad of paper. Stephen King put it well when he said, “Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

For your company on this journey through the world of words, I thank you. I’m grateful too, for all the lovely emails, comments and messages I have received; I valued each each and every one of them.

It only remains for me to wish you a happy and safe holiday season and a wonderful New Year, but I couldn’t sign off without sharing a few seasonal photos, so you’ll see those below.

All the best to you and yours, from Sue, Lottie and me.

The village hunkering down for winter.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
A Chilly Day in Devon – The Teign Valley: The Setting for The Devonshire Mysteries – 13 December 2022

A Chilly Day in Devon – The Teign Valley: The Setting for The Devonshire Mysteries – 13 December 2022

After a mild autumn, winter has arrived to nip our toes and pinch our ears.

These pics were all taken on one our regular dog walks. and they show a view over the Teign Valley area which is the home of the fictional village of Embervale which is the setting for The Devonshire Mysteries.

I haven’t captioned them separately as they were all taken together, but I have labelled one picture that includes a view of our village because the sharp-eyed will be able to pick out the very room in which I work.

To see the full set of photos, please sign in. Registration is free. Thanks.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
Parke, HQ of the Dartmoor National Park –  15 November 2022

Parke, HQ of the Dartmoor National Park – 15 November 2022

The appropriately named Parke Estate near Bovey Tracey is now owned by the National Trust, and the grand old house is now the headquarters for the Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA).

The estate also hosts the weekly ParkRun where Mrs C and I, along with a hundred or so other brave or foolhardy folks, run a 5K route every Saturday.

While running this uneven track up hill and down dale, I’m usually too preoccupied with the mud, stones and bits of stick on the ground to take in much of the natural beauty, but the other day, we took Lottie for a leisurely stroll, and I got to appreciate the landscape. Just after we arrived, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and a double rainbow appeared.

To see the full set of photos, please sign in. Registration is free. Thanks.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
Retro Motors, November 2022

Retro Motors, November 2022

Classic Cars

I always like it when I stumble on something serendipitously, and this trip to Newton Abbot was one such occasion. Mrs C and I had no idea that a classic car rally was being held in town, so it was lovely to find these gleaming cars on display.

I often hanker after cars such as these, but I know that the owners spend a great deal of time and money on keeping their vehicles in showroom condition, and I haven’t the time or the expertise.

Long-time followers of my photos might remember that exactly the same thing happened a few years ago, though I think the photos were posted on a different site. If you’ve been around long enough to remember that, thank you very much!

I hope you enjoy the photos. I’m afraid I didn’t note down the makes and models of the cars, although some of the manufacturers will be obvious in the photos.

To see the full set of photos, please sign in. Registration is free. Thanks.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
The Season of Swirling Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness, October 2022

The Season of Swirling Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness, October 2022

Autumn in Devon

The earth turns, the seasons roll around, and so we head into autumn once again.

A good, crisp, clear autumn day, with the leaves turning golden, the air still sweet with the memories of summer, a juicy blackberry plucked from the hedgerow, and the promise of a hot drink when we get home, make for a joyous experience.

There I go, waxing poetical, but there’s something about autumn that brings out those wistful emotions. I think it must be something to do with saying farewell to the summer and preparing for the winter. There’s a theory that our ancestors revered shorelines along the edge of lakes or the sea, because these were places of change, the solid land giving way to shifting water. They were ‘between places’, perhaps symbolising change and impermanence, so people dropped valuable items into the water as offerings.

I wonder if our ancestors also revered the ‘between times’ of autumn and spring, the cycle of darkness and light, cold and warmth. Make an offering to autumn, perhaps with a great bonfire, and the spirits will help you to get through the winter. It’s interesting to wonder how much of the ancient ways have been passed on down the centuries. We now know that behaviours can be stored in our DNA. Are we so different from our ancestors?

It’s something to ponder as I spend the evenings by a crackling fire, especially if I can get my hands on an apple pie or an apple and blackberry crumble. Delicious.

Now I’m hungry, and I’d better go and walk Lottie before it gets dark.

I hope you like the photos.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
The City of Bath – 28 Sep, 2022

The City of Bath – 28 Sep, 2022

The City of Bath – Ancient and Modern

Mrs C and I took a break to visit the city of Bath, and we enjoyed it immensely. I’d been once before, and I knew there were many historical treasures in the place, but I hadn’t realised the modern city was so vibrant and busy. Living in such a small and quiet village, we find it quite a novelty to have a choice of restaurants and entertainment venues on our doorstep.

I took lots of photos, and I hope you enjoy this selection. As always, you can see the full set and leave a comment when you sign in. Registration is free.

We began with the Jane Austen Centre: a small museum where you’re shown around by a character in full costume. There’s a chance to dress up for a photo, so we gave it a go.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
Cooling off down by the lake 14 Sep, 2022

Cooling off down by the lake 14 Sep, 2022

Cooling off during the recent heatwave.

We’ve had some unprecedented temperatures in the UK recently, and that’s not great for dogs, especially black dogs of a certain vintage, so Sue and I took Lottie up to a nearby reservoir to cool off.

We took a picnic rug and just sat in the shade of the leafy bank, looking out at the water. It was a lovely thing to do. I don’t know about you, but I rarely just sit down and do nothing, not for long anyway, and this experience reminded me of the joy of just chilling out whilst surrounded by nature.

Lottie enjoyed it too.

If you’re interested, this is Tottiford reservoir, and I hope you like the photos.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
Palm trees and a profusion of colour in the Eden Project 1 Sep, 2022

Palm trees and a profusion of colour in the Eden Project 1 Sep, 2022

A recent trip to the Eden project in Cornwall.

I’ve been to the Eden project several times over the years, and I always enjoy strolling through the biomes: domes contrived to replicate particular habitats. The tropical biome is always a favourite of mine. It can be slightly arduous to trek around the place because it is kept warm and humid, but on this occasion the UK was having a heatwave, so it really wasn’t all that different to the temperature outside.

There’s also a mediterranean biome, complete with grapevines and orange trees, and that’s a more relaxing place to wander around.

At one time, many years ago, I started a degree in plant biology, so I’ve long been been interested in the natural world. I didn’t finish that degree, but I’m still fascinated by the diversity of life on our precious planet. To see such a profusion of colour and greenery is an uplifting experience, but it’s also a poignant reminder of the habitats we are losing every day. I was learning about such things on my degree course back in 1983, so the climate crisis is not by any means a new phenomenon.

I won’t climb on my soap box. I’m sure many of you value the natural world too, and in that spirit, I hope you enjoy the pictures.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
A Mysterious Hotel and Smugglers Tunnel – Featured Photos – 22 August, 2022

A Mysterious Hotel and Smugglers Tunnel – Featured Photos – 22 August, 2022

As I mentioned in a recent podcast, we recently visited Bigbury-on-Sea, a lovely Devon beach with acres of warm sand running down to the sparkling sea (on the day we visited anyway).

For me, one of the beach’s best features is the fact that it faces Burgh Island, a small island that’s only cut off from the shore at high tide. The island and its art deco hotel were used as settings by Agatha Christie in And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun, so I could sit on the beach and imagine amateur sleuths were stalking the slopes while a gaggle of suspects, ne’er do wells  and potential victims sipped gin and tonic on the hotel’s sunlit terraces. And a murderer or two, of course, but we won’t dwell on that.

A couple of days earlier we’d visited a very different beach at Shaldon, a seaside village on the Teign estuary, directly opposite the town of Teignmouth. At Shaldon, there are houses right next to the beach, and there are lots of boats bobbing on the water. There’s also a rocky outcrop called the Ness, and if you don’t mind a bit of a walk up its slopes, you can take a stroll down the narrow and echoing tunnel that leads down to a small and secluded beach at Ness Cove. The tunnel is called Smugglers Tunnel, but I’m not sure if that’s why it was dug. There’s an old lime kiln at its mouth, so the tunnel may have been built for a more prosaic purpose, but you can certainly imagine smugglers creeping through the tunnel in the dead of night.

I hope you like the photos. If you’re a member of the site, please feel free to post a comment, and if you’re not a member, please consider joining. It’s free and fun.

Burgh Island and Bigbury-on-Sea.

 

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us
A Picnic, a Church, Feathered Friends and a Spiky Visitor – Featured Photos – 14 August, 2022

A Picnic, a Church, Feathered Friends and a Spiky Visitor – Featured Photos – 14 August, 2022

Recently, Sue and I, along with one of our grown-up sons and his partner, experienced a microcosm of rural Devon life in one day.

We took a picnic to the park in the nearby small town of Bovey Tracey where they were holding a small fete as part of their carnival week. We watched a demonstration of falconry and then ate our picnic in the shade of a tree before touring the craft stalls. These seemed a little too commercial to me, especially compared to the village shows I remember when I was growing up. In those days, the refreshments were run by the Women’s Institute or a local charity or community group, and the excellent cakes and scones were sold for a nominal sum. No one was trying to build a cupcake business; it was all about community. I’m all for entrepreneurship, but it has its place.

On the way home, we stopped in at the local church in Hennock where they were showing some historical documents and photos. After that, we strolled into the village hall where local volunteers were selling drinks and cakes as well as potted plants, all in return for small donations. Here was the experience I’d missed at the earlier event: a few simple refreshments shared with neighbours.

Below, I’ve included pictures of the church and more. You’ll also be able to see our spiky visitor.

I hope you like the photos. If you’re a member of the site, please feel free to post a comment, and if you’re not a member, please consider joining. It’s free and fun.

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Get Free Books

Keep the Words Flowing

To keep me writing, I need tea in industrial quantities. You can make that happen with just a couple of clicks

Member of Alli

alli

Get Free Books

Plus a newsletter worth reading

Thank you for signing up. Please check your inbox for a confirmation email and click on the activation link.