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.
I often run up to the nearby reservoirs of Tottiford, Kennick and Trenchford because I can step out the front door and just start, running from one lane to the next.
It’s pretty much uphill all the way, but it’s good for the legs, and I’m rewarded by lovely views when I get there.
Also, it’s mainly downhill on the return journey, so there’s that.
I hope you enjoy the photos.
I entered a half marathon in Dawlish recently. It was mainly a trail run and a hard slog over rutted, muddy paths. The first half was a long, long climb but it did deliver some lovely views.
Almost at the finish! read more…
The nearby seaside town of Teignmouth is handy for a walk by the sea. I took a few photos as the sun dipped toward the horizon.read more…
We’ve had some lovely dry days recently, and a wintry walk makes a nice change after the Christmas festivities.
Pictured below is the Trenchford reservoir, a favourite walk with lots of the locals around here.
I’m behind with my Christmas preparations, as usual, but I finally got my mincemeat made for the pies. No real recipe this year – I just used whatever dried fruit and spices I had. The white pieces are toasted cashews. I don’t use suet and never have – I don’t see why anyone would add fat to a sweet preserve. There are chopped dates, nice big raisins, the zest and juice from a couple of oranges and a lemon, cinnamon, soft brown sugar and candied ginger. I didn’t have port, but there was a bottle of whisky lying around so I used that and added a glug of red wine, which I figure amounts to the same thing. Boil it up, simmer and place in a sterilised jar. There should’ve been mixed spice or at least nutmeg, but it still tasted good, so I don’t think anyone will notice.
A trip to Winchester. the city was very attractive with its Christmas decorations. Above are a small contingent of a brass band playing festive songs by the tree. It took me back to my childhood, watching Kirkbymoorside Brass Band playing Silent Night, one of my mum’s favourites, in the glow of a streetlight.
I wish I had photos of the lights at night, but it was bitterly cold so I wasn’t hanging around to take pictures. Sorry about that.
This was after the Park Run in Winchester. Minus 2 degrees Celsius, so my hands were in my pockets with good reason. Still, I followed a pacer (a volunteer who sticks to a certain pace) and managed to keep up with him, covering the 5K in under 24 minutes. This was a personal best for me, so I had the warm glow from a sense of achievement.
A sprinkling of snow, a rarity in Devon where wet and mild is the rule. This is the view from my writing room, out over the allotments and to the hills beyond, though the hills are partly lost in the mist.
Not gorillas in the mist but cows. I took this photo while I was out on a run, enjoying the solitude of the Devon lanes. I wasn’t so keen on the drizzle that came later, but it was still good to be out and about.
Some more photos from the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.
We took a boat trip around the islands off the coast, including Skomer, a haven for birds in the breeding season. The birds had mainly flown elsewhere for winter, but the islands were beautiful and we saw seals on the beaches with their pups, and some swam near the boat.
I hope you like the pictures.
The jetty disappearing into the water didn’t inspire confidence, and when the boat arrived, the chap in charge didn’t like the mist. He went to ponder the situation over a coffee, while the gaggle of potential passengers cooled our heels on the beach. Miraculously, the mist cleared, and we set off.
We had a holiday on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.
There were several days of lovely sunshine, warm enough to sunbathe on the beach and swim in the sea, but this being September, there were also some misty mornings.
On our first day, we went for a run along the coastal path, largely unaware of the cliff’s edge just a few feet to one side.
Thankfully, we stayed firmly on the path, and as the mists cleared, we started to see the lovely views.
I hope you like the pictures.
On a recent trip to Cheltenham (or Cheltenham Spa to give the town its proper name), we enjoyed an evening stroll in Pittville Park, taking in what would be one of the last light and bright evenings.
I moved to Cheltenham back in 88, and I remember sitting in this park, all alone. I’d moved to take up a job, and I didn’t know a soul. I hadn’t been paid yet, so I dined on a snack bar and a soft drink, but I didn’t mind. I was in my twenties and I could get by on more meagre sustenance than I’m used to now. Besides, it was sunny and the park was green and glorious and much prettier than the city streets of Leeds that I’d left behind.
Who could’ve guessed that in a couple of weeks I’d meet a young lady who, some years later, would become Mrs C?
Not me, that’s for sure, but that’s the way life works.
I hope you enjoy the pictures.
Pittville Pump Room with a wedding going on. In its Regency heyday, this was a place to sample the spa waters of Cheltenham, hence the name. I think you can still sample the water inside.
My runs are taking me through the winding lanes of Devon and up to the local reservoirs.
Bearing in mind the poem, Leisure by William Henry Davies:
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
I decided to stop and take a few photos. I hope you enjoy them.
The quay in Exeter features in the Devonshire Mystery, Accomplice to Murder, both in the present day story and in the past via a cold case. These days it’s a jolly place to spend a Sunday afternoon, especially when there’s a jazz band playing and people dancing in the street. Mrs C and I had a relaxing afternoon strolling along and checking out the cafes and eclectic shops, and I hope you enjoy the photos.
Stone setts make up the road here, and you can see a building was probably once a warehouse – more on that below.