25 th August - 27 th October 2017

Delightful Devon

The trip to Devon showed us many narrow roads, quite exciting if you like going around corners and meeting cars or trucks head on with nowhere to go. I do not know how there are not more accidents.

Our abode is a sort of cabin on the hill top. Great view across the fields, but it does not change much. We have two bedrooms.

Our first guests were Stephen and Monica. It is great to have guests during our travels as it gets a bit quiet with just the two of us. Our first site-seeing was Dartmouth Castle, we go to Dartmouth by the Park and ride £5 to park and then we all go to Dartmouth return 2 or 4 or 6 however many can fit in the car. The castle is very high and was built just for defence so unlike many of the castles it belongs to the town rather than a family. There is a church on the grounds, that is still in use. The views from the castle are spectacular. They had a chain across the River Dart which could be winched up to stop ships invading.

Royal Britannia Naval College

A highlight of Stephen and Monica’s trip, organised by Monica, was a tour of the Royal Britannia Naval College. Our tour guide an ex student and Commander was excellent telling us many interesting facts. Prince Charles had attended this college. I sat in the chapel, in the Queen’s seat, appropriately. Another ex-student was on the tour keeping a low profile, of course I told the guide and they had a good chat exchanging stories. No Cadets were in attendance at the college, it was holidays, which was both good and bad. Good because we could see more, not getting in anyone’s way, but bad as we did not get a feel for a working college. The college has its own solar heating and solar hot water it was one of the most modern buildings in its time.
A highlight of Devon is the food we had a great lunch in Dittisham, pronounced Ditsum. After lunch half the party went to Agatha Christie's house and half went to the pub. The pub has a local gin menu, so I started drinking through it, not having to drive! I guess you know who went to the pub.
The towns around Dartmouth are Totnes and Torquay. We liked Totnes, but found Torquay a bit grim and seasidey. Set up for tourists with lots of gimmicks.
Totnes is very steep and has some lovely places to eat. It is a pleasant town with nice shopping.

There are a couple of places worth a visit in the area. Berry Pomeroy Castle the home of Jane Seymour's family, she was the one who married Henry VIII. They made it into a stately home and held fabulous parties.  it is very imposing although a lot has fallen into disrepair.

Totnes has a round castle on the top of the hill for defence very much like the one we saw in Ireland.
Entrance to Totnes Castle
Totnes Castle
Castle on a Hill
A bit of a walk
Made it
Not a lot to it
View of Totnes from Castle
View of Totnes from Castle
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the House
The Main House
A bit of a ruin
Marvelous House
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Our next visitors Steve and Sharon; saw us at the local winery. A very narrow and curvy road trip had us all ready for a few drinks by the time we got there. We purchased the tasting basket 4 wines and sat in the sun tasting them all. After good Aussie wines and good French wines these were a little underwhelming and very expensive, so we left without a purchase.
Agatha Christie was our next excursion. We took the park and ride, the ferry and then the steam train, talk about Planes and boats and trains. The steam train was great fun. Travelling slowly through the countryside. We opted for the coach trip to the house rather than the 2 mile walk!! We still had a bit of a walk to get up to the house. Everything in Devon is on a hill. The house was a bit of a surprise everything is still there exactly as she left it and she was a collector of stuff. There is no way I could take it all in, snuff boxes, crockery, walking sticks and anything else you can think of. The library has a mural painted (without permission) by one of the Naval officers stationed at the house during WW11, waiting to go to France, this area was where all the practise landings took place. The Naval officer was American, so the mural starts in the US and continues on through to France. I am told he survived and came back to paint it out, but Agatha said to leave it. It is unfinished.
I wanted to wander the gardens, the rest of them left me to it to go to the pub, I know my friends, not this lot!!! The gardens were lovely I would like to see them in spring and summer. I finished my lonely wandering and called the ferry by ringing a bell!! How gorgeous; the ferry man finished his cuppa and took me over the river to the pub where I joined the other for more drinking through the gin Menu (Nearly finished). Everyone at the pub had voted me the crazy one for walking around the gardens in early winter rather than going to the pub!!
A day trip to Bath to meet up with Fiona from Australia. We spent most of the time catching up and little time sightseeing, but we did see the Royal crescent and the cathedral. The Cathedral is fantastic the woodwork amazing no two pieces the same. The Cathedral was bombed during the war; the stain glass window was shattered, they swept the pieces into a pile and during the 50’s it was put back together again. Now, that is a jigsaw puzzle it took from 1952 – 1955.
We had a trip to Kingswear before we left Devon. To get there we took the lower ferry over the Dart. Kingswear seems hillier than Dartmouth if that's possible. We have come to check out the Pizza at the pub as we are told it is great, of course it is not on the day we first check we had to return. It is good Pizza
I also want to find the castle on the opposite side to Dartmouth castle, it holds the other end of the chain which is winched up to stop ships entering the harbour. We set off up the hill. I take the steep stairs and Ross walks the longer, but less steep way. He gets there first and awaits for a puffing Clare. We walk along a steady incline to a sign that says rock fall - path closed. We back-track to another set of steep stairs. I ask a man working on a house if the stairs take us to the castle. It is quite a walk he says but yes, up the stairs and head on left. Ross says "I am taking the road less steep!" The man tells me to go on there are only 120 steps. I groan and head up after a 3rd l am resting every 10 steps this is steep! About a 1/4 of the way from the top I see Ross at the top, bugger he beat me again. A short walk further on Ross starts laughing. "I got a lift from the tradesman, he thought it would be a good joke on you if I got there first!!" Bloody cheek, I bet that tradesman tells the story at the pub tonight!. We walk for quite some way. No Castle, we have gone past the spot where it should be and are now walking around the coast. Return for a drink is a good idea. The publican tells us the road to the castle has been closed for some time. That Tradesman got another laugh on both of us. If I ever see him.....So much for Kingswear. Good thing the pizza is good.
While in Devon we have suffer through two Hurricanes (storms). As we are in a cabin on top of a hill we get the best of the wind. Not good days for going anywhere. Even the birds seem to stay away.  A good thing about this spot is we have a great view and a bit of wildlife. One day a squirrel checked us out. We have also seen seals when having lunch in the local area.
We are leaving for Portugal soon so goodbye wind.

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Writer: Clare

Editor : Ross Lyon

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