We left Jane in the south west of England living it up at Bovey Castle, in the heart of Dartmoor National Park.
I think this fellow caught her eye more than the human inhabitants!
For those not living in a castle and not so well off this is North Bovey a small hamlet in Dartmoor National Park.
And some inquisitive locals!
And what is more beautiful than those beautiful English streams and glades: go with Jane along the walking path to North Bovey and she has suggested that there might be badgers lurking under the banks!
Jane continues her travel diary: As I am sure you can tell, it’s hard to drag ourselves away from Bovey, however we had things to see and do! We spent one day exploring the moors, the landscape dotted with tors, rolling hills, sheep, belted Galloway cows, goats and Dartmoor ponies.
Our bright red 50 seater coach is quite incongruous and a challenge for our driver Lee, negotiating the tiny laneways of the surrounding hamlets. Often only about 15 cms or even less (!) to spare missing the houses on each side in the villages and often brushing along the hedgerows, lining the road. The oncoming vehicles are not impressed, needing to backup quite a way to let us through, however I must say the drivers are a lot more courteous than at home! Thankfully most of the cars are small, hardly any SUVs or 4WD’s.
Often we are stationery or at a slow speed, waiting for goats or sheep to move on, so I can gaze through the bushy hedgerows, imagining lots of Peter rabbits and their families living a happy life in the undergrowth and Christopher Robins flitting through the branches overhead, remembering all those wonderful English children’s authors and their stories.
Travelling to the south east, we called into the small town of Widecombe on the Moor... Here we can enjoy the glorious hanging baskets even though the summer was so hot.
Inside the parish church.
And outside! What a view! If only they could see it!
...and then onto *Plymouth, the port from which so many early settlers travelled to Australia.* The Plymouth Gin factory caught her eye and she assures us that they pinched the recipe from the Dutch. They are welcome to it- personally can't imagine drinking anything worse!! Sorry if I offend some of you.
That evening we attended a performance of Warhorse -the technicalities and the actors operating the life size mechanical horses was very impressive but I’d rather not be confronted with such a harrowing story.
Yesterday we spent another delightful day, this time in a south westerly direction, visiting Port Isaac in Cornwall, a small sleepy town until it was made famous as Port Wenn for the Doc Martin TV series. We walked past Louisa’s house, Bert’s restaurant and the surgery - I kept a lookout for Martin Clunes speeding off on an emergency in his Lexus - but alas only tourists and locals around. We have been so fortunate with the weather, glorious sunshine along the coast.
We lunched at Padstow, a busy typical seaside holiday town in the summer and famous for at least 3 Rick Stein establishments. Margaret and I decided to dine at a local seafood place near the harbour, my sole was delicious as was Margaret’s calamari, although we did buy some sliced roast beef at Rick’s deli to enjoy for our picnic tea with some of the others in our room that evening.
I rather like this print of Padstow by John Dyer (Credit: John Dyer Gallery)
We were in the heart of Bodmin Moor and Cornish smugglers territory in bygone times, hearing many stories of professional pirates forcing ships aground to loot their cargo. Daphne du Maurier settled around here and we called into The Jamaica Inn, the setting for her famous 1936 novel.
This is a wonderful painting illustrating the treacherous coast line by contemporary St Ives artist Donald MacLeod (Credit: stivesgallery.co.uk)
And Steve Brown has captured the activity that surrounded Jamaica Inn perfectly.
Next Jane heads off to Cardiff.