Tag Archives: devon

A few photos of frolicking


When we first moved to Devon we were told that the novelty of living by the sea would wear off after a few months. I think someone forgot to tell Douggie the doggie. Two years on and he loves it as much as ever. In fact, if he doesn’t get a swim every day he positively sulks.

I’ve thrown in a couple of pictures taken with my fancy new filter as well. It’s amazing how a camera on a tripod acts like a magnet to snotty nosed little kids on the beach. 500 yards of beach to play on and yet they come and stand two inches away from me and seem determined to either stand right in the shot or stand next to the tripod, lose their balance and almost knock it over. Note to self: don’t take photos on the beach during school holidays.

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Practice what you preach


It’s taken me week or two to be able to write this post, every time I thought about it I was filled with lets say less than christian feelings.

Some friends of ours, Marks and Spencer, came to visit us for a few days. They are thinking of moving to the area after having been to stay with us a few times and realised how very lovely it is in Devon.

Proud to show off our new home and surrounding area we decided that a trip to Buckfast Abbey was an absolute must. It’s a stunning place, absolutely breathtaking in fact and I couldn’t wait to show it to them.

After a tasty breakfast we packed ourselves and Douggie the Doggie into the car and set off to Buckfastleigh where we spent some time admiring the beautiful quaint old railway station with it’s characterful old steam trains before we headed off to Buckfast Abbey.

Buckfast Abbey interior

Buckfast Abbey exterior

As both our friends are disabled we managed to park right outside the entrance using those ever so useful blue badges, worth their weight in gold they are. I was bit disappointed to see that the entrance to the abbey was covered in scaffolding and shrouded to try and hide it all but they covered all the shrouding in pretty, evocative photos of the interior of the abbey so it could have been worse. As building work goes it was as non-intrusive as you can get.

We strolled through the grounds, obviously heeding the signs to keep dogs on leads. After all, we were in the grounds of a magnificent, working abbey and due respect should be given such a place. Dogs rampaging round the gardens would be so disrespectful. Douggie was tethered to my side the whole time, much to his disgust. The gardens were a delight. The lavender garden was just lovely, I can imagine what it must be like in summer.

As we walked it quickly became very apparent to me that I’d massively overestimated my recovery after my operations and this amount of walking was way too much way too soon. I was starting to struggle but trying not to show it. With nowhere to sit I had no choice but to plod on.

A heavy downpour of rain encouraged Marks and Spencer to go inside the abbey. I was so pleased.

Me, Marks and Spencer all went into the abbey. Boofuls stayed out with Douggie in the rain.

Marks and Spencer went off to admire that abbey in all it’s splendour. I stood for a moment, knowing I was in too much pain to go with them and aware that Boofuls was outside in the rain. So. I scanned the entrance inside and out for signs saying if dogs were allowed or not. No sign of any signs. Happy days.

“Boofuls, there is nothing to say dogs aren’t allowed. Why don’t you come in. I’ll sit quietly in the pew by the door with Douggie the doggie and you can go and be tour guide for Marks and Spencer.”

So that’s what we did.

Dougie tucked himself in by my feet and settled down and I revelled in sitting in such a beautiful place, enjoying the atmosphere and feeling so grateful just to be sitting and easing my poor aching body.

Then came a tap on my arm. “I’m sorry, you can’t come in here with a dog.”

“What? It doesn’t say dogs can’t come in. Does God not like dogs?”

“You have to leave, dogs aren’t allowed in the grounds never mind in the abbey.”

At this point, the ignominy of being thrown out was overtaken by my body screaming at me to SIT DOWN! YOU’VE DONE TOO MUCH!

I sighed. “Right. Look, the thing is, I had a large operation three weeks ago. I just need to sit for a few minutes. If I can’t sit in here can I at least sit outside in the entrance porch?”

“No. No dogs allowed.”

By this time Boofuls had disappeared. I left the abbey, close to tears and in extreme pain. Knowing I couldn’t walk as far as the car and Boofuls had the keys anyway. I hobbled up to and sat on the nearest steps in the wind and the rain and tried not to cry as Douggie the doggie cuddled up to me.

Luckily I had my phone with me and sent Boofuls a text message.’I’ve been thrown out.’

After a few minutes, a few minutes where people stared at me like I was a mad woman, sitting in the thankfully now light rain on the wet steps and looking a picture of misery, Boofuls appeared.

He helped me back to the car and we waited for Marks and Spencer to return.

As we waited I stopped being upset and started being angry. So very angry.

At this point it had stopped being about the dog. I had no real issue with that. I know I don’t have the right to take him wherever I want. Their house, their rules and all that …or did I have an issue? It turns out I did.

No dogs allowed in the grounds the woman had said. Why then were there signs all over the place saying to keep your dog on a lead? Are dogs allowed or are they not? It turns out there is a very long and convoluted answer to that which involves a public footpath running right through the abbey grounds.

I ranted about how thrilled God must have been at their display of christian kindness to a person in need. No. Wait. What I meant was their very unchristian jobsworth attitude to a person in need. I ranted about their mixed message dog policy. I ranted about the embarrassment of sitting outside on the rainy steps while abbey staff walked past staring at me, not one asking me if there was an problem.

Such was my ranting that Boofuls offered to go back down to the abbey and register my discontent. Off he went.

After having registered my discontent he was helpfully informed that there were in fact ‘no dogs’ signs at the entrance. Oh really? As a dog owner we always make a point of looking to see if dogs are allowed or not. They call it responsible dog ownership.

We searched and searched for them. Eventually we found them. On the wall at the entrance, two small signs completely covered by scaffolding and the picture covered shrouds covering it. There is no way we could have seen them.

Time and time again Boofuls and I have come across this attitude of people who claim to be christians but who’s christian attitude leaves a lot to be desired. We have left more than one church because they were less about doing the work of God and more about the egos and holier than thou attitudes of the church members.

Sadly, this unfortunate incident at Buckfast Abbey has done nothing to change my view.

Rant over.

Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street


Oh yeah! Summer is most definitely here and there is indeed dancing in the street.

Not a million miles away from where we live and well within Douggie the doggie walking distance is the screen on the green in Torquay.  It’s brilliant!!

In the last week or so I’ve danced to the Blues Brothers, sung along to Mama Mia, walked past and steadfastly ignored the football and tonight danced  to footage of  ZZ Top at Glastonbury while Douggie made friends with everyone he met. The atmosphere is fantastic and I can think of no better way to spend a summer evening than going down the to mingle for an hour or so.

We’ve see the Red Arrows at the fantastic Torbay air show, played at being pirates, spent  a lovely couple of days in Ilfracombe at a dog show (where Douggie totally refused to join in), been to the theatre and been wined and dined. It’s exhausting!

I love my life!!!

After rushing like mad to get all the rooms clean and tidy today I went to Plymouth today to do a craft fair and sell a few of my jewels. If I say so myself I’m getting much better at this jewellery making and wire wrapping lark.

We’ve had brilliant fun with the guests this week. They have been lovely, a pleasure to look after. One couple from Germany have had  fun laughing at my attempts to speak to them in their own language. I was sad to see them go this morning, we’ve had great fun. Who said Germans have no sense of humour, they are brilliant!

Another really nice couple from Lancashire have been trying to talk a bit posh and failing dismally.  Their attempts at poshness have had us in hysterics.  The lady clearly loves her luxuries, we went into their room to service it and saw ten, yep, ten – count ’em, bottles of perfume on the dressing table. Almost as many bottles of perfume as there are handbags. Lashes was green with envy.

I ended up in tears of laughter this morning when the German couple left, I wished them auf wiedersehen and a safe journey home.

After they’d gone I said to the Lancashire couple that I’d have wished them a good journey in German but the German word for journey is fahrt and I couldn’t have said it with a straight face. “Have a good fahrt.”

Well, Lancashire nearly fell off their chairs laughing. They laughed and spluttered and went red in the face, all pretence of poshness forgotten about. It was lovely, kept me laughing all morning.

Clearly creatures of habit, they order the same thing for breakfast,   every day, full English with black pudding, and sit at the same table to eat it.  Some new guests had arrived so Boofuls put a reserved sign on Lancashire’s table in order that they wouldn’t lose ‘their’ place.

A South African couple walked into the totally deserted dining room and sat themselves at the one table with a reserved sign on it. Boofuls had a bit of a  Basil Fawlty moment, walked up to the table, picked up the sign, looked at it silently and then put it down on the next table before turning back and wish the couple a good morning.

” Oh. Shall we move?”

“No *sigh* stay there, it doesn’t matter.”

Poor old Lancashire looked distraught when they walked in.  It clearly did matter. It’s amazing how quickly people get possessive about the table they sit at

So there we are, a lightning round up af some of the recent news. I’ll pop back as often as I can and keep you all updated on the life of a seaside landlady.

 

 

 

 

Joke of the day


Why can’t you hear a pterodactyl have a wee?
Because the p is silent!!
Hooohoohoo, heeheeheee. Made me laugh for ages, that one!
That was one of Munki’s jokes. Not bad for a seven year old, eh?

Dougie the doggie and I managed to while away almost three hours on the beach today. When I realised it was starting to dark I hurried home thinking that Boofuls would think I’d been carried off by the circus or something.

How did I manage to spend almost three hours on a beach in the middle of winter?

Easy.

The tide was out so Douggie and I paddled all the way round the coast, clambering over rocks, marvelling at hermit crabs scuttling around with their homes on their backs, searching for sea glass and pebbles shaped like penguins. We found a baby starfish! It only had two arms, the others were little nubbly bits just starting to grow. It didn’t look so much like a star fish as a propellor. I put it under a piece of seaweed for safe keeping hoping that it wouldn’t get trampled to death by one of the many galloping hounds on the beach today. Dougie of course tried his best to get to it so I distracted him by throwing stones into the water for him to chase. I have to throw stones because if I throw a ball he won’t bring it back. As a retriever he’s pretty rubbish. I should probably explain to him again that he’s a golden RETRIEVER the clue’s in the name, really.

The sun shone onto the ripples in the sand making the beach glint and shine. I spent far too much time moving around trying to find which way the light gave the best effect. Some of the other beach walkers must have though I was doing some weird yoga exercise in my wellies and waterproofs and I crouched low and moved left and right, bobbing and weaving while I stared at the ground. The buildings high up on the hill were reflected in the puddles on the sand. Again, I moved this way and that trying to get the best image. I would have taken a photo but my phone died a watery death a couple of weeks ago and I don’t want to lug a big, professional camera around with me…

Wait…what…did I say my phone died a watery death a few weeks ago? Why, yes, dear reader, I did.

But…didn’t your phone die a watery death just a few months ago? Why, yes again, dear reader. My, what a good memory you have.

This time it was somewhat more dignified than last time when it fell out of my back pocket and into the loo. This time it fell out of my coat pocket and into the sea. Nonetheless, the ed result was the same. Instant death.

Still, let’s not dwell on that. Let’s return to our afternoon on the beach.

The sun cast warm, long shadows, the clouds turned pink and the sea lapped gently on the shore shining blue, pink or green depending on how the light hit it. I stood fascinated by it all while Doggie found himself a nice little spaniel to flirt with. people strolled up and down. As I so often am, I was stuck by how many people wear black. It look like a funeral director’s day out. The dark clothes looked at odds with the beautiful, dancing, ever changing light that the elements had treated us too but it seemed like I was the only person to notice.

Eventually the sun dropped down behind the hill and the gorgeous light changed to a soft, violet grey. At that point I shivered and realised I must have been out for hours.

So there you are. That’s how easy it is to spend a whole,afternoon on a beach. A bit of imagination, the company of a dog and some lovely weather. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.

The Curious Waves


While I was taking the dog for his evening walk tonight I was lured to the sea front by the sound of crashing waves.  IT’s like a magnet, crashing waves, I can’t help but go and take a look as I’ m fascinated by the sea.  Since being a small child I’ve wanted to live by the sea – and now I do. Ok, it took fifty years to achieve my goal but we’re here now. Better late than never.

Anyway, back to the plot. As I walked down towards the prom I could see that every now and then a wave would pop it’s head up over the wall as if trying to see what was on the other side.  Not that there was a lot to see, a few stray tourists, a couple who, like me, clearly enjoyed watching the waves, a couple of cars and that was about it.

Still the sea kept jumping up trying to look over the wall.

I was quietly giggling to myself at the absurdity of it all when a huge waved jumped straight over the wall and soaked a couple who had been quietly minding their own business. Ok. I admit it. I laughed.

It didn’t stop me playing chicken with the waves five minutes later, unlike the other people though, I only got my feet wet. That happens so regularly these days that I’m in great danger of developing trench foot. It’s worth it though, it’s also worth the fifty year wait to get here. As I walk along the prom in the morning before starting work I just can’t believe how lucky we are to live in such a beautiful place. It just goes to show, it’s never to late to live your dreams.

Here are a few photos, taken on different days. Enjoy.

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Supermoon and Lunar Eclipse


I obviously have too much time on my hands.

Since we had a superman and a lunar eclipse in the same night I thought it would be a good idea to get my camera out and shoot a few frames.

First I went with Douggie the doggie down to the beach during the highest of high tides to get a picture of the supermoon and the waves. The plan was to use long exposures to get the sea looking like mist. Unfortunately, from my perch on the steps I managed to occasionally get drenched when an extra enthusiastic wave threw itself at the sea wall.  Poor Douggie, who normally loves the sea was most unhappy. Not only was it dark but it was wet and wild. After I’d got the shots I wanted I drove home with a wet arse while Douggie complained and moaned that he hadn’t got a proper walk and I still owed him. After a change of clothes I was happy to oblige and took him on a lot less eventful but also less stressful stroll round the church grounds.

At bedtime I set my alarm for 3.00 a.m. to try and get a few photos of the lunar eclipse. 3.00? Good Lord! First day off in five months and I decide to get up at 3 in the morning. Bonkers!

The moon, very obligingly hovered in a brilliant position where I could shoot it without having to get dressed and find a better location. Dougie, Lashes, Boofuls, and The Prof all stood on our patio in our nightwear marvelling at the moon. After a few minutes Lashes and The Prof got bored and went back to bed but Boofuls and I stayed up till 4.30 waiting for cloud banks to pass and allow me to get the perfect shot.

Here are a few photos from the evening. Enjoy.

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What’s in your drawers?


So what have you got in your drawers?

Oo-er, steady on Mrs! I meant literal drawers not yer underpinnings, as my mother would have called them. Good grief woman! I know what you’ve got in those drawers, let’s never discuss that again! *shakes head to get that image out of my mind*

Every house has a drawer of plenty, you know, the place where you keep all the bits and bobs. Bits of string, fuses, hair grips. It’s the first place you look when anyone asks, ‘have you got a ….?’

Now, in our teeny temporary flat  we haven’t really got a drawer of plenty since it’s a holiday let and not a real home but we do have a drawer of’ I’ll not be needing that again.’

It was with a huge amount of pleasure and smugness that I filled this particular drawer with all of my cold weather clothing, the padded trousers, the fluffy hat and thick walking socks. Now we live in ‘The English Riviera’ there’ll be no more need for this stuff, I thought. At worst I’ll be needing a light jumper from now on.

How wrong can you be?

One morning last week  I got up and strolled down to the garden in my dressing gown so the dog could have a wee.  Just so we’re clear, the dressing gown isn’t paramount to the action of the dog weeing, it’s just what I happened to be wearing at the time since it was still stupid o’clock in the a.m. The action of poochie weeing isn’t influenced in the slightest by my clothing choices.

So, back to the plot…Imagine my shock and horror when an unexpected icy blast of wind swirled round my ankles. I pulled my dressing gown closer round me and chivvied Douggie the doggie to stop messing about and ‘go pee’. He lifted his leg on command and I could see the shock on his face as the same icy blast caught him round his now exposed nether regions. He was clearly thinking the same as me, ‘What the hell’s going on? We were promised balmy, warm weather, sunny winter days and absolutely no rain’. We’ve been conned!

Totally unimpressed was I as I pulled the thermal trousers and Miss Marple hat, which I’d bought on a previous visit when I’d been caught out by the cold, out of the drawer in readiness for our walk. My Deputy Dawg hat with the earflaps, the one I usually wear for dog walking is still packed up in storage with 95% of our other belongings so MIss Marple saved the day.

It was an eclectic mix of clothing I wore that day, wellies, anorak and Miss Marple knitted hat with a jaunty crocheted flower on the side accented with a little feather. The locals must have thought that we northern folk have no sense of sartorial elegance.

How did they know I was from the north? It was probably because I walk round calling out “Ti reyt cocker? and singing “On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at”

For my non English, and southern, bloggy friends I’l translate for you:

‘Ti reyt cocker’ translates as  ‘How are you this morning?’

‘On Ilkley Moor baht ‘at’ means on Ilkley Moor ( a place in Yorkshire ) without a hat’. 

Once the walk got underway and I’d warmed up a bit I soon recovered from my distress  at the cold weather. Douggie and I yomped  along the coastal path at a rate of knots listening to the sound of the  waves as they crashed against the rocks. It was all very dramatic and invigorating. Worth looking like Miss Marple for.

Ok, I won’t move back up north after all. I still prefer it here.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside


Boofuls, Douggie and me have just got back from a week away in sunny Devon.

“Oh! Have you been away?” I can hear you saying. Dang! I love how you all miss me so much!

Yes we have, we’ve been searching for our perfect home on the south coast.

One day we decided to broaden our search and investigate a few of the other towns and villages along the coast. People kept telling us how nice it was in Sidmouth so we went for a look. Quant little English seaside village. I think it’s actually God’s waiting room. I’ve never seen so many grey haired people all in one place in my life. Pensioners were marauding everywhere with their walking sticks, wheelchairs, zimmer frames and scooters. Don’t get all excited thinking that the pensioners on scooters were zipping round on the scooters of your childhood or on trendy Piaggio’s,  how cool would they be?

No, I’m talking about yer good old mobility scooters.

My mum used to have a mobility scooter.  It had two speeds: hare and tortoise. It had a picture of a hare and a tortoise on it’s dashboard.  My mum only ever used to use it on the ‘hare’ setting, or as she used to call it, ‘rabbit speed’. She once got told off by a traffic warden for speeding on her scooter. She nearly took his kneecaps off when she came ‘haring’ out of a shop (see what I did there?).

Anyway, back to the plot and talking about getting told off….

Once Boofuls and I had thoroughly investigated Sidmouth we went a bit further round the coast to Dorset and Lyme Regis.

Sigh. To be fair, it wasn’t the best of days, we were cold and tired, the wind was blowing, we were not really dressed for the weather as it had been quite warm when we set off, we were hungry and we were fed up and on the verge of an argument.

We popped out heads into a few of the local eateries to be met with faces of disgust when we enquired if they were dog friendly. That’d be a no then. Eventually we did find somewhere to eat that was warm and welcoming. I partook of the chestnut and mushroom soup which was surprisingly tasty. I’ll be making that.

Once we’d decided that we could really linger in their any longer just keeping warm we decided to head off back to Torquay. “I’ll just take the dog on the beach for  a pee”, said I.

I checked the sign about dogs on the beach: April to November.  Blah blah, yeah, yeah.  Douggie ran off grateful for a chance to stretch his legs while I trudged up the stony beach feeling like I was on the verge of hypothermia. Up ahead the beach became sandy so I headed to that part. To get to it we had to walk on the prom for about eight feet. I decided I’d risk it without putting him on his lead.

As we jumped down onto the sandy beach an officious looking character approached me. Douggie looked like he was about to go and say hello to him so I threw his ball in the opposite direction:

Officious character: “Your dog is off the lead. It’s not allowed to be.”

Me: “Seriously? We only walked on the prom for about eight feet. Just to get onto this beach.”

Him: “You walked all the way down that beach with your dog off the lead. I watched you do it”

Me: “Yes we did.” Looking vacant as I said it, still not realising where this conversation was heading.

Him. ” Didn’t you see the signs.”

Me: “Yes, course I did. April to November. Well it’s December now, what’s the problem?”

Him: Slowly as if talking to a child, “No dogs at all between April and November and dogs on leads at other times.It says it very clearly and you’ve passed at least four of these signs. There’s one there, there, there, there and there and you’ve gone past them all and totally ignored them, I could fine you £70.”

Me: Turning white as the penny drops. “OH NO!! I totally misread it. I’m sorry, (much grovelling).

At this point he was starting to enjoy being able to lecture me and made a point of lecturing me at length about dogs not being allowed to run free on beaches in Lyme Regis, all this while Douggie gambolled happily around his feet and I squirmed with embarrassment.  Eventually, the official realised that the dog was still running loose and instructed me to put his lead on, which I did post haste, still grovelling. My purse was twitching with fear at the thought of having to surrender £70 of it’s hard earned money for not bothering to read a sign correctly.

Eventually the official had had his fill of making me squirm and decided to let me off with a warning. As I hot footed it back to the car a couple who’d been watching with amusement asked me if he’d let me off and informed me that Lyme Regis isn’t known for it’s tolerance for dogs.

We probably won’t be going back there.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…


After the previous week and all it’s dramas Boofuls and I needed a few days by the seaside, beside the sea.

In a rare moment of forethought we’d already booked a caravan in Paignton so once all our guests had left we headed of down south for a few days of relaxation. It’s a shame Douggie was still so poorly, he really could have done without a six hour journey but we stopped to give him plenty of breaks and to be honest I think he just needed to sleep.

Now, when I say a few days of relaxation I mean that that was the plan. It took four days for us to remember how to be on holiday. We were suddenly free to do whatever we wanted but somehow couldn’t work out how to do it. We’d make plans which never came to fruition as we kept going off half cocked and messing it all up. Once my eyeballs had stopped rolling round in my head and I calmed down enough not to snap at the slightest provocation and Boofuls recovered his equilibrium we actually had a really nice time.

Douggie didn’t help matters much. We’d just settled down on our second evening there with a nice bottle of wine, courtesy of one of the party guests, to watch my favourite ever film, Strictly Ballroom, when Douggie had a fit.

Honestly, we must have been bad buggers in a previous life because we are bloody well paying for it now. My Mum used to have a saying that really niggled me. Every time something went wrong she’d take it personally and her favourite saying was , “Well that’s another kick in the teeth.” Last week I totally related to that phrase. We really did feel like we’d had a good kicking. Douggie having a fit was the final straw. There was tears and snot everywhere, even normally calm Boofuls was beside himself. We ended the day silent and upset.

The next morning we had a meeting with the bank manager about our proposed move to Devon. See, told you we didn’t know how to be on holiday, we were still in our business heads while we were there. Anyway, As you can imagine there was a fair amount of trepidation, particularly as we were both feeling like the universe was conspiring against us. We both feared the worst.

The meeting went better than I could ever have dreamed possible. After we left the meeting we took a phone call and got some more excellent news. Could have……whisper it…..finally turned a corner? It actually feels like we may have.

Boofuls and I celebrated that night, raising our glasses and drinking a toast to corners. Here’s hoping.

Douggie the doggie’s health continued to improve, maybe it had something to do with the sea air. He was able to summon up enough energy for a rampage round on the beach and then he’d have to sleep for a few hours to get ready for the next adventure. You’ll be glad to know he’s completely back to his old self now.Here are a few of our holiday snaps:

Oh yes!!! Quick update courtesy of Annabelle who jogged my memory. On the day of Boofuls’ party we also had viewers for the house! I had to make it all look like a show home as well as everything else. No pressure!!

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