The trip starts at the village of Churston near Brixham in Devon. It seemed a good idea to take the trip to Dartomuth by train because, a) it seemed fun to go on a steam train journey and b) there is no parking in Dartmouth. Also, we needed to take a boat across the mouth of the Dart River to the main town on the west bank and the best way to get a ticket was a package deal with the steam train.
The train stations, both at Churston and Dartmouth, were decorated in the old fashioned late victorian style with old piles of luggage and old adverts. When I first stepped onto the platform I felt a strong urge to grow a handlebar moustache and smoke a pipe. I also briefly scanned the area trying to find a young urchin to clip round the back of the head for no reason. But my search proved fruitless. Ah well.
Totnes in Devon is one of those towns known as transitional or – “A Transition Town” . This has something to do with the promotion, participation and encouragement of new age, hippy-dippy, alternative and ecological thoughts and feelings through the medium of town. A Transition Town is ideally a town emboldened by self-sufficiency and community, a town ready to withstand the future socio-economic problems and pitfalls of climate change and peak oil. How does a town do this? Via the application of ecologically sound and green-friendly ideas such as permaculture and alternative economic ideas such as local currency to encourage and sustain local business.
Needless to say there was a pleasantly alternative atmosphere in the town with plenty of dreadlocks, tye-dye clothing and attractive women wearing big, ugly, doctor martin boots. I hate to stereotype but its true! To be fair, there was a good mix of all types of people – posh out-of-towners, locals, the young and the old.
It was market day in sunny Totnes when we visited. One could buy loads of old carpentry tools and/or teeth-shatteringly expensive vegan cuisine if they so wished. I had spicy hot bbq chorizo wrap which was nice. I met a pearly king – he must have got lost down an alley at a London market and ended up in a Totnes Market – I suspect Mary Poppins had something to do with this sorcery. He was a very nice chap and we chatted for a while about photography.
I nearly purchased an old manual lens but did not have the adaptor needed to try it with my camera. So i gave it a miss and in hindsight i’m glad i did. Buying old manual lenses can be quite an addiction. They can be quite cheap and very good but i think this one would have been mediocre at best.
We had a nice devonshire cream tea on Totnes High Street. The scones where the size of buns and served with loads of clotted cream and loads of strawberry jam. It was diabetes on a plate. And it was good!
At the end of the visit we met a couple of street performers outside Totnes Castle. I took a few pictures of them, they didn’t mind as long as i sent them the images later. They were really nice people ( and a bit drunk! )
Torquay is the jewel in the crown of the “english riviera” , an area in South Devon situated around the Torbay area of Brixham, Paignton and Torquay. The large harbour dominates the sea front, with a fantastically big, big wheel nearby, just like one found in London – the London Eye.
Took my hols in Brixham, Devon recently, very nice little fishing town. Nice whelks. Its difficult to get good whelks nowadays it seems. When they’re good they’re very good but when they’re bad – ugh! I have found via experience this rules seems to apply to most seafood. But I’m not sure about jellied eels though – i’ve never eaten any nice jellied eels.
Anyway, the harbour is very pretty as is the surrounding area, and the people are very friendly and laid back. This makes a change from my area, where many people seem to busy and/or self possessed to give a monkeys about anyone else. 🙁 Or is it just me?
Hothfield Heath is a beautiful piece of heathland found near the village of Hothfield in Kent. Its a nice place and there is free parking nearby. When I went there were a few dog walkers around but it was pretty quiet otherwise. There is also a cafe just down the road if you need some sustenance though I haven’t tried it yet.
Faversham is situated about 5 miles south of the Isle of Sheppey. Sheppey is separated from mainland Kent by a strip of water known as “The Swale” or the River Swale. It is not actually a river however because it is an area of water with no source that is under the influence of tidal forces. A tributary of the Swale meanders its way into Faversham from the north-east and this is where Faversham Boatyard is located.
The Boatyard is a really interesting and atmospheric place. Its got nice boats, nasty boats, half finished boats, rusty boats – there are a lot of boats there of all shapes and sizes. Many people live there, either on their boats or in caravans near their boats. I was taking a picture of an old shack with a lovely green garden next to an old derelict boat – the next thing I knew an eccentric looking old lady came out of the shack with a waggy fingered face of fierce annoyance ordering me to stop taking pictures of her home. I made my apologies and ran off before she had a chance to put a curse on me.
There exists a large housing estate on the outskirts of Maidstone known as Vinters Park Housing Estate. That estate keeps a secret – deep in the bowels of its labyrinthine system of roads and paths there lies a mysterious but beautiful nature reserve full of – natural stuff! A secret place, unknown to all but those special few who can read road signs, vinter’s valley nature reserve is the home of much wildlife as well as being a popular destination for dog walkers from the surrounding estate.