There was some excitement in Totnes recently when Mary Wesley’s youngest son, London literary agent Toby Eady, visited Camomile Lawn – the new housing development named after his mother’s famous book – and officially launched two show homes there. He said how impressed he was with the homes and their stunning views.
As many of her fans will know, Mary lived in Totnes until her death in 2002 and loved it here. She would have been a near-neighbour of mine, had I arrived sooner than I did (in 2008) because I can see her old home from my bedroom window. She lived just beyond my back garden’s boundary wall.
Ancient Totnes is a curious mixture of twists and turns, with little cobbled pathways leading sometimes to surprising places. I never cease to marvel at the number of ‘hidden’ properties only found via secret alleys – many of these located behind doors in Fore Street and elsewhere. There’s a private door in the street close to my home that takes you not into a property but into one such alley, locating some of these hidden homes and then going beyond them to the very heart of Totnes.
Here in Totnes it’s best to expect the unexpected!
In a sense I feel I shouldn’t be letting you in on this secret but, yes, when you’re next in Dartmouth I recommend that you head for Alf Resco’s – a great place for breakfast (or brunch)!
There’s nowhere else like it that I know of. It has an ambiance that’s second to none and when I was there this morning with a friend – after first walking along the edge of the Dart to Dartmouth Castle – a guitarist was playing, adding to the intimate atmosphere.
I first heard about Alf’s when house-hunting in Dartmouth a few years ago (before deciding to move to Totnes). Asking an estate agent who had just shown me over a potential new home if he could suggest anywhere for lunch, I received the answer: “There’s only one place to go – Alf Resco’s!”
I doubt I’d have found it but for his recommendation, as it’s a bit hidden in a side street, but I’m so glad I did – and I’ve been returning periodically ever since. I shan’t attempt to describe it to you since my description could be off-putting and certainly couldn’t do it justice. If you go there, I think you’ll agree. I also think you’ll enjoy your meal. Say “Hi!” to Alf from me …
Looking across to Kingswear from Dartmouth
Oh, by the way – Happy New Year! May 2015 bring you all you wish for.
Who Lives Here Do You Think?
While out and about in Devon with my camera I chanced upon this blue door, set in a pretty wall, and marvelled at its setting very close to the sea. Do you agree with me that it’s rather picturesque?
It would be all too easy to visit Brixham (a characterful town with a bustling harbour and quaint cobbled streets) without ever seeing this little garden and conjecturing on who might open the door, were someone to knock on it. I’d describe it as being hidden in plain sight – right on the quay – and will now let you into a little secret: no-one lives here!
As to the rest of the ‘secret’, I’ll leave you to find out for yourself if ever you’re in Brixham (a town justifiably proud of its ambiance and appeal for visitors). But this next picture might provide a clue for you:
Man Of The Sea
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of this little house when I chanced upon it recently. Do you agree with me that it’s a house fit for a pixie? If you’re wondering where I was when I chanced on it, the only clue I intend to give is that I was in Devon.
Oh, but that seems a bit mean! So I’ll add that to reach the house (and the rather lovely grounds it was in) I had to pass the pub that’s in the 2nd picture. Still none the wiser?
Well, then, finally I’ll mention that at the time I was visiting a magnificent castle with a history documented in one of my earlier blog posts. Yes, I expect that by now you’ve guessed where to find the pixie house!
So now I can give you the link that could help you win (with The Portrait’s help, perhaps) a $400 Amazon Shopping Spree. Here it is: http://ow.ly/E1pEv
Fridays are Totnes market days – oh, and Saturdays too! And, now that I come to think of it, on the third Sunday of every month – taking place in the same square – we have Totnes Good Food Days!
Yes, we’re very blessed here with our farmers’ markets and with all the stalls selling a huge variety of things, from fish, fruit and vegetables, meat, game, bread, olives and so on to clothes, crafts, antiques, jewellery and jeans. Whatever the weather, these traders turn out for our pleasure (and their livelihood) week after week and month after month, lending colour and an added sense of community to our very special town.
On the Good Food Sundays every kind of scrumptious fare is available, from hot curries and a whole variety of Asian dishes to home made fish-cakes and actual cakes and gateaux. I seldom cook on the 3rd Sunday of the month. I just walk round the corner (yes, I’m lucky enough to live a short walk from the heart of Totnes) and choose my lunch from the endless choices on offer.
Totnes market days are definitely days to celebrate. And you just never know who you might see there, adding their unique brand of colour (and music) to an already colourful scene!
The Barrel House, Totnes, is an interesting establishment. Having said that, most establishments in this town are interesting for one reason or another!
Situated quite near to Happy Apple (the shop where, from dawn to long past dusk, you can buy more or less anything food-related) it serves coffees and meals downstairs in a fairly normal-looking environment. Upstairs, though, there’s an altogether different world. It’s a kind of ballroom, with over-the-top chandeliers – and lots of squishy sofas to loll on. They serve food and drinks up there too and people can ‘chill’ to their hearts’ content in a wholly relaxed atmosphere.
Periodically there’s entertainment, though I haven’t really looked into that yet. It’s something I must do, come to think of it!
Oh, I’m nearly forgetting to mention why, for me, today is Good News Day! I received an email from Amazon Kindle this morning telling me that SAM’S STORY: It’s A Dog’s Life is Number One in its category for freebies. How thrilling is that?! Here, if you’re interested, is its LINK.
I thought you might like to see this view of Totnes Castle, as seen from my front door! Turning left at the street corner seen here, I very soon reach the heart of Totnes – and Happy Apple, the shop that’s open all hours and sells virtually every food item you can imagine. Don’t know where I’d be, without Happy Apple virtually on my doorstep!
In a complete contrast from Totnes, I walked with the U3A walking group at Wembury – near Plymouth – today and here’s a house that caught my imagination. How would you feel, living here and enjoying this view on a daily (and ever-changing) basis?
How would you like to live here?
After our longish walk, and before the rain that had threatened all morning really set in, we finally reached this idyllic cafe – where we had a well-earned rest and a lovely lunch:
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Totnes and Wembury! Have a great weekend.