AGATHA CHRISTIE – To Be Or Not To Be!

Yesterday, with a friend, I made my second attempt to visit Agatha Christie’s holiday home – Greenways, overlooking the River Dart near Dartmouth. Our first attempt went wrong when my friend had to make an emergency visit to her dentist with an abscess.

This time, though the weather wasn’t promising, we were determined to press ahead and set off in torrential rain for Dittisham where we planned to take the foot ferry across the river – reaching Greenways the recommended way. Well, we arrived in the car park and sat in my car for almost an hour, willing the rain to go away. While waiting, we weighed up the wisdom (or otherwise) of walking through the downpour to the little jetty, then ringing the bell and awaiting the arrival of the ferryman – all the while getting soaked to the skin, despite our brollies, given the conditions.

We eventually decided it wasn’t wise – or desirable – to arrive at Greenways dripping wet. So we (temporarily) abandoned our project and went to Blackpool Sands for lunch in the beachside Venus Café instead! Guess what happened then – yes, the sky cleared giving us this beautiful view of the empty beach!

OFF TO ASHBURTON

I had a lovely lunch with a friend in Ashburton today. Just a few miles from Totnes, it is an ancient stannary town dating from Saxon times – and it’s also a great gateway onto Dartmoor.

It’s always a treat to go there. I especially love its delectable restaurants, inns, cafes, tea-rooms  and very individual shops. Even its old-fashioned hardware shop offers pleasures galore. I told its owner before I left that they should have a warning notice pinned to their door!

Why? Because they stock such a wide range of unusual (and always useful) items that it is simply impossible to leave without spending money there!

HAPPINESS IS …

I’ve just been shopping in Happy Apple. It’s about fifty yards from my front door, along Apple Lane and just beyond the Red Wizard Café. In case you’re wondering, it sells other things as well as apples. I can hardly think of any food (or drink) it doesn’t sell. Which is simply great, as it also opens early and stays open till late!

I went there after choosing a photo-frame in Out Of The Blue (which sells everything under the sun besides photo-frames). One of the many things I love about Totnes is the vivid individuality of its shops and streets – plus the interesting characters I meet.

The rustic frame I chose gives two heart-shaped windows in which I’ll be displaying photos of my two daughters. It’s a while since I printed photos to put on the wall. They’re mostly stored in my computer. That’s sad in a sense, although I know it’s ‘progress’ in another sense.

CORNISH IDYLL

One of the many things I love about living in Devon is that I’m still so close geographically to Cornwall, where I left part of my heart when I moved from Falmouth to Totnes just over 4 years ago.

I go back there often, as it only takes me about half-an-hour to the Tamar Bridge, and was there last week visiting my daughter who lives near beautiful St Ives. That’s why I was briefly absent from My Devon Diary! (Only in a physical presence, though – not in my mind!)

Here’s a little glimpse for you of St Ives Harbour, where it’s essential to watch out for the greedy gulls who think nothing of swooping down and stealing food (whether a sandwich, ice cream or whatever) from the hands of the unsuspecting. I took a picture of one of the culprits for you! As you can see, he has positioned himself on the roof of the Ice Cream Kiosk and is ready to swoop …                         

COSTA COFFEE

Costa Coffee is coming to town – which is not good news for Totnes, as we already have plenty of excellent coffee shops that pride themselves on their individuality, as well as on supporting local sources whenever possible. It’ll be a great shame if existing traders suffer as a result of Costa’s advent. Well, time will tell!

Here’s an example of the individual nature of  ‘my’ town. Where else but Totnes could a red peach, lime and onion be found, side-by-side?

Speaking of coffee, this morning when I visited my favorite coffee shop (at the opposite end of town from what will soon become the Costa end) and sat in the garden, I had unexpected company.

Despite being a fair few miles from the sea (Paignton is probably my nearest beach) Totnes attracts many more than its fair share of seagulls. These ‘urban’ gulls create a dawn chorus that I don’t enjoy at all. It’s loud and raucous and not what I want to hear around 5 am!

They also discourage smaller birds from enjoying my garden and I’m really sad about that. Here’s one of the culprits – who landed on the table next to mine as I sipped my coffee earlier:    

P.S. He seemed to be a non-smoker – or else heeded the sign!