Alf Resco's DartmouthIn 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?

          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:

Brixham Devon

                        Man Of The Sea


Castle behind houses

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?

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.


Hidden Garden

This morning I peeped through a half-open tall wooden gateway in Totnes and what did I see? This hidden garden path, stretching in front of me invitingly. I think the fact it was hidden made it all the more inviting – though I somehow resisted the temptation to trespass!

If you happen to be in Totnes and wonder where this beautiful garden is, I’ll give you a clue: it is on the same side of the road and not at all far from this brilliant gallery run by my good friends Penny and Graham. (If ever a shop was worth a visit, this one is!)


And right opposite Penny and Graham’s emporium (filled with amazing temptations) is my favourite coffee shop. (Pity it was dustbin day when I took its picture):

WoodsFabulous coffee (and home-cooked, locally sourced food) found here!


Sorry to report that the Totnes Cats’ Cafe no longer exists. It has had to close owing to illness, which is rather sad. Vintage Living has gone from the High Street too – but still exists at their warehouse in Brook’s Yard on the Totnes Industrial Estate. They had their grand re-opening last Saturday, giving visitors a free scented rose with every purchase. We miss their town presence, but wish them well in their new home.

Stolen From Susie

Speaking of new homes, Stolen From Susie has moved into Vintage Living’s old premises. Stolen From Susie (fabulous handbags and scarves) used to be further up the ‘Narrows’ at the top of Totnes, with its sister shop Susie & Me (fab fashions) opposite. Now the two businesses (run by Susie, her husband and daughter) have come together as Stolen From Susie And Me – and are well worth a visit!


Totnes Castle, dating back to Norman times, can be seen in tantalizing glimpses from virtually all over town. Here it is, giving you rather more than a glimpse:

Totnes Castle from foot

Its circular stone keep has walls fifteen feet thick and the mound (or motte) on which it is built rises over fifty feet from the bailey below. The inner bailey was once surrounded by a deep moat and there used to be a chapel and a large hall within the bailey. There was plenty of space to accommodate a large contingent of men and horses, along with all their stores, but by the fifteenth century it was solely used as an occasional administrative centre for Totnes. For example, The Assize of Bread and Ale took place in the castle.

In case you’re wondering, an assize was a 13th century statute in late medieval English law, regulating the price, quality and weight of the bread and beer manufactured and sold in hamlets, villages and towns.

As I live within a few yards of the Castle, it is a useful landmark to tell my visitors who are new to Totnes to look out for when trying to find my house in the slightly bewildering traffic system we have here! It is the one building that you’d think nobody could possibly miss as it dominates the town from its lofty height. (But some people do manage to miss it!)

In an earlier post I told of the way May Day is celebrated up there at daybreak annually on 1st May, so I won’t go into that again here. I’ll just mention that I don’t always welcome the steep climb up to the Castle at 5.30 am!

Here are a few of the tantalizing glimpses of Totnes Castle from here, there and everywhere:

Glimpse Totnes Castle

How would you like to have a haircut here?

Chrissys & Castle (2)

A stranger in town? There it is again, on the horizon:

Roundabout Castle

And finally, over the tree tops from China Blue:

Castle from China Blue

One thing’s certain – being a near-neighbour of Totnes Castle, I should never have a problem finding my way home!


Curiouser & Curiouser

Living in Totnes sometimes feels a little like living in Wonderland – so it isn’t wholly surprising to find a shop called Curiouser & Curiouser along its main street! They serve teas and coffees in here, as well as selling various items associated with Lewis Carroll’s Alice.

Did I ever mention that Costa Coffee tried to come to Totnes, but failed because it was considered that we already had more than our fair share of coffee shops? Besides which, Totnes tries very hard to hold on to its individuality by giving priority to local, rather than national, enterprises. The Fat Lemon Cafe and Tangerine Tree Cafe are two highly individual such shops that spring readily to mind.

Well, the rather large premises that Costa Coffee would have occupied near the foot of town have remained empty for quite some while now and have looked increasingly unloved as time has gone by. Now, though, there is sudden activity there – suggesting that something is afoot and that the premises are unloved no longer!

So I’m keeping my eyes open and hoping to know more soon …