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 …


Colony Vintage

As I’ve touched quite a bit on vintage things recently, I thought I had to include this shop – Colony Vintage – that has not been long in Totnes, selling vintage clothing. I especially like their High Street sign – don’t you? So I thought I’d give it the close-up treatment:

Totnes TQ9

See you again soon!


Just throwing in a mention that four of my novels are FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow! Simply click on the book-covers for more info. Here’s a clue to help you: one of the free books was co-authored by my dog (who has his own Blog). In fact, Sam needed very little input from me!

Touching on the subject of the protest march through Totnes last Tuesday:  it didn’t achieve the desired result. When the Traffic Committee met on Friday, they voted to keep the existing traffic system pending a further review in 2016. A pity in some respects, except that many people feel the traffic flow is best kept as it is – especially those with concerns about preserving our beautiful medieval buildings, which were coming under intense pressure when cars used the through-traffic facility as a short-cut and, often, a rat-run!

Exeter Cathedral

My afternoon in Exeter, between train journeys through Dawlish on Thursday, was great. It was sunny for a change and people were making the most of the sunshine, relaxing in the cathedral grounds or having tea nearby.

I had a Latte at the Boston Tea Party. I adore their coffees – and all their food, which is ethically sourced and affordable. They are focused mainly in the South West, which their owner describes as their spiritual home, but have recently opened up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Sometimes, en route to visit my youngest daughter in Dorset, I call in for a coffee and snack at their Honiton shop. It never disappoints!

Tea in Exeter

Have a great Sunday!


Dawlish station

Yesterday, on a journey to Exeter, I took this picture from a moving train. You might be wondering why I’d be so keen to take a picture of Dawlish Railway Station. Well, it was because of the terrible weather back in January/February that had a devastating effect on the railway line at Dawlish (and on neighboring homes).

Here’s David Christian’s incredible video: http://youtu.be/KQZldlyT_t0  – and one from the DAILY TELEGRAPH showing the rail-track floating in mid-air as a result of the storms.

A promise was kept (against all odds) to repair the near-catastrophic damage and have trains back on the track in time for the Easter holidays. So it was great to take this scenic journey yesterday and see all the repairs in place! Here’s another picture, this time showing the renewed sea wall on the Exeter side of Dawlish Station:

Repaired railway Dawlish