Thursday, November 5, 2009

Start Point with Newfs

I could have blogged about the bonfire last night .. our fireworks here in Chillington are famous - and justifiably so, we feel. Amy used to adore fireworks, she'd gaze upwards in wonder and her eyes would sparkle with reflected stars. But now she doesn't see so well, and fireworks have lost their magic for her. So I decided to give her a treat she can still enjoy and this morning took both dogs down to Start Point.

This is a great walk for them both as Ben can bound up and down the cliffs pretending to be a mountain lion, while Amy paces sedately at my side. We were the only people there which was great ... and the dogs couldn't wait to go through the gate.

Before WW2 the narrow road down to the lighthouse didn't exist - it was constructed by US forces to drive their jeeps up and down to the point.

Now it's a great newfie track!

Very moody and atmospheric - the lighthouse just peeping out from behind the jagged rocks. Last night its beam made a dramatic backdrop to our display as it strobed across the sky behind the fireworks field.

Looking back towards Start Bay - a wonderful panorama. I tried to put three photos together, but it didn't really work very well. Just look at the colour of the water!

Ben always knew he was a superstar!! He definitely made the most of this photo opportunity!

Then he tried to continue along the coastal path. But I had to say NO as Amy simply can't manage this walk any more. Another time, Ben.

Ben is making sure Amy's OK. They do love each other!
Then home again. Maybe later we'll go and examine the bonfire and see if it's still smouldering.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where does the time go?

Where does the time go? I can't believe that nearly a month has passed since Ben and I took the tidal road to Mill Bay. Such busyness betweenwhiles! A couple of weeks ago townie husband and I decided to use our National Trust tickets for possibly the last time this season.

We had some shopping to do in Torquay so called at Coleton Fishacre on the way home. This is one of my favourite properties - it was built in the 1920s when Sir Rupert d'Oyly Carte noticed the beautiful valley whilst sailing between Brixham and Dartmouth. He bought the land and had the house built ... how the other half lived !!!

After parking we strolled down the drive towards the house. I decided not to go inside on this visit as we only had an hour to spare and took a walk around the beautiful gardens which tumble down towards the coastline. This was taken looking down from the rill garden towards the sea.
Beautiful colour from some late summer stragglers.

The trees were beginning to turn and the colours against the deep blue of the sea were wonderful.

This seal is sunning himself - love the little ramp for the pondlife!

The next day was Monday, so back to work - part-time in Kingsbridge for a local charity. After parking the car I discovered I still had my camera in my bag so took these shots of my walk along the harbour to Quay House where I work ..

Looking towards Kingsbridge.

And back the other way. A truly glorious autumn morning.

And working part-time leaves me plenty of time for DevonBears .. busy making lots of stock for the Candlelit Dartmouth weekend in December. Hope to be very busy and sell lots of goodies - fingers crossed - and then the newfies can have new collars, a new stuffie for Ben for Christmas and seasonal delights for husband and daughter too! (That's a lot of cushions to sew and sell!)

Applique cushions.

And a well-organised cupboard - that's the other thing I've been up to - having a good sort and tidy - supervised by the two newfies - and Ben in particular who has been delighted by some of the bits and pieces I've discovered. But that's for another post (maybe!)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

From South Pool to East Portlemouth

What glorious autumn sunshine we've been enjoying this month. Really warm during the day, yet with a chill in the air at night to remind us that summer is behind us now. So I loaded Ben into the car and we set off on an expedition. We wound our way through the little lanes, emerging at the top of the hill above South Pool. Like many of the villages around here it has a most impressive church with a very tall tower - far too large for today's congregations.

We parked alongside the creek and, taking note of the white ducks roosting on a bank in the middle of the (very shallow) stream I took care that Ben headed off in the opposite direction towards the stepping stones and down the path that leads along the bank.

The tide was low however, and the temptation to wallow was proving rather too great for my furry friend.

So, ignoring his protests I returned him to the newfmobile (aka my car) and we continued along the tidal road towards East Portlemouth.
Look at the colour of the sky!

Last time I blogged about this walk we came to see the bluebells. No bluebells today! Just one black dog!

Who knows the path down to the beach very well!

And took to the water like - well - like a newfie really!



That doesn't happen very often! Something to tell Amy when we get home. Luckily both dogs were gentle and friendly and happy to nuzzle one another in an agreeable way. I didn't find out the Dane's name, but he was quite an elderly chap who weighed a good stone more than Ben!

Then we turned back up the path and headed towards home ... only a few more pictures to look at ...

Looking back along the beach - not quite deserted, but nearly so....

Naturally Mr Impatient Ben got to the top of the path first.

Back to the newfmobile ..

Leaned over a gate at Rickham to take the photo above. It's beautiful now, but so bleak up here during the winter months when the wind is howling and the lane is a sea of mud. That's when I'm glad I live down in the village, tucked snugly away under the hill.

The end of the expedition - the lane down towards home, tea and Amy waiting for us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The year has turned ...

... and autumn has definitely arrived. Each day is a little shorter, the lights go on a little earlier and the back door is closed before the evening chill enters the house. The atmosphere in the village has changed too with the departure of the summer visitors. Everywhere is less crowded and people have more time to stop and chat again. The schools have gone back and other autumn activities have commenced - lunch club has started and I've joined a choir based in Kingsbridge.

The newfies love the cooler weather and the freedom to return to their favourite haunts without worrying about the reactions of those who are unfamiliar with my two furry friends ... no more squeals of fright or anxious crossings of the road ... it's such a shame that people often react like that even when the newfs are on their leads. Amy in particular is such a sociable old lady and loves nothing more than to collapse at someone's feet in the hope of having her tummy tickled. Luckily most local people know her well and are more than happy to oblige!

No more buttercups ....

Today we went on one of our usual walks taking in the woods above the village. We were joined for part of the way by Belinda and her terrier doing the school run(!) but they soon outpaced us as Amy does not walk very fast and I was stopping to take photos....

Autumn berries

Apples for scrumping!

An autumn view ...

and a happy Amy (loves having her photo taken)

Still some blackberries to be had (yum!)

Then we turned at the top of the woods and headed down the path towards home.

Ben is worn out - and Amy wants her tea!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ferry across the Dart

Ben loves travelling on the Hauley Ferry. It's not something we do very often, but when we do, he delights in standing right at the front of the pontoon, letting his furry ears blow in the breeze and muttering phrases like "Ahoy there, landlubbers!" and "Newfs Ahoy!" I've even been inspired to make a cushion based on Bayards Cove and the Hauley Ferry (at the top of this post) and was delighted to read its history in the Autumn magazine from the South Hams District Council.

The magazine informed me that there has been a ferry across the river Dart between Kingswear and Bayards Cove since at least 1365 - operated by a Mr William Carey at that time. In 1558 Robert Collyns was the operator, paying 12/- per annum rent to include half of the landing stage. In those days of course, rowing boats and a larger wooden float capable of carrying a small cart, with maybe a horse or two, were the only link across the river.

The picture above is a bit more recent than the 16th century - probably round about 1865 showing the first wooden "horse boat" with a lifting prow at each end capable of carrying two horses and a loaded waggon. It was powered by oars until the arrival of steam power in 1867 and in 1909 the first of a long line of Hauley Tugs was ordered by Mr Heal, the operator at that time, from Philip's boatyard further up the river Dart.

Then came the motor car ... and the ferry continued under a variety of operators right through the war until it was taken over by Dartmouth Corporation in 1949. It was taken over again in 1974 by South Hams council and continues to this day - currently with Hauley Tugs V and VI plying their trade across the Dart.

It's interesting to note how little the view across to Kingswear has changed in the last century - I expect the original operators would still recognise the route across and the landing area. I don't think Newfies were around in those days though - they're from Canada - which of course hadn't been discovered in 1365!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Too close to nature

Living in the country you get used to being close to nature ... a newf at the door ...

Sheep and cattle in the fields ...

Swallows in the woodstore ...

(rather messy!)

Even hippos, elephants and piglets on the radiator ...

but I feel that a line has to be drawn somewhere. Last night I felt that very strongly indeed..... during these warm evenings I have formed the habit of leaving the back door open until very late indeed as the newfies love to stretch their over-warm furry bodies on the cool slates of the courtyard.

I was tucked up in bed thoroughly enjoying a very good book when out of the corner of my eye I caught a movement. I looked up .... and a bat fluttered into my bedroom, circled past the curtains, round the lampshade and headed out into the hallway. OK, I thought, maybe he lost his way. Until he returned again for another lap around the room!

Too close to nature indeed I felt as I stood with cold toes by the back door waiting for him to find his way back outside so I could shut him out. Yes, I draw the line at bats in the bedroom - I think I'll close the door earlier tonight!

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