Monday, September 14, 2009

Joy’s Mystery Tour

Another great day weather wise and as usual we mustered outside my house with Joy at the wheel. She was in charge of our celebration of Jackie’s birthday treat and only she knew where we were bound. The birthday girl has the privilege of sitting in front,

so Margaret and I caught up on the news. After months of trying to sell their house in a dead market they had suddenly had two excellent offers and accepted one of them. Then they shot off to the area they are hoping to move to and very quickly found something they both were happy with and had their offer accepted.

On returning – full of beans - they learned that the buyers felt they had overstretched themselves and had backed out. This will be a familiar story to most people who have been through this particular mill but I really admire the way they dealt with it. Not wanting to lose the house they would be happy to end their days in, and close to their family they drastically reduced their house price ‘ it’s only money’ and were back on track with the original buyers. Fingers crossed all round – I’d rather have a happy friend some distance away than an unhappy one here.

The first stop was at Kilve car park for coffee and we saw the first sign of leaves turning. Joy is almost as skilled as Margaret in finding ‘out of the way’ delightful places down twisty lanes - which I tend to avoid. After a long bumpy approach we reached Nettlecombe Court - a Tudor manor house which was home to the Raleigh and Trevelyan families. The setting is in a secluded valley on the eastern edge of Exmoor. When we got out of the car and looked around we couldn’t have been anywhere else but England – at its best.

Today the house is used as a Field Studies Centre and being nosey we rang the bell and were told by a helpful lady that they ran courses but weren’t allowed to advertise as their catering facilities were less than the powers that be demanded. The church next door looked interesting so we explored and found a beautiful font, exquisite stained glass and the effigy of a 7’ man.

Back in the car we continued our journey with none of us able to guess our destination. It was Wiveliscombe, commonly know as Wivvie. Most unusually Joy hadn’t booked anywhere so we parked in the free car park and drifted round. The first pub we chose and went inside we felt wasn’t quite us. The next one we felt the same

and were gazing at an interesting shop window when a lady who obviously was blessed with great powers of observation pointed over the road and said there was a nice restaurant down there.

Eventually we found 10 The Square which had a pleasant garden, a marquee and the sort of summer food we enjoy. We sat upstairs drank wine, broke bread and chewed the fat. A very lucky encounter with the Wivvie lady we felt. After wandering round the garden where the fig tree – which supplied the fresh figs we had eaten we drifted towards the shops. We remembered two shops from a previous visit – both of them like Aladdin’s cave; the larger after the style of Liberty’s as I remember it, and the other full of eastern promise with the fragrances that go with it.

Basking in the sunshine we recalled that in countless trips over 20 odd years the foul weather ones could be counted on one hand We’ve been lucky. It’s great having keen gardener friends who grow their own; I came back laden with damsons, tomatoes and green beans. We have two more dates; coffee at mine and a trip to the local to see ‘Lorna Doone.’


R. Sherman said...

Another fun excursion.

I'm glad things worked out for your friend regarding the real estate issues. It's going to be awhile before home values again reach the levels of a year ago. They were lucky to even sniff out a couple of potential buyers.


PI said...

Randall: they are not out of the wood quite yet. Everything crossed.

Edelweiss Transplanted said...

"It could only be England".

Too true, alas. I remember this was one of the loveliest times of year over there. Enjoy the damsons and fresh figs, they sound wonderful!

rashbre said...

We're also inclined to just turn up in places and hope there is somewhere to eat/drink. At least it gives a chance for a reconnaissance.

PI said...

Edeweiss: normally when Margaret gives me damsons I stew them but this year they are so ripe I am eating them fresh with strawberries and hazelnut yoghourt. Delish!

PI said...

Rashbre: I hate that sinking feeling when it looks like one's luck is out.

Charlie said...

Stunning photographs as usual, Pat. Sitting here housebound, my heart yearns to see your part of England—not the big smelly cities.

"We sat upstairs drank wine, broke bread and chewed the fat."

ALL the requirements for a fun and successful time together!

I'm afraid, however, that I don't know what damsons are.

PI said...

Charlie:they are a fruit- round, larger then an olive and delicious when fully ripe otherwise they need a little stewing with a sweetener.
I worry about my prose sometimes.
I'm sorry you are housebound. I am much of the time but through choice.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Such a wonderful rich day--Filled with Beautiful places, good friends and good food, too.
The Church is so very BEAUTIFUL, and those stained glass windows...Ih My! STUNNING!
AS you said about the look of it all---It could only be England!
(I just got me copy of "THIS ENGLAND" in the mail today....I love that Magazine. It has so many beautiful pictures--like yours, my dear, and so much History, too)....
This was a fine fine afternoon, Pat!

sablonneuse said...

That was a great day out and the photos are super.
I do hope all goes well for your friends house sale.
This is where the French system is so much more sensible: buyer and seller sign an agreement (with one week's cooling off period) after which there is a heavy financial penalty (10% I think) if either side backs out.
We have been let down every time we've moved house. Once the buyers dropped out at the last minute but didn't bother to tell us and when we we selling to move over here (and therefore obliged to come up with the cash on time) our buyers changed their minds with only a month to go which meant a hefty bridging loan.

PI said...

Naomi: the weather makes such a difference - today is chilly and gloomy but we have to take a chance here not like sunny California:)

Sandy: experiences like yours and Margaret's convince us we should stay put at all costs.
I believe we could learn a lot from the French in all sorts of areas.

Zed said...

That sounds marvellous. An afternoon with friends - nothing beats that.

Beautifully told, pat.

PI said...

Zed: Thank you. I've been taught by masters:)

Scarlet-Blue said...

Oh good luck for your friend on the house sale! I bet she ends up moving before I do and I've been under offer for months now.
I'm looking for somewhere to rent and Devon looks very nice...

PI said...

Scarlet: I think it is a good idea to rent first. Trying to get the house sale dates to coincide seems an impossible task. Devon is a favoured county. We live near the Devon/Somerset border and have been well pleased over 24 years.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Ahh, that property selling thing. It's like that all around. Things will change for the better soon. I hope.

Madame DeFarge said...

A lovely day for ladies who lunch. I envy your freedom to hither and thither. I don't envy the figs. they disagree with me most dreadfully.

PI said...

GG: as the song says - things can only get better.

MadameD: it's sod's law that as the freedom increases the ability decreases.
Did you not have syrup of figs as a child? I remember it well;)