Monday, June 13, 2011

Home again.

Amazing how a change of scene can brighten one’s outlook. We didn’t get wet – not for want of chances, and MTL was able to sit in the sun frequently. There were some high winds and fluctuations in temperature – typical June weather in fact. The tides seem even more relentless in an estuary and we had a special clock so you could see at a glance how many hours to high or low tide. There was also a splendid telescope which we finally learned how to use by the end of the week

I drove the first half (first time for six months) to The Black Venus on Exmoor where we had lunch and MTL drove to the cottage which we were allowed to enter at 2pm. All was clean and satisfactory and no traces of the three animals that are allowed, other than water bowls by the back door. We had taken food stores apart from main meals which we intended to eat at local restaurants. It’s 18 months since we were in the area and the quality of meals available has risen a notch or two. Lunch – the highlight of the day!

South Corner – the cottage, is ideally placed – a constant view of all the messing about in boats and in sight of the old signal box which is alongside The Tarka Trail, named after Henry Williamson’s famous otter. A few steps along the street is The Bar where we had an excellent Sunday lunch. Another few steps and there is the post office which sells absolutely everything – except cleansing cream, but I made do with Cyclax 2 in 1 Aftersun lotion – for one night only. If it’s good enough for her Maj….

At the other end of the esplanade is another excellent restaurant and The Wayfarer’s Inn where we had our last lunch. After a meal of salmon on spinach with veg and new potatoes I asked mine host if he did desserts.

‘Are you still hungry ? Look you only left two potatoes?

I assured him I was about to do a five mile walk – not strictly true - and ordered Raspberry Pavlova. Cheek!

I took an old notebook with me and came across the diary I kept 6 months ago when MTL was in hospital. It was good to re- read it and realise – almost without noticing – how far we had come. Important for us to remember this and be thankful- and patient.

Instow is very laid back with boating, jogging, cycling and walking the main pursuits Looking out of the picture windows, or sitting in the garden, we enjoyed seeing happy relaxed heads gliding past over the low hedge that borders the flower filled garden.

Instow means John’s Holy Place. In WW2 Ted Beckwith, a local boy was a POW and wrote the following.

Instow Town

If you should care to come with me,

I’d take you south of Severn Sea

(Prepared for sun or rain)

To where, a splash of white and brown

The cottages of Instow Town

Bestride a Devon lane.

No Town Hall tops a market square,

No clever – tongued Town Council’s there,

No milk machines are humming;

The sheep bells and the buzzards’ mew

The only sounds that come to you,

Those and the brown snipe drumming.

A forge, a few thatched cottages,

White- washed alike, do all comprise,

And as you wander down

You’ll maybe meet a farmer’s gig,

Some barnyard fowls, or a pig,

In all that thriving town.

Or come and climb that sheep-cropped hill,

Turn to the west and gaze your fill,

Over a grey church tower –

You had not noticed it before

Tucked in the Combe at Appledore

Bathed in a passing shower.

There goes the ships both small and large,

Ferryboat, schooner, gravel barge,

About the estuary.

While like a warship in the Bay

Hull down and twenty miles away

Lies Lundy and the Sea.

Oflag VIB

Ted’s brother Richard was a lieutenant on HMS Prince of Wales. The vessel was lost and Ted went ‘missing.’ He survived and assumed command of The Elizabeth in which he left Singapore. Intercepted by a Japanese destroyer he was given the choice of being a POW or staying with the ship. Refusing to abandon his crew he stayed with Elizabeth which was blown out of the water. He is commemorated by a plaque and the ship’s lantern in the church Porch.

The above taken from Instow – A History by Alison Grant and others

More later.


mapstew said...

Welcome home you two, sounds like ye had quite the relaxing time.
(Sorry for making you cry on your return!) :¬)


Pat said...

Mapstew: all is forgiven:)

kenju said...

It all sounds delightful!! But I'm glad you are home.

Pat said...

Judy; you just want to slaughter me at Lexulus:)

john.g. said...

Welcome back! xx

lom said...

Nice to have you back Pat all rested and chilled

Jimmy said...

All the ladies love a black venus. Welcome hame doll, it's good to see you back.

Mike and Ann said...

P.s. Love the pome. Bit Betjeman like and none the worse for that.

Pat said...

Thanks John;)

LOM; I hope it lasts:)

Jimmy: shameless - as ever.

Mike and Ann: it looked better before Blogger disappeared my paras;)

rashbre said...

It reads as if you have had a delightful break and have returned suitably relaxed. Excellent!

Pat said...

Rashbre: and the extra pounds dropping off as we speak:)

Miss Scarlet said...

Those farmer's gigs are still traffic stopping.
Pleased you are back suitably refreshed!

Eryl said...

Sounds like you had a lovely time, and have come back full of vigour. Glad you were able to drive too, you don't want to lose that skill before it's strictly necessary.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I just finished Gardam's Man in the Wooden Hat. This post seems torn from its pages.

Incidentally, is it possible that ALL of her books are that good?!

Pat said...

Scarlet: arrrrh I reckon they be where you are:)

Eryl: I don't know about the vigour but there is difference. You know Stirling Moss is my age and HE has just given up racing - he said he frightened himself and I so know what he means. But of course I have to keep my hand in - if I can keep a grip on the handle as well:)

UB: we shall have to find out. I'd love to be such a great writer but I've always written like this.
Is there a third on Filth I wonder?

Guyana-Gyal said...

I like this - 'happy relaxed heads gliding past over the low hedge'.

Instow sounds lovely.

I kept hoping that Ted would come home safe and sound.

Pat said...

GG: as I understand it Ted - the POW did get home safely and went on to write more poems.
You would love Instow.

Shane said...

In this case: Recharge = good charge.
Thanks for the comment on one of the recent mini-posts (one of the most pleasing ever - really).

Pat said...

Shane: you deserve it:)