I've been meaning to post about this year's BBB trip ever since I went in May and here it is already well into September and I am only just getting round to it. If you can spare the time perhaps you'd like to come with me once more?
This time I decided to stay in one place and to go out and about from there by bus and on foot. I discovered a lovely little 1 bed appartment on the banks of the River Dart near Totnes and decided that it would be nice to come back to a place of my own each day and that I'd enjoy cooking my own evening meal and sitting comfortably relaxing afterwards especially if I was tired or the weather was not good. Little Riverside had its own little garden space too as you can see above.
I decided to go to Totnes by train and to begin my few days on foot and by bus from there (strangely it was cheaper to get a return rail ticket to Totnes than to Exeter which I had planned to do taking a bus from there to Totnes). Little Riverside was a half hour walk from the station along the riverbank. Having found the key where I had been told it would be I was soon inside my home for the next few days and the kettle was on for a cup of tea whilst I unpacked my backpack. Milk was in the fridge ready as requested and teabags in the backpack. Once I was refreshed and settled in I set off for the town of Totnes along the river path again as I would obviously need some supplies if I was to cook myself some supper!
I decided to visit Buckfast Abbey so I set off along the river path (I was to get to know this half hour walk well) into town from where I caught a bus. The route was pretty through the Devon countryside and before long I arrived at my destination just across the road from the bus stop. It was a mac on mac off sort of day of sunshine and showers.
The first building I came across whas this pretty little Methodist Church - apparently in 1881 a plot of land was purchased and this little church built just across the road from the Abbey ruins. The Abbey had been closed in the 1500's at the time of the Dissolution, the treasures taken and the buildings allowed to fall into decay. For a full history check out the link to Buckfast Abbey in the above paragraph.
Grange restaurant where I had a bowl of soup and a roll.
The gardens were very peaceful and tranquil and in spite of the occasional shower I did enjoy wandering round. I did of course also go inside the Abbey but I didn't find the spirituality I had found in the little chapel. There is a gift shop, a book shop, a Monastery shop (selling the famous Buckfast Tonic Wine along with produce from other Monasteries and Abbeys), a restaurant, conference centre and retreat centre as well as the bees! Apparently bees would likely have been kept at the Abbey back in the Medieval days to provide both a source of sugar and of wax for making candles and since the re-foundation of the Abbey in 1882 bees have certainly been kept and indeed bred here and the Buckfast Bee, which is a trade marked name, is it seems a good pollen gatherer, and is normally gentle. It also has a lower tendency to swarm than many other varieties, and is resistant to Acarine (some kind of mite which affects bees). Buckfast queens are now kept by beekeepers all over the world. Must be something to be said for keeping bees sincee the Brother who had worked with the bees and done all this research and written books on the Buckfast bee retired aged 93 and eventually died aged 99! Having once trodden on a bee when walking barefoot across the grass and been stung and having finished up at the hospital I won't be taking it up any time soon though. It didn't do the poor bee much good either of course!
After a cup of tea I was ready to make my way back to the bus stop for the journey back to Totnes.
Re-store which does restoration and recycling of furniture and of other items which might otherwise go to waste. Always worth a look if only for ideas since with a backpack I wouldn't be able to purchase much!
Parke and I needed to take a bus to Newton Abbot and from there one to Bovey Tracey. At Bovey Tracey having had a look at a couple of shops Spin a Yarn a fabulous wool shop in Fore Street and Serandipity a lovely patchwork shop on Station Road and learning from the Infrmation Centre that there was a pleasant walk to Parke alongside the riverI set off to walk to Parke.
Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust have their HQ here.....
...taking in the stunning views.
Devon Guild of Craftsmen building where I browsed the fabulous collection of crafts of all kinds, looked at the wonderful range of books and finally had a cup of tea and a scone in the cafe there. Then it was time to get the bus back to Newton Abbot where I had a long wait for a bus to Totnes but the time passed quickly as there was another lady also waiting and we chatted as we waited and then sat next to each other chatting all the way to Totnes. Lonely who me?!!
Scrambled eggs on toast and a banana for supper as I'd had a full meal at lunchtime and a quiet evening reading. There was a TV but I only used it to hear the weather forecast!
After another good night's sleep I woke to another bright day and decided to go on the boat to Dartmouth
Greenway the home of Agatha Christie hidden away in the trees.
BBB trip? I wasn't going to sleep here this night but I was going to have dinner at the White Hart as I had done before. (Warning - the White Hart Link is showing Christmas trees and telling us to book now!)
Friday dawned and my eye was still sore and bloodshot so instead of messing about on buses and taking all day to get home as I had intended I decided to go straight there and then I'd have time to seek the advice of my optician before everything shut down for the bank Holiday weekend. So I was home by lunchtime and in town that afternoon. To cut a long story short I finished up at Musgrove Park Hospital Taunton that weekend - it being the only hospital within miles with an opthalmogist on call over the Bank Holiday. Seemed I had iritis something I'd never even heard of and which entailed drops for weeks and a further couple of trips to the hospital before I was eventually signed off.
Had I enjoyed my few days away - yes indeed and I loved having my own little home to return to. I like travelling light although I hadn't got round to buying a lighter rucksack as I had intended after last year's BBB trip but as I wasn't carting the thing round each day it wasn't too much of a problem and I have in fact now got a lighter slightly smaller one. Where shall I go next year I wonder?
If you are still with me then you deserve a medal. If I had known how to split this post into two once I saw how long it was getting I would have done so but the thought of maybe losing all the work I'd put into it made me keep going on this marathon - sorry.