Saturday, 21 August 2010

A damp morning in Totnes.

Today we woke to grey skies and mizzle again, but having had to stay in yesterday, we were determined to get out and about, so drove over to Totnes
First port of call as always Anne of Cleves tea rooms, and what delights in the window, lovely strawberry topped buns, but we were very restrained and had our usual coffee and scones...

We were lucky enough to find the market on in the square, albeit just setting up, probably delayed because of the rain

the best market is on a Friday, but its always worth having a look...

Theres always this nice plant one, which has some lovely perennials..

and a few specialist ones, this one I noticed also selling chilli and garlic chutney `with a bit of an afterburn` it said....yes I can imagine..

I was delighted to find in a box marked `50p each` at the back of the market, the most wonderful collection of vintage things, tins, glass and pottery, it certainly made my day.

So clutching my bags of treasure we headed on up to the `narrows` where the street is very tiny, and the lovely old shop buildings are all crammed in together

We popped in here, one of my favourite shops...

to drool over all the gorgeous Cath Kidson things, so much prettiness, and lots of other pretty unusual things too.

When we came out, I noticed across the road a new shop, painted the nicest sea side blue

and inside were the loveliest driftwood mirrors, pale french grey chests, shell hangings, and signs with `Gone to the Beach` and such like on...

We decided to walk up to the castle, which dominates the hillside at the top of the town

not to walk round it, but its very pretty around the bottom, the houses are very quaint,, and the gardens always gay with flowers

theres a nice little seated square, which is shady in the summer

and the tree growing in the middle was very pretty hung with large white berries

I had to look it up when I got home, as I wasnt sure what it was, and its a Kashmir Rowan, so now we know...

We headed back down the hill, a slight mizzle in the air..
and popped into St Marys church, the lovely red sandstone tower has just been renovated

Its lovely and large and airy inside, with a fine roodscreen, which unfortunately was defaced a long long while ago

and has a memorial that is very impressive

I loved this pretty dainty stained glass window

and I thought the ladies who quilted this, very talented, its beautifully done

When we left the church, it started to rain really heavily so we headed home, but it was a nice morning out, and look at the lovely treasures I found, very worth it.

Friday, 20 August 2010

An enchanting town...

Yesterday we headed over to Topsham, a lovely little town beside the river Exe. It was all decorated up with bunting ready for the carnival at the weekend.

As well as having some beautiful old buildings, it has a wonderful collection of really interesting shops too, I loved this one, and especially the gorgeous wire heart hanging outside.

This is the doctors surgery, well you wouldnt mind going to vist him in there would you

This charming little courtyard is at the back of a kitchen shop called `Cooks Aweigh`

It was full of the most delicious tin stars, metal planters, fabric hearts, and everything for the kitchen you never knew you needed....
after ohhing and ahhing at the delights of the shop, we crossed the road to visit St Margarets church..

It had these two handsome fellows guarding the arched front door

Inside it had that lovely old musty churchy smell I love

It had a wonderful carved vaulted ceiling..

and a beautiful gold and green Altar..

There was a beautiful tapestry kneeler running the whole width of the altar, stitched with a river scene, depicting all the various estuary birds, shelduck, avocets, redshanks, and swans..

presumably because the town lies beside the river..

It was also repeated on this lovely little elegant chair sitting beside the altar, how clever some people are..

Having enjoyed the peace of the church, we decided to walk through the churchyard to the steps at the back which lead down to the river, noting this lovely turrety window on a house opposite

The churchyard is full of beautiful old trees and stately firs, and lovely old crypts like this one

Theres also this wonderful painting on an old building in the graveyard, which depicts the fishing history of the town.

The view over the wall at the back of the church, is fabulous, looking over the reedbeds to the rolling hills in the distance..

The tide was low, and you could hear the fluting calls of the waders drifting over the water..

We walked down the steps and followed the windy road beside the sluggish river, theres some lovely old pubs and resturants in Topsham, this one has just been redecorated, I loved the pretty green theyd used.

We cut up through the narrow little back streets, where the houses jostle together, and found this beautiful ice cream pink house

It was so perfect, even down to the pink and white flowers in the hanging baskets

and next door `Shell House` with the wonderful white shell above the door

A lot of the houses are in the Dutch style as they date from the time when Topsham was an important cotton place.

Some of the houses running down to the river are huge, like this beautiful rambling one..

and high above flying over the gables a magic mermaid..

Leading off from the road were lots of little slipways..

this one was covered in a lovely autumnal coloured creeper

and from the bottom were lovely views down the river, and back across the gardens where samphire grew in great bunches from the garden walls

We carried on down the road, noting more signs of Autumn in the old mans beard woven round the pale blue railings of the museum fence

and the golden rod growing in the walled garden beside the road, where we found a lovely little furry friend

The road evenually finishes at the river, which spread out in a silvery grey expanse

Godwits were strung along the tidal edge like a feathered necklace..

and running beside the thick seaweed strewn mud, was a little path..

that you can trit trot...trit trot down (not over the bridge) but round the corner, and look right back down the river as it glides between the salty marshes, till it spills out into the sea at Dawlish

Having breathed deeply of the briny irish soft air, we headed back, down another little windy road, where there were houses with pretty french grey shutters...

and wee cotts with gardens by their front steps

and dainty ones with almond green doors and windows, and starfish in their windows

past old long disused iron pumps...

To the heart of town, with all its delights, what a truely enchanting place it is...