Over the Border – Part Two

Over the Border – Part Two

The best thing on these days away from home is that you can experience some weird and wonderful adventures. And so it was in this trip, over the border on a camp site near Altarnun, on the edge of Bodmin Moor.

With the tent up and bedding and cooking equipment in place, it was time to seek lunch and to visit a local pubs called The Rising Sun. I had already asked directions from the lady managing the site, so when my husband asked whether I knew where to go, I told him confidently that I knew exactly where to go.

Celtic Cross

Turning right out of the site, we made our way up the narrow lane until we reached a T-junction that I had been told about. It was then that my control on the situation went awry. Much had been made in the directions about the path that I could see straight ahead with a Celtic cross set in the bank, with the notice saying ‘Not suitable for large vehicles’ on the other side. As I can’t been listening that carefully, I assumed we should go straight on.

The path’s surface changed from tarmac to something less solid and, in spite of all the dry weather, became muddy. I was getting reproachful looks from both dog and husband, with the occasional comment being made as to whether I was sure this was the way? Even more of a concern was the fact that whenever we did see signs of life, no -one seemed to want to talk to us, so we ploughed on. Eventually the road surface became tarmac once more, which made life easier.

But the worst bit was the flying insects. They really did bite. And there were loads of them. We were walking through clouds of them, feeling more uncomfortable by the minute, waving arms around and slapping away what flies that landed but not before a bite was received. I had never experienced anything like this. You had to wonder where they were coming from.

Finally we reached another T-junction, but which way to go? I had acknowledged, that I might have got it wrong and offered to walk down the road a bit to get my bearings, while they stood in the shade, the sun by now getting quite fierce. Suddenly I thought to myself, I’ll use my mobile. (It was one of those duh moments). Looking up the pub, I soon had a map, made my way back to Alan who politely asked why I hadn’t done that in the first place.

The Road We Should Have Left Alone

One and a half hours after leaving the camp site, we arrived at the pub. Refreshed and fed, we made our way back the way we should have come, which took around ten minutes. We certainly had our exercise that day.

On another day, we took a walk from the site down a small lane which had a ford across the road. Having taken off my sandals to walk across and revel in the cool water, we decided (once my sandals were back on my feet) to walk a little further, knowing that this led to Bodmin Moor.

As we approached a bend, we were confronted by a little lady, who was bent over and using a short piece of branch as a walking stick. She appeared so suddenly, she made us all jump, and I initially thought she was a pisky (a Cornish form of pixie). With her sparkling eyes and happy chatter, we shared a lovely time with her as she took us to see her gardens and talked about her life there.

Adventures are indeed enjoyable, usually after the event.

The Ford

Over the Border – Part One

Over the Border – Part One

Having driven through the entrance of  the Traveller’s Rest Campsite, my dear husband got out of the car, walked forward further into the site and viewed the scene. Before I went to the room designated as the reception, I glanced at his face. I could see this wasn’t quite what he had anticipated. Continue reading “Over the Border – Part One”

Snow Beauty

Snow Beauty


View Across The Road


It’s always the anticipation that gets to me. The thought that we might have snow at Christmas or in the early part of the New Year. If it snows, the excitement that we may snowed in. Listening and watching the news and social media with their gloomy prognostications, the sense of anticipation grows.


No matter that it may cause massive problems for those needing to reach their workplaces; for those who are farmers with crops or livestock to consider; for those on errands of mercy (and I do appreciate that for those people there are real issues). For me as for many others, snow does not lose its fascination, bringing back memories as a child and young adult playing in the snow; with the snowballs and snowmen and frosted windows.

Even when working in Tottenham in the 1980’s when there was several weeks of snow and ice one year, I tottered round on my heels from one visit to another on the icy side streets, revelling in the challenge of keeping upright. I was younger and a lot more reckless then.

Now, living in Devon, I had not expected snow this year so close to Spring. Our first year here had been quite mild compared to the south east of England where we were previously. I could understand Dartmoor having snowfall as it is a lot higher, but not in the area where we now live.

Then the news and the weather forecast turns their focus to Devon – a red alert no less! There will be heavy snow and blizzards here. And my heart begins to sing.

Waking up last Thursday morning and eagerly looking out of the window, I could see no snow. By the time I ventured out to get my daily paper, the first sprinkling of snowflakes had begun. Gentle and hesitant, it began to change the colour of the pavement and gardens to a monochromic colour.


Boris Being Decorated With Snow

The breeze blew small clouds of flakes away flying into the air again and as the cars go by; white spirals like dust devils form, then disappear. The whole area seems quiet and subdued. But this is just preparation for the major show.

There is a break.

Then slowly, gradually picking up speed and without stopping, the snowflakes flow. If it was rain, it would be noisy but there is a dampening down of all noise. And the level of the snow begins to rise. At home, looking across to where the moor should be, I can see nothing; they are blocked from view with this continuous moving veil.

We go to bed at night with the snow continuing and wake up to a blanket of the white stuff. Walking to the village store, not anticipating a paper (and so not disappointed either), I notice that the road is so quiet for that time of day. The walk is fun, the snow being a blank sheet to place my boots upon (and to sink through).

The rest of the day is spent just looking out at our gardens in the front and rear looking for activity and wondering how long this three to four inch depth of snow will last.

Our Snowy Garden

A news broadcast tells of another change. We are to have freezing rain, something I’d never heard of before. I had seen freezing fog some years ago and I wondered how this was going to change things.

The following day on another trip to the village store (but really just to enjoy the weather), I found a difference in the snow as I walked. Whereas the day before, it was almost soundless, Saturday’s snow was crunchy and more difficult to walk through. And there were more people out for a walk, enjoying the day’s challenge. The other effect of the freezing snow could be seen on stationary vehicles. They seemed to be encapsulated in ice in a wavy pattern. And not just vehicles, as our conservatory windows had the same pattern and couldn’t be seen through.

Looking out of the window, we saw a few birds that we hadn’t seen before. We found out that they were red wings, a type of thrush. They kept us entertained for most of the day with their antics.

But all things end. And slowly rising  temperatures together with more rain (not freezing this time) brought about a thaw. On my way to church on Sunday, I could see the snow had changed colour from white to a dirty brown, the amount slowly dying away. In its stead, the brilliant green of the fields appeared. Until next time.


Effect of Freezing Rain On The Cornus Bush



















A One Year Anniversary – And We Haven’t Even Scratched The Surface!

Our Back Garden

A year ago, on the 31st March 2016 to be precise, my husband, Jessie – our dog and myself embarked on what was, for us, the biggest adventure we have ever had together. We moved from the south east, from East Sussex to be precise, all along the south coast to the beautiful county of Devon.

For us it was a giant step into the unknown. I had previously lived in Cornwall from the age of ten to twenty three years of age and had loved my time there. But this move was many years later and to a different county. Alan by contrast, had spent all his life in the south east, only having visited Devon on holidays.

We had talked about the possibility of a big move so many  times and hesitated. It seemed such a enormous change and at our time of life, could we do it? :-). But we both believed that now was the time to do the deed or we would always be wondering whether it was a good step or not for the rest of our lives.

Our Devon Home

Twelve months later, I look back with a sense of wonder and delight. Our experiences have exceeded our expectations. And we are both aware that we have only scratched the surface of the places we can visit and the things we can accomplish within this area we now find ourselves.

This past year has been a time of meeting new people and making new friends; of getting to grips with a different doctors, dentists, vets and local authority; of joining new groups; and of bringing our new home kicking and screaming into the twenty first century, with gas being connected, a boiler and central heating system installed; and a complete refit of the bathroom and kitchen. And it would be most remiss for me not to mention, the sterling work Alan has carried out on the front and back gardens.

A View of Teignmouth

With everything being done in our new home, it has meant that our exploring of the area has been limited. What we have seen has charmed us and made us want to see more. We are looking forward to the warmer weather when we can visit different parts of the county and even explore Cornwall.

There are those who would say that it’s no big deal – we have only moved to a different part of the same country. For ourselves, we have noticed great differences, which I hope to expand upon further in future blog posts. Overall I am so thrilled we chose the Devon way.

A View from Haytor

A Pean of Praise for Trago Mills

Moving to a completely new area tends to mean that you do check the location of shops, banks, libraries, even schools. But it wasn’t until we had actually had our offer accepted that we found out we were very close to the Newton Abbot branch of Trago Mills.

What is Trago Mills I hear your ask? Think Harrods but without the cost . To be fair I didn’t know what to expect. My last visit to Trago Mills had been over thirty years ago, when I visited the original store near Bodmin in Cornwall. I don’t remember much about the visit except there was loads of stuff to buy.

The distant towers of Trago Mills

Trago Mills was started by Mike Robertson with a store near Liskeard. The story goes (and I don’t know how true it is, but we were told by neighbours), that he started by selling a job lot of Wellington boots and went on from there. The Newton Abbot store began fifty years ago, in 1967. There is a third in Falmouth. Liskeard and Newton Abbot stores started as huts and tents respectively, but nowadays they are large buildings with the trademark towers.

Mike Robertson died in 2001 and his son, Bruce Robertson now runs the business.

Having heard about the nearby store from our neighbours, it was with a great deal of curiosity that I visited the store; initially in an attempt to get some household items, like you do when you have just moved into a property.

It stunned me. There was so much to see and so many sections. From paint to wallpaper to tools (for cars and the home); household items and cleaners; curtains and materials, threads and haberdashery; stationery; crafts; clothes and shoes; cards and books; furniture and carpets; garden materials and plants; pet food and pet sundries; musical items; sports items……. and I don’t think I’ve exhausted the list. And this was all under one roof. But that wasn’t all.

The garden centre

There was the most beautiful garden centre, which apparently won awards and was a reasonably new addition to the shop. And there were eating places as well. Not just run by Trago Mills but leased outlets too. To my delight, Warrens was there – who sell probably the best pasties in the world. I have the fondest memories of their pasties, the original traditional ones have not changed, thank God. But there are lots of other flavours – how things change.

One of the ‘Trago’ trains

I appreciate that it might not be to everyone’s taste but for convenience, variety and value, it is a hard place to beat, especially when you are five minutes away. I even bought our kitchen furniture from there. And going to the haberdashery area brought me to a new hobby (of which, more in another post).

And I haven’t even mentioned the miniature railway that runs around the site, which I found fascinating and one day will ride on. Or the Family Fun Park.

Alan knows that when I disappear to Trago Mills, I may be some time. It’s that kind of place.



It’s Only Rubbish? A Look at Recycling in Teignbridge.

Recycling wasn’t unknown to the Kinnersley household. We had had recycling bins for our property in East Sussex. There was just a general assumption that there would be the same or similar method in Devon. How wrong we were. And how quickly we were to find that out.

Some black bags of rubbish had been left by the previous occupant, and having missed a refuse collection, we decided that we would travel down the the nearest recycling centre, which happened to be in Newton Abbot and dispose of them. My husband exited the car after a very stressful time trying to locate the site, only to be told, “We don’t take that, mate. That’s rubbish, not recycling”.

He was fuming when he came back to drive us home. As he told me later when he had calmed down, it wasn’t the fact that they wouldn’t accept the rubbish that was the problem – it was the attitude of the group of council workers that he had tried to talk to.

Muttering all the way home, I was afraid that he would say it was a mistake to have moved down to Devon. But no, he made his way to the garage, saying that he would attempt to reduce the amount of rubbish by putting some of it in the recycling bins provided. Cue for lots of banging and crashing about.  A little while later, he came back into the house, a lot calmer. It turned out that much of the stuff in the black sacks had been recyclable, so he had been able to substantially reduce the amount that needed to go into the general waste wheelie bin.

In this area, each property has five bins. The black wheelie bin is for general waste; then there are containers for food waste; for cardboard and glass; and for plastic and metal respectively. There is also an paid option for garden waste service which alternates collection with the general waste, being collected on alternate weeks. And we have a bag for the newspaper and paper waste. The food waste, newspapers and other recycling waste are collected every week.

It does take a little getting used to and it sounds complicated, but we have turned into recycling addicts. Unbelievably, my husband now takes a positive enjoyment in every day recycling the waste that we have produced. I say that because the different system we had in Sussex wasn’t quite so strict, so the lazy way out was taken. It nearly all went as general waste.

Here it is very clear. As I have said, general waste is only collected every two weeks in one wheelie bin, so it makes sense to recycle whatever you can. I’m not saying we’re perfect but for us it works.

The only thing I struggled with was after Christmas as frosted and foiled Christmas cards are not accepted together with different types of wrapping paper. Having said that, it does make you think about the stuff we threw away in the past without a thought. Recycling rocks!

A Friendly Community

I had no idea what to expect as we travelled down to Liverton in Devon, having that day completed the sale of our house in Sussex. The area we were to live in we did not know that well and, to be honest, had only been chosen following the failure of the purchase of a property in Buckfastleigh, our original area of choice.

Added to everything else, we were late getting to our new home to pick up the keys. So the estate agent had kindly given us instructions over the mobile phone as to where they were to be found.

Our new home in Liverton – before we moved in.

So it was with these instructions whizzing around my brain that I climbed out of the car and stretched my stiff body before moving, only to hear these words behind me, “I take it you’re our new neighbours,” spoken in a broad Devon burr. Turning I saw an older man, short in stature, standing at the entrance to our new drive looking over at us, walking stick in hand.

Introducing himself, we discovered that he was our new neighbour, and before we had entered our new home, we had received an invitation to his house to meet his wife and to take tea, when we were settled.

Within a week, we had got to know all the neighbours (on each side, across the road and beyond the back garden) by name. For me, as one who can forget names so easily, I resolved to remember these ones. This involved me naming who lived in each property each time I walked up and down the road when walking our Border Terrier or when visiting the village store (much to  Alan’s (my husband) amusement).

But the ‘community spirit’ went further than that. Within two days of moving in, the neighbour at the rear of our home came round with his chainsaw to help Alan cut up some of the tree stumps that needed to go. This same neighbour also took us out for a two hour ride around the area to show us the narrow lanes that Devon is famous for.

Vegetables have been given as well as helpful advice and recommendations for plumbers etc. to carry out works. Walks around the area with our dogs became rather extended as we talked with people we met on our way, who took the time to answer any questions we had and to tell us more about the area we had moved to. Even now, when Alan takes the dog for a walk in the morning, I can never be sure how long he will be, as these conversations still go on.

We were told by others when we mentioned how friendly everyone was, that as most of the people that lived here had moved in to the area over the past thirty years from different parts of the UK as well as from different parts of Devon,that people made the effort to get on with each other. Whatever the reason, it makes for an enjoyable beginning to our new life here. Or maybe, it’s just the Devon way.