I’ve always liked Totnes

I’ve always liked Totnes. Especially the Tudor Butterwalk, the Babbage room in the museum and walking by the river. I confess however that I’d not noticed the castle until the last time I visited on 2nd January this year – much to the amusement of my wife. My excuse was that as I drive I’d never seen it from the road, and if you’re in the town centre the buildings shield it from view.

So here’s a view of the River Dart, taken on my last visit, by way of welcoming their MP Dr. Sarah Wollaston to the Liberal Democrats.

The River Dart at Totnes
The River Dart at Totnes

Dartmouth Harbour in 1955 and 2019

Two views of the harbour at Dartmouth, the first taken in 1955 and the second a couple of days ago. Not very much seems to have changed in the last 64 years. The walls are no longer whitewashed, boats are mainly fibreglass instead of wood, Lloyds Bank is now Jack Wills and The Stores is a branch of Boots.

Dartmouth Harbour 1955
Dartmouth Harbour in the summer of 1955 …
Dartmouth Harbour 2019
… and in January 2019

Elsewhere, The Flavel Arts Centre serves a good coffee and the Dartmouth Museum is small but welcoming. The newly refurbished Platform 1 Station Bar & Restaurant has a great view of the river and is decorated with well-known Winston Churchill quotations. I munched through my scampi and chips under the steely gaze of the former PM, wondering what he’d make of the mess his country is in.

Buckfast Abbey and Buckfastleigh

Today’s wanderings around Devon took me to Buckfast Abbey. It’s very quiet at this time of year, so there’s plenty of opportunity for reflection and generally poking around the site.

Buckfast Abbey
Buckfast Abbey. The current Abbey (left) was completed in 1937. The monastery is the grey building to the right. The last tower on the right is the oldest part of the complex, dating from the 11th century.

The Benedictine abbey celebrates its millennium this year. However, Dissolution meant that for around 340 years (until 1882) there was no monastic community present at Buckfast.

The Methodist Chapel standing in the middle of the current Abbey site was erected in 1881. It may now look rather incongruous in its surroundings, but it stood by the main road when it was built.

Buckfast Methodist Church
Buckfast Methodist Church. A joint Methodist-Anglican service is held at 3pm on Sundays.

After lunch in The Grange Restaurant it was a short walk into Buckfastleigh. It’s a well-kept, albeit a rather sleepy place – there was almost no-one around this afternoon with many of the shops closed.

Fore Street, Buckfastleigh
Fore Street, Buckfastleigh

However excitement may be on its way. I see from the Town Council notice board that a by-election is in the offing if the current vacancy for a Councillor is contested.

The Globe Inn, Buckfastleigh
The Globe Inn, Buckfastleigh

Can you help me identify where this photograph was taken?

I’m sure that someone will be able to recognise where this photograph of my father’s was taken fairly easily, but it’s defeated my brain as well as the well-known image search engine I’ve tried.

Devon village - 1950sThe picture is from the mid-1950s and is most likely to be somewhere in Devon, probably South or East Devon judging by the other slides in the box that it came from. The two most obvious landmarks are the Beach House Hotel, opposite what is presumably a restaurant or tea room called The Lobster Pot. Unsurprisingly, there are far too many hotels called ‘Beach House’ and too many restaurants or tea rooms called ‘The Lobster Pot’ to sensibly refine the search.

The church steeple looks distinctive and there also appears to be something worth taking a photograph in the right foreground. I think that’s what the person in the raincoat stood in front of the Morris is doing. Another sign that it might have been a cold day is the smoke coming out of the chimney on the left hand side … but maybe not, as there’s someone in shorts by the Beach House Hotel too!

Any help would be gratefully accepted – please leave me a comment if you think you know where it might have been taken.