Archive for September, 2011

Morwellham Quay

 Yesterday, we visited Morwellham Quay near Tavistock on the moor, it was once a thriving community, where the George and Charlotte mine was one of the largest copper mines in the country, infact Queen Victoria once visited it on her way to Endsleigh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the buildings are orginal, I loved this little victorian terrace with its cottagey garden, inside it was decorated with furniture of the period, wheelback chairs, grandfather clocks, and china knick knacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Upstairs there were two bedrooms, one with a wrought iron bed and a beautiful crochet bedspread, the other much bigger room was plainly furnished, but had more decorative china too…I loved the hip bath, infront of the fire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of all were these two pictures, one a delightful religious text, and the other a lovely angel picture with damsel in.  Having enjoyed looking round we made our way down the windy narrow wooden stairs, out into a little passageway, behind the house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were a couple of  little outbuildings, one with a rather inelegant wooden toilet, and the other a store shed.  At the end of the path was a handful of hens drinking from a little trough, and nearby this lovely old rooster keeping his eye on things.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a old Miners cottage at the end of the path, it was very humble, I really jumped when I saw this figure laying on his bed, it was so unexpected!

The rooms were very bare, with just the absolute basics to live, it would have been a very hard life, with children also working in the mines, boys being sent at the age of eight to work underground for eight hour shifts, and girls of the same age working on the surface, breaking up material brought from underground, for twelve hour shifts, six days a week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

After this humbling experience, we walked down to the river in the sunshine, its the river Tamar, and is the border between Devon and Cornwall.  It ran in a sluggish way between the banks of reeds and purple loosestrife, the willows dipping their leafy heads into the brown coloured water….Moored up in dock was a beautiful Ketch, one of the boats that would sail down the river with the copper ore, and along side the wagons that transported it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were very lucky with the weather, as we`d had a fierce rainstorm on the way over the moor, and it was very peaceful in the valley, the hills covered in woods, and just the sound of a buzzard mewling in the blue sky…very different from how it would have been in its heyday.  I was impressed with this huge water wheel, that would have been used to drive the machinery to crush the rocks, and I also loved all the old wagons, used for various purposes about their daily lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The village was absolutely enchanting, with slate hung houses, and bunting fluttering in the breeze.  There was an inn called The Ship, a little pottery, a tea-room where the staff were dressed in period costume, and served delicious coffee cake.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of all was the little general store, it was full of lovely things, sweeties in jars, hams strung from the ceiling, and everything else you could possibly want, and laid out so beautifully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped for coffee and cake, and watched as a shower travelled up the river in a silvery mist, then when we came out the sun shone, and twinkled on the raindrops in the grass…we walked over to the little corrugated roofed school house, peeping inside we found it was very sparse, with only hard benches for the children to sit on, by all accounts I dont think that they would have spent many hours learning, as along with their parents they would have needed to earn a living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By this time it was nearly one o`clock, and we had booked to go down the mine, so we hurried up the hillside to where the little train, and caged carriages were..luckily we were the last there, so we could sit right at the back of the carriage, and look out as we travelled up the hill, beside the river.  The mine was something of a shock as it was pitch black, so intense, and would have only been lit by candles, the working conditions were horrendous and many men died very young with lung problems.  The men and boys would have had to climb down 700ft to the shaft that they would work in, which would have taken an hour and a half, then start an eight hour shift, they must have been physically exhausted everyday, when they climbed back out..it was very interesting, and made you aware of how life was very hard in everyway when you werent rich or priveledged in those days.

 

 

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A Trip to Stoke Gabriel.

I`m on holiday at the moment, infact we both are, so we`ve been getting out and about, we took a trip to Stoke Gabriel, a lovely little village set along the river Dart.

The tide was well out, so the little creek was a tiny trickle amongst vast quantities of mud…the brightly coloured boats lay drunkenly on top.

Theres a causeway that runs across the creek, giving access to the wooded shore the other side, and it was filled with children and their parents crabbing, there was much excitement..normally we`d walk across, but the water was still trickling over the very slippery weedy surface, and as I only had sandals on, we didnt bother!

On the quayside is this lovely little cafe called The River Shack, when we came in the Spring, they were in the process of redecorating it, so I was curious to see what they`d done

I wasnt disappointed, it was so pretty, with white and grey/blue walls, stripey blinds to match, and a fabulous white shelf unit, filled with little wooden boats, picture frames, wooden birds and other `watery` gifts…

In one corner there are lovely big squashy couches, with pastel cushions, a table laden with magazines to browse, and decorated with a gorgeous driftwood looking clock, and carved heron on a side table, fabulous…just the place to drink coffee and eat cake, and while a lazy day away…

We indulged in a very naughty calorie filled real strawberry and clotted cream ice cream, then wandered into the village…its very pretty place, everywhere seems to have made the best of itself, I was very impressed, this little craft shop and gallery was gay with bunting and flowers outside, and full of pretty things inside.

Even the old village pump, was decorated with flowers, its nice that people take a pride in the places that they live, and preserve the past, for the generations to come.

We walked upto the church, it sits on the hill above the creek, and dates back to the Norman times….a plain, solid, little church, the graveyard flowing down the hill to the water, that gently laps and ruffles in the wind, the sun warming the headstones, and the moon shining bright on a starry night…what a lovely place to rest your bones….

The church inside was anything but plain, it was light and airy, with fabulous decorated vaulted ceiling, and a lovely carved rood screen..the displays of flowers were beautiful, in creams and blues with huge blue hydranga heads, lovely…and that wonderful peaceful stillness that all churches have..

Hung on one of the walls were two huge hand sewn hangings, depicting various aspects of the church, they were very skillfully sewn and very beautiful.

Having enjoyed the solitude of the church, we walked round the graveyard, theres a magnificent thousand year old yew tree that dominates it, its huge elderly boughs propped up…but even so it was full of bright red berries…how lovely is that, and set around the trunk are some sections of wood that show the history of a tree that has lived that long…fascinating…such a lovely day, filled with so many interesting things.

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Welcome to my new home.

Welcome to my new home, this is my first post here, I decided that it would be nice to move on, seek pastures new, Ive finished decorating, the smell of new paint still lingers, the furnitures in place and curtains hung…Ive lit the fire incase you`re feeling chill, and picked flowers fresh from the garden….Ive rustled up some cakes, and put the kettle on, so draw up a chair, make yourself at home….and hopefully some of my old friends will drop in too.

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