A Devon Holiday


Ace Reclaim bench

On this pleasant but blustery day , I spent a while reading on the Ace Reclaim bench. My current novel is ‘The Death of the Heart’ by Elizabeth Bowen. Naturally, my eyes wavered to take in the views offered from this vantage point.

View from Ace Reclaim bench

Straight ahead is the Palm Bed and beyond;


to my left the path continues past the Fiveways chimney pot;

House from Ace Reclaim bench

and back to the house to my right.

Later, I scanned some colour negatives of a holiday Jessica, Sam, Louisa, and I took in Devon with a neighbouring family in September 1983. We are no longer in touch with these friends, so I do not have their permission to post photographs of them and their children. However, I am able to publish

Dart Valley Railway 9.83 1

the Dart Valley Railway train and platform,

Steam Dome

including the steam dome from the historic engine.

I don’t remember exactly where we stayed, but our entrance into the guest house was never to be forgotten. We arrived when all the other residents were eating. As we trooped through the dining room, Sam announced to the assembled company, ‘I’ve got nits’. We then quickened our paces somewhat.

Perhaps it was on Dartmoor that we came across

Granite boulders

heaps of granite boulders,

Rocky stream

sometimes with streams running down them.

Jessica, Louisa, Sam and Maggie Bussell

There was plenty of rocky terrain, as Jessica, Sam, and Louisa discovered.

Jessica and Louisa 9.83

Louisa needed her Mum to give her a lift occasionally.

Sam on bridge 9.83

Ever adventurous, Sam strode over an ancient stone bridge.

I was even photographing

Red admirals on daisies

Red Admirals


and bees in those days;

Leaf backlit diseased 9.83

even a diseased leaf caught my attention.

Louisa 9.83 1

Finally there was a portrait of Louisa in her customary finger and thumb sucking tired pose.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s perfect pork risotto.


  1. Oh my, Louisa is so cute and she looks deep in thought. I love the shot of the rocky terrain with Jessica, Sam, and Louisa, Derrick. Fantastic photos today!

  2. Derrick: what a lovely tour. Thanks for sharing. Question for you: what’s a chimney pot? In my childhood, the chimney pot seems to have been something else entirely.

    1. It is the hollow tube that sits on the roof of the house to take the smoke from fires underneath. Lots of these are sold as architectural salvage and used as garden planters. Thanks, Cynthia

  3. The views in your garden are so lovely–it must be wonderful to sit and read (or daydream) there. I’ve never seen the chimney pots (that I’ve noticed) as planters before. Cool idea.

    I laughed at Sam’s announcement. I hope he didn’t, or it was taken care of without much fuss. So many wonderful photos, I can’t decide which one I like best.

    1. Thank you, Merril. Sam did have nits. At certain times of the year it wasn’t possible not to catch them in South London schools and nurseries. They were already being taken care of.

      1. I remember when our girls got them once at school, and how awful it was to have to wash and comb long their hair repeatedly, plus wash all the bedding, etc.

          1. I don’t think it has anything to do with length, except that it makes them more difficult to see, find, and remove from thick, long hair! But, I’ve heard that counter to stereotypes, they actually prefer clean hair.

  4. I can now see that Sam’s strode over the ancient stone bridge was actually quite safe but at first glance it looked perilous and I was surprised that you were ‘even photographing’ though that too was a misread as it referred to what followed 🙂

    There’s much to admire on this post. That seat in the sun is perfect. Love all the long views with their perspectives. I too have a collection of photographs of rocks 🙂 The mother/daughter pic deserves a close up, I think.

    1. If this is Dartmoor, the “old stone bridge” (technically a Clapper Bridge, if made of large, relatively thin, flat slabs) is most likely at Postbridge. If you envisage (or look up) the Dartmoor map, with its prominent road-crossing, Postbridge is near the middle but on the N.E. arm. (There’s another at Horrabridge, I think, but I’m pretty sure it’s partly or mostly tumbled). The most famous (prob. the biggest) is on Exmoor, called Tarr Steps. It featured on a postage stamp in the ’60s/’70s.

  5. Just beautiful photos, Derrick. I always feel so relaxed and happy reading your posts, and this one is particularly lovely.

  6. Louisa is a doll baby, such a precious countenance. I like the children exploring the countryside. Your photo of mother and child was very nice to share. She looks too dressed up to be hiking. 🙂 Your capture of the two red admiral butterflies was astonishing, Derrick!
    Jackie’s pork with risotto sounds yummy!

  7. Fabulous photos, and very dexterous of Louisa to get both thumb and forefinger into her mouth backwards. I’ve just been attempting it myself, and it’s not easy to do! My friend’s daughter was still sucking her thumb when tired until her mid-teens. It was an unconscious instinctive reaction to exhaustion.

  8. I loved the photographs especially the old ones. Back in the day, taking a photograph was a chemical and financial event, and now with the advent of digital, I take 2,000 shots in an aircraft museum, and it’s nothing exceptional!

  9. It’s been years since i read Death of the Heart. I remember it as heart-crushingly sad. Not sure How I would think of it now. But your Devon vacation looks to have been lovely.

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