One of our main destinations was Devon, with the main aim of seeing people, not places. We needed to see my half-uncle, John de Renzy-Martin, and also my oldest friend, Robbie Guest, whom I have known for—genuinely—longer than I can remember, as I was a toddler of 2 years' old when he played with me on a Bangkok beach in 1952.
John lives in Watchet and Robbie in Sidmouth, so we found a place to stay sort of midway between the two—Williton. (Actually 1 hour's walk from Watchet and 1 hour's drive from Sidmouth; that makes it in the middle, no?)
Being a useless photographer, the visit resulted in NO photographs of either John OR Robbie. I must have been too busy conversing!
This, however, is an iPhone photo of John's house. What a lot of trees and shrubbery compared to Orkney.
We had a wonderful Indian meal with John and one of his daughters, joined also by Jessica, who had come down to Devon too. That there should have been a good Indian restaurant in the small village of Williton was a surprise.
I wish I had known John's mother Margaret better than just as a distant family member. She was something of a war hero, but kept this fact modestly under wraps. We asked John to show us to the medal awarded to her (posthumously). Some of the story behind this is told in Michael Smith's book The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews. (Click to enlarge)
The next day, we went to see Robbie in Sidmouth. So we set off from the pretty AirB&B cottage in which we were staying
This was a nice drive with a pleasant piss-stop in some lovely woods
where the very air was green, green, green:
It poured with rain in Sidmouth, but it wasn't cold. We had a little walk along the lovely waterfront after our lunch but I took no photos.
Our last day was to be our tourism day. And it was very good. Because we had already done a lot of driving and there was still more ahead, we did not want to go too far. So we decided to visit the nearby, famously beautiful, town of Lynton. This only required a little drive across Exmoor, which was wonderful.
The moor was shrouded in mist (or was that just a cloud so low it was touching the ground?)
The heather was in full bloom
and the bracken looked so fresh one almost wanted to make a salad:
I think it is about time I re-read Blackmore's Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor
Anyway, after Exmoor, we wound down some very steep and exciting twisty and narrow roads into Lynton. On getting there, I suddenly remembered that I had actually been there before with wife Katya. So that was a little bit sad. The town was sweet, but teeming with tourists. (In fact, after uncrowded Orkney, we were constantly taken aback by the feeling we were walking around in one ants' nest after another.)
Lynton is in two parts, half at the top of the cliff and half at the bottom. The two part are joined by a water-powered cliff railway—an exciting ride. Great views from the top part:
A nice feeling in the bottom part:
The two linked by the cliff railway which offers one this:
(click to enlarge)
Some more views of the town here (as usual, click to enlarge)
This concludes Loutits in Devon. Next leg of trip soon.