Sunday, 3 August 2014

Mystery solved...

 Well we made it to 'Greenway'. Wonderful day! Agatha was right when she described Greenway as 'the loveliest place on earth' -it certainly is a gorgeous place. It is located in the most picturesque spot surrounded by extensive woodlands and a gorgeous garden overlooking the stunning River Dart. The house is a beautiful classic Georgian building but this year was completely scaffolded as it is being re-painted so did not look its best from the exterior. However, the inside was a treat-you really felt part of Agatha's life, exploring the numerous family collections and perusing many photographs. She was clearly very happy there from 1939 until her death in 1976, becoming part of the local community, simply known as 'Mrs Mallowan'. She and daughter Rosalind started regularly welcoming the local children to play in the grounds and learn about the garden-this tradition has been kept and children from the local primary have a large area in the walled garden which they tend and grow on a regular basis.
Greenhouse in the walled garden.

A touch of vintage glamour...

Staying at The Grand on the seafront was a real treat-Agatha had her honeymoon there with second husband Max Mallowan. Still can't believe how luscious the welcoming Devon cream tea was-have never tasted such yummy freshly baked scones-they certainly know how to do those in Devon! 

Lashings of clotted cream...diets out of the window! 

Glorious views and a Grecian pool...

Leisurely dinner in the 1881 restaurant...

A touch of old school glamour-I wonder what Agatha and Max chose from the menu?

Round robin and five modes of transport!

Mr M likes to pack a lot in on these little breaks and as this was a treat for his birthday I had to let him choose what he wanted to do. His choice was to explore the Dart Valley on the 'Round Robin' trip. This all sounded a bit exhausting to me (and it was!) but the day turned out great fun as well. You start from Steamer Quay in Totnes and cruise by boat down the river towards Dartmouth- it takes just over an hour. 

Leaving Totnes you embark on a lovely leisurely journey which takes in the beauty of the Dart and you are treated to a commentary on the way. Past Greenway again and close view of the boathouse featured in Agatha's 'Dead Man's Folly':

Arriving in Dartmouth there is time for a look around and lunch at one of our favourite haunts 'The Sloping Deck'. This is a lovely lunch spot upstairs in one of the buildings in the Butterwalk. I love the 'Butterwalk' -ancient arcade so named because merchants would sell butter there in Medieval times.  Darthmouth is full of history and had many notable residents and visitors in its rich past. Even Geoffrey Chaucer mentions a shipman from there as one of the pilgrims it in the Canterbury Tales:

'A schipman was ther, wonyng fer by weste;
For ought I wost, he was of Dertemouthe.' 

I never knew that-perhaps I should have listened more in Miss Harrison's English A Level class! 

Then from Dartmouth it was onto the passenger ferry across to Kingswear, then straight onto a vintage steam train! By this time I was getting a little weary so I closed my eyes for a moment and as the engines chugged away towards Paignton I could imagine  I was in Murder on the Orient Express! Have definitely been reading too many Agatha Christies.

Paignton's always a fun summer resort so a little look around there and then onto the final leg of the journey, back to Totnes, this time on an open topped bus! There followed a hair-raising journey over hill and dale taking in the glorious countryside as we shot back to complete our 'Round Robin'. Phew! At last safely back to Steamer Quay and the car. A really lovely scout around the Dart and a highly recommended trip if you visit the area. 

High tea...only by  Michael Miller!

So a lovely few days in and around Torquay. No more delicious Devon teas for me for a while-the only tea I shall be having is this wonderful fabric by Michael Miller! My daughter asked me to make a tea cosy for her future Mum-in- Law's birthday this week and chose this fabric from my stash. 
It's called 'High Tea' and is a wonderfully retro design with fabulous colours. I think you could bind it with lots of colour choices but I chose pastel green to co-ordinate with the birthday lady's kitchen. What colour binding would you use to match your kitchen?

The only other tiny project I've had time for since returning (why is there always so much holiday washing/ironing even after a short break? )  is a little bandana for Oscar. he seems to like it! This is a little summer one for when he goes on his holidays to Wales soon. What colour shall I make him next?

Hope you're having a lovely weekend, sunshine and not too hot! Now I'm off to catch up with your lovely blogs...
Alison xx