My blogging has slipped for the past month. Its hardly because of lack of things to blog about, more that things have been crazy busy and I’ve been unable to catch up. But here on the long Nepali holiday weekend, the rain has messed with our plans and I am at home with some time to do just that….catch up.
I’ve been back from the UK for two weeks now, have started a new job and unpacked the our many boxes in the attempt to make our new house into our new home. But before we get to that post…a little back tracking….
Around the middle of September I managed to sneak a few days down in Devon to visit my friend Katie. Its been a long while since I visited both Katie and Devon. She recently bought a traditional Devon Longhouse “fixer upper opportunity” which, coincidentally, is in the same town where I was married, so it was wonderful to go down and see their new home and poke around the area where we honeymooned quite a few years ago now. The house is vast and beautiful, and in need of lots of TLC but they are no strangers to fixing up period houses. This one dates back about 400 years. The traditional long shape comes from the ancient practice of combining human housing and animal stables into one long building, especially in the Winter. Nowadays many have been fixed up into large country houses or converted just to barns.
My memories of the area were like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that hadn’t been fitted together. I remember the town where we rented a cottage, the little pub, the little church, and the narrow country lanes that connected it altogether. And it was all still there, just like I remembered. Charming and timeless. The Drewe Arms was still there too. Back in the Eighties the pub was run by a ninety-something old lady who put the money for your beer or cider into a little cash box. There was no register – no bar either – and no service to speak of. You helped just yourself to your drink from the wooden barrels lined up against the wall. Today she has gone, of course, but I’m told the pub retains in original character. I would have liked to have sneaked a peek inside but unfortunately, we just didn’t have time to stop for a drink.
For me, the visit wouldn’t have been completed without a visit to Dartmoor. I’ve rarely been there in the Summer, usually visiting in the depths of Winter, when it can be incredibly cold, exposed and can freeze your face right off. But I do have a thing for moors in general. I love their wildness but I fear them too. On Dartmoor you can ride right through them by car and on a sunny September day with no rolling fog, there was just scenery and sheep to enjoy.
Its only when I come back to England that I remember how much sheep are a part of the countryside. Katie has over 200 of them on 100+ acres of land and I barely had time to get out and meet them. But I loved my short visit and seeing their new home and I thought about the prospect of returning to my new home in Kathmandu. A lovely corner of the world.