💚 Living between the Sea and Dartmoor in the S.W. of England

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 🌞 Hello! You’re welcome, visiting my blog 🌞

You are welcome on my blog with journals and slideshows of pictures. I’m enjoying my 2nd life on an island: Britain, a quirky island, surrounded by the sea and blessed with nature and space, with kind and reserved people, eccentric and artistic too, in the S. West. Dartmoor is one of my favourite landscapes. There’s much more landscape to explore for me, that is still unknown to me. I’m privileged to find the freedom of adventure, going on trips after ending my working life.

The British population is on the move to sovereignty, in fits and starts, some of them yelling and screaming, often badly informed and prejudiced too.  Or so it seems to me, a witness to it all, watching the dramatic scenes in parliament. Is this the level of civilisation in Britain? It’s certainly put to the test. With all the pump and circumstance, the storms in a teacup, as it seems to be in my Dutch eyes.

My view on the Brexit affairs? A no deal vote? It’s valuable to keep in mind that the opposition, those who want to remain in the EU, is deliberately created in order to cause turmoil, insecurity, doubt and fear. So that Bremain begins to look like a better option, simply for being fed up with it all.

Imagine what a loss of face it will be to the Tory party, when Britain is beginning to sort out its issues, restoring its sovereignty? As long as labour was in power, no favour for the EU was visible or expressed. It’s the conservatives that welcome EU membership. At the same time, those that invest in power and money only are  smashing Britain’s economy to smithereens. Since Margaret Thatcher proclaimed the individual as superior over the collective, British society is becoming a slowly sinking ship. How long will it last, this moving around of furniture, on the Titanic?

These last years’ enormous cutting of costs, in the essential aspects of British society, its population’s worsening living conditions, the mental care system and the NHS, combined with an utterly incomprehensible strategy: benefits offered to those who prefer living on benefits, rather than working for an income, receiving more money in that way. How in the world does a government hold its credibility when 3 generations manage to live on the dole?! Homeless rough-sleepers are being offered free train tickets, to leave cities and move to other locations, jumping from the frying pan into the fire. City-council’s policies are not welcomed for their consistency often.

One needs only to switch on the television in Britain, or glance at the headlines of papers and magazines, exposed in supermarkets and at news agents’ shops, to see the deplorable level of civilisation Britain has allowed itself to sink into, or has been steered, into such murky waters. I’m reminded of Aldous Huxley’s book “Brave New World”:

“The citizens of the all-powerful and ever-watching World State are arguably reduced to infantile participants in a system that values order and simplicity over personal determination and responsibility”.


There’s a huge unbalance in the legislation system, burdened by a sickening bureaucracy and the British class system is still a ruling element in working conditions and the amount of doors that open after knocking on them. Now that the proof is in the pudding, visible to everybody who knows the use of common sense, with eyes and ears wide open, there’s no turning back to EU membership. 

Of course the EU in Brussels twists Britain’s arm, for (oh my!) who shall follow in its footsteps? Puppet masters in Brussels may begin to act like rats on a sinking ship, ignoring the fact that they’ve built the ship themselves.

Britain was badly informed and prepared for the Referendum. It’s still badly informed, by the mainstream media, but it’s surely better prepared now, in the sense that the ingredients in the Brexit- pudding are pretty much made public, see what I mean?

It’s got a very bad taste, no currents in this pudding 😉 The British government in cahoots with the EU, the former highly incompetent in its function and role, offers Britain’s poor population no chance to leave their way of living on the breadline. 


“What man is there among you, who if his son shall ask him for bread will offer him a stone?” Lucas 11:11

What has become of the world we live in today? The spark of life, the flame that feeds creation’s elements: fire, air, water and earth, seems to take matters in its own hands. As I perceive it, from my visionary corner, it may be time that we begin to awaken to what’s really going on, understanding the changes we witness on all levels: the motions of planet Earth’s body, its weather and its atmosphere, the wild and dramatic affairs on stage in global politics, the global amphitheatre with politicians, actors wearing masks. The machinery of power and money is slowly grinding to a halt due to its own structural defects.

How many of us are on edge these days? Specially younger generations, seemingly unable to find a purpose in their lives. What’s the point? What’s the meaning of it all, while alive on planet Earth? Does the future look bright? The challenges are numerous and the number of people beginning to take matters in their own hands is growing.

We need that initiative, the world is turning upside down, bringing an end to old systems for a reason, I believe. Life is changing, on many levels, calling for a reset, a return to our true human nature and an awakening to inter-dependency and humane living and working conditions in proper jobs.

For myself, I feel it’s great timing, enjoying my retirement while investing in initiatives in the community, working on the land. I’m much in favour of sustaining myself in all sorts of ways, creating comfort of living in friendship with the elements and kindred spirits, young and old preferably.

I’m reaping the harvest of my life’s adventures and initiatives at the same time. That’s the fertiliser for my present and future years. I can’t tell others what to do, my role is to live what I believe and know to be true for me. And to express this in my life in most practical and creative ways, with the use of a strong intuition, in gratitude for a very good health. I’m a cook and holistic nutritionist/health-coach, since 1973, which serves me well.

How many of you are experiencing being the changer and the changed both? Is it realistic to want one’s life mapped out from the start to the finish, as if it’s a race, in competition with……? It may be appropriate in one’s career, creating an income with the hope to secure one’s savings, but this doesn’t seem realistic concerning one’s journey through life.

No guarantees, but choices as many as moments in our lives, as I perceive it and I intend to make efforts to live in that freedom of choice and creativity.

Being secure and cared for from the cradle to the grave is something from the past, dream or reality for the happy few, as far as governments and laws are involved. We’ve got to take matters in our own hands (again) and learn to honour ourselves and others in freedom of expression.

By doing so, I believe we’re at times challenged to be present in our lives and daring as well, using discernment and pondering the question “How to make peace with my life?” and “How to live together?”

Philosophy has been defined as “the love of and the seeking after wisdom”. Socrates said “Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher and philosophy begins with wonder” This, I guess, sums up who I am and choose to walk my path in life, with a mind of my own, doing the work my hands find worthy of doing. Down to earth and artistic in expression of all sorts, be it in creating a home interior, a garden, or a landscape felted of wool. Royal rags are my favourite outfit, though some of you may wonder what I mean by that. Remember Barbara Streisand, the 70’s? In her outfit of 2nd hand clothes on stage? Something like that. After all, I’m an old hippie at heart,  finding my feet in the 60’s:

1976 Glamour on bike

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A bonfire in my garden, end of summer 2018

I’m enjoying my life in Devon, hiking on Dartmoor, walking the coastal paths. I’ve found, as I move through the recent decade, where change has swept like a storm through my life, that I am as much the changer as the changed. Therefore, I can’t expect to know what’s ahead of me, really. It’s a learning curve by surrendering to my experiences and paying attention to what matters and to all that matters not. There’s much to let go of.

I’d rather surrender to what life holds in waiting for me and walk with eyes and heart open, in trust and acceptance of how it shows up and what it shows me, also when it’s not enjoyable at first glance. Responsibility is embedded in my actions when free will is at the base of my conscious choices, I believe. Each moment offers such freedom of choice, once we’re disciplined by paying attention and being truthful to ourselves.

Getting things done, well organised, resourceful and diligent, with great patience often. And allow others to do the same. I’m a builder, not a squatter among ruins and others build their own reality, be it a sandcastle, a straw-bale house or a cottage of quarried stone with a thatched roof. How can we conduct the whirring windmills of our mind?

I love the drops of splashing backwater on my face while standing on the bow. That’s just a description of how I prefer to experience the elements. I need to feel the wind and sun in my face and to be touched by life, by people, taught by Gaia and her nature’s beauty, her wisdom and her nurturing quality, in unconditional companionship. It’s why I enjoy making pictures and drawings of nature.

Revelations by Marian.jpg
In a dream I’m standing in front of large stone doors, pushing them open with ease, finding a golden cloud of fog behind it. What if I jump into it?

Walking in the empty and remote spaces of Dartmoor, or over footpaths through woodland that is largely untouched by people and machines, with gnarled old trees and boulders covered in moss, or walking along the flood mark at sea, picking up pebbles, some with holes in it, feeling the thrill of being a beachcomber, on bare feet without a care in the world. That’s my way of recharging my batteries. How I love to live with the elements. I do enjoy being alive now, learning each day, it’s interesting and intense!

So far my views on life in general and mine at present, December 2018

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Beesand beach, the southcoast of Devon, where I camped one night, safe with the elements

This text on page 288 of Henry David Thoreau’s book “Walden” sums up my stance in life:

“The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, than, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I don not wish to go below now”.

And the note at the start of Thoreau’s “Economy” a chapter in that same book, reflects my present approach to my inner “Mother Superior” while sending her shouts in the cloud:

“I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbours up”

Here’s a slideshow with pictures of  my short time in Moretonhampstead, early 2018.      I hope it’s visible, there seems to be a problem to show it here. If that’s the case, please go to my Dutch page “Hollandse pagina… ” and find the slideshow over there,  scrolling down to slightly below the centre of the page.

The highlight of my stay in Moretonhampstead is my volunteering at Proper Job Chagford. Here’s what this recycling re-use project, started in 1995, pioneering, is about    http://www.proper-job.org/

Also the saving of a black lamb was memorable, a few weeks old, abandoned in the snow by its mother who didn’t have enough milk to feed two of her own. Also, the heavy snowfall in March 2018, of which I’ve made many pictures during a long Sunday walk to North Bovey. Over the lanes, without hardly a car in sight. I caught the snow by holding my umbrella, which grew heavy with a cap of snow on top! 

Here’s my first video in black and white 😉   


When it doesn’t show up, go to my YouTube channel here: 


This video (if it shows up) shows what Proper Job Chagford is about. A shop has opened at the start of this year 2018, called Uptown Proper Job. In the centre of Chagford. The Courtyard Cafe, annex healthfood shop, is the 3rd leg of this successful project. 

http://www.proper-job.org https://youtu.be/hidSnd1Tfbo

And now that we’ve arrived in October 2018? What’s on? Early summer of 2018 I’ve returned to Ashburton, where I lived earlier, in 2017. I live close to the home where I rented a room for 7 months, last year. It was a decision that had to be made, although none of the housemates wanted this. But there was no other way. I’ve enjoyed living in this home much and restored the name of the house on the front door, in gold: Avalon.

I’m thinking about what could be a proper name for the house where I live now. After 3 years living in the UK, I’m more at ease, secured with a long term contract, living as a caretaker of a large house and garden. Living on my own for most of the time. Privacy again and no frustration of having to share the kitchen with filthy housemates. There’s a lovely garden to work in, grow vegetables and flowers, entirely fenced off by old stone walls, with my hammock installed during summer.

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My hammock in the garden. This long warm summer of 2018 it’s used well!
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Here I am, ready to leave Holland in a few days, end of June 2015. Leaving my favourite niece’s wedding, seeing my siblings and more of my family at large, their children and grandchildren. Until we meet again…..  

After 35 years living on my own, in Holland, sharing homes with others, in England, while adjusting to a different culture, where folks often don’t say what they think or feel, either skilled in creating storms in a tea-cup, or withdrawn and lethargic, was at times challenging. I doubt if I will ever step into a house-sharing adventure with strangers again. English people tend to not think things through properly, often immature, with, little awareness of applying self-reflection.

I cherish solitude and my own space, my private room, plus quietude in the home and in nature. During my first years of moving around, I’ve seen different parts of Devon. I’m happy with the nearness of the sea and the Tamar Valley area with Tavistock, Bere Ferrers, with its beautiful river landscape. Calstock, in the S. W. of Devon has its own unique charm, with artistic and eccentric folks jumping around.

Also Totnes, with the river Dart, the footpath all along this river, towards Ashprington, plus Dartmouth and King’s Wear, the bright light of Brixham’s harbour and the coastal paths, the cliffs of Berry Head. Shaldon beach is one of my favourite swimming spots. Many miles of coastal paths are waiting to be explored in the coming years.

I join suitable volunteering work in the community and participate in social events, I’m a craft-woman and artist, creative in many ways. I’m weary of gossip, racist talk coming to the rise more, since before and during the Brexit procedure, the fear of foreigners. It’s shocking at times, how poorly informed some people are, while shouting and screaming, safe in the box of their opinions, with hear say and ignorance as company.

As a writer I appreciate quietude much. And also, as is the term nowadays… “me-time” or “cocooning” in order to recharge my batteries. By nature I’m a builder, not a squatter among ruins. I’m not running after those who don’t “get me” in an attempt to make them change their mind, to prove my point and show my true colours to chameleons. I’m becoming more savvy in taking care of myself.

I’m an incurable optimist, at times impatient with lethargy and complacency in others, but, ultimately very patient in the efforts I make to create and improve my living conditions and at the same time co-operating in new ways of living together. I’m a Capricorn, born on New Year’s day. A sure footed goat, who jumps from rock to rock and enjoys the views from great heights, like on the Tors of Dartmoor and standing on hills.

I send my shouts in the clouds, to wake up and shake the dust out of mouldy ideas and views and to offer food for thought. The initiatives to enrich our lives and how we make use of our abilities, is largely our own choice, in company of our sense of belonging and being at ease, first and foremost with ourselves. How much do we dare to yield our personal power for the better and create a life in well being? Make peace with your life. Together?

Apricot Center Huxham Cross 27-09-2017 (1).jpg
Pumpkin in flower, on the land of Huxham’s Cross Farm Dartington,  where I volunteered in the summer and autumn of 2017
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Chard in the light of late afternoon October 2017, at Huxham’s Cross Farm

From the lounge on the first floor of the house, I often enjoy the view on the hills to the South, with brown cows or white sheep grazing the slopes. I celebrate the sunrise in summer, during an early hour, in the highest level of the garden, drinking my first mug of coffee, waking up with a view over the roofs, toward the eastern sky. There are many trees, shrubs and stone walls covered with ivy or other growth. Squirls too are jumping from tree to tree, harvesting the hazelnuts. Red robins and sparrows are present too.

I’ve become friends with an elderly lady who offers me apples from her garden, end of the summer. We discuss our history and culture, hers is English and mine is Dutch and she shares her 92 years long life-experience as a nurse and midwife with me. Many a grown up man and woman in town, once were caught by her hands, with a first breath taking cry.

She’s fond of her independence and she knows exactly how she wants her home and garden like she’s become used to have it. It’s hard for her to let go of taking matters in her own hands as a former nurse and midwife, with a strong sense of duty. Cleaning women and carers, nowadays, don’t always show up with diligence and a perceptive attitude, she tells me. She’s concerned for everybody’s comfort except her own.

I witness the carers in my old friend’s home, acting on automatic pilot, saying things that sound hollow because of their not being present in their words. I am amazed at times, about the negligence of basic qualities in domestic care workers. Stress, under-payment and work- pressure tend to kill the skill of presence, creativity and improvisation.

With a Dutch-Frisian background, growing up in the 50’s, with a mother who stayed at home, raising 9 children, including me, her oldest daughter, I’ve learned a few things. Although I am an explorer and curious at heart, even rebellious in asking questions and commenting, my sense of duty and harmony in our home was strong at an early age.

I had to practice self-discipline and the skills of domestic care were taught in those days. Traditions and rules in lifestyle and social traffic were still strong. Amidst a baby boom, the Dutch population worked hard, recovering from WWII. Shut up, do your work!

Monday was for washing, Wednesday for minced meatball-day and Sunday was a resting day, with 2 visits to church. No playing in the street, in our Sunday costume! My mother and us children walked inside the church like a row of geese, 10 in total, to the front pew which had “our names” on it. My father, the 11th goose, was ready to climb the pulpit, after we had settled ourselves and the organ started to play.

We were obliged to show up as role models, for we were a minister’s family. Imagine growing up in a house made of glass: God’s eyes and the eyes of the congregation were upon us. No wonder I was fond of being outdoors, hiding myself in nature! This is my background, born in Holland in a small village near Hook of Holland.

Where I live, I’m fond of walking through the narrow alleys with stone walls, to shops and other destinations, avoiding the main road in Ashburton, with fast driving cars.          On my way to my favourite shop, I often meet a cat-friend. She’s outdoors all day, I’m told and she’s got beautiful whiskers. It’s why I gave her the name “Moustache”. When I call her by that name, most often she runs toward me, mewing and purring. Such a compact and  healthy furry cat.

Grey catfriend 08-2017 (5)
Moustache, who greets the mothers and children passing by on their way to school.
Cuddyford Meadows 10-2017 (12)
Flowers at a small holding where I’ve picked up my volunteering work again in June 2018, after leaving in November last year, feeling sad about it.

Here are a few impressions of Ashburton and its surrounding landscape:

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First walk from Ashburton to Dartmoor, end of springtime 2017
First walk from Ashburton to Dartmoor
Haytor and a group of visitors, plus a climber going up with the assistance of ropes and a buddy 
High up Haytor Summer Solstice 2017
Lime Kilns in Buckfastleigh
A view from high up on Haytor, July 21 2017 Summer Solstice
A former monastery or priory, very well kept, a beautiful harmony.
High up Haytor, did you know that the cows come up here as well?
Rocky stairs, a beautiful design, at the seawall of Dawlish beach
Red rock and a peculiar structure along Dawlish’ coastal path
Haytor on a summer day 2017
Ally with view on St. Mary's church Ashburton 06-2017
I love these old winding alleys, with the warmth of the sun, or the cold of frost, radiating from the stone walls and the peculiar acoustic effect, the colourful coverage of flowers in May and June. Red Valerian is most present among them here.
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Blue bells in woodland, May 2017, on my way to Waterleat.
A former monastery garden reminds me of  the book”The Secret Garden”
Bridge Ashburton 06-2017 (1)
I believe it’s Cow Parsley, at the bridge near St. Andrews Church.
Bridge Ashburton 06-2017 (2)
Springtime is beautiful in Devon!

Going back in time, here are a few impressions of Dartmoor, summer/autumn 2016:

The area of Whistman’s Wood on Dartmoor
The area of Whistman’s Wood on Dartmoor
A stone cross near Moorshop S. West Dartmoor

A few impressions of Wookey Hole, where caves are. My first year in Somerset, 2015, though I didn’t live in a cave 😉

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Walking over Titlands Lane to my home, with a view on the Mendip Hills, summer 2015
Oswald, a dog I often walked with, through woodland with wild garlic. Each year, end of summer,  I visit  Wookey Hole and meet friends who welcomed me warmly and supported me in my first year in the UK.
The Wells Bishop’s Palace cat on his high seat. I’ve worked as volunteer in the communal garden of that beautiful park/garden. 

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Saved green bird 06-2016
A lovely bird, recovering, after it flew against my doorwindow in Wookey Hole.

This lovely green bird flew against my window and sat dazed and concussed for 20 minutes on my terrace. I watched it from a safe distance and had to encourage it to make a move, when it found its bearings again.                  

It looked at me sideways with a bright eye, moved its wings and…. off it went on its green wings, steady. I felt so relieved, after finding 2 small birds flying against my window to their death. I’ve held them in my hands until they lay silent. It’s a wonder and mystery to me, how small birds, with their fragile structure of bones are able to fly.

See how it looks like near Horrabridge in the South-West of Dartmoor, where I moved to after leaving Wookey Hole in Somerset:

Neighbourhood Horrabridge 07-2016 (4)
Sunlight streaming through the leaves of low hanging branches over a stone wall
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Walking to the Moors near Horrabridge
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Another day on the same spot, this time with Dartmoor ponies around.
Neighbourhood Horrabridge 07-2016 (7)
At times, the atmosphere turns a bit gloomy, on Dartmoor. To me, there’s charm in all seasons on Dartmoor, with its changing light and colours. An empty vast landscape without a sound is magical to me, also the wide open sky with massive cloud formations and far views from a high spot, with a glimmer of the sea, at times. And larks rising, while my heart joins their jubilant song and mad ecstasy while reaching for the skies… how high is my Heaven.. on Earth?
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This is a canal in Tavistock, S. West Dartmoor, where once boats were towed by horses, transporting ingots of tin, copper, lime and quarried stone.          
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A magical display of light and purple flowers against a South facing stonewall in a public garden near Buckland Abbey. 

 And to end with the, to me, prophetic last words of Henry David Thoreau, in his book Walden: “The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

🕉Blessed be, Marian 🕉  Marian photoshop



2 thoughts on “💚 Living between the Sea and Dartmoor in the S.W. of England”

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