On the move again… arriving on May 7th 2017 :
Avalon 81 East Street TQ13 7AL Ashburton Newton Abbot Devon UK
Copy and paste in your browser: 50°31’01.3″N 3°45’06.9″W
October 2nd 2017 The summer is over, autumn arrives and it’s a good time to write a short journal of my life in Devon. Much of what I’ve seen is made visible in the videos below. Have a look.
On July 1st 2017 I’ve celebrated my 2nd anniversary, living 2 years in the UK. Not one breath I’ve felt homesickness or a longing for Holland, since I live on the other side of the North sea. It all feels natural, an organic process. After all, during over 20 years of holiday visits I’ve often felt that this island feels more like my home. My feet walk on familiar ground almost, specially on Dartmoor, with it’s interesting geological history.
Once upon a time Dartmoor was a volcanic area in a tropical climate near the equator. The heather is now dressed in purple. Green fields, grey rocks and brown bracken change color under moving clouds which create shadows on the Moors, showing sudden vibrancy of color when sunshine touches the surface of this beloved part of good old Britain.
The seasons are special to experience for the first time, in this part of Devon. Be it in my room, during shopping, on a bus-trip, walking on the Moors or on the seaside. The autumn colors begin to show, rain or shine, September felt like early autumn starting. The warmest days were in June, fortunately before the summer holidays started. I’ve swam and slept on the Shaldon beach, swam in the river Dart, walked on the Moors and through woodland.
Last week I’ve started my volunteering work on the land. In Cuddiford Meadows nearby and in Apricot Center near Huxham’s Cross, on a bus-trip distance. The picture above is made on my first day, how many have I made of pumpkins now, I wonder?
In this part of Devon it’s buzzing with activities of all sorts, charity work, artistic events, alternative lifestyle-events, spiritual work in courses and shamanic circles, artisans, farmer’s markets, markets with antiques, 2nd hand clothes and all sorts of bits and bops, vintage stuff, many books and stalls with artists selling their work.
Totnes is not far away and there’s a number of hippy trippy folk, rough sleepers and several rogue types, drawn by the handing out of food and an offer of night-shelter. During my 2 weeks visit to Wookey Hole, to meet up with friends, in the village where I’ve spent my 1st year in Britain, I’ve discussed the subject of homelessness with the friend who offered me a room in her home, to stay. She works for a housing organisation. “Nobody wishes to be homeless and live in the streets” she said.
The number of homeless people is growing, many are husbands that are sent away by their wives, failing to sustain their family and not living up to the family members’ expectations to each own a mobile phone, a pc in their room and games, for the kids. The latest device or size flat screen is a “must have” often. When drinking and domestic abuse starts, the mother and her friends know no other way than to send daddy away. Often I witness that lifestyle and behavior is dictated by a focus on material wealth and looks, with a thick layer of make up and a bad taste for dressing up for the pub.
To see women of over 60 walking in narrow mini skirts and impossible high heels of bright blue velvet is horrific to my Dutch eyes, never bloodshot by drinking into the small hours. I’ll never forget my first Friday night in Britain, years ago, arriving from the ferry by bus to my hotel in Colchester. It was 9 o’clock!! I had no idea and ran to the bus-driver when I noticed the drama in the streets. He laughed and said “That’s Friday night, sweetheart”. Imagine, bingers lying on the tarmac, crying, people moving in a drunken slalom over the pavement, a couple fighting, screaming their heads off, the woman swinging her handbag, wobbly on her high heels in fury. For a while I felt I was in a horror movie scene by accident, or in Dante’s human hell. Weekends are noisy near pubs, also in this part of Devon. Better not go on the road on Friday- or Saturday night, in Britain, you’re risking your life. Unless you love drink-driving.
In my village, we’ve formed a women’s group for a Friday morning dance and music making, potluck at noon and crafting in the afternoon, in the home of a friend of mine. About 7 of us now. “I want this home to be a happy home” she said, with her typical Japanese intonation, when I told her that I felt it was generous of her to welcome us in her home on Fridays.
From the kitchen I’ve got a view on the hills to the South, through Hare’s Lane. That’s where an elderly lady offers me apples from her garden, plus cups of tea during my visits and a bit of help in practical ways. Most of the time I’m walking through the narrow alleys with stone walls, to shops and destinations further away, still exploring much unknown territory. My translation work is still going strong and this winter I’m starting to write my book, which is in waiting for 6 years now.
In between the hours at home, crafting or writing, the Moors, hills and seaside of Devon support me in keeping a fresh dog-nose and a healthy condition. Also by working on the land. I’m grateful and pleased with myself for creating and enjoying a good life in Devon!
The first video is published on Oct. 2nd 2017. Impressions of South East Devon UK between Dartmoor and the sea:
Here are a few impressions of Dartmoor, summer/autumn 2016:
A few impressions of Wookey Hole, where caves are. In Somerset UK:
This little 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 hearing 2 small birds fly against my window to their death, holding them in my hands until they lay silent. It’s a mystery to me, how small birds, with their fragile structure of bones and airy fairy feathers, are able to fly.
It’s good in Devon UK and wonderful to experience the mystery of Dartmoor. See how it looks like in the South-West part, also the lanes with old trees entwined, forming a tunnel of greens and vines: