town mouse quiet life: repeat prescription

Scan0003Sorry if this post sounds familiar. I have pre-new lodger heebyjeebies again. I’ve noticed as a writer in my observations and eavesdroppings how often we repeat ourselves. In my re-edits I most often have to delete repetition. It’s in our nature.

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Glass house and stoned: Pleasantries #6: or Tight Fit

Seamus was a lodger a while back. When I first met him he was smooth: a real charmer and talkative. Like I said, I chose lodgers who say they “love the house” and seem friendly.

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hazy daisy chain: thoughts on a bus

ImageSuddenly today England was green and pleasant, not so damp and grey.

Full trees dripped into the lanes as the X53 hurtled me out of the city down to East Devon.

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Pleasantries #5: Visitors, or “Each one teach one”


My not-by-blood “Uncle” (partner of my aunt) came to stay last week to help with some redecorating. Hence the lack of blog action. My mind was as blank as the vast white walls we were repainting with white paint. In addition I was wrestling with a broken loo, and the reality of rats or mice in the garden. The house looks wonderful and bright and clean, and so I got what I wanted; the pest control guy from the Council assures me that the rats or mice are probably “just passing through”. The only sightings were after a few glasses of wine and in the twilight, something furry having flashed across the vision of a guest smoking at the back door. So why did I let everything get to me? I worked myself ragged cleaning around Des everyday trying to restore the house to normality and watching for scuff marks on the new fresh paint. By the end of the week I was exhausted.

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Barline Tardis (flash post)


Oh, What a shame!

The old red telephone box full of free books to swap and donate on Barline (this is an old road name), in Beer (East Devon), has recently disappeared.

The article in this link explains how it got there:

But where did it go?

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holy mountain

I’ve been looking for a new lodger since Max left.

Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes, like now, hardly anyone suitable answers my advert. To be fair the ad has become more prescriptive as time has gone by. No smoking, no raw meat, no bikes, and a preference for someone working office hours. Now there’s the rub.

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Thoughts on seafaring…(reflective post)


I’ve been thinking about fishing and the fishing industry. Who hasn’t this week?

Aside from depleted fish stocks there is the empty reality of depleted fishing communities in most coastal harbours. It’s been a long slow decline.

Local museums tell the story of former vibrant and bustling communities. Fishing boats carried home the catch, and with it the influx of men, movement, activity, transport and industry. There were once 25 open boats fishing for a living off Beer beach; they were employed in drift-netting, long-lining and crabbing, in boats which varied in size from 14ft to 30ft. The catch was carted up the shingle beach and whisked directly to the market at Billingsgate. That would have been at the beginning of the last century. Today there are 4 Beer Luggers taken out for leisure by the Beer Luggers Club. You can see them out on the water on Monday evenings.

It’s a hard life being a fisherman. I can’t imagine the conditions, or the tough seafaring livelihood ingrained from boy to man. I have some limited experience of a softer version of life at sea.

It is a strange thing but when I set off on the Global Challenge 2004-2005 yacht race, I thought I was cutting free. Spiritually, of course, I may have.

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Pleasantries #4 friday:trivial

So Max, the Italian 7 foot lodger, left us this week. Time to move in with his girlfriend up town: she had arrived from Italy and they wanted some space.

He was too tall for the house; he kept bumping his head on the kitchen pendant lights and looking irritated at them. But despite his height he was light on his feet, being a keen jive dancer…

The day he left he said “Can you come and help with my problem”. So I went to his room and he pointed to a continental adapter plug in the wall. “He is stuck”.

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Tramway Segue

I admit I’ve got a soft spot for the Seaton tram. It must be the sensation of slowing down, and experiencing life at a different pace.

The first time I took the tramway was a couple of New Year’s Eves ago with my partner, D____.  Trams are now an event in themselves, rather than a transport around town.

We went the whole way to Colyton in Car no. 16 which was decked out in Christmas tinsel. We waited for half an hour on the old train platform in Colyton (the end of the line) as there wasn’t time to walk into the town, ate an ice-cream, and came back again via a pint in the White Hart in Colyford. We only went 3 miles each way in a straight line but the trip took us most of the day.



 I thought it was brilliant but I have to admit that, as D____ claims, not much happened. It didn’t matter to me. The little tram was so beautiful, and the track brings a sense of traveling back; seeing Seaton from a different perspective. We looked out at leisure from the tram window to the lush Axe Valley: a view that we usually speed through in a few minutes on the B3172. It’s great that the old branch line narrow gauge tracks of the disused railway have been saved and put to positive use, and that people get to ride these tracks again.

I’ve mentioned the branch line to Seaton Junction in a previous blog post (The bridge and the Railway; posted Feb 26th 2013.) Image

 Last October I persuaded my mum to come with me again. D_____ was busy.

This time we took the green and yellow tram no. 10 with an upper deck, which was swaying in the October wind, to Colyford. Everyone sat on the top deck in the cold and drizzle. How could you not?

The tiny spiral staircase makes me wonder how small people were when this was a city tram in Plymouth and Blackburn from the turn of the 20th century and until the Second World War. The tram is new but based on the designs of trams from these cities.

The electric cables hissed above the open top deck and we juddered around a corner on before hitting the open marshes.

The tram advanced so slowly that a uniformed driver hopped out to tell us what to look for. We looked from side to side, and pointed at anything moving including the twitcher in the hide who waved back. Fellow travelers pointed out a little egret, kingfisher, gulls and a cormorant like bird bingo. In all honesty I’m only positive that I saw some rabbits hopping in the field but that is because I’d forgotten my binoculars and didn’t read the bird picture information sheet before we started.

All too soon we stopped at the White Hart Inn at Colyford. Mum is now a fan too.

I’m writing wistfully about my tram experiences sparked by seeing that there is a gig on the tramway platform in Colyton on 4th May, a Rod Stewart Tribute band, though this isn’t my thing. But I love the thought of a concert on the platform….

photo from Seaton trams 2012

photo from Seaton trams 2012