Friday, 18 November 2011

Old friends and a farmers' market.

So ends another season of signings – although Marcia is speaking at the Authors’ Day to be held in Trematon Hall next month. As you would expect, Marcia meets a lot of old friends at these signings and one such was Bob Mann whom she met in Totnes.

How to describe Bob? He plays the tuba but that is the least of his talents. He is a writer: it was Bob who wrote Marcia’s very first review. He is an historian: he and I, with others, have co-authored books on local history. He is a publisher: he owns Longmarsh Press of Totnes.
Bob Mann
He brought with him a copy of a book he has recently published called ‛Ielfstan’s Place’ written by Richard Girling and first published by William Heinemann in 1981: Longmarsh Press specialises in publishing works about Devon which have been allowed to fall out of print. In this book, Richard Girling presents an imaginative evocation of life in and around the Dartmoor parish of Ilsington, from the time of the area’s first human inhabitants to the early twentieth century. He writes for The Sunday Times and as always his writing is superb and a joy to read.

With the signings out of the way. Marcia and I decided we would go to Tavistock on Saturday and see what was on offer at the Farmers’ Market which is held twice a month.
The Farmers' Market where you can buy a huge range of goodies all produced locally. There is one  special favourite of mine I get here: chicken and chive sausages.
I defy anyone to find tastier bread than that found on Hugo Endacott's stall.
On the way back we drove up the Lew valley from Chillington to Lewdown. The trees were looking wonderful: autumn colours glowing in the low sun.

Beech (above) and oak.
There are two rivers in west Devon bearing the name Lew. They rise a matter of a few miles apart but one is a tributary of the Torridge which discharges into the sea on the north coast of the county whilst the one I am going to talk about rises on the north west corner of Dartmoor and winds its way through the Lew valley to Marystow where it joins the River Lyd, a tributary of the River Tamar which meets the English Channel at Plymouth.
The River Lew is typical of many such which rise on Dartmoor being far smaller than you would expect when compared to the wide flood plain. This is because these rivers can produce very powerful flash floods after heavy rain on the tops.
St Peter's at Lewtrenchard where the Rev'd Baring-Gould was Rector for many years and, by the way, where Marcia's God-daughter was married. This photograph was taken back in the spring when the churchyard was awash with primroses, celandine and dandelions.
On the way the Lew passes Lewtrenchard. The Domesday book mentions Lew Manor and the ‛modern’ name derives from the Trenchards, who were the lords of the manor in the thirteenth century. Its most famous occupant was the Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould (1834-1924) who, apart from being the Rector of the parish and father of fifteen children, was a scholar and novelist with over twelve hundred published works to his name including hymns of which the best know is probably ‛Onward Christian Soldiers’.