Friday, 11 April 2014

A Moor Day

Marcia is Great Aunt to a ten year old boy. She, of course, does not think of herself as a “great aunt”. In fact I don’t think she thinks of herself as an “aunt”. Certainly she is called Marcia by all her nieces and nephews and never “auntie”. But these things happen with the passing of the years and the best thing to do is to accept it graciously which, of course, she does. Anyway, one of her great nephews wants to write a story. Who better to mentor him than his Great Aunt Marcia? I find it very heart warming that this youngster wants to take writing seriously.

Is the art of writing at danger because of modern means of communication such as texting, Twitter and so on - all of which tempt people to use "text speak"? Marcia and I are not immune to this temptation. Let us look at an example: TAGT.

Those who watched the television series 2012 - a comedy set 'behind the scenes' during the preparations for the 2012 Olympics held in London - will know that this stands for "that's all good then'. Since texting from a mobile is a rather tedious exercise and TAGT demands only four key strokes it is the quickest way of indicating approval. None of its rivals are as easy. 'Yes' requires nine, 'OK' (surprisingly) takes five.

Does any of this threaten the English language? This is a debate that has occupied many column inches in The Times here in England and I would not be surprised to hear that similar arguments take place in other places. For what it's worth, neither Marcia or I feel that there is any problem with text-speak – in one form or another people have using abbreviations and references to books, songs, personalities and so on for centuries. Nevertheless, I am sure that there are many who find the whole thing very worrying.

What a way to start the day! I was making the tea and looked out of the kitchen window. The sun was just rising so I grabbed a camera, opened the door and 1/500th of a second later we have this.
Yesterday we crossed the moor to meet up with some friends in the Bedford Hotel in Tavistock. It was quite odd – as we drove so we realised how much we have missed this spring: the bank where the snowdrops grow which we usually see as a mist of white; the daffodils that grow in Hembury Woods; the primroses (and the sports in particular) as you approach Holne. The problem has been, as you would expect, that we have been too busy to go roaming and when we have had to cross the moor the weather up there has been pretty awful. It has not been a cold winter but incredibly wet and windy – now we are having a rather odd spring with a wonderful display of daffodils (nearly all gone now) and primroses (still with us here but going over on the moor) while the blackthorn was late coming into flower.

Just for those who don't know what I am talking about, I took this picture of the front lawn here. We havw celandine and the paler yellow primroses and, some pink "sports" or, more properly,  Primula vulgaris sibthorpii. I think you will agree sports is a nicer name.
One thing that we have seen for many years that was still there yesterday is this totally unexpected escapee: honesty in a hedge bank on the lane from Buckfast to Holne.
Up on Holne Moor we stopped to drink our after-breakfast coffee. Thanks to the move I had emptied the bottles in which we keep water for washing the mugs and then forgotten to refill them. So I stopped to fill them at an issue (a place where water seeps out of the moor) just north of Saddle Bridge which takes the lane over the O Brook. As I looked over towards Foxhole I realised that the gorse was in full bloom so took this picture.

Those who have read Forgotten Laughter will know what I am talking about. Foxhole was the fictional house that was central to that book and, typical of Marcia, it was set in a very real place. Chop down that gorse and you would see the house (if it existed) down by the River Dart but as it doesn't you wouldn't.
Just one of the many trees that had come down over the road.
One thing that hit us was the amount of damage done by the winds with trees down all over the place and the roads peppered with pot holes. It is going to be a long time before all of these can be filled in. The real danger is when the road is covered in water and this is hiding a pot hole. We hit one such but there was no real damage. My brother-in-law was not so lucky and he ended up shredding a tyre.

I really do love this picture of Monty. He is at the marina and all ready to go afloat. I imagine that the sequel to this photograph (which was given to me by Monty’s owner, Carol Richards) shows him on the after deck holding a long, cool gin and tonic.