Friday, 25 April 2014

A morning off

When we shot into Totnes yesterday (for reasons that will become apparent in a moment) the sun was shining although it was quite chilly. Anyway, we decided that it was a morning for a quick cup of coffee outside the brioche. While we were sitting there, a seagull landed on top of the telephone box opposite and so I took his photograph. That triggered a conversation.

Me: Is it a telephone box or a telephone kiosk?

Marcia: Well, I suppose it should be a telephone kiosk but nobody will mind if you call it a telephone box. Most people do.

This could easily have resulted in a lengthy discussions on the pros and cons of the two words but we were deflected from that - which was probably just as well - although I can't now remember why.

The gull standing (on one foot) on top of the telephone thingy. I just love the way the red light from the roof colours the gull's feathers/
We were in Totnes to give Marcia a break from hitting the keys and a chance to let her mind roam around a bit to try to sort out what has proved to be a tricky point in the book she is writing. This is all to do with that shadowy figure I mentioned before but who, for reasons unknown, failed properly to reveal himself during the period when the book was at the germination stage. The lack if detail about this chap is the problem and Marcia is, in my view, in danger of rushing things. True, this book is now running behind schedule (sorting out where we were going to live and then moving is largely to blame for that) and she really, really wants to get this one out of her head as this is the time of the year that she usually starts to brood on the next one. Rushing it, however, being a rather bad idea, we thought a morning in the town doing not very much at all would be good for her.

Some of you will know that I am working on a series of books (or whatever you want to call them) about Marcia Willett's West Country. The first (covering Dartmouth and Start Bay and so Hattie's Mill and Second Time Around) was supposed to be ready by Christmas. The text was written but for various reasons there were some photographs that had not then been taken. I hope to get them in the bag quite soon now. Anyway, since there is no way of illustrating Marcia and I doing nothing very much, here are some of the pictures of architectural details from the Dartmouth section which I hope you will find interesting.
It also meant a good opportunity to stock up on those things we can't buy in the village. So it was that after breakfast we created a comprehensive shopping list. Having enjoyed one cup of coffee, I strolled (no rushing for me, either) down to a shop called Lawsons - hardware, kitchen stuff and so on - and once there put my hand in my shirt pocket for the shopping list. The pocket was empty. Hmmm. Having selected what I could remember I arrived at the checkout to find that they are now offering a 10% discount to pensioners on a Thursday. Every cloud has a silver lining.

As it is really quite a long time since we were in a position where we could pop into a town whenever the mood took us, I had forgotten how different Totnes feels on the various days of the week. Whether that is true of other towns I have no idea.

Obviously Friday being market day means the place is busier - you have to be quite early if you want to be sure of finding somewhere to park the car - and there is a great sense of 'buzz'. Saturday also has a market but the people in the town seem to be completely different with many more families about which is, of course, just what you would expect. Sundays vary: once a month there is a Farmers' Market which pulls in people from all around who are rarely in the town on other days. Monday and you feel a sense of relief that the busyness of the previous three days is over and there is time to stand and stare, to chat, to relax.

Tuesday sees Totnes at its most odd. It is known as Elizabethan Tuesday, thanks an idea dreamed up by the Totnes Town Association some years ago. There are charity stalls in the Market Square and quite a few people dress up in Elizabethan clothing or, to be more accurate, in what they see as being Elizabethan clothing somewhat modified with comfort in mind (especially when it comes to shoes).

Wednesday and Thursday are much alike. The town is at its quietest (which is, no doubt, why Lawsons choose Thursday to offer oldies like me a discount) but I rather like it. It retains its quintessential essence and in some ways this is easier to enjoy when there is less hustle and bustle.  

It would seem that Chudleigh (yes, like the village) found the whole business of modelling a bit too much. Marcia tells me that his front feet are in the third position - well, almost - but I really could not comment knowing nothing about ballet myself.