Thursday, October 01, 2009

Dartington Hall

Devon sometimes seems like a region of unfulfilled geography; it is en route landspace, a zone to be traversed by holidaymakers going to and from Cornwall. Whilst inheriting some of the holiday lustre of its big brother, it is diminished by the fact that it is simply not the pointy bit at the end of the country.
Nevertheless, Devon has spectacular charms. Travelling by train, at Teignmouth one passes between garishly-hued sandstone cliffs, and the slate-grey expanse of the sea, stretching out towards horizon-hogging supertankers. Winding inland, the hillsides and valleys seem to be saturated with trees, luxuriantly limbed and leafed even in early Autumn.

Dartington Hall itself offers a tranquil escape from the hectic mundanity of life. The gardens are exorbitantly decked with a profuse variety of trees both tall and broad, vantaged by stairs and paths and outposts and green terraces, stimulating the eye from every angle.

All of which made the cancellation of the 17:27 from Totnes something of a comedown. Another train, it seems, had broken down, (tricky thing, this diesel technology), and as a consequence the train which goes from Paddington to Penzance, and back again, had been turned around at the next station up the line. A £20 taxi ride was therefore necessary to catch the 17:40 from Newton Abbot. Once aboard, an astonishingly generous (and monied) colleague sweet-talked the ticketman into two first-class upgrades for the cost of one. That'll be just the hundred pounds or so then.

And what do you get for your hundred pound first-class seat? You get a table, with an electric socket, and... (wait for it) a complimentary copy of The Times.


Sean said...

From time travel to train travel, whatever next :0)

Autumn and spring are my favorite seasons. They are the transformation seasons.

This Autumn is especially good, we might not have had BQ summer, but it has been pretty dry so the trees are going early, add to that an Indian summer and its time to get the walking boots out and the firepit ready for your return.

Having lived in the desert in the mid east and in Australia the thing they may have is sun, but they dont have the defined seasons we have, or the fresh cool air in your lungs which I would never swap for a suntan, except for a couple of holidays in the winter time.

The swallows may be about to leave, but the Waxwings are on their way.

Gordon McCabe said...

When did you live in the desert Sean? You're not that Bare Grills bloke are you?

Sean said...

he is a pussy, everest is a tourist trip, its k2 thats the big one, not that ive been, but i know a man who once flew over it :0)

I Worked at mount isa, austaralia for 9 months, and spent 6 months in the pilbara and i once went to Kalgoolie which has the biggest man made hole in the world, (it also snowed in the desert at night) as well as saudi, (were i once saw a behading) kuwait and the Uae. So ive seen a lot of sand and suffered a lot of heat. In my opinion it just sends people mad.

Its easy to warm yourself up, but its hard to cool yourself down.

Gordon McCabe said...

I'm similarly travelled; I've worked in Berkshire, Hampshire, Kent, Dorset and Somerset.

Sean said...

You never know Gordon, you might be one day sat in an office in Dorchester opposite the local Mosque after friday prayers, a van pulls up, a guy rolls out a sheet of plastic, another van pulls up and a dopped prisoner is lead onto the sheet and kneels, and his head is clean cut off with a few folks watching being sick and quite a lot more cheering and clapping, they then roll up the mess in the sheet and off they go.

This is what unlimited immigration with global warming will do to this green and pleasant land, if the future for Dorchester is sandy and religious :0)