Peck's personal Web site
breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode
and Cornwall in the springtime
things start to pile up and get on top of you, it's time to take some time off
and go to Cornwall.
But . . . . Devon first.
may not find this tangibly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
and Porlock, Exmoor (16-17 April 2006)
Martin. EasyJet did
its part (if you don't count the 5-dollar cheese sandwich in which the cheese
part, in order to remain competitive in the global market, had been omitted) and
got us from Geneva to Bristol with a minimum of fuss or legroom, and now we've
motored in a leisurely, wrong-side-of-the-road manner down to Combe Martin in
Devon. We tried to book a Europcar car hire, but they had no cars at Bristol airport
at that time -- so we tried reliable Woods and they
provided us a very nice VW Golf through . . . Europcar. The people at the Europcar
desk gave us the car happily but were deeply puzzled by how that happened.
here to visit the Tims in Berrynarbor and missed
the one-lane turn off, and Combe Martin offers a nice lunch opportunity and so
naturally we seized it. That's Kristin (above) wondering if one lunch was enough.
masterfully renovated ancient mill in the Sterridge Valley, as idyllic as anyone
could wish, painstakingly restored with a dab hand and gardened with inspiration
and a lot of expert work on long afternoons. The original mill seems to date from
the 17th century but the history of the place is complicated.
redone guest room and the work-from-home office (the leaky old slate roof is in
a pile to the left)
kitchen in the centre, and livingroom on the left, the most beautiful livingroom
I've seen that I couldn't stand up in.
and Kristin on a rainy day surveying the improvements.
Time for dinner
promised by the Tims a springtime hike on the Exmoor, we're insisting on the cream
tea that goes with it.
an hour from the carpark at Horner, we're still trying to leave Porlock village,
with the map out.
through the Hawkcombe, there, it looks like a BIRD!
obviously envious of the fancy binoculars, in fact . . .
. so envious that she unconsciously believes that she's got her own.
telling George Bush jokes as they get above the treeline on Exmoor, at the top
of the Hawkcombe
bird! Or a rare leaping newt.
and the Tims at an old-fashioned telephone callbox
beautiful path contouring back eastward above Porlock Weir and the sea
and Tim, joined by a passerby (for scale)
coast road back towards Porlock, with a stop-in for the gardening enthusiasts
in the party at the Greencombe Gardens near West Porlock. Alas, still no cream
ridge in the background is the Selworthy
Beacon at the upper right, last seen (by us) in a rain squall in 2003.
downtown Porlock. S.
T. Coleridge got thoroughly stoned near here in 1797, had a remarkable dream,
woke up abruptly and wrote out verbatim from memory most of the poem "Kubla
Khan" -- "In Xanadu, did Kubla Khan / A stately pleasure dome decree",
etc. -- when a "business person from Porlock" knocked on his door and
he forgot the rest of the poem. Poor sod.
then, the "person from Porlock" means the Joe Sixpack from down the
road who disturbs the artist at work and ruins the whole thing. From Louis MacNeice,
Kurt Vonnegut Jr, A. N. Wilson, to Douglas Adams, the person from Porlock has
been interrupting artists in their inspired labors, but Stevie Smith thought that
was a good thing ("I am hungry to be interrupted / Forever and ever amen
/ O Person from Porlock come quickly / And bring my thoughts to an end"),
and the critic Robert Pinsky says that the artist's modern Person from Porlock
is the telephone. (Refs nicked from Roger Fulford)
Prayer hour. We'll wait out here.
in this party can walk by a restaurant menu without at least a casually intense
scrutiny. But we got our cream tea!
town near the cottage with the thatched roof", but which one?
for dinner, The Sandpiper Inn on the Exmoor near Lynton, Devon. Astonishingly
if we hadn't had a chance to shower first.
and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, .
All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 2 May 2006, revised 15 September 2008.