Friday, February 20, 2015

A wise goat and a poetry box on a coastal path.

"Hey! hold still." I whispered under my breath to the goat who looked like Billy Goat Gruff and not too pleased to see me brandishing my camera. 

"Still yourself first!"
his eyes pleaded with me.



While exploring the Exmoor Heritage coast,we ended up in the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. Once again, the credit goes to our friends in London who made the recommendation.


We parked in Lynton and walked up the main street to find a place to have a late lunch.
Charlie Friday's looked very inviting and worth a try.



We must have been really hungry because I don't seem to have taken any photos.
I do remember the decor was funky and cool. The green they've used is very unusual- almost chartreuse with flecks of yellow- wonder how they came up with that shade and who chose it-  
because it works.
The decor makes you zingy even before you've sipped their delicious hot chocolate 
or 
licked the foam off the coffee 
or
 dunked home made bread in soup.
They call themselves 'Lynton's funkiest cafe'.
I concur.

The day was perfect for a walk. The sun was not beating down and the little cloud cover made for ideal walking conditions.

Tummies full of delicious wholesome food and teenagers happy after drinking yummy hot chocolate  also made for ideal walking conditions.

I'm not sure which path we took as it was getting late and I was keen to walk- even if it was for a short time. So, instead of faffing around with maps and checking out the visitor centre,we headed towards the coast and started walking.

The views of the Bristol Channel from the path:




Mr. Gruff, the senior, aka the Wise One:)


The rest of the Gruff clan...



What's this?

Looks interesting...

  A Poetry Box was taking a break on this bench.
We decided to give it company.



Needless to say, 
we dallied.
We read what was inside.
Laughed.
Commented.
Critiqued.
Dallied a bit more.
Sketched.
Stretched
and
left feeling full,
satiated,
content and
still.
A simple act of
reading, writing and drawing
when
 it was least expected
brought the whole world together
in that little poetry box.
I felt one.


Here are a few samples...mostly the ones the teenagers liked:)
Enjoy...







An idiotic TWAT or not, I like it-
 "Remember this day as there's no tomorrow."


It was Shiva's birthday this week.
I like Shiva.
 He is the first Yogi or Adi Yogi 
and 
 he always looks so good (in all the images of him I've ever seen- in temples, on calendars and even the latest telly serials)- 
all toned up and handsome!

A facebook share on his Birthday (Shivaratri)
 led me to these words: 

"Prayer means you are trying to talk to God. Meditation means you are willing to listen to God. You are willing to just listen to existence, to the ultimate nature of creation. You have nothing to say, you simply listen.

The moments I spent sitting there with the poetry box after we'd put the book back in the box stilled me.
 All the walking and clicking and oohing and aahing at the sights crystallised into a happy memory when we all just sat down- didn't really talk to each other, but felt one.

The goat's advice made sense to me.
Pausing and reflecting is the darkroom of experience.
A clear picture emerges when the senses have had time to stand still. 

Lately, I have started discovering the magic of listening.
 Instead of talking about me, my stuff, my family, my yoga practice, my woes, my worries, my plans, my plants and my darling garden, 
I am trying to listen-
it's not easy for me.
In fact, it's damn hard!
BUT,
What a fascinating activity it's turning out to be.
Try it.
Sit and Listen.

A bench on Lynton High Street...



Here's a video I watched recently- thanks again to facebook shares... 
the speaker is talking about stillness.
  I'm still amazed when things I've been ruminating about are shared by friends almost as if it has all been timed by some cosmic power.

There is an old saying my mum used to say:
"when the student is ready, the teacher presents himself."-
I am becoming a believer!


If you are planning to visit the Exmoor National Park, here are some useful links:



The fact that this post is about a wise goat so close to the Year of the Goat celebrations is purely co-incidental. I take no responsibility for being so organised as to create a post to time with the Chinese New Year. It just happened.

Wishing you all a peaceful and healthy year ahead:) xx

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Welcome to Clovelly

Come tumble down the cobbled streets of Clovelly with me today-

a village in North Devon, England.

This summer we went to look at a few universities in the UK for my daughter who will be finishing school soon. A road trip with a purpose turned out to be an exciting adventure. 
Friends of ours who are avid walkers and hikers recommended a few gems to be explored, 
which we did.

Clovelly was one such gem.

Put your most comfortable shoes on and come along. 
Mind the cobbled stones and the steep descent.


I saw this a bit late. We had brought our two teenagers with us. 
So, there was no escaping them:)


No wheeled traffic can cope with the steep 400 feet descent of the main street down to the pier- so it's all pedestrians and 
SLEDGES ( for goods) 
and donkeys. 
How cool is that?

Stunning white 16th Century cottages 
(mostly wattle and daub- a 6000 years old building technique) 
hug the rocky clefts. 

Here are a few shots from my 'stop-shoot- tumble' walk 
down to the pier.









Son: " Mum, how do they get their furniture in? Do they build it all inside their homes?"

I: " I don't know! We'll ask someone."





There's no greater joy than peeping into a lovingly tendered garden- summer bliss!



Even a Victorian mangle (used to wring the clothes out) became part of the garden design.






Suddenly, she scurried past me. I managed a shot...

and another...

And then she posed for real.

Time for some sweets.

How quaint is this ?
























The green mossy pebbles were challenging to walk on, but that's what made it exciting. 



The pebbles from the beach were used to create the cobbled high street of Clovelly. 

Here's a quote I found on :
http://www.devon-online.com/towns/clovelly/Welcome.asp

"Suddenly a hot gleam of sunlight fell upon the white cottages, with their grey steaming roofs and little scraps of garden courtyard, and lighting up the wings of the gorgeous butterflies which fluttered from the woodland down to the garden." A quote from author Charles Kingsley from over 150 years ago and since then the village has hardly changed.

It is exactly like it says.

I wish more places in the world were preserved by the people who live there. 

We made our way back up the steep high street.

The courtyard at the top houses Clovelly Pottery.
I had to go in.

The potter's wife was in the shop.

There were too many pieces I would've liked to buy but I settled for just two-one for me and one for the friend who had recommended Clovelly.

I asked the potter's wife my son's question.
"Oh! we get furniture delivered to the top of the road- even Ikea- and then we manage the rest with sledges or sometimes,
 land cruisers.

More about the pottery can be found here:
http://www.clovellypottery.co.uk/

One thing is for sure- living here would keep you fit with all that climbing up and down every day.

Here is the adorable website where you can explore more of the village from the comfort of your home and start planning:
http://www.clovelly.co.uk/  

Three pebbles came home with us. 
I hope  they won't be missed!