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Old 27th March 2009, 15:03   #1
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Default Of Castles, sunshine and a special Mother's Day

Do you know the feeling of waking up to a lovely sunny day after it has rained for a few days? Or feeling the warmth of the sun on your face after a cold winter? I never thought that after living in the middle east for 17 years I would crave sunlight. Crave the heat of the sun. We have had to relocate to the U.K. since December and our lives have changed dramatically. It's been emotional, enjoyable and the best part has been the erratic English weather and we've been lucky for most part of it so far. Spring is here now, flowers are blooming and my husband has found employment. We decided to take a small trip around Devon, to spend some time together and also explore.



Since our older son is studying the Tudors at school, after a little research on the web, we opted to visit Dartmouth Castle, as it was the only one open to the public at this time of the year. Most other heritage sites are open after the 1st of April. Sunday morning dawned bright, the boys were up early and bouncing. I was given a lovely Mother's day card made by Joshua in school and a triple Motown Cd, super! After making a massive picnic lunch, making sure we had everything we needed, we loaded the little Nissan Note and we were off. Radio one spinning tunes and listening to Chris Moyles jabbering away as we headed off on the A38 towards Kingsbridge. Drove through very pretty villages, it was picturesque. The most important, the sun was shining!

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It wasn't long before we reached Dartmouth, and after a couple of wrong turns we found the narrow winding road to the Dartmouth Castle. The latter two pictures are of the St. Petrox Church which was built in 1681 and the other picture of the inlets of water that surround the grounds. The castle was built more than 600 years ago to defend the town against raiders from the sea and it evolved over the years.

There is a small whitewashed building now used as a ticket office. This is is housed in a second World War gun emplacement.

We bought our tickets and guidebook and went into the Guard Room.
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Old 27th March 2009, 15:13   #2
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The Guard room was interesting; it had three 'murder holes' in the floor that defended the main entrance to the guns & magazines below. As you can see my older son found it extremely interesting. He wanted to open them (which he couldn't) bless him. The next picture is the officer in charge's room.
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Then we went down to the vaulted casemates below.

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description is all too boring, please let me know, I can omit lesson
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Old 27th March 2009, 15:18   #3
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No omission of descriptions please - we're reading
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Old 27th March 2009, 17:12   #4
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Agree with Sam. Nice pics. A bit of explanations please. Like the other travellogues of yours.

Waiting:-)
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Old 27th March 2009, 20:42   #5
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Thanks guys, appreciate it. Just got back from doing some mummy stuff, so here I go.
We were told that since the men usually ate their food and slept at home, there were no washing or cooking facilities provided in the battery, and there were only 3 loo's for more than 50 men! Smelly or what. Another interesting fact, they were located at the roof of the battery and the one used by the officer in charge had a wooden seat. The other ranks had to endure the discomfort of stone seats

The medieval guns at Dartmouth were fitted with removable firing chambers, kept in place by iron wedges. This allowed them to be reloaded quickly, since each gun could have several chambers lying ready loaded beside the gun, as well as one already wedged in place.
From Tudor until Victorian times, guns were then made without removable firing chambers, mounted on wheeled carriages & were allowed to run back after each discharge. The risk of killings the gunners was reduced. I couldn't remember all the details as I didn't write everything down.

Here are the guns.
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Old 27th March 2009, 21:09   #6
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Wow! Thats an interesting trip. Nice pics too, especially the one of the cove.Crisp & clear water!
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Old 27th March 2009, 21:10   #7
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Looks very much like Edinburg castle, Especially the way the canon is placed.
Nice pictures though. I have been to Devon and Cornwall a few times and it really gets very beautiful in summers.
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Old 27th March 2009, 21:38   #8
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Lovely pics. Keep them coming. Reminds me of my Scotland days.
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Old 27th March 2009, 23:50   #9
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We then moved onto the gun tower, also built in the later Middle Ages. To me, this was far more interesting than visiting Windsor castle, this was a proper battlement and so interesting for the boys. Our younger son had so much fun pretending to fire off the cannons, making these pookhooosh! sounds. From lightsabres to cannons, saying ARRR it was fabulous. Our older son was transported back to older times, asking so many questions, reading the information boards (it's so great when they can read on their own) and wondering how many people were killed, why didn't they have stockades, did they not behead people here? He was so fascinated by the castle having an iron chain which could be pulled accross the harbour entrance whenever danger threatened. So in his mind's eye, he saw enemy ships being bounced off this big chain rather like a catapult

This gun tower was built between 1481 and 1495 to mount weapons capable of sinking enemy ships, and it was the first of its kind in Britain.

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This gun is a working replica of the type of gun used in the guntower in the 1490's. I have no idea how people used to sit in that basement in those ancient days, because it was really so cold there. Another thing that I noticed was how narrow the stairways were and how low the doorways were. Great for tiny people like me; again Josh said maybe they weren't very tall in those days? hmmm.
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The roof had extra walling and loopholes to protect the gunners from musket fire. Joshua is standing on one of the placements where the gunners would have stood.
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Old 28th March 2009, 00:07   #10
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These were taken in the gun tower as well, but with my husband's phone, apologies for the quality.
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We then wandered towards the churchyard. St. Petrox Church was closed for renovations, and so we walked around the yard. It makes you stop and think as you read the inscriptions on the gravestones. So many babies, people dying young. What was their story, an entire family buried within weeks of each other. Was there an epidemic? We spent some time walking around and just absorbing, each of us in our own thoughts.
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After some icecreams we got back into the car and headed towards the harbour, we were going to take the ferry accross the river to Torquay.
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Old 4th April 2009, 13:25   #11
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Apologies for the break in writing, but both my boys decided to keep me busy with tummy bugs. They took it in turns, of course, so mummy went for a week without any sleep! I look like my avatar now, fabulous. Back to our short trip.

The ferry crossing took about 10 mins from and then we were driving towards Torquay. We were climbing up really high cliffs, and the scenery was amazing. Unfortunately, being on the other side of the car I couldn't take any pictures. Shortly after 4 we reached our little B&B, Acorn Lodge. It's a small family owned place, has 9 rooms. They gave us two adjoining bedrooms with an ensuite so it was ideal. In the children's bedroom they had a pull out bed a wardrobe and a telly and our room had a telly too, along with the usual supply of tea & coffee that you would normally find in a travel inn. Very clean, very modern and so nice.

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After freshening up and dumping our gear, we headed off to the seaside. Torquay is known as the Riviera of the U.K, and it was here where the famous Fawlty Towers was filmed. We walked past a lovely old abbey, called Torre Abbey. Again this was over 600 years old. Since we had missed the last entrance time, we just walked through the grounds and went towards the beach.

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The park we walked through is used for concerts in the summer and is really well maintained. We walked on the beach, then past the pier and towards the town centre. Torbay is so well maintained, and you walk through some gardens and then along the marina. We wound up having a lovely meal of fish & chips. By the time we came out of the chippie the sun was going down and the wind had picked up. All day the sun shone even though it was about 13-14C, but it was till pleasant. Now all we wanted to do was go back to our room and have showers and go to bed.



Both the boys were getting tired, but they still walked the 15 odd mins back to the lodge and then it was the usual bedtime frolic and then peace. Such a lovely Mother's day gift, both our boys were on their best behaviour, and a super time had by all. Joshua went to bed talking of cannons, and ancient warriors (he thinks I am ancient too) and dreaming of knights on white horses.
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Old 4th April 2009, 14:01   #12
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We had a lovely night's sleep, and then after a great fry up breakfast, we packed and left to go to the beach. The boys had a great couple of hours building a sandcastle, while I was left to hunt for seashells to embellish their castle. This morning was overcast, there was a cold breeze blowing but it was still pleasant. Even the sea air smelled different here, sweeter somehow. We only left once the boys had accomplished their task and then headed off to the car to drive to Totnes.
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Old 4th April 2009, 14:14   #13
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The internet this morning is extremely s l o w, so it's frustrating for me to even try and write this. Anyway, the drive to Totnes is down tiny windy country lanes, where the hedges literally brush the paint off the sides of the car if you're not careful! That's the problem getting instructions off the sat-nav, they seem to take you down the longest routes. Eventually we reach the main motorway and get to Totnes. It is a small town and even windier (is there such a word) roads here. They're all cobbled, and apparently Totnes is a very funky town. In the sense that people are quite free spirited, lots of hippies here, people growing their own veggies, that sort of thing. We wanted to visit the castle here as well, but it's closed. So we make do with a picture from the gates.

We walk around and come to St. Mary's Church and the town Guildhall. Very old buildings, beautiful doors and woodwork.

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Old 4th April 2009, 14:27   #14
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The next lot of photos are around the church. I wish I could explain how it felt, walking around, reading the gravestones. I must admit to having a morbid fascination with gravestones, wondering who the people were, how they lived & died, were they happy etc.

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Old 4th April 2009, 14:48   #15
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We walked down the main street in town, and later on stopped off to have some yummies then head back to the car. Jamie had his usual sticky finger, which is like doughnut bread covered with icing, Josh a toffee apple strudel & Craig had a cream slice; I don't do sweets. Some photos taken around town. The shop called Riad had things from the middle east, real sheepskin, rugs, cushions, jewellery. The shop called Effings was the local deli, again, I love quirky signs and names. Unfortunately the lighting inside was very poor, so no pictures taken. I had to post the picture of the posh tiffin carrier, I want one to take on picnics .

It was time go go back home, and it was a really wonderful trip. Sometimes the little things you do can mean a lot, and if anything we have realised never to take anything for granted. Living life to the fullest and making every moment count. Thanks for letting me share this with you.

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