I’ve written many times about our preferences about where and “how” we generally lodge when we are centrally located to the sites we want to visit. Though we don’t mind staying in hotels for short stays, once we exceed four or five nights, we much prefer staying in a rented home. And we have had some excellent side benefits from doing so. Since we not infrequently travel with friends or family, a home stay, or in the cases of our last two visits to the U.K., a renovated barn stay, gives us the space and sense of sharing that very few hotels ever could. And further, we’ve made some good friends with some of our “landlords”, Simon and Claire in Pewsey, Wiltshire and now Tonya and Chris in Horsington, Somerset. Si and Claire aren’t currently taking short term renters, but Chris and Tonya of Lois Barns, still accept qualified short leases. And their rental space is first class and genuinely, a “home away”. For more information, including contact details, go to this website: http://www.loisbarns.co.uk/booking.html
I knew when we first booked for this trip, last December, and after pouring over the photos on the web, that I would like to paint one or more views of the property. So here’s the piece of the back of the renovated barn.
So let me start out with some gratuitously cute photos I took this morning of the sheep in the pasture immediately behind the barn we’re staying in. These weren’t taken with a zoom – I put a patio chair out in the pasture to sit in while I worked on a painting of the barn from the rear and the sheep came up and encircled me…………….very peaceful!
So, particularly if you are an American and you haven’t watched the Brit TV series, “Doc Martin”, you’ve missed out on a pleasure. We drove the two hours from our lodging right outside Wincanton, Somerset, through Devon to Cornwall to visit Port Isaac. The village, perched directly between two headlands jutting into the sea, stands in as Port Wenn on the Doc Martin series. Carrolle began watching the production first and I watched all seven series with her just to be companionable. Then to prove how great a companion I am, I watched the entire seven seasons a second time…then eventually, a third time. The series features great acting, spectacular scenery and some insight to a part of the U.K. that remains pretty fiercely independent. Most of the directional and informational signs were printed in both English and Gaelic.. except for these, which were pretty much executed by different age groups in the Graphic style..
Apparently, all the tourists who brought their dogs, and there were a bunch of them, have been something less than discriminating about the collection of their dog’s “poo”.
Before we actually got to Port Isaac, we stopped at the Cornish Arms in Pendoggett, Cornwall, for lunch. We suspected, and rightly so, that the prices for the fare would be meaningfully less expensive than eight miles down the road at Port Isaac. Besides the really good food – and I cannot highly enough recommend the Fish and Chips enough – big, meaty pieces of Cod, battered in snowflake light beer mix. Besides the food, the real treasure was “the Maid” of the bar, Gemma. Gemma was not only really personable, but entertaining as well. She’s appeared as an extra on Doc Martin and has lived, so far, her entire life in Cornwall – where the appropriate greetings are, “Alright, me lover”, and “‘Ello there, me ‘andsome”. If you are going to visit, practice, practice, practice. There are videos on YouTube – according to Gemma, the one of the biggest thorns to the side of locals are the really bad, fake, Cornwall accents!
The Cornish Arms – Pendoggett, Cornwall
Besides the obligatory photos once we arrived in Port Isaac, Cb at Doc Martin’s Surgery, etc. There are a lot of very interesting doorways, alleys and narrow streets – all of which I’m especially attracted to photographing..
And now for obligatory Doc Martin type shots……..
And later in the day, we drove over to Tintagel, which is the mythic place of conception of King Arthur, or more accurately of soon to be Baby Arthur, but actually was a rocky outcropping sticking high and deep into the sea that has been inhabited since about 600 A.D. In about the year 1230, the Earl of Cornwall, wanted to get a little swagger on and connected the building of castle at Tintagel with Arthur’s legend and the place has been popular, especially with authors of Arthur legend, conceivers of conspiracy theories and promoters of legend-plagiarized art ever since. In any case, it is very cool and if you’re one of those folks who is trying to get in 10,000 steps a day, this is the place to do – wear your comfortable and rugged hiking shoes – its just a little bit of up and down!
In short, there is a whole world of exploration to do in England’s Southwest coast.