Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2005-2006

Short breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode



Devon and Cornwall in the springtime

Whenever 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.

You may not find this terribly 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.

Berrynarbor and Porlock, Exmoor (16-17 April 2006)

Combe 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.

We're 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.

The Tims' 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.

Newly redone guest room and the work-from-home office (the leaky old slate roof is in a pile to the left)

The greenhouse

The kitchen in the centre, and livingroom on the left, the most beautiful livingroom I've seen that I couldn't stand up in.

Tim and Kristin on a rainy day surveying the improvements.

Time for dinner


Porlock and Exmoor

Long promised by the Tims a springtime hike on the Exmoor, we're insisting on the cream tea that goes with it.

Half an hour from the carpark at Horner, we're still trying to leave Porlock village, with the map out.

Up through the Hawkcombe, there, it looks like a BIRD!

Kristin's obviously envious of the fancy binoculars, in fact . . .

. . . so envious that she unconsciously believes that she's got her own.

Hikers telling George Bush jokes as they get above the treeline on Exmoor, at the top of the Hawkcombe

Another bird! Or a rare leaping newt.

Kristin and the Tims at an old-fashioned telephone callbox

A beautiful path contouring back eastward above Porlock Weir and the sea

Kristin and Tim, joined by a passerby (for scale)

The 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 tea.

The ridge in the background is the Selworthy Beacon at the upper right, last seen (by us) in a rain squall in 2003.

Bustling 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.

Since 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)

Porlock architecture

Prayer hour. We'll wait out here.

Few in this party can walk by a restaurant menu without at least a casually intense scrutiny. But we got our cream tea!

"Leave town near the cottage with the thatched roof", but which one?

Time for dinner, The Sandpiper Inn on the Exmoor near Lynton, Devon. Astonishingly superb.

Even if we hadn't had a chance to shower first.

Pubcrawling in Devon and
Cornwall, 2006
Berrynarbor and Porlock, Exmoor
Coast Path, Ilfracombe and Berrynarbor
Botallack Manor, Cornwall
Coast Path, Botallack to Land's End
Coast Path, St Ives to Zennor
Coast Path, Botallack to the Levant Mines
Mousehole, Land's End, Godolphin House


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 2 May 2006, revised 15 September 2008.


Devon and Cornwall, 2009


Devon and Cornwall, 2006


Devon and Cornwall, 2004


Devon and Cornwall, 2003