Wednesday, 30 July 2014

On a spaniel's monument

A rather poignant exhibit from Brixham Heritage Museum: the 1826 gravestone of "Var, lapdog of the Right Hon. Lady Farnham", which was originally installed on a rock on the now-overbuilt fields of Parkham Hill, Brixham. Its details connect to a complicated genealogy, and a forgotten railway disaster.

Brixham: up to the Cavern

I've just freshened this post because of some new details arising. On 11th July I had a glance at the location of the long-closed Brixham Bone Cavern (aka Brixham Cavern, Windmill Hill Cavern, and Philp's Cave). However, yesterday I paid a visit to Brixham Heritage Museum, whose staff kindly showed me further materials.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Two Devon romances

Just skimming through some regional notes, I found bookmarks to two Devon-based romances - with somewhat similar themes but very different mood - by authors better known for other works and other locations, Thomas Hardy and John Galsworthy.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Invasion Exmouth, 189—

I just ran into an episode set in Exmouth, in Fred T Jane's 1895 future-war novel Blake of the "Rattlesnake": Or, The Man who Saved England : a Story of Torpedo Warfare in 189—., which imagines Britain in ocean-going conflict with a French-Russian alliance.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Dean Spanley

A recommendation for a gem of a film: Dean Spanley (aka My Talks with Dean Spanley, 2008), which turned up on afternoon BBC2 yesterday. The film is a joint New Zealand and British production, directed by Toa Fraser and adapted by Alan Sharp from a 1936 Lord Dunsany novella, My Talks with Dean Spanley.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Route 2: Countess Wear to Starcross

The current heat wave continues, so I took myself for a walk along the National Route 2 cycle/foot track down the west side of the Exe estuary from Countess Wear to Starcross. I've walked sections before - see Route 2: Topsham Lock to Powderham - but this time put it all together (a decision partly forced by the Topsham ferry being closed on Tuesdays).

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Topsham from the air

The Summer 2014 issue of EX magazine has a very nice feature on some photography commissioned by the local estate agents Wilkinson Grant, using a drone camera to take aerial videos and 'tilt-shift' stills of Topsham, Lympstone and Woodbury.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Elberry Cove - marine curiosity

In the previous post I mentioned a peculiarity of Elberry Cove, between Brixham and Paignton, South Devon; its freshwater springs rising from the sandy sea bed a little offshore. I've found more references, one connecting to a largely unsung 19th century naturalist.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Coast: Brixham to Paignton - part 2

Continuing from Coast: Brixham to Paignton - part 1: the walk from Churston Cove, a rocky bay of almost Mediterranean appearance, to Paignton via a succession of headlands and increasingly commercialised bays.

Coast: Brixham to Paignton - part 1

I think I'm beginning to run out of local coastline to explore... On Friday I filled in one of the remaining gaps, and walked the South West Coast Path from Brixham to Paignton. It's a route that takes in wooded clifftops and a series of coves, from the rugged and highly secluded, to the most accessible and commercialised.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Ubik poem

For Tony Boucher

ich sih die liehte heide
in gruner varwe stan
dar suln wir alle gehen,
die sumerzeit enphahen

I see the sunstruck forest
In green it stands complete.
There soon we all are going,
The summertime to meet.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Long Memory

Moving to a setting just a few miles eastward from Erith ... The Long Memory (1953) is my favourite British 1950s film, acclaimed as one of the best British attempts at film noir. Having just tracked down a copy, I decided to get the 1951 Howard Clewes novel it's based on.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The men of Erith and other limericks

Literary attribution is a bit of a paradox on the Internet: misattribution spreads so easily, despite this being a time when wide digitisation of books has made it relatively simple to trace attribution. I just solved a minor attribution puzzle: the origin of a strange limerick about Erith, a district of south-east London (not a village since the late 1800s).