A Journey up Porlock Hill Toll Road in my MGTF by David

A drive from Porlock up the scenic woodland toll road to the AA box at the top. This is a beautiful landmark route on Exmoor National Park, a must do while visiting. Built to provide work for soldiers returning from the Napoleonic war of 1840 and also to provide an easier route up Porlock Hill, the steepest A road in England. This is the journey up the hill, but don’t miss the journey down which is perhaps even better. The road is just over 4 miles long from Porlock and is used by walkers, runners, cyclists, it is closed occasionally as a rally stage and sometimes for vintage cars.

A Walk On North Hill – a poem by Melody

Its raining again,
Hey ho, yet away we go.
The dog’s so happy,
How can I say no?

Life’s little pleasures,
So humble and few,
A walk on the Hill is the least I can do.

Off we go to taste the days delights,
Nature is calling,
For us to explore,
To discover nature’s law.

The birds are happy,
Singing through the rain,
The chorus of many,
High on the terrain.

Rain pours down,
I delight as I splutter
Rain in my eyes,
I run for cover.

So cosy and secure,
Under a great large oak.
Acting as my glorious cloak.

So clean and sparking
Some squirrels abound
Swiftly they jump,
So light on the ground.

They gather their bounty,
Hiding it away, secretly,
For a winters day.

Natures a delight,
This is plain to see,
Especially with my little friends,
Surrounding me,

The dog is gone!
I worry for the farmers gun!

Holes galore,
Fences to clamber,
Naughty dog,
Yet how she loves to scramble.

Here she comes wagging her tail,
Smiling away,
To my laughing dismay.

Where have you been,
I wonder with glee,
Glad to have her back again,
With me.

Home bound sweetie,
Time for a rest!
A stick lands at my feet,
What energy what zest.

I feel so alive
Refreshed,
How lucky I feel,
How honoured,
How new.

The rain seemed to clean me too.

North Hill Through The Cow Field seascape painting in oil on canvas
North Hill Through The Cow Field seascape painting in oil on canvas

A Morning Walk – a poem by Melody

Whence I came apron a grove,
Upon a halting light,
The sun did nestle, hallowing,
A tender dove in flight.

The blessed dew,
By the breath of dawn.
Daisies mirroring,
The sunlight born.

Trees and trunks murmur,
Poppies sway,
Blackbirds and Finches chatter,
Worms contentedly play.

A spontaneous flow of nature,
Softens my eye,
And I understand,
Gods reason
Why.

The Hurricane of 1987 – a poem by Melody

The wind cavorts dangerously
Uprooting trees and rocking me,
Tearing relentlessly
Mercilessly.

The birds are hiding,
High in their trees,
Heads bent as if in prayer,
‘’Please save me”.

Beauty is moved by breezes and bees,
This disrupts even the seas.

So fierce and wronged,
Revenge maybe?
The anger awes and reminds me.
How dangerous
The accosting wind can be.

A Windy Day - landscape painting in oil on canvas
A Windy Day – landscape painting in oil on canvas

Home – a poem by Melody

The journey seems endless,
I feel groggy and tired,
Wilting away with all the miles.

My sleepy eyes recover,
I fix my gaze,
Twinkling stars beacon,
Lights overhead blaze.

I’m nearly home now,
Majestic and calm,
The church is alight, a beacon,
Guiding me into the night.

Welcome!
Visitors and its children alike,
Rest is a promise one can surely rely,
A magnetism draws me,
The warmth prevails,
Invisible rays guide me
To my port,
Curing my ails.

Here the abundance of nature reigns,
Life’s fuel
Is a gift,
To enjoy.

Home for a while,
To rest and be free,
Here is my anchor
Greeting me.

This poem-records the view of St Michaels Church which is on North Hill where we lived in Minehead and is depicted below in Melody’s painting, the church is the blue building in the centre of the hill . Melody has several stories of the church, one is of using the powerful floodlights to roast apples.

North Hill Minehead - landscape painting in oil on canvas
North Hill Minehead – landscape painting in oil on canvas

The Gardener’s Office at The Lost Gardens of Heligan – David

Two photos from our time exploring The Lost Gardens of Heligan. Taken at different times, but that is what is special about revisiting a location, it is almost new but each visit seems to make more and new connections and memories.

The first photo is of the gardeners office, in itself I may not have taken this although I am glad I did. This is a photo with a story and a very strong emotional connection. Towards the end of our stay I had half a day to wander the gardens on my own, in truth I find it very difficult to take photos with Melody or Monet following, I just don’t focus, ha! ha! couldn’t resist that.

At the time of this visit they were celebrating the First World War and the staff who had gone to fight and give their lives. As I arrived at the gardener’s office I found a large photograph outside with a write up of why this was there. The photo had belonged to the elder brother and had been on his wall until his death, he had survived the whole of the war and beyond, but his younger brother had not been so fortunate.

The photo and write up described how the younger brother arrived towards the end of the war and was a picture of him dressed in uniform and ready to depart. This young man, to the best of my memory, was under 5 feet tall, he had a back pack that would have weighed over 80 pounds and a rifle with bayonet attached that was so much taller than him that it was almost comical. He didn’t survive long and was never found.

So, as I entered the gardener’s office I was quite emotional, brought up on stories of the war that my grandfather told me. Perhaps it is a good thing to connect with a subject, not that you would have guessed the story from this photo.

The Gardener's Office in The Lost Gardens of Heligan
The Gardener’s Office

My other photo is close to this and I am trying to remember if it is the outside of the office, but I am not sure, I think not. We do love visiting Heligan, it is such an inspirational place and draws you in, as an engineer I love the Victorian ingenuity, no electric heaters or other modern answers, theirs were simple yet brilliant.exotic plants

The Lost Gardens of Heligan - The outside of the gardene's office
Heligan Gardens – The outside of the gardener’s office

A Trip To Wimbleball Lake On Exmoor – David

 

Camping in October

Well usually we have our caravan, what luxury, as comfortable as home maybe even better.  This year I had asked for a tent for my birthday, why, I almost shout at myself, well I have found that I want to get places to take photos but it is just too far to travel for a sunrise or sunset. 

The caravan is great and would be my first choice, but you can’t tow a caravan into the middle of Exmoor, so a tent seemed to be the answer.  

So late October and I decide that if I am going to try it out this year then now is the time.  On a lovely day I set out to Wimbleball Lake.  It takes a while to translate the minimal instructions but eventually the tent is up and looking good.

Let me suggest to anyone thinking of using  a tent for the first time in years, they re not naturally warm, I woke a few times in the night realising how cold it was.  Surviving until the morning and emerging from my tent I realised how cold it had been as the ground was white with frost and the tent was covered in ice.

At least it got me up early and I watched the sun rising over the misty lake, it was spectacular and it is in those moments that the effort is worthwhile, of all the things I see or watch on television this was a moment that I could easily have missed and yet here I was watching my own personal show.  

Later on I walked around the lake and that is when I found the canoe sitting under a tree surrounded by autumn leaves.   I was an interesting walk, the lake which was formed as a reservoir during the 1970s was very empty with one section being almost completely empty.  I didn’t manage a full circuit, it is probably about 10 miles, partly because I stopped and took photos on the way and just enjoyed the day.  I did make it to the dam, to be honest it wasn’t the most scenic dam I have seen, but the lake was lovely and except for a few walkers and a group of fishermen I had it nearly to myself.

I must remember this day when I next plan a stay in my tent, it was certainly worth a bit of discomfort and I got two photos that I have now printed and framed.  Some days out, even if well planed, end up with none, so this was good.

As this is a few days before Christmas, may I wish anyone who reads this a happy Christmas and new year.

Remembrance Day 2018 in Porlock – David

Remembrance Sunday, 11th November at 18.30, Porlock led by our Town Crier Grant Dennis joined with 1000 other communities to commemorate this notable day.  Follow Town Crier link to see the full programme planned for that evening.  A lot had gone on in the day and Melody was back out ringing the church bells, along with many other churches and cathedrals around the country.

To continue the remembrance I have included some more of the songs recorded by the war blinded veterans of St Dunstan’s, now Blind Veterans UK.  These were recorded for Melody in 1985 when she worked with these veterans of The First World War and Second World War.

If you would like to donate to St Dunstan’s please follow this link to – Blind Veterans UK where you will find a DONATE  button at the top of the page.