Friday, 17 August 2012


A call to caper craftily and getting totally folked up on Dartymoor.

Brushing aside yesterday's tangly bramble of thoughts (this may take some time and require protective clothing), Pickle and I have been off adventuring again since I last wrote and more is afoot.

We've visited my parents again. We're seeing more of them lately because Pickle is such good medicine for her Granny as she goes through chemotherapy, and the upcoming surgery. They're off to medical appointments almost daily, so Pickle and I get the run of the place. We give their fat cat Smoky a bit of exercise as Pickle trots after him, oblivious to his disinclination to be stroked by a small person and, at every break in the rain, we explore their lovely garden, trying not to compare it to ours.

When Mum's feeling relatively energetic, she likes to use it all up immediately on something fun. This is very similar to Pickle's policy, although Pickle gets up a lot earlier the next day. This time we had a scenic drive and a little walk to a boating lake. We entirely failed to interest Pickle in the boats (tractor obsessed, that girl), but she had a fine time leaping over a gulley with Granny.

Here we are, taking shelter under a huge tree on our way back. Only Pickle knows what the joke is, but it was definitely funny.

On our last day we just wandered along the road so Mum's friends could meet Pickle and I. We walked back in the gloaming and admired some beautiful skies.

The next morning we drove home and I performed my unpacking/packing trick in under an hour, then off we set again for the wonders awaiting us at Dartmoor Folk Festival in South Zeal. 

The dancing started at the pub at the top of the hill. At this stage there was plenty of humour, but also serious discussion around the importance of holding traditional dances whilst allowing evolution and creativity.

Then, in a trail of stovepipe hats and feathers, tankards clanking at the hip, the dancers led us down the hill to the next pub. Pickle was delighted to get a prime seat, but what I assumed to be absorption turned out to be the beginnings of heatstroke. Scary, but all better now.

The thing about the second pub is that the hill really is quite steep and a fair glug of ale has been consumed by now. It's the same every year.

Giggling breaks out among the performers at the slightest stagger and knuckles are rapped by sticks. Pickle and I had a hilariously clueless go, having claimed a stick just after the dance had been explained to the other children. Below are Molly dancers. A close kin of Morris dancers (his sister?), but accompanied not by accordion, fiddle, guitar and whatever else someone in their local can play, but by a lone singer - a woman in this case. Beautiful and surreal amongst the chaos of sticks and kicks.

Down at the main field there was the same but more so, plus men in very silly (by these standards!) trousers making happy fools of us all and some great Appalachian music and the champion broom dancers gave a joint performance.

In South Zeal's sibling village, Sticklepath, the annual Fireshow is holding its Crafty Capers Summer Workshops from August 20th. Info here if you can get there. It's a great way for kids to explore puppetry, costume creation, clay modeling and whatever else takes their fancy, and for adults to do the same. At Thomas's funeral we gathered coins instead of flowers and split them between GUCH (Grown Up Congenital Heart Patient's Association, which supported Thomas towards the end) and the Sticklepath Fireshow which represents the kind of creative community spirit which Thomas loved to be part of - and which had the fire element so important Thomas. He was part of the build for several productions, his puppets often taking a front stage role, even this last year when he was feeling awful. They have used his money for the Crafty Capers Workshops, so Gappy, Pickle and I will be checking it out and getting messy.

And while I've been gallivanting about, there's been a bumper crop of babies delivered. So, welcome and much love to

These are on their way to you :o).


  1. Such a wonderful photo of you, your mum and Pickle laughing. Wishing your mum luck on her journey. Looks like you all had a fabulous day out. Loved the bird house photo too

  2. I really enjoyed have a peep at Dartmoor life! :) Thanks for sharing and a speedy recovery to your lovely mum.
    Jess x x

  3. What a rich post... I, too, love that photo of you all laughing! My mom is currently recovering from a year of cancer treatment and then surgery - intense. I went to help them in June when she returned from the hospital. Such a challenging time, but she is doing better day by day, though it is slow and she is easily discouraged. I wish I lived closer - they are a plane ride away :( - and that I had a little Pickle to keep her spirits up, cause that, truly is a very important part of the healing. Blessings to you all.

  4. Such full and rich days. Yes, that is a beautiful photo of the three generations! Wishing your mum (and all of you) all the best.

  5. Oh thank you for your comment on my blog. My daughter assures me that she is good, but I passed on her offer to her~ She has decided to focus on art school, 4th year post-secondary, and allow love to come, or a relationship, in time. She says it is time for her to be single. Parenting adults is less clear than young ones, but absolutely enriching, if sometimes frustrating. Each moment is different. Be well! Lois

  6. just found your blog than's to Annie. seeing pictures of the strange things devon gets up to made me feel quite homesick. Good wishes to your mother .

  7. What a beautiful post. Oh that tree in the third photo! Grandchildren are our compensation for growing older -- I have my own Pickle whose name is Bella. Tell your Mother that she is beautiful


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