Arriving back in the UK on Tuesday, we drove back to our village where Book Group would be meeting in the afternoon at our usual venue, The Greyhound pub. We discussed Driving Over Lemons, a rather lack-lustre read for me. I was not engaged by the author, former Genesis drummer Chris Stewart, at all. Generally his genre, sort of travel books, is not my cup of tea. A few wasted hours then, but in the interests of village involvement I stick with it. Bridge the following evening was altogether more stimulating and on Thursday I factored in a yoga lesson, a visit on Friday to see Mum and on Friday evening the McGoverns and Cadecs came for a curry supper. What with the village walk on Saturday I felt back on track with village activities. We walked in wind, rain and cold but it didn’t matter. A decent pub lunch followed. An optional extra on Sunday was a SSAFA curry lunch at Bryanston School.
The week that followed was largely spent out of the county. On Monday I drove there and back to see my dear friend Stella Maris, who is a fading star. She has been a leading light in my adventures with shells. Now, in her 90s, she is a tired lady, destined before long to become stardust. How lovely that she knows me, smiles with pleasure as she recognises my name, my voice. It is just a whirlwind of a visit to the Camborne area. I meet Pam at the cottage so we can sort out some of Stella’s collections that need to be rehomed. This is a job she started as much as 15 years ago, perhaps longer. In the interval she has assiduously sought out people and institutions to whom she could pass on useful objects and books. Once Pam and I have completed our task I take her, Rose and Andrew to lunch. We return to Shang-ri La to await the arrival of Dave Fenwick who is coming to collect some shells and after tea round table in the parlour I head for Dorset with some boxes of this and that including a small collection of Drift Seeds and Sea Beans.
On Wednesday Nick and I slip down to Clifford Bridge to say with our very good friends, Bas and Rosemary. Bas and I have plans to work through his shelly queries, gleanings from the hauls of seabed sediment that were taken during boatwork which took place during the field trip to North Wales. I took three of these dredged samples back to The Old Workshop to process, sieve, sort, identify. I think Bas must have worked through at least ten such hauls. There are lots of specimens to look at because Bas is nothing if not meticulous. This is a man for whom the maxim that ‘the best is the enemy of the good’ could be a blessing and a curse!
During our visit we give a day to walking the land around Haytor, taking in the famous granite tramway and some exceptional Hut circles in the neighbourhood of Hound Tor. It is quite a long trek, intermittently uphill and downalong and we feel virtuous when we return to Mill House for lunch and a short nap for me and Rosemary. Our treat is to eat at the very special Old Inn at Drewsteignton.
On Friday morning we cannot tarry for long. There is just time for me to spend an hour or so working through a few more of Bas’ samples before we have to leave for Winterborne K because I have a special family party to prepare for on Sunday 21st.