South West UK – September 2017

Appledore

Our trip South West in September 2017 was spontaneous. The only plan was that there were no plans. We just headed in a southerly direction. Hungerford always presents a great opportunity on the route to the South. It has good parking behind the shops and we have always found space for the Battlestar, our trusted motorhome, and there are antique shops on either side of the main street. You can spend anything from 50p to several thousand pounds in the Hungerford Antiques Emporium. We know our place: ‘The Bargain Basement’.

I love Art Deco flapper jewellery. It is racy and saucy, a world away from the starched high collars of the Edwardian era. Sautoirs are neither scarves nor necklaces but something in between. I found a superb example in the emporium. At 6 feet in length with tassels on either end, it is worn wrapped around the neck.

We researched our stop for the night and found that we could park overnight at the Wharf at the Kennet and Avon Canal if we paid £10 at the café. The café had closed when we arrived and we could only find the lock keeper. He kindly allowed us a free stop for the night. The sunset was superb and our sleep dark and undisturbed.

Avon & Kennet canal
Avon & Kennet canal

Barrington Court

Travelling South West the weather was gorgeous. We took full advantage and visited Barrington Court, a National Trust property, en route. I say en route but we never really have a planned route. Walled gardens are great for sunny autumn days reflecting the heat back and sheltering occupants from the wind. Barrington Court had a superb example.

It was such a warm September day that the dragonflies were out. I always try a photo or 2 but usually end up with an image of a blurred pond. On this occasion, they were less active and I was successful.

Dragonfly
Dragonfly

National Trust properties are great training grounds for identifying periods and styles. Franc had a very informed conversation with a guide about the merits of antique tapestry frames. Dave, our local carpenter, had restored several examples bought at auction. I really thought they were for the tip.

Barrington Court
Barrington Court

Newton Abbot

The weather turned after the weekend and rain and wind were not in short supply. A number of indoor car boots had ended for the season, however, after some searching, we found Decades of Antiques at Newton Abbot. This is located on a tiny industrial estate – the sat nav was hopeless so we had to navigate by map.

The shop did a good deal for us. We bought a Victorian silk parasol which was beautiful but in need of some repair. I am still researching how to achieve this. I will try fine book-binding scrim. I must not buy projects.

We planned to stop in Brixham but there was absolutely nowhere to park the Battlestar so we headed for Dartmouth.

We took the ferry across the Dart in inclement weather and stopped for lunch at the Ferry Boat Inn.

Little Dartmouth National Trust car park provided an overnight stop for a small donation in the honesty box.

Liskeard

Liskiard Antiques
Liskeard Antiques

Liskeard hosts 2 antique shops next door to each other. Liskeard antique emporium has many high-end items. We invested in a Japanese sake set (which found its way to an Asian exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum), a gold-tipped walking cane and a ship’s compass probably once used by a lifeboat.

The Old Brewery was less expensive and the owners were up for a deal. If you are interested in stone age flints then this is the place to look. Our intention of not buying furniture was overruled and we acquired 2 side tables.

The Old Brewery Antiques
The Old Brewery Antiques

We found a great stop for 2 nights at Lower Killigorrick Farm at St. Keyne near Liskeard. You have to hunt down the elusive owner but the local farm shop helps you to find him.

Looe was beautiful and great for a wander. We are early diners and find you can be squeezed in at 6.30pm at places that are fully booked later. Such was the case at Papa Nino’s Italian restaurant. We had a great meal but you need to take cash.

Bude

Bude is a quite beautiful place not well described by its name. Walk along the side of the bay when the tide is out the views are sublime, as the canal meets the sea at this point. The overspill car park was suitable for parking the Battlestar with grass-crate preventing us from sinking.

Bude
Bude

We found a couple of vintage shops in the town centre. One called Satis was a little expensive but in the end provided the bargain of the day. A strip of embroidered pink silk that did not impress my sceptical friend turned out to be the sleeve band of an antique Chinese robe and found its way back to China.

Franc can be seen here sporting a silk ecclesiastical robe. The company that manufactured has long since gone into liquidation. The colour is unusual and the only place that uses this blue for priests is in Rome.

Classic Brocante - Blue Gown
Blue silk ecclesiastical robe 

Appledore

Appledore is an unusual example of proper provision for motorhome overnight parking. An area of the car park is set aside for motorhomes and you pay £5 per night. It is next to the sea and a high tide was expected that night. Franc was the night-watchman until he was satisfied that the tide had turned.

Appledore
Appledore

Not only does Appledore host decent motorhome parking but it has the most reasonable charity shop ever!

Devonian roads are tricky for the Battlestar and are perhaps the narrowest in the country. Franc’s driving skills were tested to the limit on his birthday excursion to Gidleigh Park that boasts a 2 star Michelin star restaurant. We had at most 2 inches to spare on either side of a bridge en-route and many overhanging branches.

We found a car boot on the way home at Procter’s Farm near Taunton. It was an afternoon car boot and you had to queue up before you were let in. I presume the event does not sit well with the locals and the planning department have become involved. I bought some WW2 memorabilia. Of particular interest were aircraft mechanics training notebooks. Manuals were uncommon and mechanics notes were often the only source of maintenance information.

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