Pandemic Pondering #404

Today we took a trip to Totnes. The last time we took a trip deeper into Devon it was 6 months ago when we also went to Totnes to do Christmas shopping for the Christmas that never was.

By coincidence we recieved this traditional May Day gift of Lily of the valley from a friend who lives in France this morning, she and I have worked, danced and laughed together in Totnes and Brighton long before real life and children tamed us.

Totnes is an alternative type of place with a firm sense of the importance of traditional and Pagan festivals. Ordinarily a trip to Totnes on Beltane/Mayday would be a whirling,  psychedelic , Maypole dancing festival of alternative experiences. Only partially out of Lockdown, today was never going to be as vibrant as normal but our visit today was still vivid in a low key way. Just to celebrate Beltane in its Phallic/ Fertility glory I captured an appropriate shadow.

Accidental because the reason for the photograph was this lost earring, preserved, for its owner to find on top of a bollard that has been many different colours in the past.

Other bollards dressed up for the occasion.

Totnes is a rich source of Street Art. Some featuring Tom of Finland . Quite appropriate for a festival kind of day.

And some just near some spiral stairs which is about as close to a Maypole as we got in 2021.

The smells from Street food and Coffee from the many independent cafes can’t be reproduced with words. Neither can the sounds of music in the streets,  layered together , sometimes with a fusion no one would ever plan ( Prog Rock and Church bells) and other times with a mellifluence that was hard to walk away from ( Harp and Violin). Totnes made us smile today.

Beltane wouldn’t be Beltane without the leafy face of the Green Man.

Awaiting the arrival and union with a Goddess.

Accompanied by Mythic men.

And chariot driving , wise women.

The brightest of Beltane wishes to all.

Pandemic Pondering #189

Reflecting on where we finished yesterday

Regular readers will have no problem with the order of this blog and the previous one. But if a reader is playing catch up and reading them in order as they appear the newest is always first. For clarity we are walking down Totnes High Street towards the river. From Fifty5a and the gorgeous assemblage from Lucie Swain in their shop window.

We love a bit of street Palimpsest , Totnes gives good Palimpsest. This assemblage of stickers and graffiti is not of the finest quality but it did grab my attention long enough to attract my attention to the piece that inspired yesterday’s search for Alice Oswald.

High Street Palimpsest
Beautiful Street Palimpsest

Slightly awkward as I’ve published this early in error. It’s not even finished yet! Carrying on down the hill we popped over to the public loos and found this little chap.

Is it a Banksy?

Googling ” is this a Banksy?” takes us down another rabbit hole, although, of course, rat run would be more appropriate. My mind is caught up in a trail featuring a Michael Shuman who , perhaps, created this graffiti and claims to have had his identity stolen by Banksy who is of course anonymous. Is it even possible to steal an identity if you are anonymous. The rudimental dickpic above the rat is unsigned. Let’s just leave the whole conversation there.

Things did actually go downhill from here both geographically and in real life. A large hairy lurcher dog flew out of a boutique and attempted to intimidate Lola with both teeth and size. He was 100% successful, she has pulled a shoulder muscle during the scuffle and is demanding cuddles with added diligence to gentle strokes.

Totnes turned out to be quite the adventure. Two last pictures a lovely calm Presbytery with just one perfect autumn leaf to give a flash of orange to an otherwise Lilac view.

Totnes Presbytery

Finally some chains , from Totnes, to show that in these blogs there is always a link. Apologies for scatterbrained blogging. Normal service will resume very soon.

Pandemic Pondering #188

Our Staycation took us to Totnes overnight. I worked in Totnes over twenty years ago, at the time it was known for being a town sympathetic to New Age and Alternative Lifestyles. Pandemic Pondering #232 Going up the hill at Totnes.

Twenty years later Totnes has the same vibe but wears it a little less obviously, the town seems smarter. Pondering in Totnes took me down quite a rabbit hole. A particularly lovely piece of Palimpsest caught my eye.

The name Alice Oswald can be seen through the layers of stickers and paint. Googling Alice Oswald I discovered she is a Poet of note and is the first female Oxford Professor of Poetry and also a winner of the T.S Elliot Poetry Prize . Something I only know exists because my favourite poet Roger Robinson won it this year.

As luck would have it I had taken a picture of the River Dart half an hour before I found the Palimpsest that started this ponder. Lucky because Alice is known for her work ‘Dart’.

I’ve shared the Guardian review of the poem/ book because it is all very unknown to me currently. I’ve ordered a copy of the book from the library. Let’s get on with the rest of Totnes.

Lovely Jubbly

A little smile and a nod to a favourite British sitcom Only Fools and Horses as we arrived in town.

We were camping overnight at Steamer Quay which is a really quick walk into town or onto several beautiful Riverside walks. As usual @theoldmortuary our day started with a coffee. On a day when new restrictions were set to be announced the message was loud and clear at the café.

The Curator cafe set us up perfectly for the steep incline that is Totnes High Street. The high street is full of independents , we had a fabulous browse in regular retailers and charity shops . Earmarking purchases for when we were on the descent. Arrival at the top was rewarded with a visit to.

Another coffee shop with great coffee and outdoor seating overlooking one of my favourite Vintage shops.

We were in Totnes so obviously bumping into a stranger involved a conversation about Dry Needling , fascinating, not for me, but apparently it works.


Interesting women were all over the top part of the town. This strong image was in the shop window of Revival

Ramping up the glamour opposite was this gorgeous creation.

This is the point that this blog ends, tomorrow we will return down the hill. is our final stop at the top. The artwork featured in the window of fifty5a is by Lucie Smailes.

Pandemic Pondering #115

Saturday pondering today was always going to be a bit all over the place. Gerberas in specimen vases was the start. Quite gentle I think.

We had planned a trip to a camp site in Totnes, not in the campervan, but to visit friends. Totnes for those that know it, is always a little off the wall. At its heart a beautiful Devonian Market town with a steep hill as it’s High Street and a gentle section of the River Dart flowing near the bottom of the hill. Its soul is less traditional and Totnes has for many years been one of England’s gathering points for New Age Alternativism. Having worked in Totnes, a few times, over many years I knew to expect and accept the unusual in Totnes during any visit.

Today was no exception but I did not expect the unexpected to be a crazy Steampunk style American Car Rally.

Beyond the fascinating cars, we had gone to meet some friends, called Covidfriends, because we met them during the pandemic.

They manage campsights and their current one is in Totnes.

Managing campsights is a funny business .

” Whoa Anita, is that my 7 metre, he’s going to struggle to get that in backwards”

Not a normal conversation in my opinion. But this is Totnes a place where a bottle of Jack Daniels doubles up as screen wash.

There is no way to tie in Steampunk Cars with Gerberas in specimen pots, unless, just like the cars, I offer you the Gerberas in black and white with just one colour highlighted.

Saturday, the day for a blog all over the place. The link below explains Totnes more coherently.