Time has a fluidity that’s often hard to pin down. In the tight focus of deadlines, a day can see you deliver a series of accomplishments off your action list, on holiday a day can pass barely moving an inch. Now I grant you, that inch is on a map, but still, I’m learning to appreciate Chris’ often comment that he wonders where he ever had time to go to work.
Our journey really starts today: I never feel truly “on the road” until we’ve left Truro making our way in what ever direction that year brings. This year we plan on crossing to France from Poole, landing at Cherbourg, village hopping our way through French loveliness to Bordeaux, then crossing into Spain to explore the northern coast. It’s a little hazy from there – if the weather isn’t fiercely hot, we might pop into Portugal, if it is, we’ll cross to the Italian Alps and travel down to Bologna, Parma and Reggio Amelia, each said to be a foodie’s paradise. The homeward journey is up for grabs, it will all come down to time.
Today’s goals are more modest. Our aim is Totnes, only 30 odd miles from Truro, leaving Cornwall and crossing into Devon. Our way is paved with lush greenery that makes me very envious, coming from our dry land.
We’ve been to Totnes before, but it’s worth a second pass. It has a number of claims to fame: with a history dating back to 960, it’s a market town with more listed buildings per capita than anywhere else in the UK. More cake shops too, I suspect, as almost every other shops up its steep high street offers a selection of tempting baked treats. It also has a reputation for alternative living, dubbed by the media “shiny hippies”, those whose alternative lifestyle had nonetheless brought them monetary success. One can have one’s Aura read, chakras realigned or cleansed should one choose. Closer to home, it’s the birthplace of Wills, of Wills and Burke.
We’re happy to brave the hill of the high street, stick our heads in to admire the castle (which we toured before) and scout a place for dinner. The cooking bug hasn’t kicked in yet – despite having a fridge groaning with produce we’ve done little more than eat berries, graze and then end up eating out.
We do find an excellent local cheese shop showcasing the region’s produce and take the opportunity to stock up – my happy place, cheese shops. If it wasn’t for Chris, I’d live on cheese, charcuterie and berries on these trips.
The afternoon passes reading until it’s time for dinner, a short walk back into Totnes, to the Waterside, so named for the river it sits along. Another peaceful, if hot, day.