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Preening Peacocks and A Taste of Devon in Derbyshire

The gap since I last wrote is so embarrassingly long there is nothing I can do but gloss over it. I am sorry. We seem to have been rushing over all over the place, very happily and socially most of the time, but it leaves little time for the pleasures of blogging.

Blogging you see, for me, comes under the category of pleasure, not chore, so tends to come last on the list of ‘things to do’ each day…

Percy the Peacock is very vain

I can’t get over how beautiful I am!

Anyway, we spent the inside of this last week in Devon, staying with my brother, which is always a great, relaxing pleasure. He has a lovely garden with the Mardle, a small tributary of the Dart, running alongside it.

Sharing my brother’s garden, using it merely as a necessary backdrop for all his narcisstic preenings, is Percy the Peacock who claimed ownership to it abut ten years ago. My brother tried, hard, to return him to his rightful owners, but Percy knew better and just kept returning. He is amazingly beautiful, and knows it. He also makes the most terrible screeching noise.

We met up with old friends, visited my parents’ grave in Ringmore (overlooking Burgh Island) and had a truly wonderful lunch at the Riverford Field Kitchen which fortunately for all of us is very close to my brother.

Refections on the River Dart in Devon IMG_0422

The waters of the Dart were very clear and peaceful

One afternoon we walked through words along the Dart, hoping to see all the bluebells before they finally vanish and perhaps a kingfisher. The bluebells were definitely on the way out and of a Kingfisher there was never a glimpse but the Dart was looking very beautiful with clear calm waters and no hint of the storms of a month or two ago.

I bought some Devon lamb in Ashburton to bring back and in the lovely little deli in Modbury I bought a kilo (!) of the most heavenly clotted cream to share with everyone, and not least our guests who were arriving on Friday.

Cream tea for Tom’s and Douglas’s Barn guests on Friday[/caption]So instead of a cake yesterday, they had freshly baked scones – harder work than a cake, with all that rubbing in of the butter by hand – oodles of raspberry jam and lashings of clotted cream (to paraphrase Enid Blyton).

Clotted cream tea for our guests! IMG_6978 By coincidence our Douglas’s Barn guests were from Cornwall so the cream tea may have felt more of a ‘coals to Newcastle’ gesture than an exciting novelty but if that were the case they were far too polite to let on. And, fortunately, the way we prefer a cream tea, that is, cream on top of the jam, is the approved Cornish method…

Today, truly back in Derbyshire, we have spent most the day enjoying the Derbyshire Open Arts studios, Ruby Hickmott and Gill Radcliffe in Parwich, and Sue Prince at Beechenhill, near Ilam…

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