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Life in the big smoke

My escape to Dartmoor

After the fire and the terror attacks I needed to leave London. I had to get away form people and traffic and cars and noise. I found an Airbnb near Dartmoor. I booked the cottage, I booked a train and I left for a week. Gerry was working, so I spent the first few days on my own.

I was going to write, but instead I walked. There were many maps in the cottage, some were old, some were new, some were laminated. I picked a smallish, laminated one and I picked a path. Then I walked.

I walked through fields covered in chest-height ferns, through forests where old oak trees lined the path and the Holy Brook bubbled alongside me. I walked on ancient bridleways and on small winding roads. I walked away from people and toward any place I could find that was green and quiet. I stopped and smelled the soil, the sunshine on the leaves, the growth and the decay.

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I sat on an old drystone wall, a bridlepath behind me, the ground falling away from me on the other side. There was a small brook in the valley below and I wanted to spend some time near it. The trees were heavy and green above. My phone and the map were resting on the wall next to me. Out of nowhere a happy spaniel appeared, jumped up on the wall and pushed the phone over the edge. I patted the dog, then scrambled down the stone wall, down the slope and crawled underneath a fallen tree covered in ivy to retrieve my phone. It’s still not working properly. I take that as a sign. Slow down.

Gerry joined me for the last few days and we walked some more. We walked to the most famous Tors on Dartmoor, we hiked to an old stone circle and had lunch among the standing stones.

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I’m back in London now. I’ve been back for a couple of weeks, but the paths I walked stayed with me. They were made by feet and hooves over many centuries, perhaps over many millennia, and they can be walked still. That’s what keeps me loving this country. It’s old, its paths are old and there are many left to explore.

Some calming photos of mist

Gerry and I are having a really (really) busy week. I’m finishing a story about Muslims in the UK, working on editing tech videos and we’re launching Gerry’s Kickstarter campaign this Friday! Phew! I will of course keep you posted about the Kickstarter. We’ll be unveiling the New York series, which you can find out more about on Plane Clothing’s Facebook page. It’s all very, very exciting. In order to cope I seem to have replaced my coffee addiction with tea. Tea is great you know! Warm and calming and perfect for days like this.

Anyway I will stop rambling and while I go back to the mountain of work here are some calming photos of morning mist at the writing retreat.

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Aaaaah, that’s better.

Days in Devon

I’m back in London. After having spent the weekend writing, eating cake and taking forests walks around the amazing Stickwick Manor in Devon coming back was a slight shock to the system. I was thrown in at the deep end and went straight to the Music 4.5 Smart Radio conference where I was doing some filming. It was an interesting day but at the end of it I was absolutely knackered. I’m still lagging a bit behind myself so here are some soothing photos from Devon.

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There were lots of farm cats, none of them seemed very friendly.

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Madicken’s new pal, Geoffrey the goat.

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An ugly chicken? (Gerry thinks it’s a turkey)

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The paths were pretty steep in this forest. I ended up a wheezing mess after climbing the hill back up. It was pretty though (the forest, not wheezy-messy me).

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