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A little deception

Ben&NaomiNot for the first time on our trip around Britain we find ourselves visiting a house built hundreds of years ago from materials which would be scorned by modern builders. Cob, a mixture of earth and straw, was once a common building material in the South West of England and in the home of our son Ben and his partner Naomi we find this material packed inside its immensely thick stone walls. We seem to be in the middle of nowhere once again and cannot quite understand how it is that so many of our friends and family live so deeply into single track road country. Drivers on these roads can face the most unlikely situations. Today we are held up by sheep escaped from a field, yesterday we paused to avoid an otter and tomorrow we may be stuck behind a hedgehog, none of which hazards are strongly featured in the Highway Code.

From the moment of our arrival at Ben’s home some secret plans are being hatched relating to giving Kate something she has privately yearned for for years but never been crazy enough to buy – a harp. Several days later we find ourselves with Ben and Naomi driving around Devon and into Cornwall once more. The real purpose behind this day has been kept secret from Kate but by late morning we find ourselves trundling down yet more single track roads to reach the home of Naomi’s former harp tutor. buying the harpThis time we are at the end of a road that crosses several fields, leading to a place so remote it is unknown to any GPS navigation system. The house has a massively beamed banqueting hall, complete with minstrel’s gallery, built on one end and we are invited inside to a room full of musical instruments, mostly harps of various sizes and shapes. Very soon the true purpose for our visit here is revealed to Kate, who is temporarily over-whelmed, but eventually she recovers enough to choose one, money changes hands, and she walks away with one under her arm (so to speak). After this little deception Kate’s secret desires are fulfilled and our large vehicle, with its harp-sized space inside, is now replete.Naomi playing for Jessie



Since Naomi is already a talented harpist our next stop is at my aunt Jessie’s home, our second visit in only a week, for a short recital. Jessie sits open-mouthed listening to the beautiful sounds coming from the instrument. Kate can now barely wait for the opportunity to be on her own with her harp, to wrap her arms around this creation in maple, to delicately pluck its strings and maybe find a tune of her own lurking within.




On our last night in Devon the whole of the county lies spread out in the late afternoon sun, the pink afterglow heralding a cool night which holds no fears for us tucked up snug inside Ducky. In the morning we finally leave the West Country heading to the south-east corner of England where more adventures await us.View from Brindiwell Hill

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