This is to cheer me up. It is daylight, and my breathing is still rubbish, though I have discovered my Ventolin inhaler has probably been running on 99% empty over the weekend, which does not do a lot to help control asthma . . .
So I am going to give myself the treat of a day out on Dartmoor. OK - this is all in my mind's eye, with a little help from photographs taken on other trips, but it is better than nothing.
On a hill overlooking Widecombe-in-the-Moor, we park the car and I sit on a boulder, warm from the sun, with a breeze streaming through my hair, and carrying the scents of the moor to me - crushed bracken and the spicey smell of Sweet Gale. There are probably the minute scents from the small yellow flowers of Tormentil, Heath Milkwort, Heath Bedstraw (the Bedstraws smell so intense close-to - like well-made hay), Silverweed and Self-Heal and Foxgloves lingering in the valley bottoms, but these are overwhelmed by the perfumes of Heather, Ling and the intense coconut-scent of the Gorse. I take a photograph of the view looking towards Widecombe and breath deeply. Then we drive down into the view.
We walk past Widecombe Church, the Cathedral of the Moor. A nearby lane is flushed with a ruby haze of Hawthorn berries.
We walk around the village. Inside the crammed and cramped pottery is Uncle Tom Cobley's Chair which is made from pieces of wonderfully-carved wood from a church or quite possibly a monastery which fell foul of Henry VIII. Bits of misericords peek out from borders of ecclesiastical vernacular wooden architecture. The fierce beasts as hand-rests are particularly fascinating . . . We spot an old coaching horn hanging over the counter and ask about it. Apparently it is the one which was used on the Exeter coach. My g.g. grandfather drove the Exeter coach (though I don't know on which routes though he lived in Moretonhampstead.) It could well be the self-same horn he used . . .
We drive on, up over the moorland hills and drop down into Postbridge, which has always been a special place for us.
It is always busy there and it is difficult to take a photograph of the ancient clapper bridge without people in it during the summer.
We dip our fingers in the Dart and head back towards Chagford.
We buy fruit from a tiny shop in the little market place and fresh bread with cheese for a moorland feast later. For old time's sake, we indulge ourselves by looking in the Estate Agent's window and there it is . . . the house we have dreamed of, the house we have been looking for and which is just on the market, just as we have signed a contract on ours (this is a DREAM day out, by the way . . . .)
The fawn-grey stone is soft in the photograph - the colour of a pony's muzzle. The thatch drips down over small loft windows. There is a huge inglenook in the kitchen with a bread oven. A deep pink rose drizzles flowers down the wall, tucking its nose under the thatch like a kitten nuzzling its mother. The garden folds around the house, protecting it from the wild moorland the other side of the bank-sided wall, which is a half-way house for garden escapees and wild flowers alike. Harebells dance in the breeze. We walk through the door and say, "We're interested in the cottage in the window. Yes, that one . . . Is it possible to view?"