Do you have friends who seem to know exactly what to give you?
Friends who are the best gift shoppers and bowl you over with totally
unexpected, awesome gifts.
My blogger friend Jane always does this. It's as if she has a sixth sense when
it comes to finding treasures which have me left speechless with joy on unwrapping!
Jane and the husband love to shop together - something Bob and I do a lot of also.
Apparently, just prior to visiting Asheville where we'd made plans to meet again a couple
of weeks ago, they were perusing the old tomes in a used book shop in Chicago.
Out of the blue, Jane reached up to a shelf and and pulled out a yellowed book with
the word DEVON on the spine, and recalled that I am from that particular county down
on the south coast of England. As they turned the pages they realized it was a book I
would perhaps enjoy.
ENJOY! I am over the moon with happiness. This book, printed in 1908 but still in
wonderful condition, is a Great Western Railway Company travel book on Devon,
complete with beautiful vintage b/w photographs, and historic stories of all the places
I'm so familiar with, and love dearly.
A back section of the book has detailed train schedules to Devon with prices
so inexpensive compared to today's train travel. Also coaching excursions to
exciting tourist places such as 'Western Borderlands of Dartmoor', 'North Devon
and the Exmoor Country' - this trip being just 11/- return journey in the
'old British money' before changing over to metric.
The last section contains many ads for hotels and B&B's
(many of which are still in business), restaurants and cafes, local shops, and old
time products such as Symon's Devonshire Cyder" - "Has no Equal",
Paish & Co., Piano Merchants - where in the 1950's after I acquired my first
record player, I visited often as they sold the first 78 rpm records and you could
sit in little booths and listen to the latest American hits.
There's a page on Torquay my home town ------
TORQUAY - population 34,000 (now 66,000 in 2011 census)
Ideal Seaside Resort for Health and Pleasure
Magnificent Scenery - Owing to Unique Position
Summer - temperature cool
Warm in Winter
In the very back of the book is this wonderful fold-out map of the county of Devon
where I've marked my home town TORQUAY (more info here).
The lovely, funny Jane from Blondie's Journals and her really charming husband.
It was here at the restaurant in Asheville that I was presented with this fabulous gift.
You just don't know how thrilled I am with such a wonderful book Jane and A.
It was really great to meet up with you yet again - here's to the next time.
Jane's husband, like me, enjoyed salmon, and Jane and my Bob fearlessly
ventured into bowls of Cioppino after tying on those lobster bibs, for dinner at
Asheville's Lobster Trap - a really fun evening in every way!
Well, needless to say I'm homesick just writing this post and sharing a little
about my true home. I was truly blessed to grow up there. In a simple house set
midway between the blue water of the English Channel and the bucolic
Devon countryside, life was especially good and childhood perfect.
You will find me curled up by the fire these winter evenings
enjoying every page of this amazing book, thinking about and thankful
for our great Chicago friends who discovered it tucked away on that shelf.
If you've never visited southwest England, particularly Devon and Cornwall,
I really hope you can some day - I promise you won't be disappointed.