Friday, March 11, 2011

Stepping up........or down

It's really funny how I seem to get really homesick..........just when I'm planning and preparing for a trip home!  It's the excitement of knowing I'll be there again, seeing family and friends, walking on familiar turf, looking out across the blue bay, and reliving all those childhood days and youthful dreams.

So what have I found myself doing?  Looking back through all the many photos I took on my last trip to England which was Spring of 2009.

Old cliffside nowhere.

I'm noticing how I like to take pics of steps.  There are so many in my home town as it's built on seven hills.  They climb up from the bay, some fairly steep, stacked with small hotels, guest houses, and B&B's, taking advantage of the sea views.  

I love this cover of a vintage brochure for my town.  I brought it with me in 1962 and was always proud to share pictures and stories of my lovely home.  Not much has changed, but now there is talk of building a third harbor to accommodate cruise ships.  This would bring a much needed boost to tourism, however, such huge changes take many years so I don't think it will happen soon.

I decided to edit these pics to give them a vintage look.  I know I've shared some of them before, so this is a second time around with a bit of a new take.

Yes, palm trees do grow in parts of the British Isles!  They thrive along the English Channel coast due to the warming waters of the Gulf Stream.

There are many steps such as these leading up the hillsides from town..........we had no problem getting exercise as children.  No gyms were required in those days!

These beautiful grassy 'steps' are part of the awesome gardens at Dartington estate................

........which is where I caught students at the college there practicing dance steps on steps in the Spring sunshine.

Cobbled steps in Clovelly - one of the steepest small towns on the North coast of Devon - a favorite place to visit.  The walk down is hard, donkeys were used for many years transporting supplies up and down to cottage homes and the hotels at the bottom.  Now sleds are utilized and there is a Land Rover service, for a fee, on the one road...........we walked down on this day but took the vehicle back to the top!

Viewed as one carefully comes down what seems like, and could be, thousands of steps, Clovelly's tiny harbor.................

..............complete with tourists soaking up some sunshine.  The large building is a hotel.

Beautiful old fishermens' cottages under the hill on the pebbly beach.

Meadfoot Beach - early morning, May 2009

I always notice how the iron railings appear to have never been replaced as I step gingerly down onto the beaches of my childhood.  Rusty and bent, they still feel the hands of excited children, as they have for so many years, off for an exciting day at the seaside.

Clovelly's historic stepped lanes.

I'll be sharing more images from my home soon - hope you'll come along with me.


  1. Great pictures, makes me want to go back to Devon as I don't remember visiting Clovelly, maybe next year, although it looks like you have to be quite fit and I am suffering with a slipped disc and have done for over 6 months now!! Have a great weekend, Jackie in Surrey.

  2. Mary, I would be homesick for this lovely spot. Your photos are lovely and make me want to book a trip. Travel safely and enjoy your time in your beautiful homeland. Hugs ~ Sarah

  3. Goodness, I guess you DO get homesick!
    How did you ever leave in the first place??!
    So happy you are going back for awhile!

  4. I just started reading your blog a few days ago and hungrily read your older're a great photographer and your enthusiasm for adventure and beauty (and life, in general) is inspiring!
    I look forward to vicariously experiencing your trip to beautiful Clovelly!
    Thank you for your lovely blog.

  5. Mary, these are lovely pictures today. I would so love to visit Clovelly and try to climb some of those steps :-) I don't know if I'd make it! What a pretty and unique little seaside town. I can imagine you are excited to return. Have a great weekend. Pamela

  6. Can this place BE any more beautiful?? I think not. Lovely photos..I'm a great "computer-chair" traveler and do so love coming here !

  7. Gorgeous photos Mary!! But I am confused...where are you ? California or England????
    I'm blogging minded overload!!!!

  8. Hello Mary..... I’m a new visitor to your blog. I have enjoyed your pictures of scenes so familiar to me. I do agree, steps have such a fascination..... where do they lead to, where do they go! I feel the same about gates too. The grassy steps are magnificent.

    Clovelly is indeed an exquisite little gem. I have family living in Devon and Torquay, so I can really identify with this beautiful post.

    Why not call over to my corner of the UK.... you’ll be most welcome.
    Marion - Wales UK.

  9. Dear Mary, you are obviously counting the days! The first photo on this posting is especially lovely and makes me feel that a trip to the coast is long overdue.

  10. Dear Mary...what beautiful pictures...and to think that there really is a place this lovely is amazing!!! Can't wait to see more...

    xoxo Gert

  11. Mary do please share more photos of your trips to England, i would love to see them! I can not believe that palm trees are growing in England, i would have thought that the photos would have been taken somewhere else. i just love and wait so much to see cottages.

    how wonderful it is to be able to see you in May!

  12. I know how much you love the Devon coast and going "home" for a visit because I do too!
    I'll be going back in May.
    Have a wonderful trip.

  13. How wonderful to pop into your blog today and discover Clovelly where I remember vividly walking down the steps with the donkeys passing up and down, and sitting on the beach with the hotel up there and the beach quite small and the harbour just there... and us eating our picnic lunch and buying one of those strangely fairground type cheap pottery models of a donkey with CLOVELLY marked on the side!!!!!!! I wonder where that is now!
    As far as I remember this was our only holiday apart form all the doggy shows we went to.. my parents bred dogs for competition and show and then had a trade stand......

    I suppose I was about 8.... I have a photo I keep in my passport of that very holiday but it was not taken at Clovelly. We travelled in probably the Daimler because at that time parents were chauffeur and chauffeuse and we stayed at Honiton on a farm. I can still smell the raw milk!

    Thankyou for such wonderful imagery and memories fulfilled!

  14. Your photos are lovely and your shared memories are priceless.♥

  15. You made ME homesick and I'm not even english!!! LOL......... Torquay isn't the birth place of Agatha Christie? She's my fav mystery author.

  16. Yes, Gracie, you're quite right, Agatha Christie was from Torquay. My father told me stories of when he used to roller skate with her on the wooden pier by the harbor!

    There is a big Agatha Christie celebration each year bringing people from around the world. Her last home, Greenway, a beautiful estate on the banks of the River Dart, was donated to the National Trust in 2000 and opened to the public in 2009. I still hope to visit there one of these days!

    Thanks for stopping by - Mary

  17. Love all the steps, but I can just imagine being out of breathe climbing them all. How wonderful to be from the village where Agatha Christie lived and have family stories of roller skating with her. I definitely will travel along with you. When do you leave? Have a wonderful trip.

  18. Some of the steps remind me of Savannah, oh how I love that town! I am always taking photos of steps too as they have so much detail in them. Love, love the dancing photo, how charming!
    Take Care,


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