Who would have expected that! As I am writing this blogpost, we had almost four months of continuous sunshine. Really extraordinary.
The English and Annemarie loved it of course, but I am actually here for the famous foggy days. Well, not this year.
So, our trip continued in the UK, starting with Dartmoor in mind.
Sunny days, friendly and polite people, amazing trees, beer gardens, picturesque landscapes, endless hedges and all covered in spring flowers and clotted cream 🙂
It felt all so good, like an early summer holiday.
High on my list was Wistman’s wood. A mysterious rather small forest, but every square yard was filled with amazingly gnarly shaped oaks. It was screaming for a good old fashioned English fog…..or was I.
We planned the trip to this area, To Dartmoor, not too mix up with a local bar called “Dart More”, to meet Janek Sedlar, who is shooting a documentary about my photography and way of living in and around our motorhome. He started a kickstarter project to be able to complete it.
And the good news is the target is reached. If you’re interested in a dvd or download of the documentary, you will able to do so ’till end of August. Klick the link to have more information.
Forms, Faces and Figures
In the UK there are three kinds of mist called: Mist, Fog or drizzle. The latter looks like mist, but is just very fine rain and you don’t want that. Janek long gone, we finally had a promising morning with the right type, namely fog.
Btw, there is no easy way of walking to one of the most magical forests when you know the fog can disappear in seconds. So we kind of speed walked there.
As soon as we got there I start taking pictures and when I moved my tripod only a couple of meters it gave another great perspective. One can easily imagine this wood inspired many writers. And not only this wood. The Moor, or Dartmoor is a landscape that will only reveal it’s beauty to the fullest when you walk from Tor to Tor. Many stories have found their roots here. It was almost a pity I had to start shooting right away and not had the time to breath this magical forest and dream away in it. Afterwards I was glad I did, because after one and a half hour the fog was indeed gone. Looking at my pictures on my monitor I start to discover more and more weird looking shapes and figures than I noticed when I took the picture. And the fun thing is, every one is seeing different forms, faces and figures.
More images of Wistman’s wood can be found here in the gallery
A lovely small village on the northside of Dartmoor is called Chagford. We ended up there by coincidence after driving the smallest road ever and we were very relieved when we managed to get there with our motorhome. Next time we will take the main road to town. After we parked, we did a small tour and by the time we got back, our campervan was completely build in, we couldn’t get away. However we didn’t had to and spent the night there. We visited the village a second time, this time with Janek and when we had a coffee in a cute little bar, which was not open yet, but the very friendly owner who had some family guests over, let us in anyway. A conversation started. We learned that the town was very popular by actors, writers and directors, such as Jennifer Saunders, Vivian from the Young Ones, and the late Jim Henson. Well for the latter I can imagine this area was of great inspiration, especially Whiddon Wood, which we called Hidden Wood, because it was hard too find and almost impossible to park your car, let alone a motorhome. After a pretty steep walk we found some spots that speaks to your imagination.
Devon and her stories
Like said earlier, this landscape was and is an inspiration for writers, poets and so on. Many of you are familiar with clotted cream. Or as it is originally called: Clouted cream. It’s what you put on your scone together with some strawberry jam. The perfect cream tea. One scone and you can last half a day 🙂
But where does it come from, what is the story.
The Story of Clotted Cream
When the giants had been driven out by Brutus, many made their home on Dartmoor while the rest fled even further, into Cornwall. One of those who settled on Dartmoor was Giant Blunderbus, who settled on Dinger Tor.
As was the custom among giants, Blunderbus had more than one wife, four to be exact. Of these wives Blunderbus had one particular favourite, Jennie the youngest who was beautiful, kind and loving, but who, unfortunately, had never learned to cook. Blunderbus loved his young wife and used to sit and talk with her and bring her presents.
Now the other three wives, who had never ever been of a particularly pleasant disposition, were, quite naturally, jealous of Jennie and decided to make life difficult for her. They gave her all the difficult and dirty jobs, making her work from early in the morning till late at night fetching water, lighting the fire, cleaning the pots and pans and doing all the nasty jobs they could think of. In spite of all this Jennie still remained cheerful. As long as she could be with her beloved Blunderbus she was happy.
This did not suit the other three wives, they decided to make life as uncomfortable as possible for Blunderbus until he got rid of his favourite. They burnt his food, made sure his bed was lumpy, refused to keep his clothes clean and nagged him from morning till night, until at last, tired, dirty and suffering from indigestion he gave in and promised to get rid of Jennie. He could not let her go completely so he installed her in a cave on the Cornish cliffs where he could visit her secretly as often as he could escape from his other wives, but both he and Jennie were sad at their parting.
One day, while Jennie was sitting quietly weeping in her cave, she heard voices outside on the rocks below. Making sure not to be seen or heard, she carefully looked out of her cave and saw a group of fierce looking men and, overhearing their conversation, found out that they were plotting to wreck a ship. They were Cornish wreckers.
Jennie was terrified, her first thought was for her own safety, then she though of the poor sailors who might lose their lives and decided she must do something even if it meant putting herself in danger.
That night she saw the wreckers leading a hobbled donkey with a lantern attached to his saddle along the cliff tops. This is an old wreckers ruse to make ships think that there is another ship and that there is plenty of deep water inshore. Horrified, Jennie saw the lights of the ship turning and heading towards the treacherous rocks below her cave. Frantically she heaped up bushwood and driftwood and, striking a flame, set them alight. The ship realising the danger dropped anchor and sent a boat inshore to investigate.
The wreckers, furious at losing their prey, were hunting for Jennie when they were overtaken by the sailors and slain without mercy.
The Captain of the ship, a Phoenician, thanked Jennie and asked her what he could do for her in return. Jennie, happy at last to have someone to talk to, told all her troubles to the Phoenician captain who listened sympathetically.
Now the captain realised that, though Blunderbus deserved his fate for not standing up to his wives, Jennie would only be happy if she were reunited with her beloved Blunderbus, “My dear” he said, “I have a recipe for the most wonderful food you have ever tasted. I will teach you how to make this and one Blunderbus has tasted it, he will never let you leave his side again”.
The recipe was for clotted cream or clouted cream as it was then called. On Blunderbus’s next visit Jennie fed him some of this wonderful new food. Blunderbus was amazed and delighted with his clever young wife, and immediately took her back with him to Dinger Tor.
The other wives were annoyed at first, but on tasting this delicious new food welcomed Jennie back and entreated her to show them how to make it. Jennie showed them, and eventually the fame of this clouted cream spread through Devon. People came from all over Devon to learn about the new food and how to make it. The three wives were happy to be so important and sought after, and spent their days teaching the many visitors how to make clouted cream.
Meanwhile Blunderbus and Jennie were able to live happily together free from indigestion and from the envy of the other three wives.
Devon is still famous for clotted cream, so the next time you enjoy one of our famous cream tea’s, remember you owe it all to Jennie the lovely young wife of Blunderbus of Dinger Tor.
This story and others like “The legend of Vixen Tor and “The legend of Goemagot” can be found here