Sunday, 28 September 2008

Wild whirlpool

What could be nicer, after a hard afternoon's 'shrooming, than a restorative dip in the local jacuzzi? You'd pay good money for this in a health club or spa, but it just so happens that there are several free options in the Dart. You need to prepare for a pummelling though. And it's more of a cold tub than a hot one.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Bliss around Burgh

It was our second bash at swimming around Burgh island this summer. The first was abandoned due to crashing seas. Today it was perfect. Calm, clear water, glittering sunlight and WARMTH. We went round clockwise this time. As we neared the first 'corner' of the island we saw a gap in the rocks and went through - and found the most gorgeous lagoon, with amazing, turquoise underwater chasms.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Topsham to Turf

Swim across the Exe estuary? Why not? Apparently they used to do it all the time in the 1930s; from Topsham on the north side, to the Turf Locks on the south. Mike, the local ferryman, has revived the tradition, and 41 of us gathered for the off at high water, at 6:30pm. Crowds gathered on the quay and cheered as we plunged into the brackish brown - but very warm - waters of the Exe. When I finally emerged on the other side, about an hour later, it was with a red face and muddy moustache.

Hedghog haul

....not the kind that have fleas, or like eating slugs, but that delicious variety of mushroom with little spines for gills, and a kid-glove-like appearance. We found basket-loads in our regular haunt in the woods by the River Dart, conveniently near the car park.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Red toad

I always thought toads were green or brown, but no. Apparently they can be red we discovered today. This one was sheltering under some planks in the veg patch. And very beautiful he (or she) was too.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Crazy in Da Pool

It was a 'return match' to Crazy Well Pool after our dark and magical discovery of it earlier in the summer (see July entry and photo below). The uphill trudge north of Burrator Reservoir paid off as the sun came out and the pool beckoned us in with its eerie aura. There is apparently a legend that at midnight on Midsummer Eve the face of the next person to die in the parish can be seen in its waters. Even though it was well past Midsummer, we all avoided looking at our reflections.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Psychedelic bugs

It was an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, but it felt as though I was in Wonderland, or had been consuming too many magic mushrooms. As I left the house, I was greeted by an acid-green caterpillar who was proceeding in a determined fashion across the doorstep. A more outlandish thing I haven't seen in a long time. It had a spike on its tail and was about seven centimetres long. It is apparently the larva of a privet hawk moth. I discovered this thanks to an amazing website called

Monday, 1 September 2008

A pocketful of penny buns

...not the kind from the bakers, but the kind you find in soggy woods by the River Dart. We came upon a couple of specimens while out today. One was a sad shadow of its former self, having been badly munched, but the other - pictured - was pretty respectable, if rather wet (like us). We also found chanterelles, hedgehogs, and a beefsteak fungus.