Monday, 18 January 2016

Winter Retreat

'Retreat from the world'.
After the bustle and hassles of Christmas, that is all I wanted to do. I do look forward to this wonderful time of celebration- I try to keep it magical and I love being with my family-but find I'm much more able to keep my temper during any silly squabbles or culinary disasters if I have an oasis of calm to look forward to.

I've always loved Devon and my feelings of relaxation and happiness increased as we travelled down the typical winding lanes.

David and I stayed for a week in a little cottage called The Count House in the Tamar Valley. It was a perfect retreat, decorated to my taste and with a log burner that made all the difference to our winter holiday.

It has been such a mild winter up until now, that in Devon the fields were a beautiful emerald green. All remaining colours left in the landscape, bracken, apples left on bare branches and of course this beautiful grass glowed against the grey skies. My favourite moments came on changeable days, when the clouds were high and scudding along and sunshine and rain were all jumbled up together. One moment everything is lit up in bright clear light, you catch a hint of a rainbow and then a torrent of rain swoops down and soaks everything. There is a particular quality to the light on these fast changing days and I felt as if I was glimpsing tiny masterpieces: a Nicholas Hilliard landscape, gone in the blink of an eye.

I have to admit though... the weather was awful! Some days we stayed inside, no, I must be truthful, we actually stayed in bed it was so rainy and blowy.

But on other days I discovered the Pannier Market in Tavistock. I spent hours happily pottering and even returned to David with a few treasures.

We spent one of the most peaceful and happy New Year evenings. The skies had cleared, so just before midnight we bundled up in coats and scarves and, clutching a bottle of fizz, ventured out into the garden, where we watched the stars and finally the distant fire-works bring in the New Year.
The first of January roared in with gales and rain. Not deterred, I drove to the coast and like the eccentric Englishwoman I am, greeted the start of the year with a paddle. I had planned to have a quick dip...but it was not inviting!

It was a good start to the year!



  1. Sounds like a lovely laze retreat in beautiful Devon. I think we all need to take some time out at this time of the year. We are considering... Amsterdam!

  2. Your week away sounds wonderful. I love the Tamar valley and Tavistock is such an interesting town. Wishing you a good 2016!

  3. Happy New Year, Jane. You know how to enjoy your life. That sounds like a wonderful way to spend the week. Thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog, dear friend. Diane

  4. Hello Jane, Your cottage and the surrounding countryside look so beautiful, changeable and moody. Your attitude of acceptance and making the best of each day is commendable. After all what is one to do but go with the flow. How brave you are to paddle in the sea.
    Wishing you continued joy and adventures in 2016
    Helen xx

  5. Sounds idyllic Jane. How lovely to get away after Christmas and just stay in a cottage and have duvet days and mooch days. Hope to see you soon.

    Sarah xxx

  6. What a great way to bring in the New Year! I can imagine the cosy warmth of the cottage and would, if I could, stay in bed with a book until noon, in such a place!

  7. Sounds like a perfect break, a mixture of doing the usual things that are always fun to do - and also, entirely and totally pleasing yourself!

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments. I'm sorry I haven't replied individually, life has proved busy! Wishing you all a very happy 2016