Connected to East Devon

and Exeter!

The verb “connect” is among the most versatile ones in contemporary usage. We turn to it to describe an emotional click with another person, but also to talk about the status of our (ever-proliferating) gadgets.The verb “connect” is among the most versatile ones in contemporary usage. We turn to it to describe an emotional click with another person, but also to talk about the status of our (ever-proliferating) gadgets.

Like many people I thought about my gadgets and photographed the connecting ones, including my last five years of mobile phones, just for fun. connectedThen I started thinking about what connected really means to me, family and friends goes without saying, I’ve posted a few personal photos here on my blog, but that isn’t what Lucid Gypsy is about.

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll know that I absolutely love where I live. I like to travel whenever I can afford it, going out into the world, meeting people and having interesting experiences is wonderful, but to live in my little part of the world is incredible lucky. So here are some random photos of my local area, a place that I feel a deep connection to. First of all, Woodbury, a little village five miles from Exeter where I lived for a few weeks just after I was born.

The nearest beach Exmouth, is the one that most east of the Exe people choose, especially if they grew up in the days before mass car ownership. I’ve already posted lots of photos of Exmouth, and other places along the Exe and the estuary.

Just a mile from the centre of Exeter is my area, Heavitree, it has its not so wonderful bits, like too many takeaways in the main street, but it’s full of history and very friendly.

We’re right in the city now. There is evidence that Exeter dates back to 250bc. It was also the most south westerly Roman settlement in Britain.

It may not be grand, except for the Cathedral, but Exeter, east Devon and a little village in Nigeria, there’s a photo here, are the places I feel connected to.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Otterton in East Devon has it’s own mill, producing flour and powered by the River Otter. This is real flour, not the mass produced stuff we find in the supermarkets, but artisan quality and very tasty. They mill a few times a month and you can buy it FRESH in standard packs or larger sacks. I actually tried it, freshly milled and delicious.

This is my take on the Weekly Photo Challenge, join in at

7 Super Shots!

The lovely Madhu over at chose me for the  and gosh was it difficult. I have 20-25 thousand photos to choose from, how do you decide which are good and which you just like? So mine are possibly a mix of both.

The first was in India a few years ago when I had a point and shoot, to date it is the only photo of mine I have framed. It takes me right back to how I felt that day. It was taken close to the top of Ratnagiri hill in Pushkar which has a temple to the goddess Savitri at the summit. We got up before dawn to climb up for the sunrise as suggested by our driver the venerable Magan Singh. What he didn’t know – until now maybe – was that we didn’t actually quite reach the top, but didn’t have the heart to tell him as he was so sure that we would love it! The problem was that we had been so ill for a few days before and were still incredibly weak. He was right, the view was beautiful. I remember every moment, every laboured step, and most of all, the tiny, bent old ladies climbing to the temple as they do each day for prayer. This one literally took my breath away, I couldn’t breathe as I struggled upwards!

Next, a little closer to home, this is close to the finishing line of last October’s Commando Challenge on Yettington common in East Devon.  I love this photo because it shows the determination of these women to complete a really gruelling and hideously muddy course. They ran 10 kilometres through water and mud filled tunnels and tracks that is part of a marines endurance training course. This particular group were so supportive of each other, and it makes me think, isn’t it wonderful what can be achieved when you work together? 

Over in Malaysian Borneo this time, at Kota Kinabalu. There had to be at least one sunset! These are two of the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman park taken from Jesselton Point. This the photo that makes me dream!

At the village of Baobeng-Fiema the story goes that the monkeys are considered special. The locals give them all names and they are buried in a graves when they die. It wasn’t the monkeys that I found special in this Ghanaian village, it was the children. This is the shot that makes me smile

This young woman’s backpack must have weighed as much as she did. I couldn’t help wondering where she was headed, I suspect a local youth hostel. More interesting still, where had she been? For me, this photo tells a story.

In Western Anatolia breakfast was early one day last June. We had a lot of miles to cover that day so we had to skip the hotel meal but were promised a treat instead. Delicious local yoghurt and honey, sprinkled with poppy seeds, it worked for me and made my mouth water, I’m not sure about the carnivores though. 

Now, I don’t know if anyone else will ‘get’ this photo, what I see in it. Again its a shot that conjures up atmosphere for me. I love the quality of light, I love the activity, the between time. It was taken in Marrakech from a rooftop cafe at a time when the work of the day was ending, and the evening’s entertainment and culinary delights had not yet begun. So this is my photo that I am most proud of , aka my worth of National Geographic shot. 

So there we are, all seven, I hope you like them. Is there one in particular that you think is good? or terrible?

As always there are rules! I have to nomnate five bloggers to take part, but only if you want to. My five are,



RNLI Duck Race

The RNLI ( Royal National Lifeboat Institution for those outside the UK) has been rescuing people at sea since 1824 and in that time has saved more than 139,000 lives. They currently have 330 boats in 23 stations around the country of various sizes and classes. A registered charity, all of its funding comes from donations and it is manned by volunteers. We all know that they rescue people from stricken vessels. You may know that their lifeguards patrol beaches and perform first aid. Did you know they have a flood rescue team? Also volunteers, specially trained  in swift water rescue techniques and ready to travel anywhere in the world.

Today I was in Beer, a lovely east Devon village with a Lifeboat shop raising vital funds to keep the service afloat. I learnt that it costs £75 for a rescue tube, bright yellow and made of plastic foam, with enough buoyancy to get an adult back on dry land. This is a small necessity, a tamar class lifeboat costs £2.7 million. I don’t know why there is no government funding for  lifeboats, but I guess that if a charity works why would they bother?

Today it worked like this.

A duck race! It’s lifeboat week in Beer, this is one of their fund raisers and a great success with the little ones that also raises awareness.