Close to home 1

As I was walking home today, I thought about the area where I live. I’ve lived within three miles all of my life, and I know lots of the little nooks and crannies. So I thought I’d start posting phone camera shots from time to time as a record for myself and to show you the real Exeter.

Here’s number one, sometimes there may be long gaps, other times I might post them thick and fast, as it takes my fancy.

Traces of the past, Bombardier Scattergood

The Theatre Royal in Exeter opened in 1886. Less than a year later, during a performance of Romany Rye, it fell victim to one of the worst fires in British theatre history. There are various opinions as to how many people were in the theatre at the time, but somewhere around 900 seems likely. Of those 900, some 180 died.

My photos show the memorials in my local cemetery, one over a mass grave, the other for Bombardier Scattergood, who at 25, died while attempting to rescue others.

Paula’s Black and White Sunday this week is ‘traces of the past’, a great way to look at history.

Found in one road

Thanks to Paula and her black and white Sunday, I’ve been playing with monochrome a lot more recently. Sometimes with good results, sometimes not. This afternoon I took the dogs out around the local area, within a mile from home, and spotting a red door with peeling paint made me think of Paula’s before and after challenge. I only had my phone, but I started snapping and ended up with six photos that I like.

These are the befores.

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and here are the black and white edits.

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They may even be in the same order.
Thanks Paula, I had fun with this and the dogs were happy that I wasn’t walking too fast!

A Familiar Walk

When I saw this weeks photo challenge, my first reaction was to post a Dartmoor path, and I started hunting for photos I like. As I searched I started thinking about walking the dogs on Christmas Eve, in Heavitree park. My earliest memories of the park are from when, aged about six, I’d walk home from school on my own, for lunch. This is the way I walked,

path1This photo looks a bit creepy, but it wasn’t back then and wasn’t on Saturday, I was snapping into full sun.

path2There were few trees on the left, those thatwhere there were mostly lost in the 1987 storms, and the ones above were planted a couple of years later. You can just about see the remains of some that were lost at the time.

path3A little further down the path are some of the old ones that survived.

path4And some, like this old giant, have since been lost. In autumn I posted some fungi growing on this tree, I can’t  help wondering what will happen to it now it’s had it’s branches chopped off.

path5That’s how long it’s stood there, since four years after the park was created.

path6This one died from the inside and now it’s finally fallen, it’s become a miniature habitat for all kinds of creature.

path8Many trees have been made into rustic seats, this one seems to have lost it’s balance.

path7This skateboard and bike area needs refurbishing. When I was little, it was always full of kids, with swings, a seesaw and a roundabout. No soft padded ground to fall onto in those days, if you didn’t hold tight enough, not only would it hurt, but you would probably have had a telling off from ‘Parkie’, the ever present park keeper, for messing about! It was surrounded by a painted metal fence back then, now more of the dead trees provide a barrier. There’s a whole new play area now, with a paddling pool, and it’s all fenced off to keep dogs out.


It’s still a lovely little park, with plenty of wonderful trees, and it hold many memories for me. I’ve played hide and seek in the bushes and walked home from a club in the early hours of the morning in my teens, and stopped there with my boyfriend for a snog on a bench. I’ve pushed my children and grandchildren in prams, on bikes, on swings and slides.

So that’s my simple little path, you can walk the whole circle in ten minutes. Or you can dawdle in spring when the crocus push their little heads up, smell the roses in high summer, and marvel at the autumn colour. For those in the know, there’s even a mulberry tree, but I’m not telling where.

Cheri asked that we consider our path for this weeks photo challenge.


It’s beginning . . .

I can’t avoid it now.

But as I’ve done the majority of my Christmas shopping I feel quite smug this year, I’m not usually this organised. I haven’t even thought about cards though, oh well, I can’t get everything right.

One of my favourite things about Christmas is going to see the lights in town. Exeter’s are rather modest compared to the big cities, but they’re still magical to me.

I went to town for an after work browse at the shops, this is the High Street.

Then it was time for supper, we wandered around trying to decide where to eat. There’s a whole new bunch of chain restaurants recently opened in the Guildhall, much needed, there were so few choices before – she says with tongue firmly fixed in cheek! We checked the menus of half a dozen, before returning to a favourite, Bill’s. It’s always tasty and the atmosphere is lively but early in the evening, it isn’t too manic. Walking back through town afterwards, a last look at the pretties.

hs7To see some really stunning Christmas lights, you really should pop over to visit Rommel, he’s in Japan.


Twilight on the Exe

Paula’s Thursday Special this week is twilight. I wasn’t going to post this week, because any photos I take at twilight tend to be beside the sea or river, and I’ve posted similar many times. But, I had a quick flick through and decided I like this shot of the Exe, taken at 9pm close to the longest day in June.

twilightYou have until Thursday to join Paula’s challenge, meanwhile she has a gorgeous twilight photo of Florence.


Looking Forward

As someone who likes sculpture, I have to confess to being a complete idiot. You know how you walk past something regularly and don’t even notice it? well this is one of those things. Commissioned in 1977 by Exeter city Council, for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, it’s one of a series by Peter Thursby, and named Looking Forward.

The sculpture depicts a Podman, they were ‘Little men on scaffolding, constructing buildings. They appeared to be framed in boxes, like peas in a pod’. Thursby made a full sized model from polystyrene in his Exeter studio. The finished work was cast by the Chris Blackmore foundry near Ashburton.

Will any of you confess to discovering something that you’ve walked past hundreds of times and not seen?

Losing the Clarence

It isn’t often that Exeter makes the national news, which is a good thing. We’re a small city with mostly well behaved citizens, where bad things rarely happen. Last week though the unthinkable happened, a fire in the very heart of the city. At 5.20 in the morning, the Royal Clarence Hotel in Cathedral Yard caught fire, it’s believed that the fire began two doors down in the upper floors above a prestigious gallery, and the flying debris caused it to spread. More than 100 fire fighters worked to contain the blaze, and were still working three days later.

The Clarence was the first in the country to take call itself a hotel, a term copied from the French, prior to that there were only inns. The hotel was built in 1769, on the site of an earlier tavern and had a reputation for being haunted.

I’ve finally been to Cathedral yard to see the site for my self, here are some photos.

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There were no injuries and for that we must be thankful. Quite a few shops around the hotel, including on the High street were slightly damaged and remain closed. Demolition work began this week, and owner has pledged a sensitive re-build, we have to hope.

I’ve posted both of these photos before, but first the hotel in the centre, with the cathedral green on the left and the buildings on the right date from 1500.

The hotel has always looked splendid at night. To the right 15th century St Martins,built on the site of a previous church from 1065, and Mol’s Coffee House, built in 1596 with it’s Dutch style gables.


Exeter suffered a great deal of damage during the blitz, including to the cathedral, but nearly all the buildings along the Yard survived, it’s desperately sad to see this part of our heritage destroyed.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Local

“Home” is more than where we sleep at night. It is a place that is familiar and comforting, and it gives us a sense of belonging. Home is what and who is local — the places and people we know by heart.

Jen’s challenge this week is local. Those of you that have followed Lucid Gypsy for a while know that I have a deep attachment to my local area, the city and surrounding county. It isn’t grand, posh or showy, just very beautiful, and it isn’t difficult to show it off.

I hope you like what you see, are you sharing what local means to you?