By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
The Photographer and his small and even more demented Assistant have, together with the rest of Dartmoor had a busy time. First, tales of other people, who have had an even more eventful month than us. There have been so many happy and touching happenings its been difficult to keep up with it all.
Our neighbour had a big birthday and spent it amongst those of us in the small hamlet, who hold her dear as a member of our very small community. What touched us all was that she wanted to spend the day with us, and she spent her birthday waiting on us all with marvellous food and wine, sharing her garden and her house with us all.
Another neighbour gave up a great deal of time to an event in the little town’s church, which was quite lovely with beautiful flowers and displays.
Our neighbour opposite took mercy on the old dog and whilst The Photographer and The Assistant were at The Wiscombe Park round of the National Speed Hillclimb championship rescued him from his miserable crying, (normally he goes everywhere with us, but it was too hot). Our neighbour took him into his own home, and when we returned, quite worn out, he gave us a cup of tea.
Along the road another neighbour has spent some time now looking after and comforting her mother as her father has just died. Some people across the road have spent much of the year never complaining, but repairing their house, which was flooded on Christmas Eve.
Closer to home, in the little town, the Boyfriend has never moaned and always smiled, while he gave everything he had to help our daughter while she looked for a newer and better job. There are many tales of hardship and determination that this small community up on these hills faces with an admirable determination. No one need be alone here, unless they want to be and almost certainly no rotting corpses will be found behind closed doors. The most perverse characters are looked after, even if they don’t want to be.
From our friends, who live a distance from us, we have heard from a first time grandmother, who just loves having a grandchild. We have heard from a dear friend recovering from cancer, whose daughter is our god child, that her son, who we have known since he was a baby, has shown all that determination that he exhibited as a small toddler, and has climbed The Three Peaks in aid of a child’s cancer charity. We know that this was hard, because the Assistant, who is fond of walking, very nearly didn’t make it on a difficult route up Snowdon.
Finally, on the local events front, unusually, we are going to name a location on the Moor. This is the small, now beautifully restored medieval Gidleigh Church, which has one of the most beautiful Rood Screens that we have ever seen. Every Sunday afternoon, you can be a complete unbeliever if you like, just get up there if you are near. You can have the most delicious tea in the most wonderful surroundings. It is all very poetic as you sit among the gravestones and drink your tea. The event finishes at the end of August.
So to the great heat that those of us, who are used to the blasting winds and storms off the Moor, have been at first thrilled with and then just subsided under. Both the Photographer and his Assistant have been running around like frenetic insects just trying to keep the vegetables watered, harvested and processed. We really want to do everything ourselves for when our daughter and the Boyfriend help look after the house, it has nearly driven them mad too whilst working really hard for the pittance issued to the employed these days. Its hard to harvest tomatoes at ten pm! However, we really didn’t mean it all to happen over a couple of weeks! As the Assistant writes this, the Photographer is making broad bean hummus as fast as he can go before getting down to putting his Hillclimb photos up on his professional website!
As the heat peaked we held a BBQ for The Boyfriend’s little boy and this was the event where the nature of the Moor took over. Lately, Spring Watch would have trouble keeping up with the wild life here. Right now heat crazed black birds are trying to gain entry to the green houses to peck the tomatoes and other animals are digging big holes to gain access to water. On the day that the boy came, we were sitting in the hall, when a snake sneaked in. No one noticed it until the hissing started. It had become trapped under the front door. The little boy ran to get the Photographer while his father attempted a daring manoeuvre with a cake tin. This upset the snake further, the front door was gradually opened and the snake slithered away. On the same day, all the male members of the family were stung by wasps, who had been building an underground tunnel in the Assistant’s little garden. All in all the little chap, who comes from the city, had an eventful and exciting day.
You can come around any evening now and you will find both The Photographer and his Assistant fast asleep on the sofa pretending to watch one of Dan Cruikshank’s history programs. Dan is all alone out there, we’re not really seeing him!