A Dartmoor Christmas Card

By the Photographer’s Assistant

It is a Sunday and Colin Smith of Bowdens, the popular ironmongers, is doing his bit for Christmas. He is perched at the top of one of his own ladders, outside the shop, decorating the Christmas tree. He should be having his Sunday lunch, but this is more important! The problem is that in this traditional community nearly everyone else is on their way to Sunday lunch, even if it is a liquid one! Colin is up and down that ladder like an Olympic athlete, everyone wants a chat.

Chris of Blacks, the deli at which we have our now famous Monday breakfast, has been putting in the most tremendous efforts . Anyone who wants to see us about anything now comes and sees us when we are having breakfast, which is lovely and very cheering. Not only do we recommend Blacks for the mouth watering food, but the display is quite simply tremendous. Usually known as a cricket fan, Chris has transferred his skills to climbing, not a skill for which he was previously known, but something at which he has now shown his hand (note to the Dartmoor Rescue team) Chris has put on a huge display of lights, at his home of which any town could be proud. His display looks amazing and the Photographer couldn’t resist taking loads of pictures.


Chris does subtle.........

Chris does subtle………

At the Birdcage cafe, there is a wonderful window display, It is very traditional, with beautiful white birds, ginger bread houses and some very special Christmas trees. The boys, who run the cafe have had some beautiful white trees made to especially fit their window. If you want to see something pretty, this is the place for a lovely display.


A Birdcage stuffed with fine fare. As Christmassy a window as you can possibly imagine

A Birdcage stuffed with fine fare. As Christmassy a window as you can possibly imagine

At our social retreat, The Courtyard Cafe, there is the homey atmosphere of a family lounge, and in many ways this is what this place means to so many of us. Here are red bells, beautiful table decoration and the most amazing display of organic food. The Assistant simply doesn’t know which of the display to buy for the family. In the the background, Vicky administers hot drinks, cakes and comfort to her customers. Not for nothing has the cafe got a Taste of the West Award this year. During Christmas and the New Year anyone who has had a rough time or has sadness in their heart can find a sociable and cosy hole here.


All good things for the Organic palete, served by the lovely Vicky and all her lovely colleagues

All good things for the Organic palete, served by the lovely Vicky and all her lovely colleagues

Meanwhile, in the Square, Adam, that well known wizard with clothes, and Vicky, the loveliest saleswoman, have been at work, making the fashion boutique look like something from Oxford Street, while the shop uniquely sells glamorous clothes that will also keep you warm, when those cold Moorland blasts arrive.


These boots are made for putting under the Christmas tree.......even a Magnolia

These boots are made for putting under the Christmas tree…….even a Magnolia

If you want a drink whilst walking around, take your pick. We have four hostelries, all of which will welcome you.

All in all, if you live near, your needs will be met with loving care from a member of our community, and there are not many places where this can happen in that fast paced, largely commercially minded world out there, and, yes, we do know how lucky we are.

Finally, we cannot end this blog without acknowledging the especially terrible plight of our refugee neighbours around the world. Please take time out, even though you are so very busy, to read this poem, which I wrote 11 years ago, since when the plight and numbers of refugees has only increased..

After reading it you may want to donate to the Disaster Emergency Committee and BBC Children of Yemen Appeal

A Child Stands

A child stands
Its hands are ivory
Its feet are shrouded
In white white fur
In its hands
A blanched candle

The only noise
None at all

Complete darkness
Envelopes the scene
No star so bright
No small wrapped present

The child is still.

Inside the child burns
The eyes speak of a vast

Not a word uttered
No tears call
But the child knows
It is alone

The Photographer’s snapshots can be seen on Flickr (follow link) or the serious stuff is on Artfinder (follow link)

Any similarity between characters in this blog and real people, products or events is entirely co-incidental

Any similarity between “The Little Town” and Chagford is entirely deliberate, Click on this link to find out more. Visit Chagford


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