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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods March 2021

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas APRIL. 05, 2021

Odds and Sods, or "an assortment of small, miscellaneous items, especially those that are not especially important or valuable".

I take so many photos each month and only use some of them in posts so I decided to do an actual post at the end of each month for the odds and sods that are left over, thus encouraging me to go back and see what I missed.

So we start in Dartmouth where I always like to find something I have missed previously. I liked the clashing contrast of the wall colour here.

This one below was a row of bollards with chains blocking a parking area that is obviously not used very often.

I like spotting cast iron on streets and pavements because, when very old they nearly always sport a local name of a small foundry, this one being from neighbouring Torquay only a few miles away. Things like this are now mass produced by huge corporations probably from half way around the world.

Four coves below starting with the nearest and working away into the distance. Castle Cove. Sugary Cove. Deadman's Cove, Ladies Cove. A fifth one just around the corner out of sight is Compass Cove. It would be interesting to know how they got their names. Deadman's would almost certainly be where bodies had washed ashore after some shipping tragedy. Castle Cove is clearly the one by the castle. I am guessing Sugary Cove is a corruption of another word and could be the oldest name. Ladies Cove could simply be where ladies went to bathe as bathing beaches were gender separated in Victorian times even though bathers were almost fully dressed. I suppose a flash of wrist or ankle might have caused terrible consequences.

The blossom trees have been profuse this year as it has been very mild and with very few windy days.

You may have come across the English surname Pargeter before. It is an ancient name and derives from the trade of plastering walls and so it evolved into plasterer. However it also gave rise to the ancient craft of Pargeting which is what you see below. Those images you are looking at are three dimensional bas reliefs and it is a highly skilled art form rarely carried out these days.

Normally Pargeting is painted in a single colour and so all the details and the beauty of the image are formed by the shadows of the relief work. Here it has been expertly overpainted although to my mind this defeats the object of the bas relief by actually disguising it. This example of Pargeting has been here many years and I have always admired it but I have to say, less so, now that it has been overpainted in this way.

In the days of heroes not victims there were people like John Davies who when they went to work creating the modern world we live in, went in the full knowledge that they were facing death if they failed in their efforts.

Today we don't drive ten miles without the knowledge that we have food, fuel and water available every few miles not to mention a mobile phone on which we can summon help that will arrive within minutes if we get into a life threatening situation like a flat tyre.

John Davies travelled the world on a tiny wooden ship in the certain knowledge that food, fuel and water were no guarantee wherever he went and there was no way to call for help and no help to call. In those days you left home on a journey that would last years and everything you might need during those years had to go with you. Something as basic as iron nails to make repairs would have to be made on ship. Sail repairs had to be done on ship. Water had to be found and collected on the way. Food had to be sourced in parts of the world where you didn't even know what was edible.

So we erect monuments to these brave people to honour their memory, because all the luxury, safety, security, education, knowledge and abundance of all things, together with the freedom to display feelings of entitlement and the ability to glory in ignorance that are available to us today is their gift to us.

How much more would John Davies have achieved had he not been killed by pirates. How do we now live in a time where there are people who want to put up statues to pirates?

This panorama below is one of the best views of Dartmouth (left) and Kingswear (right) showing how wide the river is at this point. In the distance is the Royal Naval College.

In July 1939, a 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth accompanied her parents on a visit to Dartmouth Britannia Royal Naval College. It’s there she met 18-year-old Philip Mountbatten, a cadet tasked with entertaining the princess and her sister, Margaret, throughout the weekend. They played games on the campus’s tennis courts and dined upon the royal yacht. The queen was instantly besotted, and from that day on, didn’t take any other suitors seriously at all. (Vogue France)

This is a very high spring tide in the creek below. It's not often that these tied up boats actually get to float as they are normally beached.

These two shots are from Goodshelter, a hard to reach hamlet on a small side creek.

These are from Kingsbridge where more boats are starting to appear as they are taken out of winter storage.

Here is another of the world's great explorers, Charles Darwin. Because not only was he a biologist with revolutionary ideas he too, like John Davies, risked his life travelling the world. It was on these travels embarking from this nearest point on land that he went on his most famous journey where what he witnessed led him to develop the theory, as it was then, of evolution.

No scientific theory has ever had to withstand so much challenge against it's basic truth. The beauty of science though is that it is at it's strongest when challenged and when it prevails, in fact the scientific theory needs challenges to thrive. Since Darwin outlined his idea not one single discovery has undermined it, on the contrary, every new discovery simply acts like another brick mortared into the wall.

If you want a riveting read about real life written in a vivid and gripping way you could do worse than to read, The Voyage of the Beagle written by the man himself in the form of his journals written on the voyage.

This is Plymouth water front. The large wall on the left is the defensive wall protecting Royal William Yard the victualling centre for the Royal Navy, built in the 1830's.

There are so many defensive structures scattered about the coast path here relating to the defence of Plymouth harbour and the Navy Docks here that it is not always clear what date they are from. This looks like a Second World War structure, possibly a viewpoint or gun emplacement.

Royal William Yard is now a playground of apartments, restaurants and yachts.

This is Start Point from Strete Gate beach.

and at nearby Torcross the swans were preening their feathers.

and here is the food takeaway point for The Start Bay Inn, hopefully opening on the 17th May for indoor dining again.

an elaborate doorway in Totnes.

and I had to throw in one of the arrival of the phonebox.

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