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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods November 2021 Part 2

Originally published on Blogspot by Gethin Thomas on December 6th 2021

My monthly odds and sods normally run to two parts these days, now that I am not doing the 365 challenge. I still take a lot of photos when out and about but I am no longer posting something every day, so there tends to be a fair few photos I want to show by the end of the month.

I like making my odds and sods posts because I never know in which direction it will go and what will turn up as I research the places I have visited.

There is quite a Salcombe bias to my posts for November as I ended up going three times. Being very busy in summer with holiday makers and boaters, in winter it is quite the opposite, as its high percentage of holiday homes means it is fairly deserted.

In fact most of the people around appear to be boat builders, boat repairers and property renovators working on the hugely expensive projects that seem to be a permanent feature of the town. At lunch time there is a veritable huddle of hard hats around the entrance to the pasty shop. This is the time of year when there is space and time to maintain the fabric of the town and it's boats before it all starts up again in the Spring.

So below is an indication of how we get to Salcombe. It is the rust stained landing stage for the ferry that crosses the narrow inlet to the Estuary or more accurately the Rea. I won't go into too much general information about Salcombe here as I have already done that in my Salcombe post, based on a Photo Walk I did on a separate occasion.

This photo below sort of encapsulates what I have already said, with its seaside holiday motifs, the drawn blinds, and its end of season plant pots looking a bit sorry for themselves.

I have no excuse for this next photo beyond the fact that it seemed like a good idea at the time. There was something about the arrangement of pipes and the seasonal parking rules on the sign that caught my eye. Note that you can stop and block the narrow street here in October through to April with no problem. Again a small indication of the life cycle in Salcombe.

This window box has more of an end of civilisation feel to it than end of season, as I say the streets are quite narrow and here is more proof, where some vehicle has driven right into it. It makes an interesting shot though with it's marine rust, dents, and curlicues.

This one below is fairly self-explanatory. Devon's oldest sweet shop, established in 1869.

Other events of 1869 were.....

Prospectors in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia, discovering the largest alluvial gold nugget ever found, known as the "Welcome Stranger".

Dmitri Mendeleev finished his design of the first periodic table and sent it for publishing.

The first transcontinental railroad in North America is completed at Promontory, Utah, by the driving of the "golden spike".

Gävle, Sweden is destroyed in a city fire; 8,000 people become homeless.

Irish scientist Mary Ward is killed by a steam car.

The "Welcome Stranger" had a calculated refined weight of 97 Kg, which at today's value would be £4.1 million or $ 5.5 million. That was a good day's work by any standard.

Dmitri Mendeleev was a genius who devised a system of organising the chemical elements on a chart. He was a genius because his system predicted where there would be gaps of as yet undiscovered elements, many of which have since been discovered and placed exactly where he predicted they would go, and some of which have been produced synthetically in laboratories because they do not otherwise exist on earth. His chart even predicted characteristics of the as yet unknown elements, So you could say that he predicted what had not been found and also what was yet to be created. His periodic table was last updated in 2016 with four new elements. In 1955 a team of boffins at California Berkeley were the first to make element 101. It fitted perfectly just where Mendeleev had predicted it would and it was christened Mendelevium in his honour.

The "Pacific Railroad" later named the "Overland Route" was a 1,911-mile (3,075 km) continuous railroad line constructed between 1863 and 1869 that connected the existing eastern U.S. rail network at Council Bluffs, Iowa with the Pacific coast at the Oakland Long Wharf on San Francisco Bay. The link was one of the major inspirations for French writer Jules Verne's book entitled Around the World in Eighty Days, published in 1873.

The biggest town fire of Gävle occurred in 1869, when out of a population of around 10,000 approximately 8,000 inhabitants lost their homes, and about 350 farms were destroyed. Almost the whole town north of Gavleån was burnt down. In 1986 as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, Gävle was subjected to a severe deposition of radionuclides, exceeding 185 kBq per square meter. The impact was much greater than experienced by other regions of western Europe and as such, Gävle became one of the most affected areas outside of the Soviet Union. Several of Mendeleev's rarer elements had escaped into the atmosphere after a reactor meltdown.

Mary Ward was an Irish naturalist, astronomer, microscopist, author, and artist. She was killed when she fell under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins. As the event occurred in 1869, she is the first person known to have been killed by a motor vehicle.

While all of this was going on Mr. Cranch decided to open Devon's Oldest Sweetshop, although he didn't know that was what he was about to do because when he opened it, it was Devon's Newest Sweet Shop.

An experienced sailor could probably read this washing line as it has a certain maritime flag feel to it.

Flag signals can mean any of various methods of using flags or pennants to send signals. Flags may have individual significance as signals, or two or more flags may be manipulated so that their relative positions convey symbols. Flag signals allowed communication at a distance before the invention of radio and are still used especially in connection with ships. Maritime flag signalling has a long history, especially prior to the advent of radio, and remains the preferred means of signalling in many situations.

This is one of the many boat repair businesses that are kept busy during the winter.

........and here are the rear entrances to those boat repair businesses, one or two of which are now fashion emporiums with one being a craft gin distillery. They back on to a small tidal creek which facilitates docking and launching.

Alongside the creek is what serves as a car park in summer and a boat park in winter.

Now we are moving to Stokenham. The village of Stokenham was known in Saxon Times as Stoc or Stoc Hamme ("meaning Stoc meadows"). By the 13th century the town was called Stoke in Hamme. In Mediaeval times St. Humbert the Confessor (d.1188AD) was locally venerated as patron saint in the town.

The area was known in the 19th century for the fine crabs, and in World War II local residents were evacuated from the area, on the eve of D-day.

This photo is looking down at some unusual steps. The church is raised above the road so coming down the front of the building you use these steps. Then there is a stone slab at the top you have to climb over to keep out animals.

As you walk down the side of the church which is on a slope you walk up hill to the graveyard.

To be greeted by this sight, a view of Start Bay in the distance, which is what I was looking at on this overcast day. So much so that I did not notice the woman on her hands and knees amongst the graves, tending to them.

As I walked past we got to talking and it turned out she was maintaining family graves. It seems the church mow the grass but don't tidy the edges much.

The newer graves are in an extension through the gate, so when you look back at the church all the older weathered graves are behind the wall. But then I spotted a new headstone in the old graveyard and then another. These had been added at a later date and very recently.

It turned out that they were war graves belonging to military personnel from the second world war.

Aircraftman 1st Class Cyril Ernest Charles Courtney of the RAF Volunteer reserve, of Beesands. Born in Devon in the June Quarter of 1913. Died 16 March 1944 aged 31.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an intergovernmental organisation of six independent member states whose principal function is to mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military service members who died in the two World Wars. The commission is also responsible for commemorating Commonwealth civilians who died as a result of enemy action during the Second World War.

The commission, as part of its mandate, is responsible for commemorating all Commonwealth war dead individually and equally. To this end, the war dead are commemorated by a name on a headstone, at an identified site of a burial, or on a memorial. War dead are commemorated uniformly and equally, irrespective of military or civil rank, race or creed.

The commission is currently responsible for the continued commemoration of 1.7 million deceased Commonwealth military service members in 153 countries. Since its inception, the commission has constructed approximately 2,500 war cemeteries and numerous memorials. The commission is currently responsible for the care of war dead at over 23,000 separate burial sites and the maintenance of more than 200 memorials worldwide. The commission operates through the continued financial support of the member states: United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.

H.M.S. Coriolanus was a Shakespeare Class Royal Navy Trawler used for mine sweeping. She was sunk by a mine on 05/05/1945 off the coast of Istria in the Adriatic sea some six miles from Novigrad/Cittanova . Today she is a dive site. Prior to that she took part in the North Africa landings in November 1942 and the Sicily landings in July 1943.

To prevent the penetration of Allied warships towards the northern Adriatic, the Germans had during the previous two years of the war laid several thousands of various kinds of sea mines. The mined obstacles had blocked all canals and approaches to the ports, and many minefields were also laid in the open sea off the east coast of Istria. In order to establish necessary maritime traffic along the coast, British minesweepers began the dangerous job of clearing the mines and creating a navigable waterway through the minefields.

Photo, Imperial War Museum

Because the woman tending the family graves was local to the area I decided to ask her about these war graves, but it turned out that she had never noticed they were there and didn't know about them apart from recognising the surnames as being from local families.

But we got talking generally and the subject of "Operation Tiger" came up whereby this whole area was evacuated during the war for use as a training ground and practice beach for the D-Day landings. It was mostly American troops at this location because the beaches resembled those that the Americans were going to land on in France.

There had been a TV programme on recently about it and on the programme the presenter was shown to a remote tumbled down house nearby by a guide. This house was evacuated but no one ever returned and it was explained on the programme that today it is not known who lived there and why they never came back.

The lady talking to me knew the answer and had in fact seen the programme and contacted the programme makers after seeing it to pass on the information. This grave below, that she showed me is the grave of the woman who lived there, a relative of hers.

When this woman was evacuated she went to live inland with some other relatives, but by the end of the war her husband had died and she was too elderly to live on her own in such a remote cottage so never returned. The cottage was a tied cottage and belonged to the farm. It was not accessible by any road and had no mains water or electricity so was left to be forgotten.

Tied Cottage - In the United Kingdom, a tied cottage is typically a dwelling owned by an employer that is rented to an employee: if the employee leaves their job they may have to vacate the property; in this way the employee is tied to their employer. While the term originally applied mainly to cottages, it may be loosely applied to any tied accommodation from a small flat to a large house. The concept is generally associated with agriculture, but may occur in a wide range of occupations.

Like other members of the Clematis genus, "old man's beard" or "traveller's joy" climbs over other plants using its leaf stalks (petioles) and flower stalks. The leaves are not unlike the familiar garden forms of Clematis. The leaf stalks entwine around any convenient support / structure in their vicinity and then lignify (become woody).

Clematis vitalba .The French name for old man's beard is 'herbe aux gueux' – the beggar's or rascal's herb. This is a reference to its use by beggars; they used its acrid sap to irritate the skin to give it a sore and ulcerated look - in order to induce sympathy in, and perhaps a donation from, passers by!


Last but not least another visit to Kingsbridge for this reflections shot.

All added information from Wikipedia unless otherwise stated or linked.

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