If this is Devon in January, then I’m a happy bunny. What could be nicer? Warm enough not to require more than a winter coat, a warm scarf and ankle boots rather than snow shoes or even a bathing suit; a climate not really cold nor disgustingly hot. My kind of place. Add to that a silver river, silken and serene, with sunshine sparkling on the water, an antiques’ centre in which to browse, and the welcoming Salutation Inn for lunch … well, who needs ‘abroad’? I certainly don’t. I can’t help it but I just love England, I love Devon, and I particularly love Topsham. And Topsham is where husband and I went today.
Regular readers might recall I’ve written about the antiques’ centre in Topsham before and I apologise if this refrain is getting a trifle boring, but when you enjoy a place, well you do tend to go there again and again, don’t you?
We parked our car and strolled down to the quay from where I took the above photo at the back (or is it the front?) of the antiques’ centre. This view is looking downstream along the River Exe to Exmouth. The sun was so bright I couldn’t actually see anything, I just pointed my camera in a general direction. The view below is of the opposite side of the river, oh so calm and blue …
As I mentioned previously, the quay antiques’ centre was originally a warehouse but has been an antiques centre for a couple of decades, with antiques and collectables on three floors. It’s not a pretty building, but warehouses rarely are. However, I like it’s red-brick sturdiness.
It might be plug-ugly, but inside there is so much to see. Indeed, I’m glad husband was with me to keep a check on what I might’ve otherwise bought! “Are you sure you really need another …” is a much-uttered sentence, just adding whatever I happened to be looking at so longingly.
I don’t particularly like dolls (indeed, I don’t like dolls!) and I don’t have a penchant – as some women do – for having fluffy toys on the bed or sitting in a little pram, but I find these little teddy bears rather appealing. But they only look appealing as they’re lined up here; I wouldn’t want to disturb them and take just one home; one would look silly in our home, a little bear without his companions. I couldn’t bear that (sorry!)
I also liked this display of Staffordshire figures but, again, I liked seeing it here; I wouldn’t have wanted to have bought any of them … some things only look good as collections, not as single items. Whereas some things look perfectly splendid as single items.
And then I spied something I really did like. A pair of cut glass salts. While the last thing I need are another pair of salts, I thought “I don’t need to use them as salts, they are simply cut glass oblong dishes, ideal for chutney or olives!” And at £5 for the two, I bought them. I mean, a fiver! What can you get for that? A few pence change from a monthly magazine? A bunch of flowers? Perhaps two plastic boxes in Asda? These are Victorian cut glass, perfect condition. For a fiver. I rest my case.
I haven’t even washed them yet, I just wanted to show them to you. I should’ve placed a coin next to them to give you some idea of size, but they are a little under three and a half inches long. Ideal for the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.
As on the previous occasions when we were in Topsham, we lunched at The Salutation, in the Glasshouse restaurant.
The glassed-in carriage-way of this restaurant/hotel, where we had our lunch
As before we opted for a sharing cheese platter with additional bread and olives, and a pot of tea.
A sugar bowl complete with sugar tongs (who says no one uses these any more!)
Bread, butter and olives, an extra with our cheese platter
All the cheeses – and please don’t ask me to repeat what our waiter said they were! – are English and, for the most part, from the South West (Devon, Cornwall, Somerset.) The chutney is delicious, as are the caramelized walnuts. This doesn’t look much, but believe me, once we’d polished off the bread, the parmesan biscuits, the olives and the cheese, we felt we’d been royally fed.
After that we strolled back for one last look at the buildings by the river before driving home.
I love this building, red brick glowing in the January sunshine accented by blue shutters
Not mine, I’m afraid (but there again, I’d not want it, even if it was given to me; lovely it might look, but I’m no sailor!)
Once home, I put the kettle on and we had a lovely strong cup of tea, and when I picked up the post which had arrived one item was the DVD of the film Hampstead, which I’d been longing to see, so I decided not to tackle the pile of ironing but simply to finish of what has been a lovely day by watching it. It was an absolute joy so if you’ve not seen this film and get the opportunity to do so, it comes highly recommended. Yes, it’s pure escapist stuff, but what’s wrong with that on a January afternoon?
Until next time.