Topsham, on the River Exe, Devon
Some days are just perfect, aren’t they? You can plan all you like but often as not planning doesn’t always result in perfection whereas a spur of the moment decision can result in a truly enjoyable time.
We awakened to yet more sunshine (even though we’ve been ‘promised’ cooler weather from tomorrow onward) and so we decided to drive to Topsham, a small town (some might say a village) on the banks of the River Exe just below the city of Exeter.
We managed to find a parking space for the car, and then walked towards the quay. The path is set just above the road.
It only takes about an hour to drive to Topsham from our home, and we arrived around midday, just in time for lunch in The Salutation Inn. This was an old coaching inn but it is now advertised as a restaurant with rooms. We enjoyed a light lunch, as we have done before, in the Glasshouse Cafe.
This would’ve been the carriage way of the inn where carriages and horses would’ve arrived. Today, it’s been glassed in and is a lovely place for a meal. We chose, as we have done in the past, a cheese platter to share, with a pot of tea for two.
This doesn’t look all that much for two people but believe me it was filling enough for us. The central dish contained chutney and there were grapes, pieces of celery and walnuts to enjoy, too. The crusty bread was lovely, as were the parmesan wafers.
We then had a stroll through the narrow streets of this old village, passing some rather nice shops …
Topsham’s position, on the River Exe, offered a sheltered port during the 18th and 19th centuries. There are also many Dutch-style houses dating from when Topsham was an important cotton trading port. Indeed, many of the houses are built with Dutch bricks – which are slightly smaller and inferior to English bricks – as these were used as ballast from Holland; they were removed on arrival when the ships would then have been re-loaded with wool and cotton from South-West England, destined for the Netherlands.
As you can see, it was a gloriously sunny blue-sky spring day. We then walked along by the River Exe towards the Quay Antiques Centre.
This is looking downstream towards Exmouth, a holiday resort at the mouth of the River Exe.
And this view (above) was taken from a flight of steps down to the quay.
The Antiques Centre is housed in an old warehouse, an ugly monstrosity really, but it wasn’t built for pleasure but as a flour store in the late 1940s. But once inside you overlook its shortcomings as it’s an Aladdin’s cave of wonderful things. However, although I saw one or two things I liked, there was nothing which shouted “buy me”!
I confess I was tempted by these items of passementerie. They are tremendously intricate and time-consuming to make, and these looked so beautiful. If ever we painted our sitting room pastel blue, just think how lovely these would’ve looked as curtain tie backs for our salmon pink curtains! They are works of art in their own right, I think, and would’ve even looked lovely hanging from the standard lamp
I rather liked this little tea set on its own china tray, but I already have a pretty ‘bachelor’ set as they are called (a set for one) and, quite frankly, where on earth would I put such an item in our already abundantly-filled home? But it’s nice just to see pretty things like this without feeling the need to buy them.
(I just thought I’d pop this photo in of my own little tea set which belonged to my late uncle.)
Anyone wishing to start a collection of cranberry glass would’ve been happy as there were lovely pieces of glass everywhere.
And lots of tins and old tools.
And this is the view from the middle floor of the warehouse, looking downstream toward Exmouth. I did find one item though, a book which I have put away for younger son’s birthday, I know it will be right up his street, and it is brand new, perhaps a review copy someone has parted with (or an unwanted present.)
On the way back to the car we passed these cottages and I thought just how simple and yet how pretty they are. I couldn’t take a photo any closer, it would’ve seemed too intrusive, but as you can see, spring really has sprung. The cars in the distance are parked on the car park, which is where we were heading.
When we arrived home I found that two books had arrived – I said it’d been a perfect day, didn’t I?
I am so looking forward to these two novels, one by experienced novelist Jacqueline Winsprear, and one by first-time novelist, Vanessa Robertson.
And finally, the daffodils I bought yesterday have opened and look so pretty. I don’t usually put daffodils in the sitting room, but I’ve made an exception with these.
They were on offer … all these lovely flowers for £1.69. It doesn’t get better than that, does it?
Until next time.