Saturday, 30 January 2010

Day trip to Totnes

Hi Folks. Yesterday I sneaked a couple of snaps while I was waiting for the Bear in town. They were taken in a square just behind the high street. I wanted to show you the local pinky red stone. It's volcanic stone and all the earth round here is this colour. The pic is of a ruined church - ruined due to German bombing in WW2. The glass panels (in Gothic arch shape) are public art and contain embedded bits of pottery and glass dug up during various excavations around the city.

And here is a view showing a glimpse of the Cathedral.

Day trip to Totnes. Here are some classic views of Totnes High Street (taken by other people) from above and below the East gate. (The links given with photos are just to the webpage I found them on.)
By Mathew Walters

Over the last 7 months I have really struggled with going out. Just going to the shops round the corner was horrendously difficult for the second half of last year. I mean REALLY difficult. I went into town on very few occasions and only when I absolutely had to for some reason. I was intensely stressed when there and just wanted to get out ASAP.

I do find it easier to go out under cover of darkness. But I still have to force myself to do it.

So how on earth did I deal with a day trip to another town - half an hour away - on my own?

The night before I laid all night in the fetal position and hardly slept. But when I got up I was very focused and psyched up to do this thing so I was able to get myself out and walk to the train station - a good half hour walk. I felt just so much better when I was on the train. It helped that the scenery is stunning. I couldn't snap it as my camera phone couldn't cope with moving images. (It now occurs to me that I could have videoed it. Duh!) The views were of the estuary and harbours filled with yachts.

The view from the train taken by Ron Strutt

The track runs along the coast and I mean right on the very beach. The Victorians weren't going to be defeated by a bit of sea! In stormy weather the waves crash over the top of the train. It's quite incredible.

This is a video showing a section of my journey. It is a little blurry (on my computer at least) but does show the scenery and the pinky coloured cliffs. The sand is pale yellow - I don't know the answer to that one! Occasionally a steam train is shown but that only runs a few times a year. (Double click on the picture to get full screen)

And then the train turned inland again and we went through the country side and to Totnes. It was a half hour train journey.

I love being on the train. It's like time out of real life. That inbetween-ness.

Of course I was tense. But I was able to appreciate the scenery as well.

I spent quite a bit of time in Totnes when I was younger but I've only been there maybe 3 or 4 times in the last decade. I was unable to take any photos of the town because I just wasn't up to it. I decided to work my way up through the high street.

Here is a short video (not by me) showing some of the streets I walked through in Totnes

And I ended up walking all round the town on both sides of the river. So that was quite a few hours walking. Amazingly I had no trouble doing this amount of walking. Probably it was a huge amount of adrenalin that kept me going.

I did manage a couple of shots down by the river.

And then in the other direction

Looks idyllic huh? Without the roar of the traffic it would be. I went to Totnes to see if I wanted to live there and decided against it due to HUMUNGOUS traffic noise. I mean it was the worst noise I have ever heard. There is a heavy volume of traffic going through and round the town  (the street shown on the video above is a restricted traffic area). But I couldn't account for the noise levels except that there is some problem with the road surface on the principle road. I thought maybe I am going over the top with this. But when I mentioned it to my healer, she completely agreed. Anyway, the volume of traffic was huge on a January afternoon, so I can't even imagine how bad it is at Easter or during the summer months when all the tourists are there.

Sad that so many places have been ruined by the traffic.

So that was disappointing but the day was in no way a fail. I didn't fall apart. I felt OK apart from a couple of moments - which were probably due to tiredness. I have a little confidence now that possibly I can visit other places and be OK.

I found a wonderful old bit of a programme on Totnes from the BBC made in 1978. It's 9 minutes long and is a real gem. Don't worry about the old white haired dude who appears in the 0.30s. He's only on for about 10 seconds and then you get back to some wonderful views of Totnes. The town is unchanged since the 1970s - except that the Gothic house is now painted yellow. It's really weird to think that I was there myself (as a child) only a couple of years after that programme was made. There are many other snippets from that series (click on "More from" to see list) and I'm guessing that most of them are as delightful. You'll have to click on the link as I couldn't embed it.

My food today contained no snacking and no chocolate which is a significant improvement. I have decided to go back to my mantra of "If I don't buy it I can't eat it". And also to avoid processed food. My evening meal tonight is roast chicken with a ton of veg and some mashed potato (yes! I'm a sinner!) I had the same last night and it was delicious.

So I'm definitely making moves in the right direction.


  1. Hi Bearfriend -

    More beautiful pictures. I'm so glad you're being able to override the instinct to isolate by venturing into the your beautiful surrounds. Even if only in an intangible way, this has to be allowing new light into your life and soul. Though this town didn't appear to be "the one", as you said, you have new confidence about more ventures out to find a new home.

    Way to go with the food. I understand that not having the food in the house makes it much easier to just say no! Good to hear you continuing to make moves in the right direction.

  2. I really liked the pics you took and the others from your adventure! I sometimes feel its hard to go out also, I have VERY hard time in crowds. I think its great you had the courage to push yourself out of your own comfort zone to go and experience such wonderful sights!and then come share with us even, what a gift!

  3. Hello BearFriend,
    I appreciate your photography and this collection of your favourite photographs.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Best Wishes.

  4. I think it's fantastic that you made that trip even though it was so hard beforehand. I wonder where you found the courage to go and make yourself do it? It's very admirable. I don't know if I could have done it. I do like to be on trains, though. Once on a train I would be fine. I think I might be alright away from home to in a different place, but I may be really stretching my imagination here. I think being in the train would make me happy. I've traveled by trains since I was little and have always enjoyed looking out the window at the scenery, no matter how much alike it was. All cows look alike after you've seen a few in the meadow. Good for you for going on this adventure. You are an Ace.

  5. Totnes does look beautiful, with no sound! I'm also very impressed that you managed the trip, maybe having a specific object in mind makes it easier to go out rather then just feeling that you 'should' or 'must'?
    Sounds like you're doing well with the food, you're so right about just not buying it so you can't eat it. I sometimes think that would be much easier if I lived alone, as M has a problem with that concept - he's a bit of an 'instant gratification' kind of guy!

  6. Beautiful photos - thank you!

    I'm so impressed with how you're dealing with your agoraphobia. When I suffered from agoraphobia (I think it was really social phobia), public transport was an absolute no-no and I'd pretty much only go out under cover of darkness... This was purely down to my excess weight - all 245lbs of it - and the more weight I shifted, the more my confidence and comfort about being in public grew, which is why I don't belive I suffered from agoraphobia.

    I'm really impressed with all that you're achieving! :o)

  7. absolutely gorgeous picture, I'm glad to made it out. I love Canada but i miss the European architecture and history .

  8. Kudos on the day out. Sounds like a good day, Bearfriend, with all that walking as an exercise bonus. Totnes looks very pretty, shame about the noise. Good job on the food front. That's my philosophy too - if I don't have it in the house, I can't eat it!

  9. Hi Bear Friend. Well, Totnes looks really exciting and beautiful. Loved your photographs. The streets look calm and beautiful. Glad you had a great time...:)

  10. you are definitly moving in right direction ,i am feeling realy happy for your attitude about daily rotine ,thank you so much for sharing such lovely journey ,pics are talking about silent beauty of totnes i wish i could see the veideo because i am in love with scenries passing through the window of the train but could not due to error ,you you breath some more life in i felt peace dear,i agree if i dont have in house i cannt eat,keep stepping on towards the life it is waiting for you with open arms, i found an artistic angle you can be a brilliant photoghrapher best of luck for you each wish

  11. Hi Bear Friend!
    I absolutely loved all your beautiful photos and videos and detailed descriptions of your trip. It was just like being there myself. Well, almost!:-) Definitely would love to visit in person some day, you have inspired me.
    And may I also add how impressed I am that you overcame your fear, went out anyway and had a great time. Very brave of you, and great progress! Can't wait to hear the adventures of your next trip.:-)

  12. I'm so happy you got out for a day trip and got so many cool photos. Maybe you should plan some train trips to other places you want to go to get you out of the house regularly.

    You are not a sinner for eating mashed potato - think of all the other things you could have eaten that would have been worse for you. Enjoy the mash and keep moving in the right direction.

  13. Hey girl!! I'm so proud of you!! I love that you're venturing out a little further and stepping outside of your comfort zone. Just think of ALL the places and things you will get to see as you continue to explore. I love the pics and descriptions you give...thanks so much for sharing with the rest of us.

    I'm also proud of you for no snacking and no chocolate. Believe me, I appreciate what a HUGE accomplishment that is. I have to really, really focus to do that well. My Friday was excellent, but I blew it Saturday. Sunday's been great so far, though! :)

  14. Wonderful photo's, thank you. I have visited Totnes twice several years ago and you took me right back there with your photos. The noise from the traffic was bad back then, I hate to think what it's like now:o(

    You have taken a giant step with this trip and I am so proud of you. BearFriend you have a very BraveHeart.

    Thank you for your lovely supportive comments, they mean a lot to me.



  15. GREAT JOB! your pictures are fabulous! :) Keep on moving in that direction!!! Can't wait to hear more about your adventures.

  16. Hello, my fellow Bear friend.
    Some beautiful photos there. How scenic and looks so quaint. I've love to stroll through those streets.

  17. Bear Friend

    Congratulations for making that wonderful train ride. I know it was a challenge but wow... wouldn't I love to be on that train with the waves splashing up the sides. I think I know what you mean about the oneness and all.

    I agree with the others. You are not a sinner for eating potatoes. Potatoes are good for you... its what you put on them that is not like butter etc.

    I agree. If I don't buy it. I won't eat it. Thanks for your email the other day. I apologize for asking so many personal questions.

  18. i'm very proud of you eating good and i like all your photos. the first ones on top are extra neato!! have a beary great day!! you're on the road to health and well being :-)

  19. I am soooooo proud of you for getting out there! the pics are beautiful. thank you so much for sharing!

    - Lisa

  20. pictures are really beautiful. ..

  21. Hi Bearfriend--

    Wonderful pictures! It's nice that we can ggo with you in your journey like that. Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is always nice to have visitors!

  22. Wonderful pictures! Especially loved those of the cathedral. The red walls are stunning and really set me daydreaming. And what a charming city-so intimate and quaint. There's really nothing that looks anything like it here in the US.

  23. so beautiful....our gain...thank you for the amazing pictures - so beautiful!!!!


All comments gratefully appreciated!