Barrel HouseThe Barrel House, Totnes, is an interesting establishment. Having said that, most establishments in this town are interesting for one reason or another!

Situated quite near to Happy Apple (the shop where, from dawn to long past dusk, you can buy more or less anything food-related) it serves coffees and meals downstairs in a fairly normal-looking environment. Upstairs, though, there’s an altogether different world. It’s a kind of ballroom, with over-the-top chandeliers – and lots of squishy sofas to loll on. They serve food and drinks up there too and people can ‘chill’ to their hearts’ content in a wholly relaxed atmosphere.

Periodically there’s entertainment, though I haven’t really looked into that yet. It’s something I must do, come to think of it!

Oh, I’m nearly forgetting to mention why, for me, today is Good News Day! I received an email from Amazon Kindle this morning telling me that SAM’S STORY: It’s A Dog’s Life is Number One in its category for freebies. How thrilling is that?! Here, if you’re interested, is its LINK.


Castle behind houses

I thought you might like to see this view of Totnes Castle, as seen from my front door! Turning left at the street corner seen here, I very soon reach the heart of Totnes – and Happy Apple, the shop that’s open all hours and sells virtually every food item you can imagine. Don’t know where I’d be, without Happy Apple virtually on my doorstep!

In a complete contrast from Totnes, I walked with the U3A walking group at Wembury – near Plymouth – today and here’s a house that caught my imagination. How would you feel, living here and enjoying this view on a daily (and ever-changing) basis?

How would you like to live here?

How would you like to live here?

After our longish walk, and before the rain that had threatened all morning really set in, we finally reached this idyllic cafe – where we had a well-earned rest and a lovely lunch:


Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tour of Totnes and Wembury! Have a great weekend.


Hidden Garden

This morning I peeped through a half-open tall wooden gateway in Totnes and what did I see? This hidden garden path, stretching in front of me invitingly. I think the fact it was hidden made it all the more inviting – though I somehow resisted the temptation to trespass!

If you happen to be in Totnes and wonder where this beautiful garden is, I’ll give you a clue: it is on the same side of the road and not at all far from this brilliant gallery run by my good friends Penny and Graham. (If ever a shop was worth a visit, this one is!)


And right opposite Penny and Graham’s emporium (filled with amazing temptations) is my favourite coffee shop. (Pity it was dustbin day when I took its picture):

WoodsFabulous coffee (and home-cooked, locally sourced food) found here!


Sorry to report that the Totnes Cats’ Cafe no longer exists. It has had to close owing to illness, which is rather sad. Vintage Living has gone from the High Street too – but still exists at their warehouse in Brook’s Yard on the Totnes Industrial Estate. They had their grand re-opening last Saturday, giving visitors a free scented rose with every purchase. We miss their town presence, but wish them well in their new home.

Stolen From Susie

Speaking of new homes, Stolen From Susie has moved into Vintage Living’s old premises. Stolen From Susie (fabulous handbags and scarves) used to be further up the ‘Narrows’ at the top of Totnes, with its sister shop Susie & Me (fab fashions) opposite. Now the two businesses (run by Susie, her husband and daughter) have come together as Stolen From Susie And Me – and are well worth a visit!


Totnes Castle, dating back to Norman times, can be seen in tantalizing glimpses from virtually all over town. Here it is, giving you rather more than a glimpse:

Totnes Castle from foot

Its circular stone keep has walls fifteen feet thick and the mound (or motte) on which it is built rises over fifty feet from the bailey below. The inner bailey was once surrounded by a deep moat and there used to be a chapel and a large hall within the bailey. There was plenty of space to accommodate a large contingent of men and horses, along with all their stores, but by the fifteenth century it was solely used as an occasional administrative centre for Totnes. For example, The Assize of Bread and Ale took place in the castle.

In case you’re wondering, an assize was a 13th century statute in late medieval English law, regulating the price, quality and weight of the bread and beer manufactured and sold in hamlets, villages and towns.

As I live within a few yards of the Castle, it is a useful landmark to tell my visitors who are new to Totnes to look out for when trying to find my house in the slightly bewildering traffic system we have here! It is the one building that you’d think nobody could possibly miss as it dominates the town from its lofty height. (But some people do manage to miss it!)

In an earlier post I told of the way May Day is celebrated up there at daybreak annually on 1st May, so I won’t go into that again here. I’ll just mention that I don’t always welcome the steep climb up to the Castle at 5.30 am!

Here are a few of the tantalizing glimpses of Totnes Castle from here, there and everywhere:

Glimpse Totnes Castle

How would you like to have a haircut here?

Chrissys & Castle (2)

A stranger in town? There it is again, on the horizon:

Roundabout Castle

And finally, over the tree tops from China Blue:

Castle from China Blue

One thing’s certain – being a near-neighbour of Totnes Castle, I should never have a problem finding my way home!


Curiouser & Curiouser

Living in Totnes sometimes feels a little like living in Wonderland – so it isn’t wholly surprising to find a shop called Curiouser & Curiouser along its main street! They serve teas and coffees in here, as well as selling various items associated with Lewis Carroll’s Alice.

Did I ever mention that Costa Coffee tried to come to Totnes, but failed because it was considered that we already had more than our fair share of coffee shops? Besides which, Totnes tries very hard to hold on to its individuality by giving priority to local, rather than national, enterprises. The Fat Lemon Cafe and Tangerine Tree Cafe are two highly individual such shops that spring readily to mind.

Well, the rather large premises that Costa Coffee would have occupied near the foot of town have remained empty for quite some while now and have looked increasingly unloved as time has gone by. Now, though, there is sudden activity there – suggesting that something is afoot and that the premises are unloved no longer!

So I’m keeping my eyes open and hoping to know more soon …


Colony Vintage

As I’ve touched quite a bit on vintage things recently, I thought I had to include this shop – Colony Vintage – that has not been long in Totnes, selling vintage clothing. I especially like their High Street sign – don’t you? So I thought I’d give it the close-up treatment:

Totnes TQ9

See you again soon!