Well, it’s still only week one, so it’s time to talk about Dartmoor.
I’d taken my driving test a few times – just to be certain, you understand. Okay, that’s an outright lie. Frankly, I found it difficult to predict other drivers’ intentions. The worst of it was when my test route went across Countess Wear roundabout in Exeter. I hate Countess Wear. I still won’t drive on it, if I can possibly avoid it. Everyone who drives around Countess Wear drives there every single day, and so the largely-ignored yet multiple road markings, the arbitrarily changing traffic lights and the general gushing speed, doesn’t bother them. It terrifies me. I have been almost driven into repeatedly on that roundabout. And I had two of my driving tests on that route.
Anywho, when I finally passed (number five, since you ask), I bought the first halfway intact car I could afford and drove around the county, as if I had anywhere in particular to go.
And I drove to Dartmoor, a lot.
I loved it. Passing endless gorse bushes on a road that seemed to stretch beyond the horizon, it was a feeling of freedom that nothing else quite matches up to. I usually wound up driving all the way to Peter Tavy, a place I still love beyond words, and just wandered about with my camera and my walking boots, passing the time.
Years later, I directed my uncle on the road towards Peter Tavy. We didn’t get very far, largely because my uncle didn’t much like driving.
So, we stopped at a pub. One of the finest in the county, and how I adore it, The Highwayman.
When we went in, it was a little kooky and out-there for my generally buttoned-down, conservative uncle, but I felt like I’d come home. The cider was cloudy, and the hangover kicked in almost the second I stepped outside for a smoke, but there were random objét dotted all over the place, and a slender blonde behind the bar. It’s a weakness, I admit. It was only afterwards that I learned The Highwayman is supposed to be one of the most haunted pubs in Devon.
I kind of wished we’d stayed to dinner.