16 October 2015

At The Warren House Inn

Yesterday Helen and me took ourselves over Dartmoor from the direction of Exeter, Longdown and Moretonhampstead. Hoping to see some autumn colours, Stopping off at the Warren House Inn for a light snack. We sat down beside the open log fire which was well alight and throwing off a warm glow. At the bench table was a couple there before us, but making moves to leave. I began to make some polite conversation. He responded in a broad local accent, saying he was up from near Bodmin, Cornwall, and on his way to see his mother in hospital, "She is 101 ;  and me I am 81", he added. I asked if he had been a miner, thinking of the Cornish clay industry, but no, he had been in the army, an infantry man. He said he used to be a good shot and his mates would send him up ahead. I asked if he had been shot at or shot anyone. "Yes". he said "many, many times"; to both these questions. "I used to drive tankers as well, and been a boxer". Opening his mouth wide with a great gnarled grin, he showed off his last three remaining front gnashers.

I asked if he would do the same over again. "Oh no - Not again". He replied. "I don't think I could be brave enough another time".
Now the conversation was getting somewhere and all the while his sweet wife had been in the ladies room, but suddenly she re-appeared ready to go on their way. She listened in for a moment or two and added: "His father died at 21"...

"Hit on the head with a cricket ball", he confirmed. At which point his wife piped up once more. "He was brought up by his Grandmother".

Then off they went together, out through the front door of the Inn, proud of each other for having reached this place, quite happy and still well together for the journey ahead.
Oh for my camera! 

He and his dear wife (even all four of us) would have all been happy to sit for a photo call, adding a thousand words to this page.

Coombestone Tor

Hawthorne loaded with red berries

The twisted trunk exposed to the four winds

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