Waterstones in Taunton have made a great mural out of the little tags that we use to seal the totes the books get delivered in -
Isn't it great?
Then we hit the motorway and went south to Exeter, along the coast to Exemouth. Did you know that Exemouth has an amazing 12 charity shops? I don't think we actually bought anything in any of them, but there were loads. Sidmouth next, which is a pleasant little town with lots of little galleries etc.
I do have one thing to say about all these places. Don't you think they should be encouraging people to stay as long as possible and browse happily without having to watch the time because they only have 2 hours in the car park? If the parking was free people would be more inclined to stay and shop, wouldn't they? I hate to think how much we spent just on parking in the week that we were away.
Anyway, after Sidmouth, where we declined the overpriced room in a seaside hotel (who would obviously rather the room was empty than offer a reasonable rate), we hopped inland to Honiton where we booked a room in a hotel/guesthouse via my iphone from a layby just outside Honiton and the delightful, if slightly eccentric, Thai lady owner was all ready for us twenty minutes later when we arrived. I love my iphone.
Next morning in Honiton was market day - and they just set up the market all along the high street at the side of the road, with no worrying about the traffic.
From Honiton we moved on to Poole, where we had a lovely icecream on the front from a very rude woman. If she worked in my shop she'd get a rocket up her arse, I can tell you. The icecream was nice though. :)
There was a little bookshop in Poole with interesting stock, though we didn't buy anything, but he recommended their other shop in Bournemouth, which was the direction we were heading anyway so we got very lucky in that shop. Pete bought some graphic novels. They had a lovely selection of craft books too but nothing that I didn't already have. It's Winton Bookshop in Cardigan Road in Winton, Bournemouth. The chap who runs it was a total delight. Very knowledgeable about his stock and really helpful. We could have chatted to him all day. It's not very often you can say that about second-hand booksellers. Anyway I highly recommend them. They're well worth checking out if you happen to be in the area.
We spent that night with Pete's sister in Gosport and the following morning we did Fareham, Chichester and Arundel before heading for his other sister who lives near Horsham.
Thursday we went to Brighton where we had a good mooch along The Lanes and drank a lot of coffee and walked along the prom. The pier looks very sad. We had a really good day, just wandering around aimlessly looking at the lovely little shops and galleries.
Friday was Pete's birthday and had booked the Eurotunnel to Calais. We were hoping to find a local flea market but working on duff information from the internet the only market we found was a general one, though we did have a fantastic cup of coffee in one of those surreal little cafe/bar establishments with odd local people in that only seem to exist in small French market towns. Back to Calais then where we managed to avoid the traditional row about directions and who is the better navigator and why can't the French put proper signposts up. We got well stocked up on wine and cheese and other goodies as you can imagine.
So we got home late on Friday night, totally exhausted.
And here is my haul of crafty stuff -
That's the crafty books.
And the crime books. You may be able to see that I am on a bit of an Elizabeth Peters kick. How odd - no serial killers.
and the magazines. I bought some bits of fabric too in Bath but they're not in the photo for some reason.
And this is our painting, bought in Ilfracombe. Again it is by a Devon artist called Kevin Powell. Here's a close up of the little man. It's called The Leafkicker.