I've been in Devon this week with my family where we made the most of crisp winter days with blue skies. We stayed in a thatched cottage in a remote village with views of the River Dart. En route when looking for services, we were pleased to spot a brown sign for Stourhead House, a stunning Palladian mansion inspired by the Italian Grand Tour.
|Steam train from the ferry|
In Dittisham we rang the bell by the Ferry Boat Inn (where we enjoyed the best Sunday roast ever) and a man appeared in a boat. He took us across the river to Greenway, Agatha Christie's house. We went on a riverboat cruise in Dartmouth where we saw a dolphin, a seal and a steam train; and at Blackpool Sands we found a sandy beach.
The best part about being in a remote village was that my mobile phone only worked if I stood on the crumbling steps by the church in the cold. Even then a couple of bars wasn't always enough to let my messages and emails through. I'm so used to tweets and texts beeping throughout the day that initially I missed them. But without them, my head was clearer and I found that I enjoyed the break. Of course as soon as we went anywhere in the car, the first thing I did was check messages and emails and reply to them. And on the last day I gave in and went into the pub/village store for a cappuccino and used their Wi-Fi.
|On the path to Greenway from boat|
Now it's almost March (hello Spring?), I need to change gear with respect to my writing so I can produce a half-decent draft of The Painting for the RNA New Writers' Scheme by the end of August. This means I shall have to [try and] limit time spent social networking. Sometimes it's easy to switch on the computer, open Word, open the internet; then Tweetdeck and Facebook, then Blogger to check stats and before I know it an hour has passed.
Do you sometimes wish you could get away from your mobile phone?