Friday, 18 July 2008

Devon and Deco Delights

Before I started blogging just three days ago, there were lots of occasions where I did something interesting and thought that I would love to share it via a blog, in particular when I made a great vintage find and got very over-excited and wanted to share it with like minded people who get equally over-excited about such things (ie. not Andy or Harry!  Sorry boys.)  So, as today is a pretty "normal" day round here, I'm going to share something we did a couple of weeks back...

Every now and then Andy and I get very lucky and manage a weekend away sans enfant (love him though we do).  This was just such a time and we headed off to Devon, largely for the Burgh Island Summer Ball.  If you haven't encountered Burgh Island, I do hope one day you shall be lucky enough to do so because it is the most magical place.  The island is just off the South Devon coast, separated by Bigbury Bay, and can only be accessed by this beast when the tide is in:

The island has very little on it other than a super-duper art deco hotel.  Here is Burgh seen from the Devon mainland:

The hotel was built to look like an ocean liner, cruising being a popular activity in the '30's. The little building down on the island's edge to the right of the photo is The Pilchard Inn which is a great place to hole up and serves a fine cider (or two).  In its heydey, the hotel's guests included Agatha Christie, Noel Coward, Josephine Baker and other well known celebs of the time. Indeed, the suites are all individually named, many after special past guests, all after things evocative of that glamorous era: Cunard, Odeon.  The interior is completely authentic to the period so if you love art deco, it really is the place to go.

It is expected that everyone wears proper evening dress, so dust off those long frocks and your dancing shoes! 

Nearing midnight, everyone was invited outside to witness an amazing firework display.  Andy, clever clogs, took some photos of the hotel lit up by the coloured fireworks:

We love Burgh so much that we rather grandly call our sitting room "The Burgh Room".  It's slightly reminiscent of the era with its art deco cabinet full of Carltonware and although the wallpaper is modern, I think it embraces the spirit of that time.  We do not have a tv in here but on the rather rare occasions we sit in here, we play Benny Goodwin cds and imagine we are at Burgh...

We took the train from Paddington to Totnes, a place I had not been to before, and I was very taken with it indeed!  It has a lovely little street lined with individual shops (very few high street chain stores in sight), a flea-type market, a farmers' market and some wonderful interiors/vintage shops, oh and lots of tea rooms.  What more can you ask for?  My favourite shop was "This'n'That" which had a brilliant window display (oh why didn't I take a photo?  Because I was too eager to get inside!)  We bought lots of bits and bobs including these wonderful pictures.

They are part of a large set which came in its own leather folder and was given to schools as an educational aid.  It came complete with accompanying books, the work of the wonderful Enid Blyton.  I don't remember these from school myself but Andy does (that's the 9 years age difference at work).  I want to put them up in the dining room of our cottage but need to find some suitable frames first.  I also bought a pair of fabulous vintage curtains, here's a snap of the fabric:

Not sure what to do with them (other than admire them).  One day I know I'll find just the right place for them.  They are made from that wonderful barkcloth fabric.  Oh yum!

That evening, we had dinner in the Pullman car of the Devon Belle on the South Devon Railway.  My other half is an avid steam railway fan and it was a very enjoyable evening (despite the drizzle).  Here we are ready to board the train (not a great photo though kindly taken by a fellow diner.  I have a HenHouse bag, of course!)

I really fell in love with Totnes and already love the South Hams so who knows where the next few years may take us once we manage to leave London behind...

I was interrupted in posting this by the arrival of my parcel of quilting goodies so I'm off to fiddle with those.  We're off to the West and a day in Bridport tomorrow, oh joy! More about that next week.  Have a wonderful weekend.


  1. I found your blog through a comment you left on one of my flickr photos. Thanks for the comment. I must say your handbags are gorgeous. I will be reading your blog. I hope you will visit mine too.

  2. Hello Hen,
    I am just finding your blog for the first time, and after reading a few posts I knew that I would like to "get to know you" better, so I am starting at the beginning.

    Imagine my pleasure to find this post about Burgh which I immediately recognized as having seen in an English mystery lately....was it Poirot? I watch so many, they run together a bit. Thank you for telling me more about it.

    I shall enjoy slowly reading your posts over the days to come and seeing more of my beloved England through your eyes.

    With good wishes,


  3. OK now I am searching your blog for CARLTONWARE and I am in LOVE sigh what have you done to me! it is absolutely amazing! my hubby is going to have a fit, and I don't care. He loves his trains as well too funny! I am now on a quest as I have fallen in love...

    luvs and glitter


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