A message popped up on facebook this afternoon that some cows had got loose near the town council offices. The farmer was informed and someone was sent to round them up: this fellow:
His name is Tim McTaggart and over 25 years ago he was a regular drinking companion, before I moved to North Devon. We haven't met since I moved back either; he lives on the outskirts and rarely comes in to town and neither of us go out drinking nowadays. He had a little grey in his hair last time I saw him; gone full wizard now.
Actual fact: one of the main Jack the Ripper suspects was Frederick Bailey Deeming, born in Leicestershire. My home town is right on the border of Leicestershire and when I was a kid we used to get our Fish & Chips from Mrs Deemings. During my ancestry research I found that the Deemings are (fairly distant) relations.
Between the late 70s and early 80s I lived with my parents in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. I bought and learned to ride a motorcycle somewhat later than most of my contemporaries, at age 19 (most others started with mopeds aged 16) and fell in with a number of other motorcyclists. We were never a coherent group, just a bunch of bikers that hung out together. We all liked a drink or ten, and weekends developed into quite a bacchanalia, with very little regular sleep between Thursday night and Sunday night. Many Friday and Saturday nights were spent drinking and playing cards for small change, games being played in shifts so sleep was snatched for an hour or so between turns.
I have recently got back in touch (on facebook) with a pair of brothers that were part of the crowd: Joe and Sam Turner, farm boys who earned a living driving JCB backhoes. Joe's real forename is Richard, Sams is Michael (I know a lot of people not known by their birth names). Joe was not much of a drinker and ended up being team chauffeur when we needed a car. Sam was renowned for falling asleep at the drop of a hat, especially at parties.
A slightly blurred Joe playing cards against Polly:
I decided to give myself a birthday treat on Saturday by taking my camera out somewhere different. I would have taken the steam train to Buckfastleigh and gone round the abbey if it hadn't been a "Santa Special" weekend: pre-booked tickets only and better left for families to enjoy.
I decided to try Exeter Cathedral instead. The trains were packed: had to stand for the trip to Exeter (about 30 minutes). I couldn't get any decent exterior shots of the cathedral itself as it was surrounded by a Christmas Market, 90% of which appeared to be food stalls. It was much more peaceful within the cathedral; I'll definitely be going again, if just to get some shots of the wonderful exterior.
There are a surprising number of references to people from or related to Totnes (or Totness as at least one plaque stated) on the tombs and memorials.
Cathedral Close, to the north of the cathedral itself, has a good array of ancient buildings.