It made me want to hold my breath and swoon [Bristol Evening Post (England)]
(Bristol Evening Post (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) HOPE you're sitting comfortably whilst you're reading this. Because I am. I'm sitting in a nice warm cafe, drinking peppermint tea and typing these words using a tiny teeny keyboard attached to my new tablet PC.
Which is quite hard work as this thing is not much bigger than a stamp. Not one of those special Christmas stamps either. Oh, no. A normal everyday first class one. Seriously.
I don't know who designed a keyboard this diminutive but I think my fingers might actually be too fat to work it properly.
But I digress. My point is that if, by some miracle, I ever finish typing, I shall press send and these words will fly off through the ether like so many bytesized buzzy bees.
The next time I see them is when they appear in print. Which I think is pretty impressive. I wouldn't normally bore you with details like these. But this week, I feel the need to share. Mainly because of where I'm sitting.
You see, the cafe I'm in happens to be in the middle of a very cute village tucked into the edge folds of Dartmoor.
I've been coming here with the family for years, ever since the kids were little. In the old days, I used to tell my colleagues that I would be out of reach for the entire week. There was no phone signal on Dartmoor and the internet didn't seem to have reached this far into the countryside.
I could spend my days striding across moors and clambering up tors with no thought of the outside world.
Then a few years back someone opened up a computer repair shop in the village. He used to let me rent his computer so that I could read my emails. (Which reminds me, do internet cafes still exist If so, who uses them And why But I digress - again.) Thanks to this repair shop computer I could escape from holiday world and glide back into the digital age from time to time just to make sure that I hadn't missed out on anything too exciting.
A few years later a discreet phone mast appeared on one of the thatched buildings in the village square and a phone signal arrived in this corner of the moor.
It wasn't great - you still had to climb trees and walls and hold your phone in the air to be able to hear people on the other end of the line but it was another bold step towards the 21st century.
We haven't been to Dartmoor for a while. So last week I booked a cosy little place right on the village square.
When I got to the cottage where we're staying, I looked at my phone and watched in amazement as it announced that there was now free wifi throughout the entire area.
All of which means that yesterday I was striding across open moor land when my phone beeped and told me an email had arrived. I read it and sent a reply without even breaking step.
Which I find incredible. And strangely exciting. However, it's not the reason why I keep on coming back to this place. I know that because I've spent some time over the last few days trying to work out what exactly it is that keeps me coming back. And I think I've found the answer.
At first I thought it was just the scenery. But it's not. Even though it is pretty impressive.
This morning I took Granddaughter No. 2 to the village playpark. I put her on a swing, got her up to speed and then stopped to take a look around.
I suddenly realised that the playpark we were in was on a hillside overlooking a bowl of moorland that must be several miles wide. The sun was shining and everything was wearing its autumn best. The bracken, the trees, the rocks. It all just looked so ridiculously beautiful. It really did make me want to hold my breathe and swoon. Obviously, the moment didn't last. It never does when small children are involved. Granddaughter No. 2 suddenly announced that she needed the toilet. At once. So we had to race to the nearest cafe. That's when I realised why I love it so much here. It's all down to the shops.
This remote and not-very-big village has 12 shops, four pubs, three cafes and one enormous hairdressers.
Apart from one, they are all independent little places that obviously work hard to keep the locals happy.
This gives the whole place a feeling of life and excitement. A bit like Bristol basically.
In other words, the reason I keep on coming back here is that it's a lot like a glorious moorland version of Gloucester Road. Huzzah, for Bristol on the Moor!
Anyhow, I would keep writing but the cafe is getting ready to close. I need to finish my peppermint tea and see if this miniature keyboard has a send button on it. Or rather, a send button big enough for me to press without accidentally deleting anythi.... Ooops.
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