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Once upon an English Autumn day, my friend Nigel took me to Tavistock. Apparently, I have family from there so I wanted to see the place where I have a vague connection to while so far away from home.

Tavistock sits on the edge of Dartmoor (perhaps why I felt such a draw to Dartmoor while I was in the UK?). You can get to Tavistock from Torquay via Dartmoor or Plymouth on the dual carriageway. We took the route through the Moors rather than the dual carriageway as it's a much nicer drive. We stopped at the two bridges again as I decided I wanted to take a photo of the same spot on the moors in each season.

Autumn is definitely my favourite season. So much colour, fresh crisp air, crunchy leaves and a lovely excuse to wear welly boots. It's a lush (any excuse to use the word 'lush') season and the moors looked picturesque, rolling hills with patchwork fields, lines of hedges, houses peeping out from behind screens of gold and red, carpets of brown ferns dotted amongst the landscape and woolly sheep grazing on the roadside.

Dartmoor
Dartmoor autumn pic (note the amazing selfie landscape with no forehead in it)

Tavistock

Tavistock is a very old mining town, dating back to at least 961 situated in West Devon, England. An architecturally stunning wee town that holds a famous farmers market and has deep roots. A very multi-talented town.

Just a stone's throw from Dartmoor, Tavistock is surrounded by quaint Englishness. Walking through Tavistock you can imagine what the town would have been like a few hundred years ago easily. We had a peak in the museum before heading down to the high street for a nosey.

The high street is filled with independently owned shops and is very proud of this as well. As it should be. After we had finished down the high street we went in search of family ties.

For more information about Tavistock - check out this site

Tavistock
Tavistock. Nailing these selfie non selfies. Kind of

Searching the Graves 

Nigel and I had a look around the graveyard to see if we could see any family names in there. Unfortunately, the graveyard wasn't much use, the graves were placed around in a very higgildy piggildy way, not in neat rows. Some tucked away underneath low hanging trees, some nestled in the hillside and others were sitting in amongst hedges.

Not helpful if you're trying to find a specific name but don't know where to look. It was a very pretty and peaceful graveyard and the higgildy piggildiness added a certain charm to it. If you can use the words charm and graveyard in the same sentence. Kind of natural and a little bit wild.

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Photograph Challenges

It was quite hard to take photos while we were out because I forgot the big camera and had to use my phone. Which would not normally pose a problem but the lens is smashed so I have to use the forward facing selfie camera.

It's quite an art as you can't see what you're taking a pic of so have to peer around the side of the phone without actually getting in the way of what you're trying to take the photo of or turning the camera away from the shot. I can sometimes fluke a good shot but the majority of them have either a slanting landscape, a thumb or other body part in them such as part of a head or my hair or I miss what I want to take a photo of altogether. On the odd shot, all three happens.

Ok, not the odd shot, most of the shots.... like 87% of them. When I do take a good picture I get rather excited and a little proud feeling washes over me.

It's quite an achievement taking a landscape in selfie mode without the selfie.

What I would do differently next time

I intended to go back to Tavistock while I was in England, but unfortunately never made it back. We always think we have more time than we do and daily life often gets in the way. Next time, I would research beforehand and go in with a set plan. I felt a little disappointed I never found my family roots. A connection to my home from the other side of the world.

Talking to my Aunty before going to Tavistock rather than afterwards would probably have been a better idea! But the trip was a bit of a spur of the moment inspiration. But we learn from our mistakes and hopefully, one day will be back again. Fingers crossed.

While I didn't get any concrete information about my family, I still felt satisfied walking the cobblestones that my ancestors had once strolled. Seeing the buildings that stood before them. Sitting in the shadows of the same church.

What advice would you give someone on the search for family?

Jem

x

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