As the train pulls into Totnes station I sleepily open the door of the train carriage and hop out. It’s 11:15pm and dad is standing by the gate; open arms and a big Sri Lankan smile. He’s wearing his woolly green checkered jacket. I hear music coming from the van and walk to the van. We travel down narrow empty windy roads into the darkness, car lights beaming to lead the way. Keys jingle and the dad opens the cottage door. There’s a smell of wood burner and wet dogs. The first thing I notice about the cottage is the dark brown beams above and the front door that looks like a farm stable door. Dad has made rice, dhal and potato chips (my fav!) but I’ve already eaten. Boxes pile high in the rooms. I climb the stairs upstairs and in one of the rooms there is a made up bed by the window. A flask of hot water on the floor for me. I tuck myself in and fall asleep.
I slink downstairs, the woodburner is on and my sister and her boyfriend is sitting at the table awaiting breakfast. It’s dhal on toast for me and sambol on toast for the others. The sambol was bought by our godmother as a chrissy present. After 8 months of not having dad’s dhal that breakfast was incredible!
Saturday was spent reading by the fire, eating rice, dhal and red cabbage and a trip to Blackpool beach were we took the dogs for a run around and swim (couldn’t resist picking up plastic on the beach!). Dinner with a Sri Lankan friend in Ivy Bridge where we got goosebumps as dad told us about Mandy the ghost him and a friend saw on the road in the rain between Totnes and the cottage as they drove back from moving a load of furniture.
As we walked back from the van to the cottage we saw Orion’s Belt and the most beautiful moon.
On Sunday evening I watched dad as he made carrot curry. Experimented with Instagram stories and planned to add a few more recipes to the website.
Heard about dad’s Christmas in Hampshire. Photo by Joshua Bennett
Last Thursday I made my way down to see dad, Molly and her boyfriend in Devon from Brighton. A 5 hour relaxing journey passing through gorgeous countryside.
The first evening was spent listening to Glastonbury music on the radio while cutting vegetables for the Friday and Saturday market in Totnes. 20kg potatoes peeled and cut, 10kg onions cut, garlic, ginger and tomatoes cut…
It was my first time in Totnes and what a beautiful place! Dad was very popular at the market, everywhere I turned I heard stallholders say ‘Oh is that Kumar’s daughter’.
On Saturday, Molly came with us and we spent the day helping out dad, meeting everyone and popping into ‘Seeds 2 Totnes’ for a latte.
On Sunday we went to the farm to see the farm and sheep.
We hadn’t wormed the ewes yet so we herded the flock into a pen with the help of Tiger (who helped a little, despite not being trained to herd the sheep). There was always one ewe who decided to run of in the wrong direction.
We eventually managed to worm the ewes and check the lambs over. Then I walked around the land seeing new things that happened since I saw the land last. Such as a new compost heap and fence netting for the veg patch!
Ending up with tea and biscuits to end the day on the farm and a pint at the local pub.
It’s been exactly a year since we moved from Kent to Devon. Dad and I sitting in the front seats of the Audi with the dogs in the back. Sifting through motorways down to Hampshire to pick up Molly from her friends house. A surprise birthday cake and pressies at Molly’s friends house and then back on the road.
Since moving last year, the farm is slowly progressing. Got the fencing done, worked in the woods a little, cleared brambly bushes, lopped branches, marked where we would like our barn to go and now have five slightly mad sheep on the land. A few Charollais x Mule and one Charollais x Masham.
We’ve seen the seasons change from warm to cold and back to warm. Have had those rainy wellie walks, visited festivals and started food markets in Exeter.
It’s our first Christmas in Devon and Molly and I have been making the cottage christmassy, by putting up fairy lights and setting up speakers for our cd/tape player to listen to music. Bowls of satsuma’s and apples are on the table and the dogs seem to always be sprawled out on the floor with their legs in the air asleep.
On Wednesday we did a Christmas night market at Piazza Terracina, Exeter, the last market of 2015. A perfect oval of food stalls with music playing by Sandie Horlier and The Locked Horns. A few couples dancing and crowds of people mooching around deciding what to eat. It was on and off rain but we had four hours of clear weather until our journey back when it tipped it with rain. We set up our new front board which we couldn’t wait to see what it looked like. Just now needs painting black now and then chalk added on.
This morning we went for a long dog walk on Dartmoor in the blistering wind and rain. A sheet of mist covering our view. Both dogs drenched from head to toe. Wind whistling through our ears. Back home, we made a fire, opened a few pressies and put the chicken in the oven ready for Christmas dinner. Molly is preparing the veg and stuffings. I made a fruit cake for pudding.
Can’t believe it’s Autumn already. Seems unreal that we have been living in Devon for four months already.
Last weekend was dad’s 57th birthday. His first birthday in Devon and with both Molly and I at University, he decided to drive up to Dorset to spend the day on a farm, where they were holding a harvest film festival. He was invited by a friend (whom he met when dad and I went to Dorset about a month ago to talk about cooking for Diwali festival). He took the dogs with him and spent the day watching short films, meeting people and walking the dogs.
He phoned me the next day to say that he had a lovely time, but classic dad, he lost his keys while walking the dogs on the land, but found them again with a metal detector.
I booked tickets for dad to go to the Powederham Food Festival at the beginning of the month. Hoping for dad to book some festival dates for 2016. I wanted dad to check out the buzz of the place and see what the stalls and atmosphere was like. Dad phoned to say that there were lots of people, amazing smells and a few stalls he had seen before.
The farm is looking good. Took longer than expected but slowly slowly. Just need water on the land and then sometime dad will go back to Wye, Kent to pick up Dusty and Mo!