JJ writes…

The Drewe Arms at Drewsteignton has been a special pub for me & many others for a long long time. Playing there last night brought back memories of great sessions and of the legendary Aunt Mabel calling Time!, and of Charlie Hills singing. In the spirit of those days the Ramblers found some strength left after 21 miles and played a full-on set and a ceilidh. How some of the walkers found the energy to dance…but the dancers and the band on stage fed off each other and the shared enthusiasm was such that the dancing went on till 11pm.

The interior of the Drewe Arms is kept as it was in Aunt Mabel’s time, and Lawrence who now owns and runs it is determined to keep it that way and to bring back the music and the crowds enjoying great nights here. Big thanks to all at the Drewe Arms.

The night before , we played at the Tally Ho in Hatherleigh with people craning for a vantage point to see the band. There we finished with a session with other musicians joining us. The highlight was a rendition of The Grey Funnel Line by most of the women who have been walking, coaxed into public performance and wonderful harmonies by Rowan as our strange caravan has moved on.

Today: Dartmoor!

2 thoughts on “JJ writes…

  1. One green hill? No, just clutch of grey hills, their summits diffused in low, grey cloud. The prospect from the Torr Hotel at Belstone wasn’t that promising.

    But as we snaked down to the riverside, the shafts of brightness slowly broadened and the damp in the air lifted. There were springs to cup your mouth to, cold enough to wash away the last taste of Doom Bar.

    Over stepping stones and wooden footbridges, through bluebell woods – just past their best – and up to the higher ground. Waterproofs gradually gave way to t-shirts, and heads gradually lifted as the air warmed.

    Sharing tales of personal Oyster history, it was an uplifting experience; a myriad conversations in line astern. Fellow travellers were from London, Brighton, Hereford, North Wales, Devon and Denmark, many on their third or fourth walking tour. What sort of fraud was I, living just down the road and taking a single day off to walk from the half-way point?

    But it didn’t really matter; we were all reluctant ramblers.

    A bit of road, a brief stop in the centre of lovely little Throwleigh for a shot of Danish spirit – happy birthday – and a wait for those who had taken the scenic route through the cattle fields.

    We slithered around some sticky sections where the mud was thick and suspiciously green. But given the Dartmoor downpours of recent weeks, it was mercifully dry most of the way.

    And finally, downhill to Chagford Bridge and a welcome lift to the Drewe Arms, the village square basking in early-evening sun. Time to wrap ourselves in stories, new friends and beer, even if the Jail Ale had been drunk dry a few days before.

    It was a lovely set by JJ, Rowan, Al, Tim, Dil and Lindsay in the function room at the back. Highlights included Black and White Bird, No Ordinary Girl, Spirit of Dust, Rowan’s take on Lowlands, and a final, fitting, rousing Road to Nowhere. It was a complete, shared experience.

    And for those with the energy, a ceilidh to finish off aching legs. Before, of course, starting all over again in the morning.

    It was a rare treat to share the day with so many lovely people, to stand in high hills and yet feel myself perfectly at home. Thank you.

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