June 17, 2020

Travelling corner: Wild swimming in South Devon

Gentle waves, golden sands, beautiful sea views and some great walking routes. Yes, that’s the Devon we re-discovered recently! It was magically beautiful: we felt so enchanted that it was difficult to leave this experience behind and return to Bristol. Fortunately, it’s only a 2-hour drive-away, so we know where we’ll be frequent visitors 🙂

Some time ago I came across the book Wild Swimming Walks by Sophie Pierce and Matt Newbury. It’s a practical guidebook into wild swimming in Dartmoor and South Devon, with 28 lake, river and beach days out to choose from and, as I was looking through its pages, I came across Thurlestone Beach / South Milton Sands / Leas Foot Sand which captured my imagination and became an inspiration for my family’s next travel destination. We needed some sun, sea and sand (!!!).

The beach is a long stretch of sand which goes from Leas Foot Sand (there is public parking as part of a golf club car park), then there are some rocks dividing Leas Foot from the other beaches, and then there is Thurlestone Beach (with a free car park just above the beach) which leads to South Milton Sands (with a NT car park). Each of the beaches is slightly different: Leas Foot Sand is a smaller beach which might be a good choice for families as there is a small stream where children can play (the sea is quite cold though), Thurlestone Beach has some hidden parts behind the rocks which might be perfect for everybody to enjoy some quieter time and South Milton Sands has beautiful views and the warmest sea (perfect for paddling). Amazing, huh?!

I once visited South Devon in winter, but I think I only briefly came to Thurleston Beach back then. Now, we’ve explored this beautiful sand stretch extensively and I’m so glad we did so! As a family, we had such an idyllic time – summery and lazy.

Have you been to South Devon? Do you have a favourite beach there? Please leave your comments down below.

Kinga Macalla

June 3, 2020

Book review: The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

It was a particularly good evening to begin a book. Tove Jansson

At first, when I started reading The Summer Book, I didn’t like it very much. However, after a few chapters my appetite started to grow and then I couldn’t stop reading and thinking about it. What caught my attention most when I read the first few pages was the realism and authenticity of the language, landscape, everydayness, emotions and relationships. It was raw and authentic to the core and somehow it made me uncomfortable. Then after some time, I realised how much I’m used to the superficial softness and sweetness of the language and relationships in my daily life; where consumerism is the main tool / power, and social media rules my thinking. It made me stop to think about my life. Do I have enough place in my everyday life for different emotions; from fear, sadness, annoyance to happiness and pure joy?!

The book is written by Tove Jansson, the famous author of the Moomin stories. The Summer Book is a series of short stories about an elderly artist and her 6-year-old granddaughter, Sophia, who spent their summer on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. Even though the island is very small and their adventures rather ordinary, the stories are so lively, interesting and full of suspense and humour. It only shows that everydayness and nature are never boring nor lack anything, quite the opposite, our daily life can be as fascinating as we want it to be.

For some inspiration, see the video.

Have you read any of Tove Jansson’s books? Please let me know in the comments below.

Kinga Macalla