A peek inside a 500-year-old farmhouse...Pheasants in the garden...1 day and counting...


Considerable updating has been done over the centuries to maintain historical integrity.
Fascinating Fact of the Day about Torquay: 
From this site:
"A major development for the future of Tiverton came in 1815 when industrialist John Heathcoat bought an old woolen mill on the River Exe. It followed the destruction of his factory and machinery in Loughborough by Luddites thought to have been in the pay of the Lacemakers of Nottingham. As a result, he moved his entire lace-making operation to Tiverton and such was his reputation for looking after his workforce that 500 people – workers and families – walked the 190 miles from Loughborough to come and live and work for him in Tiverton. The factory turned around the fortunes of the town and once again it became a significant industrial centre in the southwest. Trade was aided when a branch of the Grand Western Canal from Taunton to Tiverton was opened in 1838 followed by a branch of the Great Western Railway in 1848. The Heathcoat factory is still one of the town’s core businesses today."
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When John and Renate invited us to see their historic 500-year-old home, we jumped at the chance.  They were packing for their one week holiday and respecting the time they needed to prepare to leave at 2:00 am, we didn't stay long.
A large dining table suited for their large family who often visits.
It was such a thrill to wander through the house seeing snippets of who they are, the family life they enjoy with grown children and many grandchildren who visit often and the high regard for the property's history in every change or addition they conduct.
Almost every room has a fireplace or wood burning stove used as supplemental heat for the house.
These two lovely people have meant the world to us.  It's been such a joy to develop close relationships with our landlords/property managers that have endured over the years, most of whom we're still in touch on Facebook which has proven to be a great resource.
John and Renate's 500-year-old house has been appointed with authenticity in mind.
Renate and I have sent messages back and forth this past week.  They will return hours after we leave tomorrow morning by 10:00 am.  We're sorry we'll miss seeing them one more time.
Built-in window seats.
Over the past week, we've seen several ring-necked pheasants, both male and female hanging around in the garden.  We haven't been able to take a single photo outside since each time we hear or see them, they fly away when they see us.  
An Aga range is known as a top-of-the-line addition to any kitchen.
As a result, all of the bird photos we've included here today, except for the three geese, were taken through a window in Pond Cottage.  Although it's not mating season with winter quickly rolling in it's been delightful to see the groups of males and females, pecking at the grass and making a variety of sounds we didn't recognize.  
After owning the property for over 30 years, they've made many additions such as granite countertops, new appliances, sinks, and cupboards.  Floors throughout the house are either original stone or wood.
We're currently in the process of wrapping up our packing.  Mine and Tom's clothing bags are done (gee...I love not unpacking!) and downstairs waiting to be transported to the car.  Luckily, once the bags are downstairs, he'll be able to wheel them to the car.
These three geese stopped by for a visit.
The only other items to pack are the toiletries and supplies bag, the digital equipment and plug-ins and the food.  I've placed all the non-perishables in one area of the countertop and it will only take moments to load it into grocery bags.  
Over the past week, several ring-necked pheasants, both male and female have been hanging around the garden.
The perishables will go in the yellow insulated Costco bag which surely will stay fresh with only a two-hour drive ahead of us.  Since check-out here is 10:00 am and check-in in Monmouthshire is 2:00 pm, we plan to stop for lunch along the way.
From this site: Pheasants are birds that can be found alone or in small flocks. Typically, a mother hen and her brood will stay together until early autumn. While pheasants are able to fly fast for short distances, they prefer to run. If startled, however, they will burst to the sky in a "flush." Their flight speed is 38 to 48 mph when cruising but when chased they can fly up to 60 mph. Pheasants spend almost their entire life on the ground, rarely ever being seen in trees. They eat a wide variety of foods including, insects, seeds, and leaves.  Roosters typically have a harem of several females during the spring mating season. Hen pheasants nest on the ground, producing a clutch of around twelve eggs over a two to three week period in April to June. The incubation period is about 23 days.
Tomorrow, we'll upload our final post for Witheridge including a number of favorite photos.  This has been wonderful, for two reasons, one; we've loved this farm and two; I regained my health while here.  We couldn't be more cheerful and optimistic.
This adorable bird, a Green Woodpecker, was sitting on a fence post.  We took all of the bird photos through the window glass.  They were so close, they would have flown away if we opened the door.
As soon as today's post is uploaded we'll be off to the garden to collect a few more tomatoes to take with us for tomorrow night's dinner.  We've purposely kept a meal available, to easily cook to avoid the necessity of grocery shopping on our first day in Chepstow.  We'll settle in for a day and then take off shopping and exploring.
Our friends, Lynne and Mick, the most educated birders we know, who live in Jersey, UK, got back to us and identified this bird as indicated above.
Back at you tomorrow!  Have a fantastic day!
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Photo from one year ago today, October 10, 2018:
We flipped it over for this photo.  This is an African Black Beetle.  They don't sting but have a powerful toxin they release when agitated that can feel like a sting and cause irritation.  We swept it over the edge of the veranda.  A few minutes later a band of mongooses stopped by and one of them immediately started devouring the beetle, savoring it so much, he made funny noises while crunching on its hard shell.  Mongooses are carnivores.  For more photos, please click here.

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