A Magical Cornish Village
Doc Martin is IN
Day 10 - I left the hotel in Wales at 10AM to get my new rental car and was on the road for 7 hours
with just a quick pee break and a quick petrol break. But now I'm sitting here in heaven in the middle
of Port Isaac.
I'm headed out to get a bite to eat and I'll write a longer post tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, if you want to see a little of what Port Isaac looks like, there is a 24 hr live webcam
located just across the harbour from my cottage. In the slideshow is a screenshot I just took and
circled the cottage where I will be staying for the next 2 weeks.
The webcam: https://www.johnbraycornishholidays.co.uk/w…/port-isaac.html
Day 10.1 - it was a busy couple of days and I am still lounging around the cottage at 2:30 PM - feeling
like I'm really on vacation now instead of a trip! I was very happy to leave my manual transmission
car behind in Ireland - it's just TOO much work! As I was leaving Glendalough, a nice man walked up
to me loading up the car and asked (in a heavy Irish brogue) if I was from Kilkenny? As soon as I
responded that I wasn't he realized I wasn't from around there. He pointed to my license plate and
explained the "KK" in the plate meant that it was registered in Kilkenny - so there is a method to the
letters on all the plates. He saw the sticker on the windshield that the car was from a dealership in
Kilkenny so that solved that mystery. So we talked for a few minutes and he wished me well on my
trip as he walked back to rejoin his family.
When I arrived in Rosslare, I was many hours early for the ferry so I went into a hotel, used their wi-
fi, and had a light lunch. I asked the waitress if the water was always that choppy and she said it was
more than usual, but if it was too bad the boat wouldn't go. I thought, "Oh great. I have to turn in my
car, have a hotel room booked on the other end, and need to be in Port Isaac the next afternoon. I
certainly hope the boat goes." Before we left the captain told us it was a little choppy so they would
be engaging the stabilizers (what are those and what do they do?). I think it wasn't that bad because
most people were either walking around or sleeping. The area I was in had miles of long booths all
over the place and I would say 50% of the people onboard slept the whole way. I wasn't ready to
sleep - the sailing was 8:45 PM to 12:45 AM. But I did get up one time and had a hard time walking - I
felt like I was drunk. Luckily it didn't bother my stomach and I didn't see anyone who looked ill. I
never had the sensation of forward movement, but it was a constant side to side motion. One sweet
thing I saw in the terminal was what looked like a grandmother and her grandson - he looked to be
maybe 12-13. She sat next to him and just rubbed her hand over the top of his back for at least half
an hour and talked to him. Don't know what was happening, but he seemed a little distressed about
something. I saw them on the bus going to and from the ship but not on the ship itself. There were
only about two dozen of us walk-on passengers and they loaded us on a bus and drove the bus right
on the ship and we went up to the upper decks just like the car drivers did. When we docked, we
were all on the bus waiting for the driver and the entire deck of cars, trucks, busses and even a
sailboat disembarked and we started laughing that maybe we were going back to Ireland. Finally, a
small passenger van drove up. Don't know why we couldn't go on the bus. So I was lucky to get in
the first loading of the van because I had a taxi waiting for me. They had two immigration guys to
pass and a woman with her child was talking to them when I walked up. I started to feel for my purse
(I was juggling 3 bags and my purse and one guy said, "Ah. Don't worry about it." As I walked
through, he laughed and said, "You looked like you were going to be trouble and it's too late!" I got
outside the terminal and two guys were getting into the only taxi there. The driver looked up at me
and asked if I was Kathleen. When I said I was, the two men got out and he said he would be back to
pick them up.
The seven hour drive (which Google said should be 4 1/2 hours) was exhausting. Most of the trip was
on a divided highway, but it was like rush hour on I-75 - and this was a Saturday afternoon. I was SO
happy I had paid extra for the automatic transmission. Must have been families out for a summer
weekend outing. I did try to stop at two service plazas that are similar to the ones we have at home.
But the lines just to get off the freeway into them were really long. When I got into the parking lot -
this is no exaggeration - there must have been 1000 cars there. The lot was almost completely full
with just a few open spaces, cars parked all over the grassy areas surrounding the parking area,
families having picnics and families walking into and out of the plaza buildings. I just got back on the
freeway both times - it was madness.
I drove to the home of Helen, the landlady of the cottage and she had me drive around the corner
while she walked over to open the gate. I parked my car at the back of the cottage and we went into
the door that leads right to the upstairs - everything in this village is built into a very steep hill. She
showed me around and downstairs in the living room/kitchen she pointed out a basket with a loaf of
malted grain bread (yummy!), a sleeve of hobnob biscuits (kind of like Keebler chocolate chip
cookies), tea, coffee, and in the small fridge was a pint of milk, butter, and a bottle of wine! And I
knew I smelled something nice - and discovered that the lilies in the vase in the front window are
real. It's just a very cozy place.
I'm a little worried about walking around town - the hills are so steep. And the stairs in front from the
street were really tough for me last night. They are really tall steps - almost twice the rise of normal
steps and steps are not my friends to begin with. I brought my collapsible came on the trip just in
case and I'm going to take it with me while I walk around the hills - at least the first few days. I
suspect, as anything, I will get used to it.
It was interesting when I opened the front door and saw the village and the harbour for the first time
(I had driven in on roads that didn't give you a view of the main part of the village). While I was
thrilled to finally see it all with my own eyes, I felt like I had been here many times before. I have
studied every inch of the harbour area of this village so much online for my website that it just
almost felt like home to be here. It's hard to describe, but I just felt like I've been here dozens of
|Port Isaac & Beaminster Aug 13-27
Day 11 - I decided to have a nice quiet day after all the traveling from the previous 2 days. I woke up
about 8:30 and just sat on the edge of my bed for about an hour taking pictures and watching the
Sunday morning goings on in the village. I then propped myself up with the bed pillows and spent a
few hours reading on my iPad. Downstairs there are a couple of chairs and a love seat, so if I want to
stretch out and put my feet up, the bed has turned out to be the perfect place. With the window open
I was getting a nice breeze and enjoyed the sounds of the seagulls and the people walking by. About
noon I finally got up and took a shower and eventually ventured out. I brought a collapsible cane with
me on the trip just in case I need it - I haven't used my cane since about a month after my second
knee replacement. But I decided to take it with me when walking about and it was just what I needed
- both negotiating those tall front steps and walking up and down the steep hills - mostly for going
down. I stopped into a couple of the shops just down the hill and finally met Nikki who owns the
pasty shop (we have talked on FB over the last year). She gave me some advice about different
places to eat and was very welcoming.
I then walked down the rest of the way to the harbour and there were lots of families playing on the
beach and kids in the water. There are a couple of benches facing the water and there was an older
man sitting on one. I walked up and asked if he minded sharing. After sitting a few minutes, I asked if
he lived in Port Isaac. "All my life." I could tell he was a little crusty, but I kept at it and asked a few
more questions. When I brought up Doc Martin he said, "Doc Martin ruined this village". Uh-oh. For
those of you who aren't DM crazies, like some of us, we've read that there is some difference of
opinion between the villagers of the effect the show has had on the village. It was always a tourist
spot with people from the UK - Cornwall is the area where a lot of them spend summer holidays. And
several movies and television shows have filmed here in the past. But Doc Martin really exploded
the tourist trade here and now people from all over the world come here to see the village.
Yesterday, I was amazed at how many times I heard people passing by me on the street say things
like, "Is that the surgery?", "I think this is where they film the school scenes". But all of Cornwall has
experienced issues with people buying 2nd homes and raising the home prices so much that the
people who have always lived here have a difficult time buying homes for themselves. But the influx
of tourism has been good for people who run the businesses here. It really does remind me a lot of
Mackinac Island, but without the massive crowds coming off the ferries.
Anyway, I wondered if I should just get up and walk away, but decided to stick it out. He talked about
how they had to build a new car park at the top of town and it's still always full. But then he said
Martin Clunes is on the television all the time. And the woman who plays his wife (Caroline Catz) is
also all over the television. And later he mentioned that money the show contributed to the village
was used to create the new car park and to shore up the cement breakwaters in the harbour. I knew
that they have set up a fund for the village and knew about the car park but not the breakwater. The
more we talked, the more I realized that he doesn't really hate the show that much - he started telling
me about places they've filmed different things and he laughed when I told him that I could probably
tell him filming spots even he didn't know about. We talked for about an hour and he told me that he
lives in the house where he grew up and that he drove a van all over Cornwall and Devon delivering
freshly caught fish (Cornwall has a lot of commercial fishermen - there are 4 or 5 fishing boats that
moor in the harbour here and go out every day). He talked about a couple of floods they've had here
and about how he was in Boscastle when they had the big storm and flood in 2004. This was so nice -
it was an absolutely perfect day and I really enjoyed sitting there watching everything and talking
with Steven. I suspect I will see him again while I'm here.
I left there and went to the pub for dinner - had sausage, chips, mushy peas, and a salad. While there
I got the messages from a couple people saying they wanted a pic of me there, so I asked one of the
servers. I suggested maybe behind the bar? She loved the idea and the whole staff and the patrons
around the little bar all got a kick out of it. They then offered me a job - that was fun.
So, I'm headed out now to do a little more exploring. Later this afternoon I'm going to do some
laundry and then see where the day goes. Tomorrow, some of the other DM fans (some I've met,
some I haven't) are coming into town and we're getting together for lunch. Then they've set up that
we're all going to go to the beach and wave at the live webcam. So if you are near a computer, check
it out. It will be tomorrow, Tuesday, at 4:00 (that would be 11:00AM Eastern time. I found out
yesterday that the camera is on about a five minute delay. I think most of them will wear a red shirt,
although the only red top I have is a long sleeved sweater and it will be too warm tomorrow!
Day 12 - Another absolutely gorgeous day in Port Isaac. Today is supposed to also be glorious -
make sure to check out the webcam at 11:00 AM Eastern time. I'm meeting a group of fellow
travelers for lunch in Port Gaverne (the next port over) for lunch at 1:00 and they've set up the
"wave to the camera" thing at 4:00 our time (the US Eastern Time Zone is 5 hours behind). I have
been told that there is a five minute delay, so you might have to sit and watch for a bit. If you see us,
try to take a screenshot. I know some of the other DM fans at home are going to try, but it couldn't
hurt to get more than one shot. It's good that we are doing this today because I think the rain may be
coming in tomorrow and could last several days - that's not uncommon here.
I had a nice walk around part of the village yesterday, but I cut short the exploring when my camera
battery ran out. I should have been better about charging it more often - lesson learned! But I
wandered down the lane called Squeeze Belly Alley - one end of it is in the Guinness Book of
Records as the narrowest thoroughfare in the world - 18 inches wide. You can see the pics in the
slideshow - I loved finally having the opportunity to walk (sideways) through it! That takes you into
Dolphin Street which is a quiet, very steep street of cottages (no room for cars). I stopped and
chatted with a couple from Australia for awhile. Everyone I've chatted with is a DM fan. I discovered
that the little sidewalk in front of a cottage that's featured regularly (Aunt Ruth's cottage) is all
uneven cobblestone and I didn't even dare try to walk it - I would have broken an ankle! I don't know
how they do it. Then a British couple came down the hill lugging groceries and supplies from their
car parked at the top of the hill. They were staying in Honey Cottage - just next to the 18 inch
opening. I talked with them for a minute and they didn't realize that the cottage they are staying in
was featured in an episode last series - the wife said they would have to watch that episode again
now that they knew.
So, since I couldn't take any more pics, I walked back down to the harbourfront and took a seat on
the edge of the Platt. I recognized the gentleman next to me - he is staying in the flat above the shop
right across from my cottage - I saw him standing in the window the previous day and chatting with
people as they walked past. His name is Mike, and he asked where I was from in the states and said
that he and his wife have visited the US every year for the past 10 years because she is a Civil War
buff. I looked at him and said, "Okay, how does an Englishwoman become a Civil War buff?" He
explained they fell in love with the miniseries "North and South" when it was shown back in the 80s.
His wife started studying everything she could get her hands on about it and then they started
visiting battle sites. He said they have an entire library at home on it - including several signed first
editions. He said if I mentioned a battle to his wife, she could tell me every general and officer
involved in the battle. They do lectures around Britain for people interested in the subject. Who
knew? (I don't think I could even name a Civil War battle!) I told him that I have a picture of Caroline
Catz (Louisa on DM) standing in the window of the flat he's staying in, so when I see him I need to
get his email address because he wants a copy - he said his family will be thrilled. It turns out he is
from Poole, which is very close to Beaminster where we will be attending Martin Clunes' festival on
Sunday. He had never heard of the festival, but they will be going home on Friday so he said he will
attend - and he will look for me there.
I went into the shop they use for Mrs Tishell's Pharmacy - it's actually a sweet shop and ice cream
shop. I got an ice cream and talked for a bit with the woman behind the counter (everyone I've
encountered here is so nice and chatty). I could not believe how tiny the interior of that store is. I had
some people tell me that I would find Port Isaac smaller than it looked on television. I didn't find that
to be true, probably because the Google Street Views give you such a good sense of the place - plus
I have thousands of pictures of different areas of the village that I have found online. So I think I had
a pretty good sense of the village. But the interiors they use when they are shooting are just so
small. I can't believe they get all that equipment, all those cameramen, sound people, director, etc
PLUS the actors into those small spaces and make it look so roomy. As a couple of people have
remarked to me, "The magic of television."
Just a couple of small things. My small fridge has a door at the top (inside the fridge) with a small
freezer. Remember how the old fridges had the interior freezer? Well, it had two small ice cube trays
inside. I didn't know how long they had been there, so I emptied them and refilled with fresh water.
It's taking about 48 hours to get half the cubes in the trays partially frozen - the other half is still
water. LOL! But - I did find a way to keep my water bottles cold - I'm putting them in the freezer. They
don't freeze, but they are cold like the water I keep in my fridge at home.
When I went out to dinner last night I plugged in my iPad in the living room to charge while I was out.
When I came home, it hadn't charged. I did the slap to the forehead thing. I don't understand why, but
most plugs here have an on-off switch attached to them. Unless you turn the plug on it isn't
functional. I don't understand why?
The steps up to my porch in front? I had a tape measure in my purse, so I measured them - 11 inch
Day 13 - it was a busy day getting together with some of the travelers who made it here in the last 24
hours. They are all here for just a couple of days - some are leaving today and the rest tomorrow to
head over to Dorset for Martin's fair on Sunday. I will be driving over there on Saturday and returning
to Port Isaac on Monday to finish off my two weeks in the cottage (until the following Saturday). A
couple of them will be back late next week for a couple of days, but they will be arriving just before I
The lunch was in Port Gaverne - the small harbour next to Port Isaac. Doc Martin often films there -
I've included a map in the slideshow. They had arranged a lunch for about 15 people - mostly the
traveling DM fans. But they invited a couple of special guests - Rory Wilton is an actor who lives not
far from here and his partner Emma Spurgin Hussey (who is also an actress). They both work a lot in
regional theatre. Rory plays a recurring character in DM named Chippy Miller - a fisherman in the
village who continually bothers the doc with his little ailments - including trying to get the doc to look
at his knee in the middle of the doc's wedding reception! Emma was in two episodes this past series,
but her lines ended up on the cutting room floor both times. She does show up in a scene in the
waiting room and in another episode you only see her back as she carries a cat in a carrier as she is
talking to the the vet (played by Caroline Quentin). They also both have roles in Poldark and have
gotten a lot of attention from those roles. The other special guests were two of the boys who played
James Henry in the last series (there were 4 little blond boys who rotated in the role). Harry and
Archer were both about 12 months old when they acted as James Henry and they are now both 2. Of
the 4 boys playing the role, they were the two who really bonded and they have since become best
friends. In the room in the restaurant we were in, most of the group was at one big table. At another
table sat a fellow fan, Sharon, myself, and the two boys and their mums, Gill and Nic. It was so great
to get to know the two mums because I've corresponded with a whole group of the mothers of
babies who played the role from various series - there have been a total of 22 babies who have
played the role of James Henry! The boys had their moments (they ARE two), but they were mostly
just a joy. When Harry was fussing one time, I took out a tiny electric fan I keep in my purse and he
had so much fun with it. Later, Archer got to play with the fan and they both had big smiles on their
faces every time they got to hold it.
After a long lunch and pictures, we needed to return to Port Isaac because we only had 30 minutes
until our 4:00 wave to the camera. A couple of people decided to walk it - but I was having none of
that. If you saw the hill you have to walk up and then back down into PI you would understand. So I
called the Port Isaac Shuttle and a couple of us went that way - she dropped us off right at the
harbour. Another part of the group decided they needed to take their car because they needed to
check into their hotel right on the harbour. But they had issues getting through the narrow streets,
could only park for a few minutes to take out their luggage and then drive back to the top of the
village to park the car. So we just weren't able to get the large, unruly group together. Probably
about 4:30 or so, a few of us did the waving for a few minutes, much to the amusement of some of
the people sitting on the Platt. We explained what we were doing and they got a big kick out of it.
Later, we all met at the pub and got to sit on the balcony overlooking the harbour - which was really
nice. It was a fun day!
Here is a short clip of Martin Clunes on Good Morning Britain yesterday morning. He talks mostly
about an upcoming documentary he did, but he also promotes Buckham Fair this Sunday. Side note -
every year he comes on that program the week before Buckham Fair to promote whatever
television project is upcoming - but he always gets his plug in for the fair. Very shrewd!
And if you want to see what Harry and Archer looked like in DM, this is the babies page on my
website for the Series 7 babies. My contact with all the mums was for help identifying their tots
when I put together the pages for the babies from Series 5,6 & 7.
Day 14 - Took it easy in the morning and lounged around the cottage. I knew that all my friends were
going to do a lot of exploring since it was the only full day most of them had in Port Isaac before
heading over to Beaminster. Plus, I knew they wanted to climb the hill - and I was having none of
that! The first couple of pictures in the slideshow have arrows showing where they went, plus a
couple of pictures they took. Early in the afternoon I went out and started to explore the small lanes
off the main street - the main street (which my cottage is on) is called Fore Street. I had started to
explore those lanes the other day when my camera battery ran out. I have a lot of shots I'm taking
for a couple of fun things I'm planning to add to my website.
I had one issue I needed to try to solve. The day before, I realized that my cane tip was
disintegrating. I really need it to climb some stairs here (in particular, my front steps) and to help me
with the hilly spots around town (just about everywhere). I looked to see if there was a way to use
my Amazon Prime to get a couple new tips quickly delivered here, but it didn't look hopeful. I will be
driving through Exeter on Saturday, which is a larger town - but over 60 miles away. I checked and
there is a medical supply shop there - I called and they have cane tips and are open on Saturday. So
I just have to baby it a few days. I tried to see if I could find someone who might have some duct
tape or electrical tape to stabilize it, but didn't really find any good options.
So, after wandering down the lanes while babying the cane, I sat down on one of my favorite spots in
the harbour, on the edge of the Platt, and snapped some pics, petted a few of the loads of dogs
walking by, and figured I would run into one of the DM travelers because that spot is the intersection
of just about everything - and right across from the hotel where they are staying. After awhile, I was
getting hungry so I decided to get a pasty and go home for a bit. After passing the pub, it hit me that
that's probably where they were. I looked out to the patio and thought it looked like one of them, but
the other people around her were strangers and I couldn't see the entire patio. I had stopped at
Nicki's but they were sold out, so I got a pasty from "May Contain Nuts" which is just a few steps
from my cottage. I sat on my patio to eat, but it started to rain - not hard, but just enough to send me
inside. I was halfway though the pasty when I heard my name - it was Lisa coming up onto the patio.
I called her inside and she said, "We've been at the pub for hours!" I had to laugh and said I would
finish my pasty and be down in a few minutes.
Turns out they met a guy from Devon up on top of the hill. He is doing a hiking tour around the coast
and camping at night. He had joined them in the pub and they had also made friends with a couple
staying just a few doors down from me. I held up my cane, looked at the two guys and asked,
"Anybody got any duct tape or electrical tape?" The hiker said he probably did - and started rooting
through his bag. And he found a small piece! Just big enough for what I needed. So we spent another
pleasant few hours in the pub before we all went our own ways for the night.
I sat on my patio for awhile people watching and then had another conversation with Mike, the
neighbor staying above the shop across the road. He said that he really will try to make it to
Buckham Fair on Sunday.
Day 15 - Not a lot happened on Thursday. After the lovely surprise of my new cane (Angie ❤), I
wandered down and spent time at the harbourfront. I have a favorite spot where I like to sit on the
step up to the Platt, next to the slipway. It's the intersection of really all the streets in the harbor area
and a great people watching spot.
In the shop that is used for Mrs Tischell's Pharmacy, I bought a stick of rock. In an episode, Louisa
says to Martin, "If you were a stick of rock, you'd be Martin Ellingham all the way through." I knew
from reading online what a stick of rock was and even saw a video on YT showing how they do it, so
I had to buy one. I took a bite last night and was surprised that it was chewy- I expected it to be like
I still constantly hear people passing on the street talking about Doc Martin. A little boy with a thick
British accent said, "Mummy, is his name really Doctor?" She said, "It's Doctor Martin." I talked to
my neighbor Mike for a bit and he said he met a couple visiting who had never heard of Doc Martin.
He told them they might want to keep that to themselves. LOL!
I have a really awful looking bruise on my forearm. I got it from coming up the front steps. There is
one step that I just had the hardest time with and would jam that spot into the iron fence in that area
of the steps - so every trip just increased the bruising. I FINALLY found a different place to grab and
so the bruise should start to go down soon. Whew!
Every time I paid in cash for something I used bills because I hadn't had a chance to sit down and
figure out all the coins. I finally dumped them all out on the table yesterday and sorted them - even
with my glasses I had to use my camera's flashlight to read some of the denominations. They have
£2, £1, 50 pence, 20 pence, 10 pence, 5 pence, 2 pence, 1 penny. Okay my Brit friends - why is that
one coin called a "penny" and not a "pence"?
Day 16 - (an early update since I'll be hitting the road tomorrow morning) Another fairly lazy day. I
woke up this morning to very grey skies and steady rain. Based on the weather reports, it looked
like it was going to be a washout of a day, but a few hours later the sun came out and it turned out to
be a glorious, warm day. I ended up having an early dinner at the pub and remembered that it was
Friday, which means the Fishermen's Friends would be singing on the Platt at 7:30. I walked over
about 6:30, but it was already filling up and no places to sit that hadn't been claimed. There was less
room on the Platt tonight because it was high tide and a storm is coming in. So, I took my favorite
seat across from the Lifeboat House and knew I would be able to listen but not watch (I was in good
company there - hundreds of people couldn't see a thing, but no problems hearing them).
Before claiming my seat, I noticed that some people were setting up a table in the doorway of the
Fish Cellars - selling food and drink to the people attending the concert. I saw that it was sponsored
by the Port Isaac Rowers. I don't think I've told you about Jenny. Jenny Cook is a cute little dog who
is the mascot for the rowers. I had seen a picture of her during the DM filming last summer and she
was wearing a "Portwenn" life jacket. Well, Jenny has her own FB page, so I joined several months
ago (she now has friends all over the world). I told her a few weeks ago that I was headed for Port
Isaac and hoped to get a cuddle. The other day, she posted a couple of pictures on the steps of the
cottage 2 doors down from me with the caption, "Kate Kennedy, where are you?" When I saw the
rowers setting up the table I went over and asked if Jenny the dog would be there. The woman said
she probably would, and I told her about being a FB friend of hers and had been trying to see her.
She laughed and said to check back later. A little while later (still awhile before the concert was to
start) a guy walked up to me and asked, "Are you Kate Kennedy?" I was startled and said I was. I
looked down and said, "Is this Jenny???" It was Tony, her owner and I got to have a nice, long
cuddle with Jenny - she is 1/2 Jack Russell and 1/2 Chihuahua. A little later, Shelly, Tony's partner
came over to introduce herself. We had a nice chat and I found out why Jenny was on the steps
down the road from me. It seems that Shelly and Tony have been enjoying reading my travelogue
every evening - they get a kick out of hearing the views of their home from a visitor. They saw the
pics I took of my steps and thought that was my cottage - the cottage 2 doors down has almost
identical steps. I hadn't even considered that they were interested in my ramblings! Shelly was nice
enough to to bring me over a hot dog from their stand.
I had fun conversations with several of the people who were sitting and standing around me waiting
for the concert. Hearing the group in person was great - even if I couldn't see them. They are a lot
like a group we used to hear a lot in Wyandotte - Song of the Lakes. In fact, they do a couple of the
same shanties. Halfway through the concert, Shelly brought Jenny back over and I got another nice,
long cuddle. She is a very sweet little thing. They will be going to Buckham Fair on Sunday, so I
hope to see them there again. And then I will try to be down on the Platt to watch them go rowing -
Jenny loves riding in the boat with them! I left a little early when I sensed they would be finishing up
soon, and when I got home I could hear them from my patio almost as well as when I was on the
Platt (although it was fun being in the crowd and talking to people). I listened to the last two songs
sitting outside, and just as they finished, the rain came with a vengeance. Perfect timing - if I had
waited until the end I would have gotten soaked - and I was wearing a short sleeved t-shirt.
So, tomorrow morning, I'll be getting up, getting my shower and packing some of my things for the
two night stay and driving over to Dorset. The weather is scheduled to be awful. Rain with gale force
winds. But most of the roads I will be driving are pretty good roads, so I hope it will be a good drive.
Talk to you next from Beaminster! (Pronounced "BEM-in-ster")
Day 17 (Saturday) - Okay - weekend catch up! I'm back at my Port Isaac cottage (it really feels like I'm
home). I got back about 2:30 (Monday) and unpacked, had a little lunch and now I'm sitting on the
patio overlooking the village and writing the update.
When I got to Dorset, I pulled into the town of Beaminster. Martin lives just outside of the town and
the fair is on a plot of his land along the road adjoining his 135 acre farm. I parked my car in the
square in the middle of town and was going to look for a place to have a little lunch. As I was paying
for the parking ticket, I heard my name. It was Gabrielle, one of the people I've met a couple of times
from the DM Facebook groups, (and a FB friend so she'll be reading this - Hi Gabrielle!) She was in a
restaurant having lunch with a friend I hadn't met yet (Penny), so my intro to Beaminster was to have
lunch with a couple of friends.
After lunch I found my AirBnb place in the tiny village of Hooke (the only things in the village are a
church and about a dozen old homes). It was a room in Carol's house - she is a fabulous retired
woman who couldn't have been more wonderful. It's actually a block of three units in what looks like
a large country house. Very old and quirky - I'll tell you more about her another day. She used to be
an actress and also a chef - I loved hearing her stories. And I was her last ever guest. Her beloved
dog passed away a few months ago and she's decided to move into a smaller place nearby with less
garden upkeep so she can do more traveling. I got settled in and drove over to the fairgrounds -
about a 5 minute drive - although the first couple of miles leaving Hooke is a tiny road that only
allows one car. If you meet another car (and I did), one of you (me) has to back up to a spot that has a
tiny clearing to allow passing.
I got to the fairgrounds at 5:00 where they were putting the finishing touches on the tents, rides, etc.
One of the tents had been set up for a small presentation and memorial for our friend Linda, who
died suddenly earlier this year in a car accident. Gabrielle got together with a couple of her close
friends (also DM fans) and set up a memorial fund to be donated to Buckham Fair in Linda's honor.
We all contributed and raised about $2400 for the fair. So, Martin's wife, Philippa, read a little
something about Linda and Gabrielle presented the check to Martin. The BF (Buckham Fair - I'll use
that acronym for now on) person was looking in some boxes for the check to give to Gabrielle to
present when Martin looked over and said, "Is there a giant check? No giant check? Well, I'm out of
here then." So, after the presentation and some pictures with Gabrielle and her friends (they call
themselves the "MC5") someone called me over and told Martin I am the one who created
PortwennOnline. He said, "Oh! You're the one who catalogues my ties!" In the last year he has
mentioned in a couple of interviews that he has a fan who has catalogued all of his ties (although
that's just one section of the website). So I went over to talk to him. He asked if I knew which was his
favorite tie? He said it was a new one for Series 7 and dropped a big hint that he wore it for the
scenes with Sigourney Weaver. I described to him MY favorite tie - one he only wore in one episode
several years ago, but he couldn't place it. I then explained to him that the biggest thing I do for the
website is find all of the locations that they have used for filming and described a couple of the really
remote ones that I was excited to find. Then I told him about my two new knees - that I had gotten
them about 18 months ago. He was really interested and asked if it was because of arthritis and I
said it was. He asked if they work well and I told him that they are great - I said the whole impetus for
getting the new knees was so I could finally visit Port Isaac. He laughed, put up both hands as if
giving a Papal Blessing and said, "I've healed you!" I love this guy.
So, people milled around a little bit more and different people had a few minutes with him and then
some of us headed across the fair to the beer tent where they were holding the Sponsor's
Reception. All of the US visitors become sponsors of the fair so we can attend the reception the
night before and have other nice things that I'll tell you about in the Sunday update. I think there
were about a dozen of us US members (and one Hungarian - Hi Eniko - also a FB friend) and I had
only met two of them in person, so it was nice to finally meet them all. While we were waiting for
Martin & Philippa to come over from the other tent, I pulled up my site on my phone so I could point
out my favorite ties if I had the chance. A woman from the US who none of us knew (she isn't on FB)
came and sat at one of our tables. She said she was just a DM fan and found out about BF and
decided to come over for it. When Martin walked in a few minutes later, she ran over and got him as
he walked in the door and talked to him for a few minutes and then handed him the bag she had in
her hands. It was a straw cowboy-style hat that she brought for him. He put it on and he was gracious
and told her he would wear it around the farm. As he started to walk away, I called him over and
showed him the tie - and another favorite which he has also only worn once. He was really
interested and didn't remember either one but said that the person who picked out the ties in S1 was
not the same person who has dressed him since, so that's why the S1 ties never showed up again.
One of our friends, Lisa, was doing a video while we were talking and I'll post that separately.
So it was a nice couple of hours at the reception. Most of the people there are sponsors (some large
contributors) from the Beaminster area, so naturally he spent a lot of time with them. Some of the
people were playing with his Jack Russell terrier who follows him everywhere. Martin calls him Jim,
but his real name is James Henry. Yes, the baby in the show was named after his dog! (They actually
have 4 dogs, but Jim is his favorite - he even appeared in "Arthur & George" and was credited!). Jim
loves to fetch a ball, so people would throw the ball and he would fetch it, but every time he would
drop it about three feet from the person and wouldn't take it all the way back to them - the little
So, a very enjoyable evening. Here is a short video that was taken by Lisa Fenderson of me showing
the tie page of my site to Martin and pointing out my favorite.
Here are some of the pics from Saturday. The first three are of the stormy morning as I was leaving
Port Isaac and the driveway that I had to back down to leave my cottage (!!!)
Day 18 (Sunday) - Carol, my landlady at the Airbnb made me a nice Full English breakfast to start my
day and, as she had offered, she drove me to the fair and told me to call her when I was ready to go
home. This was really helpful because there was a long line of cars waiting to get into the parking in
the field across the road from the fair. She even offered me a pair of wellies if the grounds were
muddy. Last year it rained hard the entire day and the grounds were a sea of mud. This year it rained
a lot in the days before the fair but I knew from Saturday night that the grounds were in good shape.
Sunday morning it was sunny and nice, but rain was scheduled to arrive about 4:00. So, I wore my
3/4 length sleeve top and had my pashmina folded inside my purse - and also in my purse I put the
folded rain poncho I bought for the trip. The weather was glorious all day, but right at 4:00 the rain
came. But it wasn't "real" rain, but more of a mist. So I used the pashmina to keep warm, but never
did pull out the plastic poncho - I just got wet. It was fine.
The fair was a massive success. There were so many people you couldn't move much of the time. I
wasn't able to get even close to the major show ring much of the day. There were various rings with
different dog and horse displays and contests for both. And lots of tents with artisans and food and
all. I would guess that 50% of the people had at least 1 dog with them (many had several) and I saw
just about every breed in existence. It was also a nice family day out with lots of kids - a lot of
families either sat on blankets or the hay bales in the food area. There were several rides (including
a Ferris wheel) and carnival games. A big tea tent, a big beer tent. Martin judges several of the dog
contests so there is always a big crowd watching. And as he walks around he can't take a step
without requests for photos or autographs. So he charges £1 for each to go for the fundraising - the
recipient this year is Weldmar Hospice - a local hospice. One of the favorite things at the end of the
day is the Clydesdale show. I think they had 10 of them this year and Martin shows his beloved boys
- Brucie and Ronnie.
By the time the Clydesdale show came it was starting to cool off and threatening rain so the crowds
had started to thin. I had chilled for a few hours in the Sponsor's tent - they had free wine and a nice
spread of food for the sponsors all afternoon. But I spotted a free hay bale next to the main ring and
got to sit on the rail to watch. Several of my friends also got to sit there so we enjoyed watching
Martin. He had a woman who works with the horses on the farm (they have 14 horses) show Brucie
and Martin showed Ronnie. Brucie is the good brother and Ronnie is the mischievous one. As usual,
Ronnie was a handful and he was bucking all over the place while they were walking round the ring.
It got chilly and we got very wet, but it was a blast.
The people who have been there the last few years said we should go over to the beer tent while the
tents and rides were coming down because Martin shows up there to unwind. And he was in a great
mood. Talked and laughed with everyone. Lisa gave him her phone and asked him to record a video
to the "Clunatics" (those of us on social media have dubbed ourselves "Clunatics" - rhymes with
"lunatics") and he has talked about it in interviews for the last year or so. I think he gets a kick out of
it. We got all of us gathered for a pic with him (I haven't seen anyone post it yet but there were a lot
of cameras clicking). It was funny because everyone was trying to get in and laughing and he said,
"If you can see the camera, it can see you." I said, "You've done this before."
After we finished with the pictures, I decided to go for it. I thought about if I had the chance what I
might want to ask him and I had decided on something that has been an argument online for several
years. I didn't really think to ask on Saturday night, but this was my chance. I said, "I told myself if I
ever met you I would ask this question." He got a little concerned look on his face, and I said, "No,
it's really something a lot of people have wondered about. In 'William & Mary', when you and Billy
were sitting at the kitchen table singing the operatic piece..." He jumped in and said, "Yes! Les
Pechures..." I said, "Did you do your own vocals or did you have help?" "Yes! That was me singing!"
And then he started to sing it! But he started laughing and trailed off. I stuck my finger up in the air
and declared, "I was right!!!" I shared this with the FB group last night and there were a lot of people
glad to hear the real answer.
Here is a clip of the scene I asked about. My friend, Connie, has it posted on YouTube and it has over
16,000 views. William and Mary was a really sweet show that ran for 3 years about a widower with 2
teen daughters falling for a single mother with 2 teen sons. This was just before he started doing Doc
Martin. He was quite chubby back then - he quit smoking when his daughter was born and gained
quite a bit of weight - which he's lost in the last 4 years or so. The setup for this scene is Mary has
been distant and fighting with William over a few family issues. William plays in a band as a hobby
and his bandmate brought over this piece he wanted them to learn (Martin's voice is the higher one -
and he's really good!). Mary walks in while they're singing and smiles at him and he goes over and
gives her a hug. I think it's the best TV hug I've ever seen. (I really love this show). But watch and
listen to the video - it's quite short.
And here is the selfie video that Martin made for the Clunatics:
Day 19 - This will be a little bit of a catch up and odds and ends update since Monday was spent
traveling back to Port Isaac and then relaxing. I left Carol's house as she waved me off from her front
door and drove back over to Buckham Downs and saw lots of people working to clear the last of the
trailers and tents. I stopped and chatted for a moment with Eniko. Most of my friends here
volunteered at the fair - on Saturday for the set up, during the fair all day Sunday, and they helped
with the cleanup on Monday. I really wish I could have joined them in volunteering but I wasn't sure
how much I could do after two weeks of traveling and a week of Port Isaac hills. And I was right - just
being an attendee on Sunday wiped me out. If only Buckham Fair had started 20 years earlier I would
have been right there with them. Ah well - that's life! The reason I drove over there was to pop into
the farm where several of them are staying (just across the road) to pick up a suitcase for Penny. A
couple of them are driving to PI on Friday and they have limited space in their car so she put it in my
trunk and will come get it when they arrive on Friday.
I had a really good experience with Budget Rental of Ireland. I messaged them about what type of
car might best suit my needs and over the next couple of months carried on a nice conversation
with Michelle. She messaged me after I picked up the car to make sure all went well, and was out of
the office for a few days when I had the tire issue but checked to make sure it was all sorted. When I
turned the car in at the ferry dock, the woman at the counter was Ann - a very sweet 73 year old who
said she loved working too much to retire. She was so nice and said that one of her bosses
(Michelle) had let her know I was coming and to take good care of me. She asked how my GPS unit
worked and I told her it really wasn't much help so she said she would get them to refund the cost
for me - I didn't even think to ask! I asked her if she knew if they would be able to help me with my
luggage getting on and off the ferry and she said, "Well, we'll see to it that they do!" She came out
from behind the counter, grabbed my hand, and marched me over to the ferry counter next door and
told them that they needed to see to my luggage for me. She was just the sweetest woman. She
pointed me to where I could get something to eat or drink while I waited and came by where I was
sitting several times to chat.
Carol, my landlady in Hooke was so nice and we sat and chatted quite a bit. When she was young
she was an actress - she appeared in Z Cars as Brian Blessed's wife and also was in 2 Cliff Richards
movies (yes Nina!). But she never had big enough roles to be on IMDb. And she was married for a
short time to a guy who was a musician - he filled in often for missing players in Manfred Mann. After
she gave up show business she was a chef and did a lot of cooking for rich people and she owned a
vegetarian restaurant for a number of years. She is also deep into genealogy, travels a lot and has
some amazing and quirky items all over her house. I loved talking to her. I took a picture of the
pheasant who showed up outside the dining room door as I ate breakfast - and one of Carol waving
On the way back to Port Isaac I got lost - again. But I ended up in a dead end road just around the
bend from the beautiful, very old, arched bridge you can see in the pictures. I remember seeing that
bridge in Google Street View while I was exploring that area a few years ago.
I'm also including a shot I grabbed last Friday from the web cam of the Fishermen's Friends concert.
You see everyone was jammed up near the top of the Platt because it was high tide and a storm was
brewing. That evening, just down the coast, a family was swept off a beach - they were rescued but
the father died.
One of the amazing things in England and Ireland is that they have these units in the showers that
give you instant hot water! In my house, with the water heater 1 1/2 stories below the shower, it
takes about a minute for the hot water to make it up there. But I think their sink taps go the opposite
way of ours - it took me a few days of getting soaked every time I tried to turn off the water in the
kitchen sink to figure that out.
I love my camera. It's small enough that I carry it in my purse all the time, but it takes great pictures.
And it has a great zoom. I looked out my bedroom window this morning and saw a notice attached to
the light pole across the road. I zoomed in on it with my camera and was able to read it. LOL!
I had discussions with people who had been over here more recently than I about what I needed for
the plugs on everything I needed to plug in. There are adapters to allow you to plug into their larger
plugs, but there are also voltage converters. What I was told was that you only need the converters
anymore for hair dryers. So instead of getting a converter, I got a pack of 3 adapters (and I needed all
3!) and I bought a travel hair dryer that adapts to the different currents. I thought it was interesting
that is was so inexpensive. Before the trip, I used a dime to turn the switch over and it's worked just
fine. The other morning I was looking at the handle and realized how simple they made it. When you
turn the switch to 250 (for Ireland and England) all it does is mechanically prevent you from
switching the setting to "high". So I realized that when I use it, it's on "low", but because of the
higher voltage here it feels like it's on "high". That was some clever engineering! Anyway - on to the
Day 20 - Well, I was a little ambitious yesterday and I paid for it last night and this morning. I took the
walk up to the top of the village - thank goodness I was able to get a ride back down on the PI Shuttle
- Louise has quickly become my best friend here in PI. But I got to see and photograph all of the DM
sites I wanted to see up there and I got to relax and enjoy the sea views. I stopped in at Ruby
Tuesday (where Aunt Ruth had tea with Caroline in S6) and had a delicious lemon tart with
raspberries and clotted cream. Yummmm! And after I sat down at the counter by the window, the
guy sitting at a table outside (just the other side of the window) looked like a slightly younger
version of Mick Jagger. He had the facial attitude and the lips, but I think he was a tad younger. I
didn't have time to surreptitiously get a photo because he got up and left just after I noticed him. One
problem with the ambitious walk yesterday was that it was probably the warmest day I've had here
yet, so I was dripping by the time I made it up the last hill. I sat at the top of the hill by the car park for
awhile and then saw Louise and her shuttle so I had her drive me all the way down into the harbour.
(One of her main stops is right in front of my cottage - yay!)
So I got to the harbour and checked in at the Mote and found they didn't open for dinner for another
hour - so I made a reservation. I have found a few places over here that serve meals at any time
(although none in PI), but they are still rare. I think we are spoiled that we can go just about
anywhere, anytime and get whatever kind of food we are hungry for. It's now almost 3 weeks since
I've had an iced tea and I'm truly going through withdrawal. At home, I can pull up to the drive
through of any one of dozens of places nearby and say, "Large unsweetened ice tea please!" and
pay $1-$2 and don't even have to get out of my car. Yes - we are totally spoiled.
I sat in a couple of places around the Platt during that hour and had some lovely conversations with
other tourists. I was watching for the rowers and little Jenny, but when my table time came at 6:00 I
went into the Mote and decided to splurge and had freshly caught lobster. Oh, it was good. After I
went back out onto the Platt, I sat on a bench and talked to some more visitors and saw the boat
coming in. I told them about Jenny and pointed her out in the bow of the boat. But when it got to
shore and the dog jumped out I knew it wasn't her - and I didn't see Shelly either. When I got home I
found out the Jenny is sick and went to the vet yesterday. I hope she feels better soon so I can get
one last cuddle before I leave this weekend - but her health is more important than my cuddle.
Walking back up to the cottage, I was sore. And one foot has been giving me problems off and on -
sometimes the ankle, sometimes the instep, sometimes just above the ankle. During Buckham Fair
and then again last night and again this morning it's the instep. I hobbled across the street and had
some breakfast at the Old School Hotel and then a few doors down to pick up some things at May
Contain Nuts, and it's a little better. But I'm sitting with the TENS unit on it right now and I think I will
take it easy for at least part of the day today.
Now to decide what pics to post!
Day 21 - I took it easy yesterday and it paid off because my foot is much better this morning. I had a
nice breakfast at the Old School Hotel across the road yesterday (waffle with sausage and bacon).
Love how the jam was served in little tiny glass jars instead of the plastic Smucker's ones you
usually see. In the entrance to the restaurant they have faux painting on the wall to bring back the
feeling of when this building was an elementary school (and they use it as the school in DM).
I've watched a few young seagulls while here. They are almost as large as the parents, but they still
have mottled color feathers. The one I captured here - I saw the mother give him something from her
mouth and then grabbed the camera and clicked away while the baby kept trying to get more from
her - but of course she had no more for him. The parents have the "caw, caw" you normally hear
from seagulls, but the babies have kind of a chirp and sometimes even sound like kittens mewing.
I was talking to the young woman in the shop just down the hill about how I have found so many DM
filming sites. She said that a few years ago they used her house for interiors. They repainted her
brother's bedroom (an artist was sleeping there) and also their kitchen. She said when they were
done they repainted both rooms and they were better than new. I think I've figured out that this
would be the episode where Penhale's artist brother visited him. The only interior scenes were a
bedroom and the kitchen. When I was talking to Martin last weekend about locations he said that
many times the interiors are filmed in different places than the interiors - and I said that I knew that!
I've included pics of a couple of other meals I've had here in the village. Off to do some more
Day 22 - Another ambitious day. I climbed half of Church Hill Road and half of Roscarrock Hill Road.
They are both very steep and I decided not to push to the top of either. Roscarrock Hill was the main
destination because I have been here almost 2 weeks and still have not made the pilgrimage to the
Doc's Surgery. I guess the fact that I'm looking directly at it across the harbour every time I look out
my windows I hadn't felt the need to get up there yet - but, of course, it had to be done. There are
hoards of people every day making that pilgrimage. I started by stopping in at the Port Isaac Pottery
partway up the hill. They have The Chapel Cafe inside - the building is an old Methodist Chapel. I had
to wait for a table in the small cafe - they give you a wooden spoon with a number painted on it -
very clever. I had number 3 and after number 2 was seated, a gentleman who had number 4 pointed
his spoon at me and said "Swords at dawn?" I had a nice little quiche and salad in a really beautiful
Then, on up the hill! There is a steady stream of people stopping at the house - which is a weekly
rental. I talked to several groups of people standing around taking pictures and I had a nice man take
a couple pics of me there. After some of the people had left, a couple walked up and the wife asked
her husband, "Could this be it?" I just said, "Yes, it is." No clarification of her question necessary. On
the way down, I was passing two young men. One of them said, "I don't know what it looks like, so I
won't know if we're there." The other said, "The sign said, 3rd house on the left." I turned around and
said, "Just after the white house - the short brown one." But it really as a thrill to actually stand there
at this shrine.
Near the bottom of the hill is a sign directing you to "Doc Martins Cottage". In the FB groups we've
seen pictures of that sign lots of times. Several of us have bemoaned the missing apostrophe. I even
put out a challenge a few years ago for someone to take a black Sharpie with them and fix the sign.
When we were in the Sponsors Tent at the fair last Sunday, I saw that Penny had a black Sharpie. I
knew that she was returning here today and I gave her the assignment. We laughed about her
getting a ticket for vandalism and I told her I would split the cost with her - it just has to be done.
After stopping to see Nicky and pick up a pasty for later, I stopped on the bench in front of May
Contain Nuts before finishing my trek up to the cottage (and tackling the front steps). A gentleman
was standing there drinking coffee and asked how my trip was going. He asked where I was from
and we started talking - and then I mentioned that I was here, of course, for Doc Martin. He chuckled
and I started telling him about my website and how it all started with sussing out the filming
locations. He laughed and said, "Well, I'm the chap who does the Doc Martin walking tours of the
village." So we talked for at least 30-45 minutes. He was really interested in my site and I pulled up
(on my phone) one page to show him the locations map. He was very impressed and said he can't
wait to explore the site and will use it as a reference - and tell his customers about it after they've
taken the tour. He has been involved in some of the filming and he told me some stories that I hadn't
heard before and also some tidbits about the village itself. What a great conversation we had! He is
working on a new map that he sells and took my address so he can send me one when it's complete.
So, I got back to the cottage and sat on the patio for awhile eating a brownie. I had a very large
seagull fly up and walk all along the wall of my patio - I know he was eyeing the brownie. At times he
was only 2 feet away from me. I had left my camera inside - if I had it I would have gotten some
really great closeups of this guy. After awhile it started to rain so I went inside - this was the first real
rain I have seen this whole two weeks. But it didn't start until 5:00 or so - I had my pasty to heat up
so I just spent the rest of the evening in.
I ran into Steven twice in the morning - at two different locations. He's the guy who told me (I think
on my first full day) that Doc Martin had ruined the village. He is a bit of a character and we sat
together with an up close view of some vehicle gridlock right at the Platt.
Today is my last full day in Port Isaac. I have a few places I still want to explore and Fisherman's
Friends will be doing their last Friday night concert down on the Platt this evening. This is the start of
their long weekend (like our Labor Day weekend) so the village should he heaving - I already noticed
a lot more people yesterday.
Day 23 - I made the most of my last day in Port Isaac, but one of my knees is not too happy. It will be
fine, I think I just overdid the hills on Friday. The one lane that I had not tackled was Rose Lane. It's a
really interesting street because it is very steep with cottages all tucked in and around the lane. In
the first few series of DM they shot there often because it's so narrow that it doesn't allow any
vehicular traffic except near the top where it widens slightly. A couple of main characters have lived
in cottages up there in different series. At the bottom of the lane, it splits off in a "y" shape. The part
that's still considered Rose Lane comes out onto Fore Street and has two metal rails - I expect it's to
prevent anything (or anyone) rolling (falling) down the street to fall into Fore Street. The other part of
the "y" shape is called "Shaggy's Ope" and is even narrower and also comes out on Fore Street just
a few feet away - with the same two rails.
I had my last dinner at The Mote - had the ribeye again. Yum! Then I ran into Gabrielle for the second
time of the day. They were setting up the Platt with a big stage because they're having a big festival
day on Sunday - called The Big Swim. People swim from Port Gaverne around the head and come
out in the harbour in Port Isaac. They will be having bands playing all day on the stage and lots of
festivities - this is their long weekend like our Labor Day weekend. So, Fisherman's Friends did their
last Friday night concert of the summer. We could see that with the stage all set up there was going
to be no place for us to sit - a lot of people bring camp chairs or just sit on the beach. So we walked
up to my cottage and listened to them from my patio - we could hear them just as well as if we had
been on the beach. It was a nice way to end my stay.
Just about to pack up the car and head to Salisbury. No idea what the roads will be like since it's
Saturday of a holiday weekend. I'm not in any hurry because it's not that far. I may just relax and do
not much of anything while I'm there - we'll see.
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