By: Blonde Two

So how did it go with the grid references? For those of you who are not of a navigational bent, here is part 1 of our Dartmoor Christmas Story with the missing words revealed (they are all Dartmoor place names).

Once upon a time there was a girl called Mary. Mary lived on a farm at Haytor and was in love with Joe the carpenter’s son.

One day Mary was settling the Lamb’s Down for the night when she heard a strange voice.
“Mary, Mary,” the voice called.
Mary looked around but she couldn’t see anything.
Hoo Meavy?” she called
“Yes you Mary,” the voice replied, you have been chosen to give birth to the son of God.
Hoo Meavy? Are you sure?” Mary asked.
“Yes of course I’m sure, I’m an angel and angels are always sure!” said the voice, sounding a bit cross. “You’re going to give birth to the son of God in Princetown.”
“Oh blimey!” answered Mary and she rushed off to tell Joe.

Joe wasn’t altogether too pleased about this news.
“What the Crapstone?” he exclaimed, I hate Princetown, it always rains there.”
Mary tried to cheer him up, “I know dear, but they do great pies at the Plume of Feathers and we can have breakfast at Foxtor Cafe.”
“S’pose so,” muttered Joe remembering the Jail Ale and that he Lovaton Mary. When do we need to go?”
“I’m not really sure how long it takes to grow the Son of God,” answered Mary, “I’ll ask around.”

The next nine months went really quickly and before long Mary and Joe were packing their bags for the journey over Dartmoor to Princetown.
“I’ve got a surprise for you Mary,” said Joe, “You’re not going to believe this.”
“Since that Son of God thing I would believe anything,” said Mary.
Joe disappeared round the back of the barn and came back with a donkey.
“What on earth’s that for?” asked Mary.
“Well the car’s broken down and I thought you could ride on it to Princetown.”
“What? With my Higher Piles?” exclaimed Mary, “You must be joking. Fetch me a Long Barrow and you can push me.”
Joe wasn’t too happy about this, Mary had put on a lot of weight since the angel’s visit but he knew better than to argue with her. ‘Thou shalt not argue with thy girlfriend,” was one of the instructions on the Ten Commandments Stone.

The journey to Princetown was long and wet, but all journeys to Princetown are long and wet so Mary and Joe weren’t too grumpy. Joe had invited his brothers along so that they could take Three Barrows and a few little luxuries. On the way Joe tried to use to book a bunkhouse but the broadband was very limited.

By the time they arrived in Princetown Mary was a bit Cold East Cross. Joe left her at the Visitor Centre while he went to find a room for the night.
“Just you make sure you check the room out first!” Mary called after him, “I’m not giving birth in any old Bleak House.”
“Yes dear,” called Joe over his shoulder, looking longingly at the door of the Plume of Feathers. “I’ll be right back.”

In the end Joe couldn’t find a bunkhouse that had any bunks left. The only space was the sofa by the fire at Foxtor Cafe.

“I’m sure you’ll be very comfy here,” soothed Joe as Mary bent double in pain, “Are you alright?”
“Alright? Alright? Of course I’m not! Just you try giving birth to the Son of God, it isn’t like passing Wind Tor you know!”
Joe sat down at a table with his head in his hands. It was going to be a long night and the kitchen was closed, he couldn’t even order some cheesy chips.

After some hours of moaning and groaning on the sofa Mary sat up with a strange look on her face.
“Help me Joe, I think the baby’s coming.”
“All you have to do is hold my hand and Beardown,” said Joe, not really knowing what he was talking about. “The baby will be out soon.”

Beardown? You Beardown Man and see how you like it!” shouted Mary.
Joe surreptitiously looked at his watch, it was past closing time and there was no hope of a pint of Jail. He hoped the baby would be born soon because he was losing the feeling in his fingers.

To be continued…