Olympic Blog: Exeter to Taunton – the joy of cream teas …


I’ve always loved Devon and have had some of my best ever holidays there. The pace of life is much slower than here in Surrey where I live, and of course the Devon cream teas are to die for.

I can honestly say that the best cream teas I have ever tasted can be found in the Cathedral Café in Exeter Cathedral, and teach me more about the joys of heaven than any number of pitch-perfect choirs and stunning stained glass. And I say that as a committed Anglican too.

Exeter also has the best public toilets I’ve ever experienced – I do believe that a society can be judged entirely on the standards of its public conveniences – so the Olympic procession will have a lot to enjoy in their journey from Exeter to Taunton. Then again, I must admit that I did happen to be in the city on the first day of opening the new facilities, and it was a joyous occasion of flowers and cleanliness, and they even had very chatty staff who were happy to show you around. I went back three times, and I didn’t even need to …

So when it came to writing my gay thriller The Bones of Summer, realising I had a significant back story to tell when it came to my hero, Craig, I knew I had to set it near Exeter. This is where Craig grows up, in a farming household traumatised by the narrow religious faith of his father, and where he meets Michael, the first man he falls in love with.

Even later on when Craig is settling in to his new life in London, the memories of what happened in Exeter and why he had to leave are never too far away. When a threatening letter arrives, Craig knows he must return to his childhood rural home in order to face and overcome his past if he’s to have the chance of a future at all.

Bearing our Olympic theme in mind, I’m also proud to say that The Bones of Summer was Commended in the UK Writers’ Conference in 2008, and placed third in the 2009 Rainbow Mystery Fiction Awards. So not quite a Gold, hey a girl can dream …

Anne Brooke
Gay Reads UK 


About annebrooke

Anne Brooke lives in Surrey, UK, and writes in a variety of genres, including gay erotic romance, fantasy, comedy, thrillers, biblical fiction and the occasional chicklit novel. When not writing, she spends time in the garden attempting to differentiate between flowers and weeds, and in the allotment attempting to grow vegetables. Occasionally, she can also be found in the kitchen making cakes. Every now and again, they are edible. Her websites can be found at: www.annebrooke.com, www.gayreads.co.uk, www.biblicalfiction.co.uk and www.gathandria.com (for fantasy fiction).

10 responses »

  1. Best public toilets have to be in the utterly remote Lake District valley of Longsleddale – ten miles of glaciated valley with a scattering of farms, a racing mountain river, and one set of conveniences about half way down the only road in and out. Two cubicles, spotlessly clean, and there’s always a vase of fresh flowers on the window sill whenever I visit.

    And torturing us with luscious pics and descriptions of cream teas should be banned. 😀

  2. On the strength of this I’m now reading The Bones of Summer. Just one thing, Anne, are you sure your interest in public loos is healthy?? 🙂

  3. Thanks, Bruin! Hope you enjoy the read, and Craig’s Devon visit :)) And, about loos, my husband says just the same about me!! He’s not recovered really since we went to a posh Italian restaurant in Guildford (Cambio’s if you’re ever in the area) and I wouldn’t stop talking about how fantastic the loos were (and they are – superb …) for a week, tee hee!


  4. I think Exeter was the venue for a cream cake marathon when I was a teenager. I was on a pony trekking holiday with a friend and we went to Exeter on the ponies’ day off. We tried to buy (and eat) a cream cake from every bakery we found…

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