A Walk by the Sea

by Margaret Powling-

Thatcher Rock, Torquay

After two days spent indoors because of heavy rain – and this isn’t a complaint; rain is vitally necessary to replenish the reservoirs and water the land and gardens, making England a green and pleasant land – we drove over to Torquay where, first of all, husband had a haircut and I popped into the charity shop to deposit some books and magazines.  I am  always amazed at the ingenuity of the staff who decorate this shop so beautifully, and today was no exception.   One of the windows was empty but the theme was to be travel because waiting to go into the window was a tailor’s dummy with a ‘dress’ made from maps. 

How clever is that?

Once husband had been dealt with in the barber’s we returned to our car and drove to Ilsham Valley, a pleasant green area of the Borough and which leads to Meadfoot Sea Road and Meadfoot Beach.

Ilsham Valley

I took the above photo 2 yeas ago but it looked much like this today, bluebells still in bloom and wild garlic also. 

Approaching the sea front, we noticed lovely pink and red Devon Pride (Valerian) and wild roses in bloom.

And then the sea hove into view  …

Meadfoot Beach (under water, of course!)

From Meadfoot Sea Road, we walked to the cafe end of the beach and had a mug of tea.

After our tea we made our way back along the road to our car. 

On the headland is the block of flats called Kilmorie.  

This block of flats (apartments to those outside the UK) was built in 1961 in the building boom of that era.  The advertising brochure at the time described “luxury flats to the highest Continental standards overlooking Torquay’s Mediterranean-like coastline.”  Everything Continental was then the very height of chic!

Above Meadfood is the headland known as Daddyhole Plain, a wonderful vantage point from which to see yachts in the Bay or aerial displays when the Red Arrows visit Torbay in the summer. 

The view from Daddyhole Plain

This is the view across Torbay to Berry Head, near Brixham.

Close to Daddyhole Plain is the Headland Hotel where our elder son and our daughter in law were married last September. 

When I was a teenager, in the summer school holidays I would deliver newspapers to this hotel (then called the Overmead) with  my father (from our newsagent’s shop) when it belonged to the Workers’ Educational Association.  We supplied many of the hotels in the Bay with newspapers, driving around in his Austin van.  I had no idea then that this hotel had been originally built for the Russian Royal Family, the Romanovs, who used it as a holiday home and, in 1890, then known as Villa Syracuse, it became a convalescent home for soldier and sailors from the Boer War.  It later became an hotel but in 1939, for the duration of WW2, it was bought to house the offices and staff of the Prudential Assurance Company, evacuated from London.  It returned to life as a hotel after the war, changing it’s name several times from Carlton Hotel, to Highmead, to Overmead and is now The Headland Hotel and a lovely place not only for weddings, but also just morning coffee, lunch, or afternoon tea. 

Until next  time.



Margaret Powling


  1. Sue

    One of my brothers in law is a builder and when he was asked once what the difference was between a flat and an apartment, he replied ‘About £5000!’

    18 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Today he might add another nought, Sue! I think this is much the same as in advertising: bungalows were once always described as “luxury bungalows” while houses were always “executive houses”. The two descriptions were not interchangeable, as “executive bungalow” would be, I think, have been considered an oxymoron!

      19 . May . 2017
  2. Lara

    The bay looks beautiful. What is the water temperature ? Do people swim there ? Ocean swimming is very popular in Australia – as is swimming pretty much anywhere and everywhere given our climate. When I saw your photos I had fantasies of plunging into the clear water and swimming out several hundred metres, floating on my back for a while to watch the sky and then swimming back to shore. A quick rub down with a towel and then a cup of tea or hot chocolate in the sunshine. But I thought I’d better check the temperature (and likelihood of sharks) before I don my cossie (bathers / swimsuit / togs for you non-Aussies) in this fantasy !

    We are experiencing a day of drizzle here, too. I don’t mind in the least, though. As I’ve been out and about every day this past week and spent a fortune on household and medical bills with more to go, i am delighted to have a quiet day inside with our cat. [She climbed onto our bed at 9:30am, ‘assumed the position’ as I call it, lifting her head only slightly when I gave her a scratch on the head as I walked past about two hours later and then only finally got up after 2:30pm. Why don’t they get bedsores ?? I’m sure medical institutions the world over would benefit immensely if they could apply the ‘cat factor’ to those who are infirm ;)]. I have paid bills online, caught up with about a month’s backlog of filing, drank three cups of herbal tea, watched a DVD, had a lovely bath, eaten leftover homemade soup (sweet potato, potato, zucchini, red capsicum, onion, garlic and chicken stock) with sour cream for lunch and also started reading a new book from the library (one of the ’44 Scotland Street’ series by Alexander McCall Smith). It sounds quite productive when I list it out like that. Ha ha.

    19 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I do not swim (I had lessons as a child but somehow I never managed to learn properly. I could manage a length of the pool but I can’t ‘tread’ water, so when I stop swimming, I sink. Best to leave it to those who enjoy it! As for sea bathing, yes, lots of people, especially holidaymakers who visit these parts, love to go sea bathing, but it is chilly even in summer, and as for winter bathing, well, only for the very hardy! Of course, in winter, the sea temperature is higher than the land temperature, but as I said, only for the very hardy.
      Your at certainly knows when she’s well off, with a lovely cosy bed to sleep on! I also think your soup sounds delicious, I might try that although I’ve not had any success with sweet potatoes (I once topped a cottage pie with them instead of ordinary potatoes and we didn’t like it at all; and I have had sweet potato chips which I quite liked at first but then rapidly went off.)
      I have tried Alexander McCall Smith’s books but I have to admit they are not for me. Indeed, I’m trying something at the moment right out of my comfort zone, as the saying goes, by having ordered an Icelandic crime novel, but perhaps I might mention that in my a forthcoming post about books, who knows! I think you have been very productive, by the way!

      19 . May . 2017
  3. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    Lovely photos as always, Margaret. The view from Berry Head is great. I remember standing there one very blustery day and the air seemed to be some of the freshest I had ever breathed. It felt a very healthy thing to do to take lots of very deep breaths!
    Some of these big houses/hotels have such an interesting history attached to them. What a lot of manifestations the Headland Hotel has been through.
    I like sweet potatoes well enough but not as much as ordinary ones and definitely not with gravy type dishes.

    19 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind comments yet again about my photos, Eloise. Yes, Berry Head on a windy day is magnificent. The Berry Head Hotel was once the home of The Rev. Henry Francis Lyte famous for having written the hymn Abide With Me, who wrote it just prior to his death in 1847. The church in Brixham plays the first lines of this hymn on the hour rather than an ordinary bell peel. I love the fresh air we have on the coast, those deep breaths of fresh sea air are truly wonderful.

      19 . May . 2017
  4. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    I love the way that you always have an interesting nugget to share, Margaret. Looking forward to breathing in some of that healthy Devon air later in the year!

    19 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      I think I’m a teacher manqué, Eloise! I like to impart information that others mightn’t know. This isn’t being a clever-clogs but simply wishing to share such information. Yes, you will love the clean Devon sea air but the only drawback that people find who don’t live here and aren’t used to the sea air, is that it often makes them sleepy!

      20 . May . 2017
  5. Marlene Stevens

    You can’t beat a nice walk, lovely fresh air and clearing your mind. I can almost smell that wild garlic.
    I have a trapped nerve yet again so I might go and have a little stroll later to see if that eases it. Enjoy your weekend.

    20 . May . 2017
    • Margaret Powling

      That sounds very painful, Marlene. I hope walking will help. Yes, a walk in the fresh air is really beneficial to health, I think, both for mind and body. Even though I have a lot of arthritic pain, I still make the effort to walk, I enjoy it so much.

      20 . May . 2017

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