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Another morning in the late summer sunshine

Torquay Harbour Bridge open (above) to allow a boat to sail through. There are sluices to allow the water levels to become the same


After having had such an enjoyable walk around Dartington on Thursday, and as yesterday also dawned bright and clear, we decided to drive into Torquay, park our car behind the department store, Hoopers, and then stroll around the harbour to Living Coasts.  You might recall, if you have been reading my blog for a while, that we visited here earlier in the year – it is a sea life centre and having bought season tickets for Paignton Zoo, these enable us to visit Living Coasts as well, and as often as we like.

Rumour has it that it is “just penguins” in Living Coast, but there are many more species to see. However, I’m no female Sir David Attenborough and so while I love to see these animals, birds and fish, unless I read every single label on the enclosures, I have little ides as to which bird is which, or which fish is which, so please forgive me my lack of information.  It was very busy in their yesterday, the last hurrah before the children return to school next week, and so photographing all the labels would’ve been rather difficult – and then I’d doubtless have muddled them up and called an Auk a Guillemot!

Living Coasts, Beacon Cove, Torquay

Living Coasts is on a headland at the far side of the harbour, and it has a huge mesh canopy which encloses the animals and birds.  But looking through the canopy you can see the sea beyond, and the little cove in the distance is actually Beacon Cove.  In the photo above are the pools in which there are seals, some of them quite large, lumbering creatures … until they vanish beneath the water (it is fairly deep) and then they demonstrate their speed and agility.

I am sure this one knew he was being photographed. It’s as if he was saying, “I’m ready for my close up, Mr de Mille!”

I photographed some of the birds …

and they looked in fine fettle, but some of the penguins were moulting and looking a bit sorry for themselves (but hey, I’m being emotive here; they mightn’t think like us; maybe they were just waiting for their next meal!)  But they looked as if they were saying, “Who you calling a Scruff?”

One of the keepers-for-the-day (many of whom are volunteers, and who are very knowledgeable) said that the penguins (for their are several species of penguin here) are fed four times a day with sprats which are caught in Lyme Bay. They couldn’t have a better place to live, believe me.  In one area, under cover, there is even an electric fan so that on hot summer days they are keep cool.

The large white building is Torquay’s Imperial Hotel, with next to it, the Imperial apartments

Having been before to Living Coasts, while there are many interesting fish in the aquarium part of this centre, we actually prefer the outside areas rather than wandering through the labyrinths of tunnels where there are seahorses, rays and so forth.  Furthermore, it is all very echo-y in the underground areas, and as it was filled with children who were excited – understandably – to see such creatures, the noise levels were very high, so as quickly as possible we made our way out again, into the sunshine.

This is the road from Living Coasts, showing the walkway, past the Harbour Master’s Office, back to Victoria Parade and Torquay’s inner harbour

Torquay’s inner harbour

And just above the harbour there is a row of attractive Regency terraced houses, some of which are now private apartments, some are restaurants …

I love their wrought-iron work balconies, and they have all been painted in gentle shades of cream.  At the end of this row of houses, climbing the hill away from the harbour, you can just see a white building with the Union flag flying. This is Torquay’s Royal Yacht Club.

We always enjoy a stroll around the harbour, there are always things to see, and yesterday many children with their parents were enjoying the last weekend of the summer holidays, “crabbing”  …

Ancient slipway where children were “crabbing” (catching crabs which they then return to the water)

We then made our way back towards Hoopers, the department store …

It’s not easy taking a decent photo of this store because it’s situated close to a pedestrian crossing, and there are shrubs on the ‘island’ in the central reservation in the road.  I have a gift token from last Christmas to spend in this store, but I didn’t see anything I wanted to spend it on yesterday, but we enjoyed having toasted tea cakes and coffee in their café on the top floor, which has views of the harbour.

You might wonder why I’m wearing my Panama indoors?  Well, (a) women do not remove their hats indoors (if they are wearing them, I mean), and (b) my hair would’ve been well and truly flattened under it, and would’ve looked worse than keeping my hat on!  Again, in my navy and white uniform!

 The view from Hoopers’ ‘Zest’ café on a sunny September morning

Opposite Hoopers is a walkway close to the harbour which I always thinks looks beautiful regardless of the time of year …

and a similar view (below) taken in November 2006  …

I’m afraid, at the rate the leaves are now falling, it won’t be long before it looks like this – very autumnal, but still very beautiful.

And finally, the clock tower by the harbour, on Torquay’s Strand, a regular meeting point … “Meet you by the clock tower” …

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you are.

Until next time.

PS  Coming soon … as they say … The Homity Pie Recipe, and a post on Follies.

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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  1. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    I am sure we have been to the living coast before, or something very similar, it is lovely to see and learn about all the different species, what a beautiful day, we sure have to make the most of the blue skies and sunshine as there won’t be many more days like this this year. Navy and white suits you Margaret, a good nautical look which suited your day.

    • Margaret Powling

      I have had a look at the Living Coasts website and found out that it opened in July 2003 (and was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal.) It’s in a lovely position, on a promontory above the harbour.
      Thank you for your kind comments re my nautical look! The scarf was one I bought in Crew Clothing three years ago, I love it as it’s very soft silk, the ‘floaty’ kind of silk, not the heavy silk of a Jaeger or Hermes scarf.

  2. Another very enjoyable post Margaret. Love hearing about your days out in Devon. And I agree with ‘simpleliving31’ a navy and white outfit is perfect for a day by the sea. X

    • Margaret Powling

      Hello, Dot, and so glad you enjoyed the virtual visit to Living Coast and taking coffee and tea cakes with husband and myself in Hoopers! And thank you for your kind comments re my navy and white ensemble!

  3. definitely navy and white are ‘your’ colours Margaret!! And colourful, as I feel you are, from reading your blog. The penguins do look disgruntled, I had a chuckle looking at them. Where you live, and the surrounding areas, are so interesting.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for kind comments re my navy and white clothes, Dot and Marlene at Simpleliving31 have also said kind things about them, but sometimes when husband and I go out we’re often wearing the same colours and I feel we look like bit-part actors from the old ITV series, The Bill (for those outside of the UK, The Bill was a police drama series). We both tend to wear a lot of navy, and sometimes in winter we’d both of us up wearing tan coloured leather shoes, too! I have often said on looking at husband, dressed to go out when I’m in much the same colours, “This will have to stop!”
      Oh, the penguins did look unhappy, I hope the moulting doesn’t make them feel unwell.
      Yes, we are very fortunate living where we do with lots of places of interest within easy reach, but that could be said of many places in the UK. But Devon is a particularly lovely county (but then, I am biased!)

      • Margaret, did you ever watch ‘Ever Decreasing Circles’ with Richard Briers ? There was a couple in that series called Howard and Hilda and they were always dressed alike, like twins! My partner and I are often dressed in similar colours and we joke that we look like Howard and Hilda! I think it is nice to look co-ordinated when you are out together, better than being clashing. Love that you and your husband are co-ordinated too! X

        • Margaret Powling

          Oh, dear old Howard and Hilda, we remember them well! I even have a DVD of the series, it was wonderful! It’s funny how often husband and I dress (without knowing what the other is about to put on) in the same colours. But after being married for almost 53 years I suppose it’s not all that surprising that many of our habits have merged! We even eat at the same pace and usually put our knives and forks down at the same moment, again without realizing we’re about to do this until it coincides and then we laugh and again I say, “This has to stop!” I just don’t want to go out looking like we’ve dressed as ‘twins’, in matching elderly-people’s anoraks (I have given my husband strict instructions that he must on no account wear Horlick’s coloured clothes because a lot of elderly gents do tend to forget that once they dressed stylishly!) Navy is good for a chap, and modern-cut shirts (husband has now realized that a shirt with a breast pock into which he popped his spare glasses isn’t a good idea, and now I take his glasses for him or he has a small canvas bag.) On Friday we were looking at the Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors shirts and I think that we might push the boat out and buy one; shirts for younger men (without breast pockets!) can look good on older chaps, too! Husband has a lovely Michael Kors shirt from our sons (it was a Father’s Day present) and believe me, as he’s of slender build, it looks great on him. Some men just don’t appreciate that shirts can be stylish or just something to wrap your body in!

  4. Love your navy and white uniform and that hat is just great! I think maybe I need to start wearing a navy and white uniform! I do wear a fair amount of navy as blue is my favorite color. You have such interesting and picturesque places to visit.

    • Margaret Powling

      Thank you for your kind comments about my ‘uniform’ and my hat, Jeannine. It’s a gentleman’s Panama that I bought in Dartmouth three years ago, my old Panama having bitten the dust. I preferred the older version but couldn’t find one like it, it had a slightly wider brim but this one is OK for now. I like a man’s hat because they usually have a higher crown and they come in such a variety of sizes that I can usually find a small one that fits. Women’s hats always swamp my head, as it’s quite small.
      Yes, lots of places to visit that are not far from home and many more within a couple of hours’ drive away.

  5. I loved the photos of the seal – he certainly looked like he was showing us his best side – and the birds. Your birds are so very different to ours in Australia so that’s why I found them so interesting. It’s wonderful that the venue has so many visitors and so many of them are children. I think it’s important to teach children (and adults) the importance of protecting our wildlife and their habitats, all while making it a fun experience.

    Your waterfront is very pretty. I can see why it is so popular with tourists. It’s easy to become blasé when you live in a beautiful area – I can get very overwhelmed with tourist crowds in our seaside town from time to time but still love the raw beauty of the coastline – so I appreciate that you and your husband are happy to show us around, so to speak.

    Another lovely photo of you in a chic outfit. Your red nails look very smart. I painted mine a few days ago in a pale pink called ‘French’ (I think the manufacturer thought it mimicked a French polish) and despite using a good base coat it is looking ratty already. I have more success with painted toenails.

    • Margaret Powling

      Oh, Mr Seal! What a big boy he was, Lara! Sitting there, proudly, while visitors took his photograph! Yes, all the birds are birds of the coast, the various gulls and so forth, and wading birds. Perhaps not as colourful as your birds, but interesting nonetheless.
      How coincidental that we both live in seaside towns that have an influx of visitors each summer. But the whole of Torbay is quite a large area and there are plenty of places still that the tourists never seem to find, or at least in smaller numbers, such as Meadfoot, a beach area just over the hill from Living Coasts.
      I need to do my nails again today. Since having had chemo for breast cancer in 2004/2005 my nails have become very brittle with ridges and these then end up splitting vertically, so having nail polish on them helps prevent thee cracks which can go a long way down and result in my having to file my nails really short, so I end up with two longish nails and three short ones on each hand! Pale polish doesn’t suit my elderly mitts, sadly. But I will paint on my other favourite shade later today, another Sally Hansen polish, Enchante.

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