The upstairs entrance to Le Bistrot Pierre, Torquay, overlooking Torre Abbey Sands
How the time flies when you’re enjoying yourself! The same might be said for how the numbers stack up when you enjoy writing, for this is my 375th post since August 2016. How can I have found 375 topics to write about? No, I don’t know either!
The last few days have been busy but pleasant ones. Yesterday was our younger son’s 45th birthday and today is our little grandson’s 5th birthday.
Yesterday, younger son and his partner, her parents, and ourselves, had a celebratory lunch together (unfortunately, our daughter in law was working so elder son, daughter in law and grandson weren’t able to attend this lunch) and today, elder son, daughter in law, her mother (staying with them for a week) and our little grandson had a celebratory lunch for his 5th birthday.
Indeed, it has been a week of celebrations for the little fellow, as last Saturday he had his birthday party in a local village hall, with bouncy castle and lots of nice things to eat, with about 20 little ones sharing the fun; on Sunday, our daughter in law’s aunt and uncle called and we all have a buffet lunch together at our son and daughter in law’s home, and today the special lunch on our grandson’s actual birthday.
However, the weather has turned cool and misty, so not photographs showing glorious Devon in blissful sunshine! Instead, sea mist rolling in!
This clearly demonstrates (or not clearly!) how misty it can be along our coastline. This is the River Teign at low tide yesterday, this view taken from where we were sitting yesterday with our younger son and partner and her parents (and Barry-the-dog) in Coombe Cellars Inn.
What a difference a sunny day makes … the conservatory where we were sitting is on the left (this photo taken last year.)
Again, the River Teign (pronounced ‘teen’) at low tide, but on a sunny day. The distant hills are those of Dartmoor
Yesterday, with mist rolling in from the sea
You must just imagine this area in summer, with blue sky and sunshine, with Teignmouth (pronounced ‘tinmuth’) in the distance on the left hand bank of the river, and the picturesque village of Shaldon on the right hand side of the river.
The bar in the Coombe Cellars Inn, a one-time smuggling inn
We choose this inn not only for it’s lovely setting and also because they welcome dogs in parts of the inn.
Indeed, I wrote a feature entitled Brandy for the Parson way back in 2001 for our county magazine, Devon Life, and of Coombe Cellars Inn I explained how this inn was in ‘an ideal location for the storing of illicit contraband and in the late 1770s was identified as being the repository of “30 half anker tubs of choice brandy” which “covertly landed after nightfall close upon the Teign estuary and hence delivered by secluded ways” before being “secreted away within several ingenious places within the fabric of the aforementioned house.’
I expect you know Kipling’s famous poem, but in case you’ve not heard it before, here it is …
If you wake at midnight and hear a horse’s feet,
Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street;
Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie,
Watch the wall, my darling, while the gentlemen go by.
Five and twenty ponies
Trotting through the dark –
Brandy for the parson
‘Backy for the clerk;
Laces for a Lady, Letters for a spy;
And watch the wall, my darling, while the gentlemen go by.
I said at the beginning of my feature: “Smuggling was then a major feature in every part of Britain; a black economy whenever the government of the day introduced an import or an export duty, not only on luxury items but also on essential everyday commodities. The men and women who carried out the trade were generally admired because everyone benefited from the gentry to the humblest farm worker. Kipling’s Smuggler’s Song therefore holds a great deal more truth than mere prosody.”
We enjoyed our meal but service was rather slow and we have found this before in this particular inn. But in mitigation, it was very busy, even mid-week and in an inn which is off the beaten track so only well-known to local people.
* * * *
Today, the weather was even worse, with not only mist but rain. But we had only a short distance to walk from the car park to Le Bistrot Pierre on Torquay sea front.
This photo (above) was taken from a decked area where tables (with sun shades) and chairs are there for outdoor eating when the weather is better than it was today
Large agave succulents grow in Torbay’s mild climate (this area is the backdrop to the decked area)
This chain of restaurants offers French-style cuisine, as the name suggests, and they change their menu with the different seasons. The setting is one of the best in the Bay, on the ground- and first-floors of the Abbey Sands building (with luxury apartments above). The décor is industrial-meets-French-chic, wood tables, concrete un-plastered ceiling, exposed track lighting, etc, but while it looks chic and on-trend, to use that awful cliché, as in all these places today, sans upholstery, sans carpets, to absorb sound, the noise reverberates around the room and at times I am sure is at a dangerously high level.
By the time we ordered, every table was occupied – I took these photos as we arrived at 12.30pm
But, as I say, we enjoy the food here, it’s just the kind of food we like and portion sizes are right, too; not too much, not too little.
While we chose from the menu, water was brought to the table, and a basket of French bread and butter for us to nibble …
This basket was full to start with – we had already helped ourselves before I took this photo
Then our drinks arrived, I chose a light beer …
I chose a main course and a dessert, with a single-shot espresso to finish. My main was a chicken dish, and my dessert a delicious panna cotta with fruit.
I love the dinky little espresso cups and saucers – they would slip nicely into my bag once I’d drunk my coffee! Just think, six trips to Pierre’s, and I’d have a full set, ha ha!
Husband chose slow-roast pork medallions, and all the meals come with frites or new potatoes and vegetables …
Slow-roast pork medallions
What a lovely two days of family celebrations we have had. And now for a little snooze, I think.
Until next time.