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Tuesday Morning in Torquay

Over the winter, Torquay’s Victorian fountain was dismantled and taken away for restoration. I don’t know exactly what had to be done to it, but it was leaning to one side. Anyway, it has all now been thoroughly repaired, a new concrete base set into the ground (which cannot now be seen apart from the path around the fountain, and the gardens restored, for this was a building site for several months while these renovations were being carried out.

We went for a walk early this morning along Torquay sea front, before the world, his wife and their dog had chanced to get out of bed.  I think it was about quarter to eight by the time we reached the fountain. I was hoping that there would be little traffic and even fewer people around so that I could take photos for you, but there was a council workman in the fountain. He was either cleaning it out with a vacuum of some kind, or re-filling it with water, I have no idea but at least you can now see Torquay’s fountain, fully restored.

This was the fountain a couple of summer’s ago, and here is a close up, taken at much the same time …

When I next go along the sea front with my camera, I hope to take some close up shots so that I can compare the before and after the renovation.

Anyway, the fountain aside, it was lovely to walk along the sea front with virtually no traffic, no parked vehicles and no people.

We parked our car on the main road (on the right of this photo above – the white buildings are Torquay’s Grand Hotel and the apartment block next door – it has a name, but everyone refers to it as “the flats next to the Grand.”)  We then walked through Torre Abbey Gardens …

and then we walked across the pedestrian bridge (built 1961) to the sea front side of the main Torquay/Paignton road.

My camera was now pointing directly towards the sun, hence the dazzle on the lens.  This building, which I’ve shown before on my blog, is the Abbey Sands building, luxury apartments with, on the ground floor, restaurants and coffee shops (such as Le Bistrot Pierre, which actually has part of the 1st floor as well as the ground floor), Costa Coffee, Visto Lounge and Las Iguanas.

The steps, via which you ascend/descend the bridge, curve around and if the tide is in, you can look down and see the waves rolling in …

We walked as far as the fountain and then crossed the road to the Royal Princess Gardens (which locals call Rock Walk because of the cliff face to which the gardens cling). This area was renovated a decade ago and since then it has matured and is now looking very attractive, with plants which tolerate the salty sea air …




I love the informal planting along the Rock Walk, in all the soft colours of blues and greens.  And thus we returned to our car and made the journey home, back before 8.30am.  Now the tourists can take over, we’ve had our walk!

I was in Totnes yesterday, visiting my hairdresser.  Time for highlights and a cut, a two hour job but two hours which I always thoroughly enjoy.  And then a quick trip to the supermarket in search or Rose’s lime cordial.  But no, the supermarket only had its own brand which looked weak and watery.  I want Rose’s lime cordial – I just hope this hasn’t disappeared – things we like have a habit of being discontinued!  But I did buy some white roses, Fairtrade ones, and they are rather lovely …

Many of the bunches of flowers in this particular supermarket were rather garishly coloured and as our weather has been so very hot (not as hot today, thankfully), I wanted pale, cool colours, hence buying white roses.

Yesterday, I took delivery of my third Nicky Pellegrino novel; all of them are set in Italy and are most enjoyable.

My latest magazine also arrived, so lots to read over the next few days …

As I say, although it’s a sunny day, there is a gentle breeze and it’s certainly not stiflingly hot as it was yesterday.  Yesterday evening, the sun shining into the kitchen made the freesias on the breakfast table look almost luminescent …

And now to make a start on preparing lunch.

Until next time.


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. The white roses are so elegant! Thank you for a tour of Torquay, with the accompanying pictures. I enjoyed it very much 🙂

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, it was a lovely morning for a stroll along the sea front, Kavitha, and then home for a cooked breakfast. We don’t always have a cooked breakfast but we’d generated an appetite this morning!
      Yes, the roses are lovely, really delighted with them.

  2. The fountain’s looking lovely!
    I wish the weather here in west Cheshire would cool down a little, we had 29c again yesterday, and right now it’s 28c and forecast to get warmer!
    I’ve not been out of the house since last Tuesday, as even with climate control in the car, it’s too hot for me to do anything when we get anywhere, I don’t tolerate heat well at all. I’m naturally blonde (with a fair smattering of grey now) and very, very fair skinned, so I avoid the intense heat whenever possible.
    Apparently, the temperature here is dipping to 21c on Thursday, I’m so excited. If it does, it will be MY independence day, because I’ll be able to leave the confines of the house!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Surprisingly, after a fine morning, we now have rain, Colette! But it is much needed, so I’m not complaining, and it will save us from having to water the garden this evening, although unless we have a downpour, pots really need more than a sprinkling of rainwater.
      I don’t tolerate heat well, either, and yesterday was truly awful, with humidity so high, too. I have fair skin although I’m now naturally grey, and I never sit in the sun by choice. As you say, the climate control on the car hardly works in such high temperatures. Yes, around 20C to 21C is our ideal temperature, too!

  3. A lovely walk. Whenever I get out early I wonder why I don’t do it more often but I tend to do housework/food preparation etc first thing in the morning to get it out of the way. I don’t enjoy doing it so I like to have it behind me before I get on with my day. I should re-prioritise I think.

    Slightly less hot here today and luckily there is a decent breeze which makes it more comfortable. The humidity on Sunday was dreadful but we did get an hours heavy rain in the early hours of Monday. You could almost hear the garden cheering!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love to be out in the early morning light and air, Alison, and like you, I wonder why we don’t do it more often. And, like you, I like to do the housekeeping first, if I can. I can’t bear to return to a messy house, unmade bed, etc. I made the bed before we went, loaded the dishwasher, and so it was all tidy to return to. But this morning I was up VERY early, 4.30am-ish.
      At last we have rain! But this is unfortunate, it happening today. After weeks of lovely sunny weather it is Sports Day at our grandson’s school! Yes, when it rains you can hear the plants slurping the water up, can’t you!

  4. Gardengoddess42

    I have been wishing for a nice cool lime and soda to help me get through the heatwave we have here in the US midwest at the moment (mid 90sF / 35c – and heat index in the mid 100s due to the humidity). I finally found Rose’s lime juice only to be disappointed by the taste. Maybe I am not remembering it correctly. The ingredients seem different for one thing, and not appealing.
    Water, high fructose corn syrup, lime juice concentrate, sodium metabisulphate, natural flavors, blue 1.
    So I will put my desire for lime juice cordial on hold till I am next in the UK and hope for the real thing!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Well, Gardengoddess, if Rose’s lime has sunk to that abysmal level of quality, I shan’t buy it, even if I see it around, and instead look for another producer. I’ve not had it for such a long time, and it used to be lovely. What a shame it’s been adulterated.
      My goodness, those are high temperatures and we grumble about 28C – 30C!

      • Gardengoddess42

        I am hoping that what I have foind in the US is not what is still being made in the UK. That is true for many things – Cadbury’s chocolate, Bournvita, Ovaltine, many other food items. We go to some effort to the get the ‘real’, i.e. made in the UK and imported items.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          Unfortunately, Cadbury’s Bournvita ceased production in this country some years ago and in order to buy it, I buy it online and I think it is manufactured in India. And I love Bournvita, so each winter I buy just one jar as a treat, for it is costly to buy it this way rather than from a local supermarket. But bet your bottom dollar, as they say, if we like it, sure as eggs is eggs, it will vanish!

  5. I must live on another planet!!!!! I drive along there quite often and never noticed the fountain was missing! Have you tried the Waitrose Mexican lime cordial? Personally I think it’s very good.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      But Fiona, you were driving along, passing where the fountain was, eyes on the road ahead, etc, etc! You can’t be expected to notice a missing fountain, ha ha! But it was missing all winter, and I thought it was going to be back, renovated, by Easter (I think that was the original plan!) but it’s only just been finished and the gardens laid out. All the turn went, it truly was a building site for months!
      Right, I shall buy some of the Waitrose Mexican lime cordial on my next visit. I will put it on The List now!

  6. Thanks Margaret, your early morning walk looked good, nice to see so much in bloom. At home it’s more boom than bloom as our hardworking builders have their radio on and I can hardly complain while they dig footings in this heat! A bit cooler just now.
    I thought the fountain looked nice, will look forward to some comparison photos when you’re out and about again.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      What are your builders building, Heather? It sounds interesting, if noisy! Yes, the fountain is looking good again, it was badly in need of repair and now it should last for another 100 years.

  7. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    Food, drinks, lipsticks, nail polishes…the things I like are often discontinued too. Clearly we are too discerning in our tastes. It’s so good that your local Council take such pride in the upkeep and maintenance of the area. I love the view of the sun rising (which I can see from my bed) but I’m afraid it’s not enough to tempt me into an early morning walk !

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, Eloise, the things that have vanished over the years … lovely Cyclax Skin Soap (in purple wrapping paper) that my mother always used, Huntley & Palmer’s Breakfast biscuits that had a glazed surface and were lovely with just a smear of butter (or in my case soft spread, as I dislike English butter, it’s too buttery for me, if that makes sense!), Vitbe Bran buns (which were lovely as a dessert with custard), Bournvita (available only online now and at great expense as it is no longer made in England), Shippham’s Anchovy Paste … and, of course as you say, countless lipsticks and nail polishes, not to mention wallpaper and paint. Thankfully, any paint you have had in the past from Farrow & Ball can be made up for you, which is good to know.

  8. what a lovely walk….. there are not so many of these places in New Zealand, but, if I want to do an 8 minute drive I can go to a harbour beach, or in 30 minutes go to the peaceful east coast beaches, or 40 minutes to the wild west coast beaches. Time, methinks to stop grumbling about no nice walks other than suburbia where I live…….

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We live in the heart of suburbia, a really built-up area, Ratnamurti, so to have a walk, we need to drive somewhere, but fortunately not too far. We previously lived in a village about two miles from where we live now, and from our home there could walk around lanes and fields, without taking the car. But we can’t have it all, can we, and our home here is larger and we have a level back garden which we didn’t have before.

  9. I love seeing your pictures and English gardens always look so lush. Most of our parks are now turning to Australian plants as they tolerate the heat and dry conditions. Native plants are lovely but I miss the green and colourful English cottage gardens. Your fountain is lovely.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, it must be difficult to keep parks and gardens looking good in the heat of the Australian sun, Pieta, and I must remember this when I see our lush meadows and gardens and be thankful for our more temperate climate. Right now a lot of grass has been turned yellow but this is unusual, we don’t usually have prolonged periods of such heat as we’ve had this past few weeks. It was nice for a couple of weeks, but I’d not want it for any length of time.
      Yes, Torquay’s fountain is very attractive. It usually has the water ‘playing’ but yesterday the workmen were either cleaning it out or re-filling it.

  10. What a lovely place to visit. It was a very pleasant day here too yesterday with not a hint of humidity. Fingers crossed for today!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We were glad to have had our walk yesterday morning, Joy, as the day turned grey with drizzle after we returned home, and now we have proper rain which, of course, is much needed if we are to avoid hose pipe bans and other water-restriction measures. It’s surprising how fast the grass recovers once there is some rain. I can almost hear it growing!

  11. Thank you for taking us along with you on your walk Margaret, the blues in those planted beds are gorgeous.
    Another vote here for Waitrose Mexican Lime Cordial, lime and iced sparkling water is my go to drink in the hot weather, so refreshing.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I’m glad you enjoyed our walk, Elaine. Rock Walk is so different now from what it was when there were little paths up and down the cliff face, and overhanging trees and shrubs, it was like a vertical jungle, and at night there were various coloured floodlights along the paths, it was quite magical. In recent years, though, it had become grossly over grown and needed attention to make the cliff face safe, and now it’s lovely in a quite different way although the magic has gone.

  12. A lovely article about Torquay
    Like the sound of Lime Cordial especially with iced sparkling water – perfect for this hot muggy weather
    Now on my shopping list to

    Our ‘English’ garden has almost vanished in this hot weather, grass is all brown and like straw, hardly a blade
    of grass to be seen now.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I shall be buying Mexican Lime Cordial on my next shopping trip to Waitrose, Linda! There will now be a run on stock, ha ha! I can’t think of anything better, lime, chilled sparkling water, ice … perfect. Although perhaps not to day, as it’s raining (thank goodness – I never thought I’d say that.)
      Our grass is showing signs of recovery, but then, it never quite vanishes under the walnut tree where it is shaded, but the roses and peonies are over and the antirrhinums are not yet fully in flower, I have pink and white ones in pots. But our geraniums are doing well, and they do lend a splash of colour on a grey day, as it is today here in Torbay.

  13. Oh you’ve just reminded me, we still haven’t planted the plants we brought back from holiday.
    To our surprise we now have heavy rain this afternoon, it wasn’t supposed to rain today but the garden will be happy.
    The geraniums in Devon were lovely, we haven’t bought any this year which is unusual, I like a splash of red in the garden.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I love geraniums, I love white ones the best of all, but they don’t look good in our garden because of the cream-coloured garden wall. And I have found that the very bright red also looks a bit ‘loud’ although in some gardens, especially those with houses that have stone walls, they can look stunning. And so the geraniums this year are a deep cerise colour, towards the red spectrum but not the bright red that we normally associate with geraniums. They are what I call good-value plants because they go on flowering, provided you dead-head, until the frosts come.
      The rain we had was really insufficient to do more than dampen the grass. We need a downpour! But I must be careful what I wish for!

  14. I seem to be drawn to white flowers this year, which is unusual as usually have a rainbow of colours, so far have planted white campion, white tobacco plants, white ‘pinks, daisies and white lavender. Quite like the idea of an all white, silver and green garden.
    Neighbours Jasmine is in full flower and adds to the perfume in the evenings, I’m training it along our garage,
    sure he won’t mind

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I wanted a ‘white’ garden when we moved here, and tried to do this, Linda, but it didn’t work as we have a cream-painted wall. Yellow also doesn’t look good in our garden, but pinks and mauves look lovely. So I envy you having such lovely white flowers, I love white tobacco plants, they look lovely, a sort of greeny-white, for there are many shades of white as we know. Oh, and jasmine too! Gorgeous!

  15. Thank you for taking us all with you on your walk 🙂 You certainly had an early start – but as you said it was well worth it to beat the crowds and the cars. The photos of the fountain and the formal gardens surrounding are all very pretty. I’m glad the weather has improved for you. Days of relenting heat can be exhausting, especially when you’re not used to it. We’ve had some very mild winter nights and the sun is shining again after a couple of days of much-needed rain. Everyone’s lawns are green again.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Lara, and I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the photos taken on our early morning walk. We passed the fountain again yesterday, on our way back from the supermarket, and the barriers were down and the fountain was ‘playing’. I just wished that I had been walking there then instead of driving home with a car boot-load of food, but I will be able to take some photos in due course, I’m sure.
      The heat has returned, and yesterday was really hot again. Hosepipes for gardens have been banned in some areas, and people are being encouraged not to waste water. We’ve not had any substantial rain in weeks, after one of the wettest winters on record.

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