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Why Go Away?

Of course, we all go away sometime, for a change of scenery.  But really, when you live – as we do – in arguably one of the most picturesque parts of England and you don’t relish long journeys in hot weather, you become somewhat reluctant to go away.

And so this morning we went out early so that the Bay could be ours, if only for a few moments, and had a stroll around Torquay sea front as far as the harbour.

The tide was out, there was just a woman walking her dog along the beach, and everywhere looked lovely and fresh.  We strolled along the promenade, passing the sunken gardens where the flower beds looked pretty even after so much heat (although the grass was now more straw than grass) …

The Victorian fountain has been refurbished this winter and is now looking splendid again, especially when set against the background of the 21st century Big Wheel, which gives holidaymakers a glimpse of the Bay from the air.

Underneath the Big Wheel is an area of artificial grass (better than much-trampled grass which ends up being an area of dried-up red Devon soil) there is a café, useful for those waiting for the next ride on the Big Wheel.

We made our way to the harbour and enjoyed a cup of coffee sitting outside in the early morning sunshine …

Nothing fancy, just ‘coffee’ with milk, not latte, or flat white, or espresso, or cappuccino, or whatever, but just cheap-and-cheerful coffee.  The view of the harbour never fails to impress me and it makes me appreicate how fortunate I am to live in such a lovely area.

The area in roughly the centre of this photo, which looks like a giant fishing net, is the canopy over Living Coasts, Torbay’s sea life centre, and a lovely place to visit.   I love to see the reflections in the water of the masts and the crane which hoists craft in and out of the water.

The three blocks of flats which are above the harbour, those on the left, which look a bit (to me, anyway!) like up-ended shoe boxes, were built in the early 1960s.  Those just to the right, more white stucco than red brick, were built earlier, I think in the 1950s or even earlier.  Boats are moored against pontoons. I preferred it when boats bobbed at anchor in the harbour (pre-pontoons); I think it all looked much prettier, but of course, more boats can be crammed into the harbour when there are pontoons.

A stroll around the harbour is always pleasant, regardless of the time of year, and one of my favourite views is this …

I could believe – well, almost – that I’m on the French Riviera looking at this view, all we want is some appropriate French music, perhaps Charles Trenet singing “la Mer”.

The promenade by the harbour – this used to be a road but it was pedestrianized several years ago and is much the better for it – has lots of cafes and bars and the young baristas were putting out the tables and chairs as we strolled past.

I love the old fashioned lamp posts, most of which are adorned with hanging baskets of flowers for the summer season.

And the Regency buildings, with their wrought iron balconies couldn’t be a more perfect backdrop for the promenade.

By the harbour there is a large board showing holidaymakers how they might enjoy a trip by road, rail and sea.

And if, as my husband is doing  (you might just see his fingers on the left) you press various buttons, the board lights up, indicating the various means of transport.

This final photo of Torquay this morning was taken facing directly into the sunlight from where we were sitting having coffee – peace and quiet, early morning sunshine and warmth (but not yet hot); what more could we ask for?  And then we retraced our steps, back to our car parked along the sea front and home (en route we bought crusty rolls for our breakfast.)

Breakfast was then the crusty rolls with coffee and clementine juice in the garden … it’s been too hot to eat outside for the past couple of weeks, but this morning it was just pleasantly warm.

Yesterday I went to Totnes for my hair appointment and afterwards popped into the supermarket and came out with more items than I planned to buy … of course, I couldn’t resist a bunch of pink roses, could I?

And now, after having cleaned the kitchen before I wrote this post, I’m off to make lunch.  Salmon today, with runner beans and new potatoes and then lemon tart with a little lemon ice cream.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your virtual stroll around Torquay seafront and harbour this morning.

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. You really do live in a lovely area, I like Devon very much.

    It’s nice to have it cooler today, it’s sunny but there is a refreshing breeze. Dried all the washing very quickly.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, we live in a lovely part of the country, Alison. However, although it’s duller now than this morning, it’s still very hot. But we have little grandson and his other Grandma coming around this afternoon, so I think it will be seats under our walnut tree or even in the summerhouse.

  2. Why indeed. It all looks quite wonderful and it sounds as though you chose the perfect time. Although we are venturing down your way next year, I have to admit that I am only doing so in order to be able to spend time with our two (soon to be three) grandsons who normally live in London, but holiday in Devon. Thank you for the tour, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I must remember all this beauty when we are faced with that long drive down from Lincolnshire.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I expect I’m biased but I love Devon, Elaine, even though there are other lovely areas of the UK. I don’t know Lincolnshire but I suspect it’s not quite as hilly as Devon. I do hope you will enjoy your visit!

  3. Eloise (thisissixty.blog)

    It’s a lovely area, Margaret and that’s why so many of us travel there to enjoy a bit of it too! We have some beautiful countryside in Worcestershire and in several adjoining areas, but we couldn’t be further from the sea. And therein lies the reason that we like our holidays. I get a longing for the sea.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I think if I lived inland, Eloise, I’d long to be close to the sea! But you are right, there is some beautiful countryside in the Midlands, as there is everywhere in the British Isles. We are so fortunate to have such a wide variety of scenery, from the Lochs of Scotland to the mountains of Snowdonia and the rugged North Devon coast and all parts in between. And I’ve not touched on some of our beautiful towns and cities!

  4. I agree with you, it really is a very attractive part of the world and it must be great to live there. It’s still desperately hot here but they assure us fresher weather is almost here. I so hope they are right.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      When we turned around after our stroll as far as Torquay harbour, Joy, there was a gentle breeze and after all the hot weather it was very welcome! This afternoon, the heat has returned, so we’ve come indoors again. We’re past the age of trying to garden with the sun beating down on us, we’re not that daft any more! The weeds can grow, ever more magnificently !

  5. Dear Margaret, such lovely pictures. Thank you for the tour, I really enjoyed looking at the various pictures of the seafront. My son was visiting and looked over my should while I was reading your blog, he commented on the great camera you have and how well you take pictures! At the beginning of every month I go back to the previous year. I was catching up on August of 2017, it was the bank holiday one I was reading today. On your suggestion, last year, I read the book you had commented on “The Lady of the Butterflies” , I really enjoyed it. When I get to Devon to visit, hopefully next year, I will be using your blog as a resource of where to go and eat !HA

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      So glad you have enjoyed today’s virtual tour of Torquay seafront and harbour, Linda, and please thank your son for such kind comments. My camera isn’t an expensive one, it’s just a tiny company Sony DSC-WX350 (around £150) which is a replacement for its predecessor, the same make of camera, which developed a fault. I do have a professional-size Nikon D90 and that replaced my much-loved Nikon D50 (which I much preferred) but the flash ‘went’ on that, and the camera shop said it would be too costly to repair it and so they sold me an expensive replacement! Now, the Nikon D90 just stays at home because it’s just to heavy to cart around! That was, I think, my most-expensive waste-of-money purchase ever! It’s a great camera but I love having a tiny camera I can slip into my pocket.
      I’m glad you enjoyed The Lady of the Butterflies, a lovely book. My goodness, using my blog as a resource of where to go and eat! What an accolade!

  6. Yes I certainly enjoyed it, Margaret. Very beautiful. Tranquil, just lovely.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      It is a lovely area, Ratanamurti, but even as we went home, traffic was building up and we knew that within an hour or two the beach and the seafront would be crowded. But why not? This is what visitors come to Torquay to see. We were fortunate that we were there early morning and had the whole Bay to our selves (well, almost!)

  7. Thank you for taking us on a tour of your local area Margaret, I do envy you living so close to the coast. Our nearest beach is over an hour away and we do occasionally go if only to let the little dog have a run on the beach but it would be lovely to have it within walking distance.
    All is golden here in our neck of the woods with great clouds of dust following the Combine Harvesters as they do their work, the fields next to the cottage were done at the weekend and it’s now all just stubble after months of watching it grow.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, I love to see the golden fields being harvested, Elaine, and that is something we don’t see much of here, in Devon, farming is mainly dairy farming. I used to love to see the golden fields when we visited Suffolk, often bordered by poppies, such a wonderful vibrant contrast to the blue sky, golden fields and the stunning red of the poppies.

  8. At last rain! I’m so happy the weather has broken and today is going to be a pleasant 23. I agree with your fellow readers one can not beat our country when we have the weather.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      We haven’t had any rain yet, Margaret, but our barometer in the hall has ‘gone back’ indicating that cooler, damper weather is on its way. I think it will be a tidying-up day in the garden today, it is cool enough now to work outside and not just swelter in the heat!

  9. I could never move to live away from the coast, even though we’re in the north west and don’t have the micro climate of Torbay!
    We’re very lucky to live right on the promenade, so out of the front door, down the drive, across pavement, road, pavement, beach!
    We’re very close to the Royal Liverpool Golf Club (even though we’re a good distance away from Liverpool, with the river Mersey between us) so have had our very busy times, notably in 2006 and 2014 when the Open was held here, and 2012 when we hosted the Women’s Open.
    On all three occasions we had to refuse lots of offers to rent our house for the duration of the tournament, we could have made a fortune, but didn’t feel inclined to have strangers in our house. A friend of mine rented her two bedroomed flat out to two American couples in 2006 and stayed with her daughter. The rent was £3,000 per week! I wonder what she could charge now, twelve years later!
    As the sea very rarely comes right up to the sea wall, really only in spring when there are very high tides, we do get a lot of dry, fine sand blown onto the garden and drive. The car’s always put in the garage, never left on the drive, as the sand and sea air doesn’t do it a lot of good. They’re very minor inconveniences though!
    Our view is nothing like yours Margaret, we face more or less north east, towards the Isle of Man, but much too far to see it, we just have water as far as the horizon. To our left we see into north Wales, the hills of Flintshire, and on a clear day we see the Great Orme in Llandudno!
    We do get visitors but not very many, but as our ‘prom’ is long and straight we do get a lot of cyclists, and loads of ‘littlies’ learning to ride their bikes, Christmas day is a joy, watching all the children with new bikes, remote control cars, doll’s prams and so on!
    We know just how fortunate we are to live where we do, and although we’d like a bungalow (our knees have gone right off stairs) we’ll be staying in this house as long as possible, maybe with a stairlift if it becomes necessary.
    We have quite a few small independent shops in our small town (more of a big village really), we have a Morrison’s about a five minute drive away and it takes less than half an hour to drive to Waitrose just outside Chester.
    We have a few weeks away each year, usually in spring and early autumn, and usually head inland, it’s such a change for us, but I’m always happy to get back to our house and view!
    Of course, there’s a cosmetic benefit too, open the front door on a windy day and get a sandy face exfoliation free!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Oh, Colette, what a lovely lot of information you have given me about where you live and I loved the bit about free exfoliation! WE are further from the sea than you are, about a mile and a half, but we can see it from the side window of our sitting room’s bay window. I don’t know you are area apart from when I was a child we had a holiday at Hoylake which I think might be in your vicinity. We also had a holiday at Old Colwyn and all I can recall was loads and loads of jelly fish washed up on the beach, so that we couldn’t use the beach. My parents lived, in those days, in Whitworth, near Rochdale, so perhaps not a million miles from where you are today.
      The renting prices for the duration of the Open is amazing! Perhaps the same at Wimbledon for the tennis. I love to see the Open, it’s my very favourite sporting competition, but there’s the Ryder Cup at the end of September to look forward to.
      Although your view is nothing like ours, I think most sea views are lovely.

      • Hi Margaret,
        You should have been a spy! Yes, we’re in Hoylake!

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          All I can remember Colette, for I was about four or five years old, was steep steps down to a beach, and they had open treads, and I was frightened that I would fall through the treads. It seemed very scary to me as a child. But I can’t remember any more abut the holiday or where we stayed. We moved to Devon when I was six years old (I’d been very ill and my parents thought the clean sea air of Torquay would be beneficial to my health, and so they bought a business in a village on the outskirts of Torquay, hence this is why Devon is my adopted county.)

  10. I agree. The area in which you live is beautiful and with the lovely weather we have enjoyed this year there is even less of a need to travel elsewhere.
    We made a decision not to book a Summer break this year, and I am so glad. We are also fortunate to live in a beautiful part of this country and know where to avoid the busy areas. We are enjoying the benefits of a holiday without the expense or hassle involved.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      When we hear of disruption to travel, Jules, either through strikes or other things going wrong, it makes me so glad that we seldom go away. We never did go abroad for our holidays, it was always an expense we could do without, and now we can afford to go abroad, we really don’t want to! We look at programmes such as The Travel Show and then we say, “Well, we can write that place off now, can’t we?” jokingly, as seldom do we see anywhere that we wish to visit. There are obviously lovely places to visit, I don’t deny that, but neither of us like extreme heat or extreme cold, our climate (usually!) suits us and we love England, too. There is a lot to be said for holidaying at home. But then, it is easy for me to say that, living where we do, a place where people pay good money to visit!

  11. Hello Margaret,
    You do live in a beautiful area, which I know as I have visited a few times over the years. The one thing I miss where we are living is there isn’t a beach to walk along.
    We aren’t having a holiday this year, instead we will be enjoying some days out in the beautiful Cotswolds.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      There are several beaches, Marlene, but few of them link up to become a long stretch of beach. Torre Abbey Sands are immediately below Torquay Sea Front, but when the tide is in, it comes right to the sea wall, therefore no beach. There are beaches, though, all along our coast, from the small Maidencombe Beach to Breakwater Beach at Brixham, and there is a lovely stretch of beach at Goodrington, perhaps the best beach for children to swim. And Preston and Paignton have linked beaches when the tide is out, too, so you can walk from the far end of Preston as far as Paignton Harbour. But, as I say, no miles of beaches in one stretch.
      I hope you enjoy your days out in the Cotswolds, perhaps you will visit lovely Snowshill Manor, which has such a wonderful collection of artefacts that belonged to eccentric owner, Charles Paget Wade?

  12. I shall look into Snowshill Manor, I am sure there will be a website, thankyou Margaret.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Snowshill Manor is National Trust, Marlene, and I think it’s a place you would love. It’s not large but the collections are certainly worth seeing. Close by is also Cotswold Lavender and we stopped there, too, and had afternoon tea and their delicious lavender sponge cake. Also in the Cotswolds is Hidcote Manor Garden, so those are three lovely places to visit. But of the three, Snowshill is the one we enjoyed the most, even more than the garden. Mind you, there are gardens at Snowshill, but it’s the contents of the house that people go to see, everything from children’s toys (antique ones, I mean) to Japanese Samurai warrior costumes.

  13. Yours is a very pretty town indeed 🙂 I like being out and about before the crowds have woken but as I no longer work full time I tend to faff about in the mornings. I quite enjoy living a slower pace, though 🙂 Your photos are lovely and I enjoyed accompanying you on your walk.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      So glad you enjoyed the virtual walk around Torquay harbour, Lara. Yes, being out early morning is a joy at this time of the year, especially in a holiday resort, before everyone is out and about. We sometimes leave it too late to go out, too, attempting to get jobs done, jobs that can actually wait and don’t really matter when having a walk in the early morning air is much more beneficial to us

  14. I did enjoy the stroll around Torquay, a marvellous reminder of my childhood. We lived and went to school in Torquay for a year when we were nine years old, a change in lifestyle brought about by my dad need major surgery and then living in his sister’s house while he recovered.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That is interesting Eileen T, I wonder which school you attended? I’m so glad that you enjoyed your virtual stroll around the seafront and the harbour.

      • We lived in Avenue Road and went to a school around the corner. I think it was Chelston Primary School.

        • Margaret Powling
          Margaret Powling

          The only school I know close to Avenue Road is Cockington Primary School, Eileen, which was in Chelston (one of the villages which make up the town of Torquay) at one time but is now in Avenue Road, since they built a new one about 20 years ago.

          • This was about 1964. It was a tiny red bricked building with only a few classrooms and a couple of mobiles in the playground. To get to it you had to walk the length of the street past the park on the right, the shops, and then the school was at the end on the right, There was a church further on but the school was before that in the direction we had to walk. It was surrounded by a high brick wall. Actually, I was tiny so the wall may not have been high to an adult!

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            This does sound like the old Cockington Primary School that was at the top of Old Mill Road in Chelston, Eileen, which is right on the end of the street. Oh dear, I was married in 1964! Makes me feel ancient as you say you were tiny then!

          • we were 9 years old in 1964!

          • Margaret Powling
            Margaret Powling

            Oh, I’m not that much older then, Elieen … but old enough to get married in 1964.

  15. Your part of England is just lovely. In fact, I love the pictures you put up sometimes of your drive back from town, where you’re on a narrow road flanked by bright greenery on either side. Iwould love to visit it someday. And if I did, I would ask you for suggestions on every aspect of the trip 🙂
    The pink roses are absolutely beautiful 🙂

    • Margaret Powling

      Yes, we love Devon’s green lanes, as they are known, Kavitha. Visitors to the area find them a bit disconcerting at first, as the lanes tend to be rather narrow and cars and buses and lorries sometimes have to pass each other and it then means one of the driver’s having to back up, perhaps quite a long way, and then at the risk of another vehicle speeding up from behind. But especially in spring and summer the lanes are wonderful and often the hedgerows have wild flowers, such a primroses and bluebells and then red campion and the pretty pink-petalled herb Robert.

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