We awakened to a brilliant blue sky. Not a cloud in sight. No rain, not even drizzle or mist, but a splendid ceiling of endless blue. It really was a sight for winter-tired eyes and I couldn’t wait to get up and get out.
I made needing some shopping in Wellswood an excuse. Husband is happy to go out if there’s a reason and so sometimes I construct a non-essential small shopping list, nothing important but all useful.
So off we went, first to Wellswood. I’ve taken photos as we went via what I call “the scenic route.”
First of all, down our hill to the main road to Torquay. On the left (photo below) there is a high red sandstone wall built in the 1930s. This is also close to where the town’s gas works used to be but the gas works was made obsolete when North Sea gas was piped ashore in the 1960s and coal gas was no longer the fuel that we used in the UK. The gas holders (called by many ‘gasometers’) were dismantled, and the area where they stood is now a pretty park. (This area is known as Hollacombe, and it is the area in which my friend, Linda Mitchelmore’s novel, Christmas at Strand House, is set.)
The road rises slightly and turns to the left and from there you have a brief glimpse of Tor Bay.
The road goes gently downhill until it travels along the seafront …
On the extreme left here you can see the Livermead House Hotel, the the piece of land jutting out into the sea, with the red sandstone cliffs, is called Corbyn Head (but with nothing whatsoever to do with the current leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.)
The trees here were planted after Dutch Elm Disease did for the lovely elm trees on this headland (the headland is actually out of sight here, on the extreme right, but as I was taking the photos through the windscreen of our car while husband was driving, had I turned to the right I’d only have photographed husband’s head, not Corbyn Head!)
We were now approaching Torquay sea front. A sharp left here and you’d first see Troquay’s Grand Hotel and then Torquay station (the railway station, but it’s correct to say simply “station”; any other station, such as a bus station, requires clarification but a railway station is just a station. This is often described incorrectly on TV, another little bugbear of mine.)
If you continue along this road, as we did, then on the left you will pass Torre Abbey Meadow, where the fairground is in July and August. In the middle distance you can see the Abbey Sands building, built 2014, and somewhat in the style of the ocean-going-liner buildings of the 1930s.
I purposely pointed the camera at the cliff face known as Rock Walk, on top of which are perched hotels and apartment buildings. Indeed, many former hotels have been re-configured as apartment buildings since the heyday of holidays in Torquay in the 1960s and 1970s (and, of course, in Victorian times when it was a very popular watering hole.) The building on the left is the Abbey Sands building, apartments above and, on the ground floor (that would be 1st floor in America, I think) restaurants.
There were far too many cars and buses along Torquay sea front to take decent photos (or even half-decent photos) but from the sea front, passing the department stores such as Hooper’s (the high-end shop in Torquay) and Debenham’s (not high-end), we turned right to go via Meadfoot to Wellswood, rather than continuing up the main road. Here (above) on the left, are some smart 1980s’ town houses.
And as the road winds around to the left you have your first glimpse of the sea, with Thatcher Rock and, in the distance, the Ore Stone (some say Lode Stone, I’m never really sure of its name).
The road then winds around Meadfoot Beach …
In the distance you can see the white apartment block, built in 1961, Kilmorie.
Here, a closer view of Kilmorie with, in the foreground, the car park where we sometimes take our sandwiches and coffee after shopping in Waitrose.
From here, the road winds around to the left, and goes to Wellswood (a small village area of Torquay with a parade of about 20 to 25 shops) via Ilsham Valley.
There is little sign of spring as yet in Ilsham Valley, but soon the bluebells will be in bloom along the verge between the grassy area and the road.
There are several pretty houses which overlook the grassy valley, many in the Tudorbethan style popular in the 1930s, such as this house on a bend in the road. We parked just up the road from here and then walked to the shops. I only needed a few items, but I bought the Saturday paper and also a copy of Country Living magazine. Then it was back to the car …
From Wellswood we drove via St Marychurch (above) to the coast road towards Teignmouth. The top photo above I took today and you can see the spire of the RC church and the tower of St Marychurch (C of E) from which the village gets its name. The bottom photo shows St Marychurch in 1959 and, in the middle distance, is the Hampton Court Hotel which was demolished (such a shame!) and it is where there is now a Co-operative supermarket, not a very nice looking building. That is what is known as ‘progress’.
The coast road is a very twisty-turny road, but a very pretty one, with glimpses of the sea on the left and the hills of Dartmoor on the right.
It wasn’t possible to take any photos of the sea because of high hedges, as I say you only get glimpses of the sea, but to our left we could see snow on Dartmoor.
You will notice the ‘yellow’ road on the map above. Starting at D, the Torquay Road, we drove down the hill into Shaldon and then over the Shaldon Bridge, then turned left to Bishopsteignton, the village where our younger son lives. We had a cup of tea with him and daughter in law, and then made our way home. From this road are views of the River Teign, but while one can see them from the car, the hedges are often too high for good photographs being taken from a moving car, but I did my best (I hasten to say husband was driving.)
Sheep in the late morning sunshine, with the River Teign in the distance.
I never tire of this view. The river up to here is tidal and I was fortunate today that instead of mud flats – which are still beautiful in their way – the river glistened in the sunshine (there was snow on the tops of the hills.)
It wasn’t long after taking the photo of the River Teign that we arrived home, and the sunshine was pouring through the windows into our hall. This is the little William Morris country chair that my mother bought for me to go with my desk when I was twelve. It now has a material seat as the original cane seat had rotted. The small Sutherland table – supposed to have been named for Harriet, Duchess of Sutherland (1806 to 1868) – belonged to my parents. Sutherland tables first appeared (according to my researches) in a design catalogue in 1849. A very narrow central section is flanked on either side by two wide side flaps. This form meant that while it could be stored neatly against a wall, it opened out into a good-sized table.
Our sitting room was similarly filled with sunshine, and here you can just see (reflected in the mirror) the archway and, beyond it, the dining area which by way of contrast was much darker.
We then had baguettes filled with cheese for a late lunch, and I have been reading my magazine (with a break from that while our little grandson was here for an hour or two). Then I took delivery of a book, something which I think will be interesting for when I’ve finished reading Blackberry and Wild Rose.
A new book and a new magazine, those will keep me amused while husband watches rugby on the TV!
The hyacinths (my 2nd lot of bulbs, bought a little over two weeks ago) are now in full bloom and scenting the kitchen with their lovely fragrance.
And now we’re in February, January is over, and the days are getting longer. It is now 5.25pm and the street lights have yet to come one. Regardless of the snow in many parts of the country, spring really will soon be here. Wherever you are, I hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Until next time.