When the weather is good (that means not too cold, not too hot, not too windy, bright but without too much blistering sunshine and of course, with absolutely no sign of rain on the horizon), there can be few better places to be than The English Riviera. This weekend, we found ourselves in Exeter because the Stuart Singers had a couple of concerts in the area and immediately after breakfast on Saturday morning we were off to find some seaside!
First stop was Totnes where we’d hoped for a lively farmers’ market where we might pick up the ingredients for a picnic. Sadly however, this was flea market day and though we enjoyed a potter around the charming high street, thoughts of picnic fare were forgotten.
For sure, this is an unusual high street in that it doesn’t have the chain stores and as a result, each shop window invites a closer look. The atmosphere is friendly and it wasn’t hard to leave a few pounds behind in a couple of them as we pottered about, wondering if the Cath Kidston style will overpower the incense-perfumed hippy vibe which lives on here.
We arrived early enough to find somewhere to park and enjoy a little space to wander too, which was a blessing, because within an hour or so, the streets became a little more challenging to negotiate.
So, deciding to take our refreshment with us rather than sit outside a cafe and have to endure the drones of the most dreadful busker imaginable, we decided to move on and find some lunch elsewhere.
When we were first married, we loved Dartington Glass and for several years took every opportunity to add to our collection of glasses which were carefully stored and seldom used! We both remembered visiting Dartington and enjoying a good lunch at Cranks here – another touch of the 1980s – so seeing the sign by the side of the road tempted us in. We’re unsure whether it’s the world which has moved on or simply caught up, because it seemed that this collection was no longer the exciting and vibrant source of interesting design that we remembered. OK, a little less Cath Kidston style here, but we wondered how many outlets for Joules clothing are needed? Thankfully, Cranks can still deliver the goods, and we enjoyed our healthy, freshly prepared lunch in the sunshine before moving on.
I’m sure that, somewhere in the vast collection of slides which Daddy took over the years, I have this exact same slide taken in Torquay.
Finding (unsurprisingly) that a large number of others were driving in the direction of Torbay on Saturday afternoon, we turned left before we reached Brixham, carrying on straight through Paignton and heading for Torquay. For several years before my parents began to take holidays further afield, on “the continent”, we’d spend a late summer week here in a b&b near Meadfoot beach, where perpetually happy and sunny days were spent in and out of the water. On Saturday afternoon people were passing their time doing much the same things and we were happy to stroll along and watch them.
I did, however, fancy a walk along the beach, and as you can see, this wasn’t the ideal place.
Further on along the coast, however, a boardwalk looked as though it might lead to somewhere more promising.
We’d left Torquay behind and driven through the bustle of Babbacombe and on towards Teignmouth following the route of Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway to Dawlish. This was new ground for us both and curious to see where the path might take us, we left the car behind and set off down the path.
We were delighted we’d left ourselves time to stop here.
There was a broad and sandy beach here, the perfect place to be on a warm, sunny afternoon.
There was a stiff breeze however, and the lifeguards were advising against the use of inflatables, keeping a watchful eye on the waves from their balcony.
This crew from Exmouth Rowing Club had their work cut out but were making swift progress through the water. What a glorious day to be out there – hope they had applied plenty of sunscreen though.
Anyway, after taking the photo opportunity that is offered at the seaside – yes, I’m still on the neon theme – we returned to Exeter, to prepare for the second concert of the weekend, at Witheridge church.