Monday, 16 June 2008

Le Weekend 2

I had a great weekend with my family, but found my birth town, of which I am normally so proud, a little disappointing. There is so much work going on at the same time, and much of it without an end in sight. Part of the promenade beside the marina is still fenced off waiting to be made safe again. It’s been like this for a couple of years, with only a small portion of it finished. I haven’t been able to find any reference to this work on Torbay Council’s website.

The serenity of Rock Walk, the cliff and footpaths across the road from the sea, the pier and the Princess Theatre, has been completely defaced and denuded. Where once we could stroll or climb through the wooded slopes, highlighted at night with pretty coloured lights, all is now boarded up and apparently in danger of sliding down into the road since all the vegetation has been removed.

The website states that the project to remove unsafe trees was to begin in January 2008 and take about three weeks. Did those responsible for initiating this not consider how safe the cliff would be afterwards? Last week’s press release informs us that a council committee is now considering which companies to ask to tender for the work to make it all safe again before it can be replanted, so it will obviously be quite some time before anything starts to happen. After I wrote the above, I found this blog about it all.

Thank goodness I didn’t accept the offer to place our memorial seat for my parents in there. That sits on the seaward side of the front, next to the sunken gardens they liked to wander past.

Torre Abbey has been closed for renovation with Phase 1 due for completion later this year. And to crown it all, in the tranquil gardens of the Abbey sits a monstrous white balloon looking like a giant version of the ones in the old TV show, The Prisoner. Only this one, so I’m told, is just waiting for a complement of punters willing to pay £14 for a ten minute ascent over Torbay to the length of its tethering rope. See it in the picture above.

One local person was so incensed about it that she proclaimed, “We should send the mayor up in it and cut the rope.” I could only agree that it seems a completely incongruous attraction in Torquay, spoiling what genteel beauty is still left to the sea front at present.

The Imperial Hotel was also a bit of a let-down. Apart from a glorious stained glass dome above the entrance hall, and a couple of very large earthenware urns in a corridor, the interior was very mundane. Its redemption lay in the views across Torbay from the terrace and the gardens below. But, despite its grand history, it is now no better than Torquay’s other hotels, and many of them could beat it hands down for their interior design.

However, I had a good couple of days with my sister, and enjoyed a great pub meal with a new section of the family (by marriage). And it was all spiced up by the fact that my nephew’s wife’s mother and I went to school together when we were both five years old.

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