Thursday, 28 October 2010

Place of Memory

Unbelievably, it's 20 years to the week since our family holiday in Brixham, the little fishing town in Devon that made such a lasting impression on me. I was eleven at the time my sister eight, and we were both entranced by the place. We stayed at a former fisherman's cottage called Bay View, in North View Road. The view of the harbour at night was especially beautiful, with lights reflecting in the water. A photo I recently saw on DA reminded me powerfully of it.

Brixham-Tilt Shift by ~devincisharky on deviantART

We went back the two following years (1991 and 1992) but I haven't been back since. Brixham is picturesque place and I hope it hasn't changed. I have fond memories of the replica Golden Hind, the ship in which Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe, and of Perils of the Deep, the shell shop, the aquarium, the fishing boats...

At the end of the long pier was a strange industrial platform called Longbow, the function of which was a mystery at the time. I've lately looked it up and apparently it was a former salvage barge, converted into a missile testing platform for the Navy, and since put back into service.

Also in the harbour was a statue of William of Orange, who landed there and went on to become William III. It was and presumably remains a favourite perch for a Jacobite seagull who poops down the Dutch usurper's collar. Trips we had from Brixham included to Drogo Castle on Dartmoor, and to Dartmouth. We also went to Paignton, where we saw the Disney film The Little Mermaid. Ariel was the subject of my first crush. Silly, I know. (She'll never leave Eric...) This brief moment from my childhood explains the continuing fascination that I have with the nautical, and also why mermaids occasionally appear in my pictures. It taps into nostalgia for these times.

Mermaid's Perch by ~dashinvaine on deviantART

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