Blackpool Stores - a Memory of Shaldon.
As a child my annual family holiday was spent in Shaldon, first staying at The Teign Crest as a baby and small child, later at The Clipper. Two weeks of blissful freedom - shoeless and carefree. Not many cars in the village in the 1960s, so we children ran wild, only turning up at feeding times. Great family mackerel fishing jaunts, or trips up river to Coombe Cellars in the Hooks' boats. Fabulous clotted cream from Mary at the Dairy opposite The Clipper, and hot bread rolls from Petes the bakery (now a bistro).
The shop front in this picture of Fore Street is of 'Blackpool Stores' - possibly our own family name for an emporium that was an Aladdin's cave for my brother and I, selling everything from crabbing lines to cheap watches. I am convinced that the woman in the picture is my mother - disputed by some members of the family, but I'd know her back view anywhere!
The family have taken their holidays in Shaldon at least since my great-grandmother's time in the mid 1920s, and many of us continue to have a love affair with the village. My husband and I return every year at least for a short break and 'kick the gate' every evening. The gate does not actually exist of course, but we kick the air with great vigour and must look quite demented as we do so. The tradition harks back to the time when the road up to Ness House was private, and my grandparents' evening strolls were blocked by a locked gate - so they kicked it! We thought that this was a family tradition, but have heard of at least one local who recalls taking part in this strange and vengeful nocturnal ritual.
Off for a night at Ness House next week after my daughter's wedding. As a boy, her betrothed spent his childhood holidays in Teignmouth and proposed to Rosie two years ago on Shaldon beach. Frankly, if he didn't 'get' Shaldon, then I think she would have thought twice! Strange to think that while Simon was building dams on the back beach in Teignmouth, Rosie was building sandcastles by the jetty in Shaldon! Needless to say, they are off for a superb honeymoon in Italy - and finishing off with two nights in Shaldon!
A memory shared byon Aug 10th, 2009.
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