Beer, Devon 15.8.18


Dormitory accommodation may not be the ideal place to stay for an insomniac. For the last 2 hours (it’s 7am) i’ve been Wondering amongst other things how common snoring is. On the last 3 occasions I’ve slept in YHA youth hostels i’ve had v little sleep, the feeling of frustration and tension rising in my chest along with a faint urge to strangle the person in the bed below or beside me who is making a good go of grumbling and grunting in their sleep, a sound not dissimilar to a pig eating.

Mid Summer holidays and in a dilemma. So spoilt. Maybe I should have stayed at home and just read or improved my knowledge of the CE syllabus but, no, I always have – or think I have – to make the most of this time of year.

Walked the path again yesterday from Lyme Regis to Seaton through the Undercliffs, thick rainforest cited by Roger Deakin in a conversation with Robert Macfarlane as one of the few wildernesses left in the UK. It’s also the place where the French Lieutenant’s woman likes to walk, shunned by the moralising Victorian society of Lyme Regis and where the narrator sees her lying in one of the clearings and starts to fall in love with her.

I found it oppressive. I love a view and I don’t like to be enclosed and the undercliffs envelope you with only the odd break to see the sky or a beach in a 3/4 hour walk.

Beer is lovely. Feels really local and not overly touristy. It just so happened I arrived on the main day of the Regatta: people massing on the beaches, sitting in circles around smoking barbecues while I swam alone 200 yards from the shore and watched detatched at the striped deck chairs like Hyde Park and the last light of the sun on the limestone cliff above the beach.

There’s some beautiful architecture here, notably the YHA  which is arts and crafts and the Orangery tea room looks similar perhaps even designed by the same person? As the high street winds down the hill to the beach the stream rushes alongside it in a race while every now and again a large stone basin of flowers bridges the stream.


Good Devon people here. Saw 2 chaps absolutely wasted stumbling up the hill af about 7pm one with a strange red and white bendy rubber concoction: the balloon animals traditionally favoured by clowns.

”All right there mate? I got me tommy gun.”

Later chatted up by 2 18 year old cousins who couldn’t understand why I was reading my book as they downed tequila shots. Memories of the drunkenness of seaside regatta nights in Suffolk.

Today Sidmouth and still wondering if to do a competent crew course – again! – on Saturday. If not then what? How should I spend my time? This always bugs me. Could it be spent more usefully?

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