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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

East Portlemouth

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas NOVEMBER. 30, 2020


[117-365] 30th. November 2020- Even though it was a bit misty and grey today, it was at least dry. That's our cue to go somewhere, anywhere, just to get some exercise and fresh air.


We last went to East Portlemouth back in January, even though it is only about three miles away. That's because most of it was cut off by a landslide. There is a small hamlet at the top of the hill and then a long windy road that follows the water at the bottom of the hill. But this road at the bottom was closed to traffic and the repair work was a massive job and took many months. So today we went to investigate and see if it was open yet. At the end of the windy road is a car park but also a beautiful sandy beach.


In January we had to park at the top of the hill and go down on foot and it is quite a trek down there and very steep.


Having seen a road closed sign at the top again today we parked there and walked down where we were surprised to find when we eventually reached the bottom that it was in fact open. It seems the Road Closed sign is a new one and relates to the road at the bottom that goes the other way, where there has also been a landslide. So we needn't have walked down at all but could have driven. Anyway we got our lungs expanded in the process so that was good and as with all strenuous walks they are quite often more enjoyable when you have done them than they are during the act.


The steps down are Ferry Hill Steps so it is no surprise when you reach the bottom that there is a ferry. This is the ferry landing stage, complete with Covid Social Distancing arrows to keep everyone apart before they get into the tiny motor boat that is the ferry. There are no times to cross you just make yourself visible if the boat is the other side and the ferryman decides if he likes the look of you, maybe a shake of the leg or a surreptitious wink. ( I love surreptitious, it's a bit like syruptitious which is how you describe a syrup pudding) Directly opposite is Salcombe and the Ferry Inn so if Ferry Hill Steps and the ferry and the ferryman had not alerted you to the fact there was a ferry going over to a large pub called the Ferry Inn then really there is no hope for you.



The placid looking water between East Portlemouth and Salcombe is anything but and I am not sure if anyone has ever calculated how much water rushes through here four times a day but it must be formidable.


The English Channel has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, I think the second highest. So add that to the size of the Kingsbridge estuary as it is called and the depth of the channel in and out at this point and I'm thinking this would be the place for a tidal power unit or two, floating out there.


Personally I think a nice touch would have been to have those footprints have six toes, just to see how many people noticed, but that tells you a lot about me. Probably none of it good.


Thinking about it further as is my wont, I should actually have Affinitied in a few extra toes to see if any of you had noticed. Did you see how I snubbed Photoshop there?


Wont- Not to be confused with won't- “wont” developed in medieval times from an Old English verb (wonen or wunen) meaning dwell or be accustomed.

This area generally has some incredible micro climates as witnessed by this Hydrangea below in full flower today. I only live three miles away and we also have our own creekside micro climate but even my Hydrangea gave up the ghost weeks ago. I have a bunch of sticks but in East Portlemouth there are blooms.


Walking back up the hill to the car I spotted Nasturtiums naturalised in the hedgerow. They are natives of South and Central America. Here is an interesting fact. Nasturtiums got their name because they produced a similar oil to that produced from Watercress. The Latin name for Watercress is Nasturtium officinale. So the same name was used. The Latin name Nasturtium means Nose Twister which is a wonderful name for a plant. It was the peppery effect of Watercress, that sometimes brings a tear to the eye, that resulted in it's nose twisting name.


A traditional Afternoon Tea component is the sandwich, often cucumber or egg and watercress. The sandwich got it's name from the Earl of Sandwich, Sandwich is a place in Kent, England. The sandwich was made for the Earl because he was a notorious gambler and did not want to risk leaving the card table at the wrong moment. Another Earl had a tea named after him, Earl Grey.


So where am I going with all of this? I've no idea. I was just enjoying the ride. But I am getting a hazy view of a card table in Kent covered in egg and nose twister sandwiches and Bergamot tea and two Earls with cards up their sleeves trying to out bid each other. Two Earls who in modern times would have had a little ™ stamped on every sandwich sold and every cup of tea drunk and would be swanning around like Bill Gates by now.


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