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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Torquay Part 4 Inner Harbour

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JUNE. 29, 2021

The inner harbour houses most of the eating establishments and shops and I was on the lookout for a hot takeaway pasty to eat in the sunshine on a bench. Unfortunately I never saw one. Plenty of restaurants, seaside souvenirs and a joke shop though.

More men working, as teams all over Torquay prepare the town for the crowds soon to arrive. This next series of shots show the sequence of work, just by chance. The workmen had left the railings at each different stage of preparation and painting.

This lamp post below was not included for some reason, maybe it is too far gone and due to be replaced.

Almost every shop seemed to feature crabbing gear. Given a line and some bait, most crabs seem predisposed to grab the bait with a claw and hang on until they are yanked out of the water and released into a bucket. These little fellas are for fun and not for food and the kids dads always put them back when the fun is over. It is encouraging to see old fashioned entertainment still enthralling the kids of today. Some things, gladly, never change. Kids given a choice always seem to get way more fun out of the most ordinary simple pursuits, while quickly getting bored with electronics and flashing lights.

I have it on good authority that the perennial best seller in a joke shop is the whoopee cushion. A rubber balloon type device that you inflate, with an exit valve in it designed to reverberate loudly when the balloon is then sat on, forcing the air out, embarrassing an unsuspecting victim, by producing a hilarious f*rt. This is Britain and therefore all toilet humour is considered the best and the funniest, particularly at the seaside. Is this the case where you live?

For the more serious crab connoisseur there is dressed crab. This is not a crab put in a fancy outfit of clothes with a top hat on, but a crab that has been cooked and all the meat extracted, which is then placed neatly in the main body shell. Done properly it is an art and there should be no hard pieces of shell in the meat. There is a rule of thumb though, which is to always expect a hard piece of shell and eat it accordingly. This will annoy your dentist and save you a fortune, which explains why it will annoy the dentist. It is quite rare in Britain to be served crab whole and for you to be expected to break it yourself. I have only witnessed it in France.

This is the older of the slipways, which doesn't seem much used now. The active harbour with boat activity is further round at Beacon Quay and will feature in my next post.

This is the busy spot for crabbing though.

In fact the busiest crabbing area seems to be right next to this sign below.

Now the other side of the inner harbour you can look back towards Princess Gardens and the Ferris Wheel.

Print on Me, and it looks like someone has printed on him too. A typical garish seaside emporium of childhood delight with yet more crabbing gear. I particularly like the light blue shirt third from the right. I was tempted to buy it but I'm too much of a miserable ba*tard to waste the money. I've nicknamed this shot, creasy and baggy.

There's a definite American Diner vibe about this place below and also a Hollywood movie vibe too, in what looks to be an Art Deco building with an unusual façade. Call me pedantic but shouldn't there be an apostrophe in Jack's unless there are several Jacks of course. I note we have even added an accent on the café.

This place below got me thinking because I read the other day that "Man Friday" was now problematic, something to do with white supremacy. This is ironic really because anyone having read Robinson Crusoe, which I suspect the complainants have not, would know that he starts his life story as a slave in North Africa. A portion of the story at the beginning is set in the Moorish kingdom where he remains a slave for two years before escaping.

Ohio State University history professor Robert Davis states that most modern historians minimize the white slave trade. Davis estimates that slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone enslaved 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th (these numbers do not include the European people who were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast).

Historically the people of the South Devon, Cornwall and the Southern Irish coasts knew all about slavery as regular raids took place here to gather new slaves. Slavery was a universal human activity throughout history, eventually banished by the British Navy.

The steam trains are running again, hurrah! Greenway was the home of Agatha Christie in her later life and is now open to the public as a museum. You can even rent the Greenway ferry cottage to stay in. I wonder if there was ever a murder in that train in the poster. Murder on the Riviera Express.

From this point the walk continues into Beacon Quay which has a lot of history, and that will be the next post, Part Five.

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