Staycation…………..down memory lane.

I moved to Plymouth, to be with Dearly Beloved in 1996. It was a big risk, as although I was leaving a complete and utter b*****d, I was leaving a home. Little did I know I was actually walking towards: safety, love, happiness and had truly found the happy ever after I had always wanted. Little did I know that brassy old Plymouth would find a place in my heart for ever more. I don’t miss the bustle of Plymouth but I still love the place and today it was part of our staycation. We parked up in town and walked out to Plymouth Hoe and the first thing you see is Smeaton’s tower. I love to go up inside but we kept our money in our pockets today and just enjoyed the walk and the scenery.

When I first moved to Plymouth, Tinside Lido was derelict and it wasn’t until a few years later that it was brought back to life. I used to love to collect my daughter from school in Stonehouse and take her to swim and meet Dearly Beloved there after he finished work. Even on an overcast day, it truly is one of Plymouth’s many jewels and it feels so part of our family.

Our family days out usually involved the Hoe and the Barbican as we had no car when the kids were small. The one we had went for a burton and we couldn’t afford to replace it for years. Foster Mummy will laugh when she and I remember a colleague of ours offered me her bike to which I sarcastically replied “I’ll just throw my two kids on the back of that, shall I?” She shut up and realised my predicament! It’s actually easier than you think to bring two kids up without any money as we could treat them with the slightest thing. For them, a walk to the Hoe with an ice cream really was a day out. It’s where we took them to ride their bikes, skateboard and roller blade, for picnics and swimming off the Hoe.
As our circumstances improved and I went to the local university, we could afford the occasional night out and if we did, we would head for the Barbican. It’s steeped in history, where the Pilgrim Fathers left for America and one of the few areas of Plymouth that survived the Blitz. When I graduated it where we went as a family for dinner, when I obtained QTS (qualified teacher status) it’s where I celebrated. In fact, when I became a teacher and actually had a salary and we could squeeze the budget it where I danced the night away with Tasha and Pam on the tables of the Cider Press, the Three Crown and The Dolphin………… true Janner girl style of sinking a few bottles of Lambrini between us before we went out, drinking coke with sneaked ‘handbag scotch’ before making our way home. No one believed we were teachers when they were stupid enough to chat us up……………..they never got far!
It’s all cafe society now, lattes, espresso and mochachinos! No more cheap lager, wet tee shirts and bar top dancing here anymore! Oh well, even Plymouth had to succumb to gentrification in the end!
Now it’s floating gin palaces, shore front serviced apartments and chic restaurants…………’s a different place from even a few years ago. Our walk in the sunshine continued down memory lane.
Plymouth always has the ability to make me feel welcome, to make me smile and remember the real affection I have for the place. Below The Giant Prawn. It turned up as a piece of public art to be met with derision……………I loved it and still do; he’s so spiky and mythical and frames the adjacent scenery of the Aquarium. So Deary Prawny, it was good to see you again.
Then there’s exhibit #2…………….The Royal Navy! Dockyards and Warships! I lived in Ford, with a clear view of Ford Hill a 1:9 hill!!!! or it felt like it and on the route of the Royal Marines daily run! Oh how I miss the sight of Lycra in the morning! The other unknown part of Plymouth is the fact that there are two barracks actually in the heart of Plymouth, 29 Commando (always pronounced two nine) and Royal Marines Stonehouse, as well as the part of the Navy being based permanently in Plymouth. They are just there, part of the place………………..or as they are now…………not! If it’s quiet, it’s because they are deployed. From the times of Drake, Plymouth has always been a garrison town, unlike some, I don’t think it’s to the detriment but the addition of the diversity and flavour of Plymouth.

Below is me, with West Hoe in the background. A walk here today with Dearly Beloved really felt as if we’d never left the place.
Below is one of the massive reasons that Plymouth is such a brilliant place to bring up children. The free summer play schemes, which move from park to park throughout the summer holidays, along with subsidised play sessions in the swimming pools and recreation centres.
Here they closed the streets, and provided tonnes of fun for children and families and it costs nothing. Plymouth City Council!!!! I miss you as Cornwall Council does sod all for families in Cornwall, doesn’t fund play schemes and forgets that there are children here at all. I used to go to the local library with a note book and write down the dates and times of free activities across the city, sometimes there were mini-music festivals in the parks too and brought so much happiness to local people: us included.
Below is another reason that I love Plymouth. It’s culturally diverse. Below is the Greek Orthodox church, nearby is Plymouth Synagogue which is just around the corner from Plymouth’s minster church, St Andrews and the Catholic Cathedral of St Mary and St. Boniface. It has a growing Islaamic community and everyone seems to rub along quite nicely. Polish, Latvian and other Eastern European immigrants blend in harmoniously and it does mean you can buy food of any variety! It’s one of the elements of life that I miss in Cornwall. Also, unlike a few people in Plymouth; I think it adds to the colour of the place.
Our walked nearly ended as we left West Hoe and made our way back via Milbay docks and to the town centre where we were parked. Oh I really, really miss my trips to France. Brittany Ferries is French owned and run; so the staff aboard are French, the announcements are always in French first and the sight of the ferry always reminds me of my holidays. Watch this space because in 2012 or sooner! I will be back on that Ferry. When we returned from France, I used to feel for the people who would drive off the ferry and have a ten hour journey home to the north of England, when I knew I would be in my front door within five minutes. Foster Mummy, if you’re reading this!!! 2012! Your tent next to my tent!!! Deal?
So we finished our walk down memory lane and made our way back to Cornwall. The Torpoint ferry carried us over the six minute crossing and within twenty minutes we were in the different world of the sedate town of Liskeard. We just went for a walk, and ambled slowly through the summer crowds but it was so good to go ‘home’ to Plymouth for a few hours.


16 thoughts on “Staycation…………..down memory lane.

  1. What a lovely nostalgic day out you had. I too remember Plymouth Hoe on holiday. I was 11 years old and running with our Yorkshire Terrier. I got the lead entangled round my legs and fell and broke my arm! I still remember the holiday as a fun time though, even though I had to spend it in plaster. Thanks so much for sharing it. Jane xx


  2. thank you for bringing back lots of good memories for me, particularly all the times I've been along the hoe and the barbican. Never been to smeatons tower, must give that a go x


  3. Lovely post, I really enjoyed reading about Plymouth, they seem to have a good community spirit which you need when you have young children. My friend cottonreel loves chips and is always on the lookout for a fish and chip shop, she loves to hear if anybody else is having chips too. Good luck with the quilting project, Cottonreel taught me and I have never looked back.
    Love Jillx


  4. Is the Zoo still there?
    I seem to remember it was pretty sorry for itself in the 1970s, so it may not have survived into the 90s.

    It's good to see that the Torpoint Ferry is still going. It was always particularly interesting if you had to wait for a Destroyer or similar Navy ship to pass along the river before you could complete the crossing.


  5. I love your tenacity for keeping on the straight and narrow, sounds like you have the hospice shop organised ( I was going to say all sewn up)
    Put a few pennies in a jar ,you will need wadding £1 metre for 2oz weight at Dunelm and a sheet or duvet cover from the charity shop for your backing–cottonreel


  6. What a wonderful blog. I am slowly trying to live a less “cluttered” life and really slow down and enjoy life. Your pictures are lovely. I have never been out of the US, but if I ever do have an opportunity to travel…I will surely be headed that way!


  7. Hello, just a quick one, what size squares are you using for your quilt, let me know and I am sure I can send you some I have loads of scrap fabric and would be pleased to send some to you.
    Love Jill


  8. thanks for the interest in my quilt making, I am cutting squares to 4″ by 4″, and then allowing a quarter inch seam – using inches as I'm following American instructions and the cutting board and ruler I bought second hand from ebay, is also imperial. The colour scheme I'm using is based on pinks, creams, yellows and some blues – for my address and I'de be glad of any scraps of materials to cut down. thanks especially to solomi558 for the square by square tutorial. I'm going to a car boot sale tomorrow, so hope to pick up some material


  9. Lovely post! And I love all the pictures! Makes me want to go there myself! It's always nice to walk down memory lane and make new memories as well. 🙂


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