My new print of Hallsands, South Devon, England. Can't wait to get it framed and hanging on our wall.
First of all, Lisa and Brad came over for a couple of hours on Friday and I was trying to stay at the other side of the room as I certainly didn't want them to catch my cold. That night they were attending a talk given by author Stephen King at George Mason University, and Lisa had won a raffle for a book-signing. Brad had some books he was going to take along, in the hopes that Mr. King would be able to sign them all. He did, what a nice man.
I badly needed a new raincoat and bought one online. The postman dropped it on the doorstep around noon shortly before they arrived. We went out later and it was raining pretty hard. Gregg, who had arrived home early, said, "You can wear your new raincoat." as I had already paraded around in it earlier to see what he thought of it. "Heck no" said I - with emphasis - "I am not ready to get it wet yet!" I didn't blame him for having a chuckle as yes how silly is that and what are raincoats for? But I'm saving it for when we go down to Virginia Beach for the shipmates reunion and want it looking pristine. Just like the old days when I used to go away on holiday and bought a set of new clothes, no way was I going to wear them before the holiday. Anywhere from six months to a year before traveling, I would buy something new and pack it away like it was precious cargo, until it was time to take it out of the suitcase to hang it up in the hotel room closet, a pattern I have continued to some degree over the years.
Saturday we did our usual errand runs, first stopping off at the post office to pick up a parcel from England. I bought another print off the same lady that I mentioned in this post right here. My purchase this time - at the top of this post - shows one of the lost villages of South Devon, Hallsands.
It is another nostalgia purchase as I remember Hallsands very well and used to go there with my parents, along with our golden labrador Jason. We would be on one of our rides out into the country, or as in this case to the ocean. Back then we lived only a couple of miles from the sea and would often drive to the shore or go down the coast for 20 miles, sometimes even longer carrying on into Cornwall. On one such trip I remember looking over the cliff top and seeing the ruins of a small village. Dad told me it had been destroyed by a very bad storm in 1917. This was Hallsands and below you can see the ruins of the cottages as it looks now. I found this photo online.
For 120 years this tiny village at the base of the cliffs on the south coast of Devon, was protected from the seas by its deep shingle beach. However, in 1897 Sir John Jackson obtained a license to dredge for shingle to use in the construction of Devonport Dock Yard. It was assumed that any shingle removed would be replaced naturally by more material out in the channel. It has since been learned that today the shingle that now protects the nearby villages of Beesands and Torcross was deposited thousands of years ago during the Ice Age and is not being replaced. So, within 20 years of that fateful dredging, the village of Hallsands was completely destroyed thanks to coastal erosion caused by Jackson's dredging. The following two photos were found online also, both showing the village as it was before the storm destroyed it in 1917.
Debbie, the lady I bought the picture from, paints historical paintings of the part of Devon I lived in from 1965 to 1975. We also had family holidays every year, twice a year for eight years before we actually moved to Devon, so Devon was very much in our blood long before we actually moved there. Debbie portrays the way places looked back in the 1800's-early 1900's. Her website is here, the history of Hallsands can be found here and there are more wonderful old photographs here. Scroll down to the thumbnails below the main photo and click on each to view.
I might be a bit scarce over the next week or so, as this evening we are going to pick up our English friend Rose. She will be staying with us for a couple of weeks and we are going to be super busy getting out and about and having fun, so please forgive me for not getting around to your blogs for a while. The good news is that I am feeling much better and am thankful that I no longer feel contagious. I would not have wanted to be the cause for Rose to get a horrible cold on her holiday, especially as she is flying on to Australia to visit with more friends when she leaves us.