Yesterday I found myself walking along the beach at Weston-super-Mare in Somerset. I'd only been here once before, an impulsive turn off the M5 some years ago, just to see what it was like. It was winter, raining, and I got back on the motorway very quickly. On that first visit I didn't notice that you can see Cardiff very clearly on the horizon, with the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm imbetween. Or the little miniature railway in Clarence Park or the streets that are like a tiny Victorian Bath nestling under the Iron Age fort on Worlebury Hill. Yesterday I saw it all, and ate a huge piece of cod washed down with a pint of Guinness in celebration on the seafront. Of course a fresh breeze and sunlit breakers far out to sea helped, as did the donkeys on the beach and the little Land Train tooting along the promenade. And then to cap it all I spotted a swirl of smoke over a hedge. Not the pier going up again, but Carters Steam Fair, here for the summer. Blog followers may remember them in Chiswick, and it was raining back then also. So I ran about here like a demented idiot, snapping away. Fairs don't get better than this, everything very traditional and superbly painted and not a hint of David Essex standing combing his hair on the back of a dodgem. But steam rides or not, Weston-super-Mare is certainly worth a detour off the motorway for. But don't just drive quickly down the seafront in the rain.
Derek Birdsall: Birdseye view
2 days ago