I have to admit, I’d never heard the expression ‘Tinsel and Turkey’, till now. When I do, and the penny drops as to its meaning I find myself laughing out loud. Torquay already has a reputation for entertaining Hen and Stag Do’s and now at Christmas it seems my new home town will be welcoming glutinous hordes looking to drink and eat their own body weight, (it’s all inclusive!) all whilst wearing a Santa hat.
If I thought there was no more to Torquay than that I’d not be here. I will put forward my case for Torquay elsewhere, however, I will say that I’m actually glad that this town is not completely behaved, not entirely gentrified. Hangovers and sunburns aside, there’s a lot of people who come here to let their hair down and just have a good time…and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Point in case today at the Hotel Balmoral. We are here to see Bec’s folks who have come down to see us, (uhum, their grandson!). Whilst the gang gets ready for a walk into town I sit in the reception and find myself in conversation with one of the Balmoral’s patrons. We strike up some easy small talk; where are you from, who are you with etc. I find that she is here with friends, family and work colleagues…I stop fiddling with the glass chess board to give the conversation more attention.
‘Whats the common connection here?’ I ask. The answer it seems is tradition. This group of friends, connected by family, work and associated friends have been doing this for a whopping 15 years! As we chat they start to appear; tinsel eyed and looking for turkey. They are a really happy bunch all sharing introductions, Huey somewhere in the middle and the hotel reception completely overtaken.
Leaving Huey with happy grandparents we all say our goodbyes, not knowing that we’d meet a second and third time during their stay. The second time was at evening dinner in the Balmoral; Santa hats in full effect, (in fact as we entered the dining room not a single dinner was without one), then the third time today at Meadfoot Beach.
It was my suggestion that they come down here, (it’s a stones throw from the Balmoral, you’d be mad not too). However the wind chill is spiteful so I hope they didn’t regret it. We meet by chance at the Ice Cream van which masquerades as a hot drinks outlet during the winter months. There are smiles, waves and stories exchanged as we meet up. Despite the winter weather the atmosphere is warm and cheered with a cup of hot chocolate.
Meadfoot is a transformed beast from the summer. Right now it’s bitterly cold, the force of the sea against the wall has hurled great waves and stones over into the road. Nobody is bothered though. It’s bracing but restorative and dramatic. Huey, as ever, also completely un-phased by the elements. He sports multiple layers and a built-in buggy sleeping bag…and if that wasn’t enough, now here’s his adoring fan club of ladies! No wonder he smiles.
Turkey, Tinsel and Torquay. I hope our new friends from Stroud keep their Christmas vacation alive for decades to come. Stay in touch if you read this ladies; maybe we’ll bump into you next year.