Thursday, October 05, 2006


If towns could speak but one word, what would they say? Leamington Spa spoke Regency. Nailsea has not spoken to me yet but I'm sure it will, given time. It certainly has ancienter history than Royal Leamington. Neolithic, stone, bronze, Roman and medieval in fact. It's just been a bit bulldozed and rebuilt.

Weston-super-Mare spoke yesterday, the second I arrived. And its word was 'chips'. Chips on the street. Chip shops a plenty. And therefore, of course, chips on the breeze. Its word has not changed for many years.

Weston has special memories for me. As a child our annual, family holiday was a week in the Birchfield Hotel, Weston (it's still there). I can recall Marine Lake trapped behind a now-dangerous breakwater. The Winter Gardens where we had milk shakes and doughnuts. The two piers. One is now abandoned and dangerous, the other, which I used to love, is horrid for the reasons I used to love, mainly one-armed bandits. Being sent to bed for kicking Paul Leyser's drink into his supper.

As a couple of Brummies Liz and I love the sea, even if it is the Bristol Channel. What we hadn't appreciated before about this area is how flat it is apart from the bumps which make up a couple of islands Steepholm and Flatholm (they call it as they see it round here) and then the towns of Weston, Clevedon and Nailsea. Please watch your emissions old friends or we may all become islands again.

Anyway we wandered around yesterday, hating and loving the place in equal measures as we ate our Subway rolls on the pier listening to piped Mantovani and observing the khaki and green slackness of the passers by. Hated the pigeons. Noted the absence of gulls (too confined a space to land?) and pleased to see starlings, another sight and sound from Birmingham's past.

Next time we will buy chips. We hear them calling.


alG said...

here's a challenge for you,
what would be the one word Birmingham would speak ?

- as i am having a problem thinking of just one.


St said...


Anonymous said...

How about 'Balti' ?

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the drive from Kenn along Davis Lane into Nailsea, or the drive across the Causeway from Tickenham? Both speak of Nailsea in the past as the 'island in the marsh', hence the name of Nail's Island.

alG said...

I Guess that challenge may be a bit hard, as birmingham is a bit big.

for instance i guess Selly-Oak, would say 'Students'

- Al

Debbie K said...

You want to try Papa Adams fish and chips - they are the best in Weston. Glad to hear how well you're exploring our part of the world and look forward to meeting you. Glad the move went well and your computer didn't suffer any damage!

St said...

Yes I have driven along the causeways.

Thanks for the fish tip, Debbie.

Al, Selly Oak can only ever say 'home' to me (I lived there for 22 years) but it may speak differently to others.

Mike said...

Selly Oak can only ever say "Mick's Caff" to me. (You needed to be there in the early 1980s to understand that)

alG said...

i think the selly sausage is the best cafe there these days, i can recommend the 'big breakfast' ( and i don't mean the TV show !).

Ruth said...

Was going to leave it a year from this post before asking, but happened to have an idle moment and decided to look for it now.
Has Nailsea spoken yet?
For me it will always be 'stone walls' - the one enduring piece of the past still present in an unchanged complex network between all those cul-de-sacs. You have to walk if you want to see them: all the ancient field boundaries overlaid but not obliterated by twentieth century housing estates. They and the clusters of ancient trees remind us that this was countryside until a couple of decades back.

St said...

Island. It's an island in the land.