Saturday, March 28, 2009


I am feeling a little homesick, lately. Today I was listening to an old 'The Beautiful South' song which I used to listen in high school. Rich actually bought me their CD our first Christmas together! Anyway, it had me searching for old photographs online (as I don't really have any so I had to rely on the web to take me down memory lane... I lived in a little village called Combeinteignhead (who can pronounce that!?)

I didn't find any of our house, though I did find some of the beach and 'brook' where our house was. We lived along the river with steps down to the 'beach'. The River Teign is a tidal river which runs into the sea.. I spent many a happy hour in my rowing boat going up and down the river.. (I should add that it was without parental supervision, life jacket, etc!! Indeed my row boat was always with some hole or another which my dad would fix periodically with some fiberglass. I think I must have been around 7! How things have changed re: parents and safety!).

On the other side of our house - across a country lane - were fields and fields of lambs and a little pig farm owned by our neighbours.

And this is a place where we spent much of our time!!! The local pub... sitting outside in the beer garden with crisps and a coke waiting for dad to finish playing pool :)

And who knew that there was a Keats' poem about Teignmouth... the place I went to school!! Even Arch Brook (where I lived) is mentioned!!


by John Keats (1795-1821)

[‘Some Doggerel’ sent in a letter to B.R. Haydon]


For there’s Bishop’s teign
And King’s teign
And Coomb at the clear Teign head -
Where close by the stream
You may have your cream
All spread upon barley bread.

There’s arch Brook
And there’s larch Brook
Both turning many a mill;
And cooling the drouth
Of the salmon’s mouth,
And fattening his silver gill.

There is Wild wood,
A Mild hood
To the sheep on the lea o’ the down,
Where the golden furze,
With its green, thin spurs,
Doth catch at the maiden’s gown.

There is Newton Marsh
With its spear grass harsh -
A pleasant summer level
Where the maidens sweet
Of the Market Street,
Do meet in the dusk to revel.

There’s the Barton rich
With dyke and ditch
And hedge for the thrush to live in
And the hollow tree
For the buzzing bee
And a bank for the wasp to hive in.

And O, and O
The daisies blow
And the primroses are waken’d,
And violets white
Sit in silver plight,
And the green bud’s as long as the spike end.

Then who would go
Into dark Soho,
And chatter with dack’d-hair’d critics,
When he can stay
For the new-mown hay,
And startle the dappled prickets?


  1. alex I had no idea you'd been rowing since you were so, so young. it's very sweet and nostalgic.

    I can imagine pregnancy as a time of going back and "taking stock." Sweet, sad, and nostalgic, again.

    lots of love, I hope you're warm and snuggled in.


  2. Great photographs of your childhood home! Great place, and perhaps we'll get back there one day soon. I won't forgot the time when I asked you where you were from - and got that mouthful, so for a few weeks it was, 'near Torquay..'

  3. I forgot to thank you for today's duet to the Beautiful South's 'You Keep it All In.' You kept you end up, and I pulled of all my parts.

  4. Oops - the missing f in off was noted!

  5. What a beautiful place, Alex. I can see why you miss it.

    Isn't it exciting (and daunting) that you Richard will create similar memories for Poppet?


  6. Wow - I had no idea about that poem, either! I remember a couple of weeks after Carmella was born and one of my friends (a Bristol native) had been around to see me with her new baby and was telling me about spending the following day with her mum - by the time Dave got home I was in floods of tears because I wished I could be at 'home', too!

    There's nothing like becoming a parent to make you appreciate how much your parents love you - so hard to believe they feel the same for you as you do for your little one.

    Sending you lots of old Devon love and some amazing memories of our school days - I can't believe I've known you so long!!

    Big love
    Cath xx

  7. wow - what a quaint english village... and what a perfect place to grow up. i'm feeling homesick and i'm not even from there!


  8. Hey Ash, I had a very sweet little rowing boat - a yellow one - which I loved to paddle around in. I don't know that the books are popular here, but there was a series of books - The Famous Five - by Enid Blyton - which featured a tomboy with a boat. They were always off on some adventure.. I spent many a day pretending I was George(ina)

    Richy, Sam BW's used to called Combe Combeintimecapsule :)

    Jen, I'm already planning things to do with the poppet! We weren't much for going out as a family and doing stuff, but the most vivid memories are of just being in the locale with the beautiful terrain. It's funny how bird song evokes the most memories!

    Aw, Cath, THANKS for stopping by. Sam reads the blog, too! I was thinking that I must have known for you well over 25 years! And here you are with Carmella and it's just hard to imagine that we were 6 or 7 in Mrs. Rowe's class!!!!

    Isn't it lovely, Em? Of course at the time it seemed so dull... such a backwater :) But I do feel so lucky to have grown up in a more rural place. Rich grew up in Birmingham and we have such radically different memories.

    love, love, Alex

  9. So sorry you are feling homesick, I can imagine bringing this little one into the world is bringing up feelings of nostalgia..hope you are well and feeling a little less homesick today.

    Love, Tara