They say “home is where the heart is” and “wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home”, and I believe them both to be true.
I have lived in quite a few places in my near 54 years, my family home for over 20 of them, a second floor flat on the south side of the River Thames in London close to Borough Market for 10. But it is Brixham in Devon that I think of as my home.
I first visited the pretty little fishing port in 2000, it’s where I met my best friend Paul. It was a part of the U.K. I had only visited briefly once in the late 1980’s and I knew nothing about it. Strangly though I felt an instant affinity with it. For the next 7 years I would visit Brixham and stay for maybe a total of 3 months a year, Paul and I had the pleasure of each other’s company and were enjoying the delights of London, and recharging our batteries so to speak at his flat just a hop, step and a jump from the inner harbour.
Time has passed by and 9 years ago, a year after Paul had decided to relocate full time back to his home town, I was lucky enough to secure the rental of a substantial ground floor flat overlooking the harbour entrance and the expanse of Tor Bay. This is the first place I have felt truly at home in the U.K., it is where my heart is.
(The view from my lounge window in Brixham)
Of course, we all love a holiday and most of us Brits are partial to a bit of Spanish sunshine. My family were no different. After many washed out, blown away, car failure, camping holidays in the West Country or along the Norfolk coast, the lure of the 2 week package holiday to Spain was impossible to resist. Our first adventure as a family was to Palma Nova in Mallorca, the flight intrigued me, an Transeuropa Caravelle 10 twin jet with triangular windows of quite ancient build.
It was probably the most exciting thing in my life, even more than the chain driven pedal go kart I’d had the previous Christmas. It engendered a life long love of all things commercial aviation wise, I’ll tell you about my “collections” another time.
The following year we visited a town in the north of Mallorca, the transfer from Palma airport took forever, but we eventually arrived at a very newly built hotel, set back a street from the quite pleasant beach. Come evening time we realised that behind the hotel was a salt marsh, and as the sun set, so the biting commenced, after this I don’t really remember much except for the constant application of insect repellent!
However, the area around Puerto Pollenca is fantastic, tall rugged parched mountains rise up behind the town which is draped seducively round a pine tree lined bay. Back then in the late 60’s there was almost no development, a couple of rather nice hotels and some very impressive Mallorquin villas, each with there own wooden jetties reaching out into the shallow, fish filled waters of the bay.
I have visited Puerto Pollenca on a fairly regular basis over the 40 odd years since my first visit, it has developed a little, there are a few more hotels, the marina has expanded somewhat but it has lost none of its peaceful charm. In these latter years I have settled to staying at the Daina Hotel, this year must be my 7th or 8th visit. I love this hotel, it’s delicious hot and cold buffet breakfasts and dinners, well appointed rooms, and staff that seem to remember you no matter how long since your last visit.
The weather here is always agreeable, sometimes a little hot, but what’s a pool, the sea or for that matter air conditioned rooms for! I seem to always buy hats here, there are 3 in Devon and a brand new one laying on the table in front of me, this is my home away from home!
(The Daina Hotel, Peurto Pollenca, Mallorca)
So there you are, my heart and hat homes, soon I’ll tell your where my soul feels at ease!