In llfracombe, hungover

Having said all there is to say about Skegness, Brit continues his Dabbler tour of England’s seaside towns with a visit to Ilfracombe…

There’s a nice little new aquarium in the Devon seaside town of Ilfracombe which takes you down, tank by tank, from the source of the Taw to the sea and to Lundy. I’ve always liked aquaria, there’s a deep peace in those tanks. However, I can’t say I recommend a trip to Ilfracombe when you’re battling a hangover and a howling gale is blowing. If your head is fugged and pounding there are probably better trips. And there’s a decent possibility that a gull will steal your chips.

In Ilfracombe the shop shelves are spattered all with tat. The drizzle-sodden westerly will whip away your hat. The sea’s a touch too churning when you’re feeling out of sorts. The bolder of the tourists sport anorak and shorts. In Ilfracombe the cliffs are grey, the sea around them slops. Damien Hirst’s café/restaurant is a slap across the chops. In Ilfracombe the cliffs are grey, not white like those of Dover. In Ilfracombe, in Ilfracombe. In Ilfracombe, hungover.

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9 thoughts on “In llfracombe, hungover

    November 15, 2011 at 12:54

    “There’s a nice little new aquarium in the Devon seaside town of Ilfracombe which takes you down, tank by tank, from the source of the Taw to the sea and to Lundy.”

    This is a very nice sentence, and I particularly like the use of the Biblical verse as a unifying construct for the essay.

  2. Worm
    November 15, 2011 at 13:14

    I note from Wikipedia that the name Ilfracombe was derived from Norse illf (bad), Anglo-Saxon yfel (evil ford) and Anglo-Saxon cumb (valley or bottom), thus ‘The valley with the bad ford’. Oh well, at least it inspires good blog posts

    November 15, 2011 at 14:07

    Indeed, Brit has in this short essay captured the existential crisis of the modern, alienated as we are from the solace of both nature and God.

      November 15, 2011 at 14:50

      Cheers mate.

  4. Gaw
    November 15, 2011 at 14:23


    John Halliwell
    November 15, 2011 at 15:30

    Lovely. I now look forward to Brit’s lament for St Ives. In the meantime:

    As I was going to St Ives
    I met a man with seven wives
    Every wife had seven sacks
    Every sack had seven cats
    Every cat had seven kits
    Kits, cats, sacks, wives
    How many were going to St Ives?

    Nick Cohen
    November 15, 2011 at 16:13

    Do you know that only yesterday I was looking for property for sale in Ilfracombe? (You don’t, of course. How could you?) I can’t afford to buy a house there, I was just trying to find a way to avoid getting on with my work. Still, spooky, eh?

      November 15, 2011 at 18:32

      Nick! Talking of coincidences, I’m currently working on a sonnet to the mini-roundabouts of Islington.

    November 16, 2011 at 16:37

    Sounds like all that saltwater has gone to your head, Brit? Suggest you install yourself in Mr Hirst’s Atlantic Room with the window open – and await a reviving slap on the chops from a crashing wave…

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