Salcome – Torcross (12.9 miles)
Distance from Minehead – 466.4 miles / Distance to Poole–162.9 miles
Today’s stage finished at Torcross after walking past Hallsands. Hallsands is, or rather was, a seaside fishing village. This is until a storm on the night of January 26th 1917 battered the South Devon coast and the village collapsed into the sea. It left only one house habitable and 159 residents homeless. All that remains now is a viewpoint and some ruins of some of the houses originally located higher up the cliff and away from the waves. On seeing these remnants and on reading the tragic story about how the disaster was caused after shingle had been removed from the bay in order to extend the Keyham Dockyard (near Plymouth), I was tempted to write something about the wise and foolish builders!
However by the time I got to Torcross and heard the history of that village, I had changed my mind. In 1943 the 3000 residents of Torcross and the surrounding area were forced to leave their homes to make room for 15,000 American soldiers to practice for the D-day landings. The locals were given 6 weeks to relocate, including farmers having to find somewhere to put their livestock. And all this was to be done as secretly as possible. When I think about how much stuff – furniture, electronic gadgets, clothes, knickknacks and general ‘stuff’ there is piled into my house, I think with horror about moving out and sorting it all in less time than I have been walking!
I do have a lot of items in my house and I am a natural born hoarder (mum and dad taught me well!) but I would say that so much of what fills my space has personal connections to me – items given by special friends, reminders of seminal moments and experiences in my life, things made for me by amazingly talented friends and family members, and some things which I personally think are cool! That old question about what would you rush into your burning house to save, obviously not including Toby, makes me think so hard that by the time I had decided which item of memorabilia of my life I treasure most, everything would be turned to ash. It appears I may have stored up treasures on earth! They have no significant monetary value, but they are treasurers nonetheless.
So perhaps today is about where you build your house – the unstable sandy land or the solid rock? But it is also about what you fill your house with – items which could easily be left should the American army want to move in, or treasurers which take all the focus away from important things in life? The only problem for me is that I probably need the 15,000 US Soldiers to help me sort out all the stuff in my house!