My poem, Lazy Afternoon, written in the Amazon Rainforest, was published in a child’s text book. I am so happy if I can help a child appreciate the forest and the wildlife that I grew to love by reading and trying to understand the emotions I felt when I wrote the poem.
You are welcome to read the poem to your child…
I was fifteen and being given a lift home by a middle aged family friend. I hadn’t seen him for a while, but felt comfortable until he started looking me up and down and saying how I had grown into a beautiful young woman.
Then he put his hand on my knee and as he spoke he gradually moved his hand up my inner thigh. I didn’t know how to react. An adult had never given me unwanted physical attention before…did I move his hand away..was it innocent, friendly behaviour..would I offend him and my parents if I asked him to stop. I felt very uncomfortable.
I pressed my knees together and moved away from him and said nothing.
When we got home I told my mother. She first said I was lying, which threw me, then she said I had gotten it all wrong, he would never do anything to hurt me or them.
I told her I didn’t care if she believed me or not, but that I would never be in the same room as him again..ever.
I didn’t see him again and as far as I know neither did my parents.
But hearing people say that when a man puts his hand on a girl or woman’s knee it is acceptable, friendly behaviour angers me. It may well be innocent if it’s a momentary thing, but the lingering, repeated grip is not…it can make a woman feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, especially when the perpetrator is older and in a more senior position. It is sexual harassment.
That was the first of many experiences of unwanted attention by men who knew they could get away with it because they had a higher status and it was wrong then, forty years ago, and it’s wrong now.
Starting from the wide grassy field in Ilsham Road walk towards the sea..there is a wood to one side with a path, nice in Spring when the bluebells and garlic are out.
Cross the road near the car park to get to Meadfoot Beach, a shingle, rocky beach with some sand.
The views are beautiful at all times of the day and in all seasons. Whether the sea is calm and tranquil or furiously beating the stone walls, it is a pleasure to see.
On a sunny day the sea looks incredibly sky blue or turquoise. On a dull day it turns a steely grey, with the occasional shaft of brilliant sunlight spreading sparkling stars over the surface. And the evening light, when the sun is setting, can turn the sea and sky a soft pink or deep red.The view across the sea takes in to the right the historic Berry Head and Brixham and to the left Thatchers Rock bird sanctuary..a breeding area for sea birds.
And to our great delight last spring we had a Humpback Whale visiting. She could be seen more clearly at Berry Head but the fact she was there in our bay was exciting. Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises can often be seen in the distance.
Meadfoot Beach is generally a quiet beach. No ‘kiss me quick’ hats or rocks for sale here, but there is a nice cafe at the end close to the blue beach huts. Warm meals, snacks and drinks can be bought.
It is also a bird lovers beach..I have seen, as well as the local Herring Gulls, and Cormorants there are Black-headed Gulls, Black-backed Gulls, Egrets, Herons and flocks of Oyster Catchers…and Crows, Pied Wagtails and Rock Pipets. And above, if your lucky, you can see Buzzards, Kestrels or Peregrine Falcons.
People bring along their canoes, Kayaks, and sailboards, and fast boats often pull up for a meal at the cafe.
Car parking along the sides of the road beneath the wooded cliffs is free.
Essential reading for the young…Elizabeth Gaskells North and South and Mary Barton…in answer to those who think Brits enjoyed life of luxury and decadence in last couple centuries thanks to agricultural revolution and slave trade. Like my ancestors most lived in poverty we can barely imagine.Thank
Stover Country Park is a short drive from Torquay. There is a large lake there and several streams. A forest of tall conifers and older deciduous trees surround the lake and line the streams.
My favourite site is the wooden walkway. There can be seen Grey Squirrels and a large variety of birds. Here photos of just some of the birds I saw this week.
The grey squirrels sneak up and pinch the bird seed.Some times a bird of prey will crash through the trees. This Buzzard, a mere shadow in the photo, was heading towards the small lake which can be seen from the walkway. It was after the frogs and toads living in these waters.
This Grey Heron too stood stock still on a log on these waters searching for fish or frogs. It’s first appeared as just a white dot in the distance.
Patience is needed to see the birds especially as shouting children and dogs frighten them off and they disappear completely. But if quiet there is so much to see and children get a kick out of seeing so many varieties.
Water birds are abundant. Mallard Ducks, Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Crested Grebe, Tufted Ducks, Mandarin Ducks, Cormorants and Black-Headed Gulls and Grey Herons can be seen.
Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies can be seen flirting across the lake sides. There is a designated Damsel and Dragonfly pond, though it was empty of both yesterday.
Here a rare Small Butterfly seen yesterday and a comma butterfly and several dragonflies I filmed last month.
There is a visitors centre with information and plenty of information boards. Picnic areas have been placed under the trees.
A lovely place in spring and autumn, relatively busy in summer, but worth a visit all year around.