Brixham, Devon: drunken sodden pirates, a song of praise and peering down Agatha Christie’s toilet

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I have just spent a very rainy weekend in the UK’s second largest county, Devon.  The accommodation was a very comfortable, if dated, apartment with a sea view in the holiday town of Brixham. Unfortunately the weather was just atrocious, the worst in the whole of England at that time. It was an even greater shame since Brixham’s annual pirate festival was on, allegedly the biggest of its kind in the world.

The heavy rain didn’t stop stout middle-aged gentlemen (and ladies) tipsily parading around the streets in the uniform of striped trousers, baggy shirts, thick belts, felt hats, smudged black eyeliner and carrying swords under the influence of rum. Unfortunately there were no Jean-Benoit Aubrey lookalikes (Frenchman’s Creek) to share so here is a plastic donkey getting into the spirit of the festivities instead:

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Brixham’s claim to fame is that it’s vicar of All Saints church, Henry Francis Lyte, knocked out the well-known hymn “Abide with Me”. Here is Susan Boyle’s version:

A short drive from the apartment was the nature reserve Berry Head, a 400 million year old landscape which started life as a lump of coral south of the equator.


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In 1803 forts were erected to keep the French out of Tor Bay during the Napoleonic Wars.


On the food front kudos to The Curious Kitchen for being so vegan accommodating and providing me with a 6 course gourmet feast (it also included soda bread and oil not pictured). Top marks for having the idea to deep fry capers and sprinkle them onto the potato salad. They were gorgeous.

I am currently reading Agatha Christie’s autobiography and so I was thrilled to visit “Greenway” her former holiday residence. What a treat! The energy there is wonderful, even if the place is full of clutter otherwise known as “collections”. The queen of crime did not actually write her mysteries here, it was more a home for relaxation although she did do some manuscript editing. Agatha grew up in nearby Torquay but spent her later life in Oxfordshire, hence needing a nostalgic pad.

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Oddly her Dame medal was displayed in front of piles crockery. Apparently the family discovered it lobbed to the back of a cupboard after her death.

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Despite being a humble and rather shy lady rather than a diva, Agatha did insist on this particular mahogany bog seat travelling all around the world for comfort when she accompanied her husband Max on his archaeological digs. Now it remains back in her former en-suite with a cheeky plastic frog floating in it to entertain children (and easily pleased adults).

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The views from the house are just incredible, encompassing the River Dart and acres and acres of stunning greenery to become lost in.

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The property’s boathouse was used as a murder scene in “Dead Man’s Folly” her 1956 novel featuring Poirot.

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Interestingly on the last day in Devon, David Suchet appeared on TV on his birthday talking about his new role in Doctor Who but sharing how he enjoyed making 70 Poirot films over 25 years and how happy he was to get to keep the Belgian’s walking cane. Here he is outside the front entrance of “Greenway” whilst his “little grey cells” feed off each other and whir into success.

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