Thursday, 31 July 2008
I was sad to see the Victorian Grand Pavilion, on the end of the pier at Weston super Mare, going up in flames on Monday morning. I think it was the first pier I ever visited. We lived at Bristol when I was young, and so Weston was our nearest 'beach'. Two summers we had holidays at Locking just south of Weston, and walk along the beach from Uphill to Weston. We'd pass the donkeys, of course. In fact I had my first donkey ride there too. I can't remember its name: Mabel, or Fred, or something. And there was the pier - that infinitely long walk along the wooden boards, looking through the gaps at the mud beneath, or if you were lucky the sea (or more accurately the Severn estuary), until at last you reached the turnstiles, where oddly you didn't abandon hope but did lose a lot of (old) pennies. But the best thing was getting right out to the end where, when the tide was in, you seemed to be out at sea. And now, on Monday it went up in a blazing inferno and a column of smoke, and charred fragments falling on the beach - leaving blackened and twisted girders like a skeleton. I do hope the owners' ambition to restore it is successful, but it will take a long time. Meantime, sic transit gloria mundi. By the way did you see the news picture with the donkey in the foreground and the black remains behind? Perhaps donkeys go on for ever!