It was in 1999, that my son Nick, working on the pilot boats, learning his trade under supervision from the ‘ol’ Cap’n’ Bob Curtis at the time, rang me to say that, as my passion had always been cooking, why didn’t I buy the then derelict shop, which is now currently called Tides in Brixham Harbour. So I left London and took on my son’s challenge. That was 15 years ago, and what a terrific decision my wife Brenda and I made.
The shop was, and is, in a prime position in Brixham harbour, with everything to hand. Having another passion for Real Ale, and having always wanted to live next door to a pub, we would now live next door to two pubs, we can actually look out of the lounge window and view eight public houses – poor Brenda! – but also the other main bonuses were that all the necessities were neighbours: two newsagents, local fish and chip shop, three terrific restaurants, plus The Brixham Yacht Club around the corner.
These were obviously the basics, but what really struck us after a few months, was the enormous community spirit that existed in the whole of Brixham.
I love the opening sentence on our ‘Welcome to Brixham’ posters around town, written I think by Sandy Armstrong of the Western Lady when we worked on The Brixham Tourism Partnership:
“If you have ever sung ‘Abide with me’, wondered how fish is caught, heard of William of Orange, Napoleon Bonaparte, Walter Raleigh, Francis Drake, Jim Callaghan and ‘Red Sails in the Sunset’ or used rust-preventive paint, then you’re already connected with Brixham “Come for the day… love it for ever.”
Those of you that have seen the series Fish Town shown on Sky TV , will remember how the aerial shots of Brixham captured the real beauty of the town and its superb views. On a clear sunny day looking out from Berry Head and across the bay there is no better view in the South West. As the saying goes: “You could be anywhere in the world.”
The reason Brixham’s footfall is increasing year by year is not only due to the immense interest in the natural beauty of our location, in the fishing industry and in our Heritage Boats and maritime activities, but to the way local volunteers put countless unpaid hours into planning and staging our festivals throughout the year – the Trawler Race, the Pirate Festival, BrixFest, Lifeboat Week and Fishstock.
If it was a choice of Brixton BR5 or Brixham TQ5, Brixham is the place for me… can’t see us returning to London.