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Sometimes we need to see local area with bright new eyes

By Herald Express  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

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SOMETIMES, we are so accustomed to our surroundings that we do not take the time to stop and smell the metaphorical roses, writes Dean Pomeroy.

This is something that teenagers, adults and pensioners alike are sometimes guilty of.

It can be shocking at times to speak to tourists who visit the Bay, when they are so enthralled by the local history that we turn a blind eye to.

Countless times I have seen visitors from Europe and even further afield embarking upon the Agatha Christie tour, and yet I cannot confess to have ever done the same.

Setting off on tourist activities in the local area are not usually in the forefront of my mind. And yet, perhaps they should be.

Last week, I accompanied Herald Express reporter Tina Crowson on a tour of Torre Abbey, tackling the heights of scaffolding and the depths of its undercrofts to see how the developments and improvements were getting along.

Despite believing that I had sufficient passing knowledge of the abbey, it struck me upon entering that I had forgotten how brilliant the place was.

Within our brief tour we were informed by Simon Parsons, our guide for the afternoon, that directly above us was one of the best preserved examples of medieval painting in the UK.

We reflected upon a piece of graffiti, dated 1789, and saw the original colourful paving tiles of the cloisters.

The depth of intriguing history was something that I did not think existed in the local area.

I had visited the abbey numerous times, mainly for the exhibitions of art such as Gormley's Field and Hirst's Mother and Child Divided.

However, I had never taken my time simply walking around the peaceful grounds and indulging in the history encapsulated there.

I was astounded as to how the abbey succinctly showed the contrast between new and old in some areas, and yet in other places revealed centuries of tampering, adding and improving in the design style of the time, be it Tudor, Victorian or any other period one can think of.

What shocked me the most was that I would have happily travelled for hours to reach a site like this, and yet I had driven barely ten minutes down the road.

As I stood there, indulging in the silence of the chapel paradoxically situated in the noisy heart of Torquay, I cast a thought to one of my classmates, who plans to travel to Bath to aid his study of history.

Had he contemplated visiting the local area before venturing to a destination many more miles away?

Sometimes we need to act as a tourist, seeing our local area with bright new eyes, to appreciate the brilliance of our surroundings, and realise why visitors envy our living here.

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