My Woolacombe, My Mortehoe – Ellen Mooney
Hello everyone this is my story of wonderful North Devon, in particular, Woolacombe and Mortehoe. My mother was from Combe Martin and was one of two girls born into a small cottage along with five brothers. She met my father during World War 2 and when the war ended they made their home in Nottingham. However, North Devon had an abundance of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins just waiting for me. I used to relish my summer holidays from school back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s because that was when I stayed with my Aunt. It was a wonderful place to grow up in. As a treat my cousin and I used to be taken to Woolacombe to play on the vast sandy beach and paddle in the sea and eat ice cream, proper Devon ice cream made with clotted cream, my favourite being a 99. I longed to live there, but alas it was not to be, and in those days you just didn’t relocate at the ‘drop of a hat’.
Those childhood days are now long gone but my children and grandchildren have all shared the beauty of Woolacombe and Mortehoe over the years. Even my second marriage was celebrated in the lovely Watersmeet Hotel that stands proud on the headland overlooking Combesgate beach, with Lundy Island seeming to rise from nowhere on the horizon and majestic Morte Point in the distance. Last year I had a stroke, but I’m happy to say I’ve made a good recovery, and consider myself truly blessed. After I was given the all clear from my consultant to travel, my husband brought me home to Mortehoe. At first I was very anxious about the long journey from Nottingham but I knew as soon as I breathed in that sea air and looked over to Morte Point, I’d be fine. Part of my rehabilitation was painting. It had been 15 years since I last picked up a paint brush, but I dusted off my watercolour paints and began in earnest to paint once again. I work from photographs and I’m inspired by the rugged coast of Woolacombe and Mortehoe.