Fireplace … and a mantelpiece worth looking at

I was DJing a 50th wedding anniversary in Minehead, Somerset in March this year and found myself in retro heaven. Not only were most of the guests in their 70s or beyond, but the whole place had a very distinct feel of being in the past. The town itself is a throwback, being one of those quintessentially English seaside resorts: poky yet charming, ageing yet timeless, violent yet serene. Given the number of police out and about on a Saturday night, I’m guessing about the last one. Given that most of the hen and stag parties we saw at lunchtime were already well on the way, I think it’s a pretty safe bet.

As for the hotel in which the celebration was taking place ?
Well, think Fawlty Towers and you’re most of the way there. It had the feel of a family-run B&B, despite the corporate logo on the exterior, with staff bustling about like Manuel on amphetamines and a quaint interior, which seemed to have been designed by shoving lots of buildings together and hoping for the best.

The party itself was wonderful: lovely people, good food and drink and lots of boogying, all to tunes I’d not played in a long time, or indeed ever until this evening: Percy Faith – Theme From A Summer Place


As the night wound down, those of us still lingering were ushered into a lounge overlooking the grounds, allowing the staff to clear up the “ballroom”.
Our new surroundings were kitsch itself, with odd ornaments and books all over the various different tables, shelves, display cases and cupboards that made up the mish-mash of furniture inside. There was a circular cream sofa in the bay of the main window itself, and while most of the hardcore ravers sat there to catch their breath or wait for their taxi home, I took the opportunity to poke about a bit …

Hilda Ogden would’ve dreamt of a fireplace like that. I can see her now, adjusting the flying ducks above the mantel, dusting down the family photos and checking everything was spick and span before Stan came home fer ‘is supper … little did she know, he’d been in the bookies all day.

She would probably have liked the statues displayed directly above, too:

 

… though I’ve got a sneaking suspicion she wouldn’t have approved of the fact they both look like a pair of ladies dancing with each other. Why are they all wearing matching dresses ?

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