They say the devil makes work for idle hands – and the hands of Torre near Torquay are very very idle – except when distributing drugs or fighting. Whilst Torre is not the end of the line on the railway, it is the end of the line for many of it’s inhabitants.
Torre’s population is surprisingly diverse with people drifting in from Chavtowns nationwide. Do they come to breath the sea air, go fishing or take picnics on nearby Dartmoor? Perhaps they’re looking for a fresh start?
No, they come because the seaside is as far as they can get from whatever disaster they’ve left behind – whilst still being able to collect incapacity benefit – as residents of Plymouth, Dover or Hastings will testify. Paradoxically, most are ‘incapable’ of even brushing their teeth – but who’s choice is that?
When it’s not raining the rows of hotels with their exotic plants look quite attractive – but don’t be fooled! – this is just a facade to keep the council happy. A clue is the dusty ‘no vacancies’ sign glued to the window in mid-winter.
Step inside and you enter a dingy, musty dungeon peppered with the sound of sobbing, moaning and ‘dry heaving’ drifting down the stairwell – as alcholics live out the rest of their days in apparent opprobrium. One or two die each month just falling down the stairs or out of their windows. The 1970s handmade wallpaper tells of happier times before the zombies arrived.
Torre’s pubs are more lively but not in a way you would want. Take the Torre Abbey – featured on Crimewatch March 31st 2011. It makes the Queen Vic seem positively tranquil. Stay there for more than half an hour and you’ll be talking to the police – not necessarily about anything you’ve done – but whether you ‘saw’ anything.
Do you like that sinking feeling when a stranger walks up to you and says ‘I don’t like your face!” holding a snooker cue the wrong way round? Then come here. If you like a fight, you’ll get tired just ‘stepping outside’. Incidentally the cue weilding chav is now their bouncer.
Of course no Chavtown is complete without a drugs problem and torre is so awash with narcotics that dealers operate a ‘first past the post’ system to get to you. I had someone knocking on my toilet door 5 minutes after a general enquiry.
Sadly though, drugs appear not to be for partying here. The local way is to go crashing about in a family restaurant in filthy clothes at lunchtime, then spend 20 minutes remembering what a pint is – just as the police arrive.
It might be ‘grim t’north’ but it’s worse at Britain’s dangling ‘extremities’. The next day, I never felt such relief to be back in a London traffic jam.