He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.

Deprivation Central

As someone who once lived in a seaside village, I quite like going to coastal towns when the tourists aren't around. The atmosphere is totally different - you can get an ice-cream, some fresh air and have a walk around by the sea. There's usually a pleasant air of tranquility - broken when the hordes return in the summer.

However, for the first time today I went to Ilfracombe and whilst the weather was pleasant, it felt more... well, miserable.

As we walked around the town, you couldn't help but notice the amount of shops that were empty - not just "closed for the winter" empty, but totally abandoned. In fact there were a couple of streets with more closed/empty stores than open. There's a demolition site where one large hotel once was. The town seriously needs some money. Additionally, there were quite a few homeless people and loads of holiday homes sitting empty - could the two not be united somehow?

Seaside towns have always had it hard. By the end of the summer, the party is over and everything goes quiet. This is to be expected as the employment market is seasonal, but this was a pretty miserable state of affairs. Do dwellers of seaside towns suffer more from seasonal affective disorder?

With things so bad, it made me wonder if I should return in the summer so I can get a cheerier view of the town. I might just do that, although I doubt it'll improve my opinion of the giant lampshades that are the landmark building.

As an aside, I have given the road to Ilfracombe the dubious title of "roadkill highway", due to the sheer hundreds of dead pheasants that littered the dual carriageway. It's amazing there's any birds left. If you drive that way, you'll know exactly what I mean.
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