Friday, December 4, 2015

In Port In Portland

Using Jeff as my trip advisor, he told me to steer clear of Portland as there were some mighty strange types there.  So we set off in search of the other Portland, Portland Maine.
Maine seems to be famous for seafood and lobsters but as they also celebrate a week’s festival of vegetarian and vegan food we felt quite at home.

Portland has a very nice take on the huge cruise liners that come in.  When we got there the harbour front was absolutely deserted and then we remembered it was half seven in the morning.  There is a tiny tourist kiosk right on the pier manned by three ladies in smart uniforms handing out maps and sending people in different directions. We started out on our fourteen mile walk – yes it is possible to walk fourteen miles round the historic part of Portland.  Two miles of this was me browsing in the bookshop.

This was our first view of Portland from the sea.  I don’t think foggy quite covers it although the fog completely covers it.  Fog on land is quite scary. Indeed I based a whole novel on it and so did James Herbert but that was a slightly different type of fog.  Fog at sea is very eerie, it seems to negate all your senses apart from sound and all we could hear was the trickle of water underneath the boat and the clonk, clonk, clonk of the bells on top of the marker buoys … which I think is exactly how Jaws started. I defy anybody to be in a blind fog and not be scared of that noise.

The fog is clearing now…

And at last things begin to take shape

These three boats had lovely names … but I can’t remember what - Emerson, Lake and Palmer? Mary, Mungo and Midge?  Rag, Tag and Bobtail? John, Paul, George. Ringo was still out at sea

This was our first view of land proper I think there might be a big spooky house here

These two little landlubbers came out to see us and give us their seal of approval

I think this might be the art gallery

These are some typical Portland houses.  This was very early in the morning. There was an old man sitting on his step enjoying the sun, a slightly younger, old man went past on his bike and actually said the words “how’re you doing old timer?”  We had indeed walked into Cabot Cove.

I couldn’t help but photograph this house which could have been transported brick by brick from the west coast of Scotland.

These houses seem to be known locally as the Russian houses.  They sit in their own little enclave and are of very beautiful and individual design.

                                                     The graveyard which is the village green...

                                           a gate .....and fence...

right on the headland a thoughful memorial to a lost son.... a very young son lost in battle
A typical house, looking onto the graveyard...

                                                 All meridians back to Greenwich !

Another lovely house, this is going in a novel!

                                         More tourists!

As it was so early we walked right up to the green bit of the map at the top of the historic town where a local pointed out the massive oil refinery across the water and how many gallons it pumps either to or from Canada.  We decided to stay on the historic side of the river.

The top of historic Portland

                                                         sign of a civilised society.
                                      A very civilised society keeps children on a 7' leash

Chubby chops 

The historic mansion

A fabulous bookshop, really great. I was in here until I was dragged away....

Some sculpture

Was this real??? Nope!

                                                     Leaving Portland behind.

                                                        ????? but interesting? An old defence of some sort?

                                                             And a lighthouse
                                                               And a lighthouse

Was he making sure we were leaving????
We were shocked by the sight of this, being from a non firearms nation.

But Portland was swell, the people were lovely. Great coffee, great bookshop and nice cake. What more could you ask for....

Caro Ramsay 04 12 2015


  1. I don't know, I've been in a blind fog most of my life, and nothing scares me.

    But I'm not sure where you managed to take all these pictures. None of them look anything like the Portland I know. Granted, I try to stay out of it as much as possible, mostly drawn in by visiting mammals with furry white heads and bushy tails. Some of them even speak a few words of English!

  2. I agree with leash laws for children as a sign of civilisation.

  3. I resemble that remark.

    Congratulation, Caro, you've made Portland ME enticing to ME.

    As for the fenceless gate, who needs fencing when all the wildlife is stuffed and gun boat boys guard the buoys. Life is good in Potatolandia.

  4. Lovely essay, thank you. One of my best friends in college came from Freeport, Maine (home of L.L. Bean, for you U.S. people); she explained to me once that there are two kinds of people who live in that state: Maine-iacs and summer complaints. I've never visited Maine, myself, although I'd like to some day, what between fond memories of my friend, and Cabot Cove, and Dark Shadows (1960s/70s soap opera set in Maine, with vampires and werewolves and assorted other long leggity beasties). Your "big spooky mansion" in the fog is not entirely unlike the big spooky mansion in that show.

    By the way: that "An old defence of some sort?" building, as you probably know by now but in case you haven't looked it up yet, looks like Fort Gorges.

  5. I assume all Murder She Wrote fans know that Cabot Cove actually was in Mendocino, California. If you didn't, I'm sorry to have told you. Now, about Santa Claus....

  6. Thanks for the comments. Had a wee swatch at the history of Fort Gorges, fascinating stuff and a good place for a crime writer to have dark thoughts about.
    And Jeff, I SAW Jessica Fletcher in Portland - I knew it was her by the trail of corpses she left behind her. That and the shoulder pads.