The Overcliff Hotel 1959


Built to meet the needs of the Victorian well-heeled,

when gentlemen raised their hats to ladies in parasols,

spent lazy Somerset Maugham afternoons,

children kneeled making sandcastles among the dunes,

or took leisurely strolls along the quay

before the winter break in Le Touquet

Now, a rambling edifice, a rickety balcony,

flower borders overcome with weed

evoking the last remnants of gentility

where residents, in a whiff of lavender or tweed,

lend or borrow the latest Agatha Christie.

After 11 pm dimmed lights in the hall,

a grumpy night porter, glasses mended with glue,

his uniform askew, ready to stall

the search for a long-lost garage key.

Beyond the rich panelled walls, worn boards,

staff rooms, dusty pelmets, creaking beds,

faded pictures of Norwegian fjords,

warped sashes, a flakey freize,

bannisters like loose teeth along the treads,

a death rattle, heralding their demise.

The Overcliff seen better days

an hotel meant for another age.



Heather Grange 2004