Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dorset Coast - Day 7

The weather was even more beautiful today than yesterday.  It was the perfect day to spend time at the coast.  We got an early start, stopped in Crewkerne to buy some new shoes for Anna (beautiful, expensive German shoes to provide support for her ballet arches - she left her sneakers outside overnight and it rained - I think she did it on purpose!) and some bread for lunch (to go with all the magnificent British cheese!) and then drove south to Durdle Door, an arch worn by the sea through the rock.  There are many superlatives I could use to describe the coast, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

The walk down was not for the faint of heart, but it was warm on the pebble beach, which was protected from the wind by the chalk cliffs.  Anna sketched, I rested and we all walked along the water - it was cold, but still not as cold as the ocean at Hampton Beach, NH in the summer!

We drove to Lyme Regis for dinner.  Driving through the back roads of the countryside is a pleasure.  "It is just so beautiful."  (I put that in quotes because Anna and Michael have been teasing me about saying that particular phrase constantly.)  But it is my favorite part of out trip to be able to see beautiful little villages and parish churches that are off the beaten path.

Along the way to Lyme Regis, we came upon this ancient church in Whitcombe, no longer in use.  I had a nice conversation with Ian, the caretaker, who was cutting the grass, and we found we had many things in common.  We both have a 13-year old daughter who is home-educated, we are both very skeptical of genetically modified foods and animal feeds and consider it important to live in an area that produces good food, and we both keep chickens and had similar bad experiences with roosters (or, as Ian called them, cockerels).  We also talked about the differences in the agricultural landscapes of England and New England.  (In case you are wondering, there is more agricultural land, and the grazing lands and farm fields are vast and undulating in the south of England, whereas in Western Massachusetts, there is much more forest land (85% of the landscape), the fields are much smaller, and at higher elevations the land becomes rocky glacial till unsuitable for farming, although fine for sheep as Anna’s Little Farm can attest.)  It was a pleasure speaking with Ian and seeing that we are all the same.

We arrived at Lyme Regis fairly late and had dinner at a local pub - fish and chips for me, baked whole dab for Michael, and a vegetarian mushroom, spinach, cranberry and brie Wellington for Anna.  They were all excellent.

Such a very pretty seaside town, isn't it?  And just an hour's drive from Bagnell Cottage.

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