Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Monday, 5 June 2006

From Dorset, with love

We had planned to reach Cornwall, but we did not drive beyond Dorset, and it turned out to be a great alternative. We are not morning people, you see, and so managed to be on the road not early than 10am. The traffic was pretty bad, but I was happy to be driven slowly. To kill time, my sport on the road is nosing around into other people's cars. You do see all sorts of travellers on a bank holiday weekend; all the stereotypes are there on hand to entertain who, like me, always sits on the passenger seat.
We got to Swanage at around lunch time, but as a priority we decided to look for an accommodation, since the weather had discouraged us from setting up our tent. We found a hotel with a vacancy at a reasonable price, but decided to decline the offer to find something less hotel and more home. We drove away from the sea and through the countryside to the lovely Corfe Castle Village which houses a half destroyed medieval castle erected on a hill; many stone cottages with straw roofs dated back to the seventeenth century; an old station suspended in time where a steam train still comes and goes all day long. All around sheep and cows made it an ideal bucolic spot. We found shelter at an old couple’s house who converted their cottage into a B&B, with typical features, clean and very comfortable. The first day of our visit we went up to the castle and behaved naughtily in jumping the barriers to venture ourselves in what was described as a dangerous part of the castle. We could just not accept to have paid 10 quid without seeing the best part of it. We then went on to the local pub where the Beer Festival was on and tasted organic cider and had a pub dinner (goat cheese salad for me and game of casserole including rabbit and pheasant for Lofty ). After an early dinner we went home for a two-hour nap, which was the most welcome and we woke up just on time for a gig held at the local pub: a duo (140 years old together) playing guitar and sax!
Corfe Castle
Corfe Castle Village
On Sunday we had a more active day including the visit of another castle and the animal farm, followed by a slice of ginger cake for lunch and a long trekking across the cliffs of Durdle Door (love this name which is for me so hard to pronounce!). Three hours later we drove back to the village for a stroll before going back to the B&B for a shower and before catching the little train to Swanage for the evening. We decided to avoid any touristy restaurant and had instead fish & chips takeaway (skinless, boneless and shapeless fish for me—brilliant!) which we enjoyed on a kerb overlooking the sea. We then hanged around one of those amusement arcades populating the coast and got trapped by one of those grabbing machines attempting of picking Gromit up, but it was (because they made it so—we believe) practically impossible! Stubbornly, we kept persevering. Half an hour and 10 pounds later, we came out with nothing.

Tony, this is the name of our host, is a retired baker, a sculptor and adamant of extreme sports: when he was younger he used to pilot a plane, ride a motorbike and have a yacht. All the photos were displayed in their lounge/breakfast room. Nowadays he (still) rides a scooter. Their cottage, where they have been living for 40 years, was filled with decorative objects, each carrying their own (hi)story. His wood sculptures scattered all over the lounge represented animals or natural elements and were amazingly carved to the least detail. We had a nice chat with this lovely family. The wife was particularly sweet!

Durdle Door
Lulworth Castle
Monday was our last day. We caught the steam train again, this time heading to the opposite direction (5 minutes away). Then said goodbye to everybody and set ourselves on the road with the plan of visiting Brown Island, which is renowned for its inhabitants: red squirrels. Because of a series of unfortunate events (for example, lack of parking space), we skipped this destination and resolved to return home. At 5pm we were back, exhausted, regenerated and sad that that lovely parenthesis was over. I went for a nap which became the great sleep and woke up at 9pm to watch Lost Boys on TV on demand, a typical American 80s black comedy, with a great soundtrack—according to Lofty. It was a mediocre story of vampires and mysteries, but it did entertain me for two hours and reminded me how I used to like those films when I was in my early teens.
Corfe Castle Village Station
Our purchases: Lofty is getting very much into handcraft and always wants to buy local art. In Morocco last year, for example, we bought this beautiful plate featuring diabolic sheeps and two matching calices. In Dorset we purchased two small mugs (see picture below) from a local artist. They are brilliant to have espresso in the morning in bed without spilling drops all over the duvet! Then I bought a surprise gift to Lofty (and myself): a cow purse for Lofty and a sheep purse for me (they are visible on our necks in the 9th photo from the top). I paid them £1 each. :o ) They were a success: every single person we met commented on how sweet they looked on us! I also bought a bracelet for 2 quid made of river pearls and malachite to complete my green jade & pearl jewellery set.

No comments: