Friday 28 April 2023


On our way to Sidmouth we stopped off at the inland town of Colyton to look around the church. It has a Saxon cross dating from the time of King Alfred and a cheery looking Sir John Pole reclining at ease on his coffin. He has no dog at his heels but a very obliging wife resting at his back! Wandering round the town we saw this impressive gateway, like something from 'Le Grand Meaulnes'.
Then it was back to the coast to wander around another of our favourite places. Sidmouth is a popular holiday spot but happily remains unspoilt.

Thursday 27 April 2023

Lyme Regis.

We have been out and about visiting a couple of our favourite places on the Dorset coast. The weather was rather grey and still but we were happy enough, better by far than the wind and squalls of rain that have marked much of this month. The Cob in Lyme Regis has attracted two famous writers, and the weather, in the form of a high wind, has featured in both their novels. Jane Austin visited Lyme Regis twice, once in 1803 and again a year later. She set the most dramatic part of her last novel,(and my favourite) 'Persuasion'in Lyme. There was too much wind to make the high part of the new Cobb pleasant for the ladies and they agreed to get down the steps to the lower. Of course Louisa jumps and Captain Wentworth fails to catch her! John Fowles lived in Lyme and set 'The French Leiutenant's Woman' in Victorian Lyme. The book was written in 1969 and filmed in 1980. Meryl Streep stayed at Hayle House during shooting and Jeremy Irons at Underhill Farm and both these places were used as locations in the film. The weather was still and sunny and they tried unsuccesfully to create the storm necessary for the scene where Meryl Streep gazes out to sea as she stands at the end of the Cobb with the wind lashing at her cloak. After several weeks of fine weather a storm appeared out of nowhere but it was too fierce to be safe for the actress and the art director put on her cloak and acted as stand-in. I recall visiting Lyme some time after the filming was finished and seeing the main street still painted in Victorian style!
The back streets of Lyme are as as fascinating as the front. There was spring cleaning taking place. We knocked on the door of our friends' house but ther were not at home.

Wednesday 19 April 2023


The Easter decorations have been put away for another year. I've got several nests that date from the time when we lived in a farmhouse whose garden had mature oak trees, a large cedar and other specimen trees and a stand of self-sown ash. The ash grew tall and spindly and we gradually thinned them out and stacked the wood, very conscious of the old saying that wood warms you three times, once in the cutting down, second in the chopping logs and finally in the burning. Two of the abandoned nests are, I think, belonging to wrens. They are beautifully constructed, round and neat, warm with moss, and, what's that - lined with strands of my hair! (The eggs are not related to the nests, just popped in when found abandoned, and blown.) One of the nests, the one with feathers, is an absolute mess, a flat piece of moss on the base and then the carelessly placed, but very soft and warm feathers. If you know which bird would own up to such a messy home then do let me know.

Friday 14 April 2023

Pace egging and other Easter pursuits.

On Easter Sunday we keep the Northern tradition of pace egging alive. Instead of decorating real eggs - boiled! - we roll our chocolate eggs downhill to see which one can reach the bottom unscathed. We normally stand in a row and throw the eggs down all at the same time, but the steep, wild part of our daughter's garden doesn't allow for that so we had the drama of taking turns, and tips, as chocolate hit tree stumps and caramels exploded everywhere. The smartie egg was the winner, absolutely shattered but kept together by the strength of the silver foil wrapper. In the afternoon we were invited to a beach hut for tea and cake, and fizz. The weather was dry but the wind was absolutely biting and the only way to escape it was to be inside the hut. Rather too many of us for that as everyone from both households were home. It was lovely to meet a family who have a long history with Bournemouth, a place so new to us. The father had been a gp, as had his father before him, working from their home just a walk away from the beach. All the family, apart from the mother, are very keen swimmers. I was so impressed to hear that the elder daughter does the annual round Brownsea Island swim.