Thursday 27 April 2023
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!