05 October 2011

Feeling like a pair of old fossils

This is where I am writing... From the last window on the right at the Brace of Pheasants. We are watching telly, with the heater on. It's about 10pm & we are just back from a Big Day Out (sans music - other than BBC2).

The pub here needs a new thatched roof but I am doubtful there is any spare cash. It's a lovely pub with great food but there is no-one around! There is not even a village.... The manor house here is owned by a famous musician (that we've never heard of) who uses it as a weekender and who puts on concerts in the ancient abandoned church which forms part of his estate (http://www.musicatplush.net/) but otherwise, I think they rely on reputation & their listing in the "Good Pub Guide".

We visited Lyme Regis today and more specifically, Charmouth Beach where Spud had ASSURED me I would find "hundreds" of fossils. Well.... he was recalling his childhood visits of 30 years ago and since then, many, many fossil hunters have visited so that now, despite 1.5 hours strolling the pebbly shore, the only thing we found was this (below) when we broke open a bit of mud. Okay, so it is 160,000,000 years old (Jurassic) but.... I wish I could have found a way to bring it home! It was very soft and crumbly and would definitely not make it through Customs. I DID collect some lovely rocks but Spud managed to convince me to drop all but one to bring home. And I think I found some fossilised dinosaur femur. I am positive I did!

After getting swamped by a rogue wave, we set off to find a ploughman's lunch and succeeded beautifully, all washed down with a 1/2 pint of Somerset cider.

We then took a walk around Lyme Regis to get a taste of English seaside life. For a Tuesday, it was very crowded & I can only imagine what a bunfight it must be on a summer weekend! There was zero surf but the gulls were huge - and the beach was all pebbly. A few nutjobs were swimming despite us both in woolly jumpers. The weather has cooled off nicely now and in fact, northern Scotland (ie Orkney) is apparently experiencing gale force winds. Down here we quite often see people in tee-shirts or tank tops while we are wearing our wind jackets & jumpers.

It was really quite pretty in Lyme Regis with all the accoutrements you expect of a Brit beach - buckets & spades, Cornish pasties, fudge, huge ice-cream cones.... and lots of walking sticks. Lots. Not sure what THAT is about.

On the way to Axminster, we stopped in at Forde Abbey, a 900 year-old Cisterian monastery with a beautiful garden. Not as fab as yesterday's garden but still pretty impressive. Again, it is privately owned (why would anyone want to own one of these massive homes with all their maintenance?) and run as a business.

We had the most scrumptious (& reasonably priced) dinner tonight at the River Cottage Canteen at Axminster. We shared goat & fish & lentils & damson plum crumble & then had a hellishly scary 40km drive home in the fog and rain with no street lights. Yikes! Tomorrow is our last full day in the UK & we are off to Bath to see a few Jane Austen-type attractions. Can't believe our holiday is just about over but we are both looking forward to getting home. We've truly overdosed on history. I am downright blasé now about old stuff. Oh, funny story - this morning when we went for a walk alng the narrow, windy lane ways of Plush, a young guy came ripping past on his quad bike, giving us a big smile & wave. He was wearing a tweed flat cap, a tweed vest, tweed trousers with wellies and socks. I've never seen a farmer dressed in is way back home. As it turns out, he was hunting pheasant & it is tradition in these parts for those who hunt to dress like gentlemen! Too funny! I guess the stubbies, thongs & blue singlets of 'roo shooters is another type of dress code....

Location:Plush, Dorset

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