EDitorial ± 30-Oct-2006

Endorse It

You know my problem? I keep it all in. You know my problem. I keep it all i-in, i-in.

Back from another half-term week in sunny but mostly rainy Dorset, it having been a full seven weeks since our last family holiday. Those little ones do get awf'ly tired at school, you know?

Charming cottage outside Bridport, aka Fearnley-Whittingstall-ville. No Channel 5, no surprise there, though crammed with quality reading material. Learned stacks of Norman history from (the late) Jasper Ridley's History Of England, and can still remember that William II, aka Rufus, a son of the conqueror, was killed by friendly fire in the New Forest. They say that his body was simply left there -- his younger brother Henry raced off to Winchester to grab the royal treasury -- then dumped into a cart by the local charcoal burner. When you're regal, you need someone reliant.

Chanced across a handy paperback entitled Family Walks In Dorset: heck, we're one of those and that's where we are. Dry day so directed our feet to the sunny side of The Fleet for a simple three mile stroll. Everything la-la, passing the odd "proper" walkers with their "proper" boots and sticks, feeling like a family unit. Directions said to expect a wooden bridge -- voila -- and NOT to cross it but to head inland, then you'll see the old church (whence you started) in some trees. Did as instructed, tramping up a long sloped field: wot no place of worship. Fairly warm by this time and not even a bottle of water on our persons. Doubled back, one child who shall remain nameless having an Elluva moan. Lo and behold, 800m further on there's a second woodbridge. How we laughed. Not.

Day or so earlier was v. overcast and found us Dorchester bound. Took the Abbotsbury road in search of "the tallest folly in West Dorset", the Hardy Monument. That'll be Thomas Hardy, of course. Not the Python novelist, dur, but Kiss Me Hardy. Up climbed the car to one of the highest local points, me preparing to admire the splendid views. Nearer and nearer, still couldn't see the darn thing. Fact was we could see very little and found ourselves in low level fog, barely able to pick out the 72-foot high tower from 72 feet away. On a clear day you can see forever, ha.

Quicky mentions:

  • Olivers coffee house, Sherborne: love those communal long tables, the cute lamplit alcoves, and the quality coffee & cake
  • Poundbury garden centre restaurant: looked great, lousy service
  • beach cafe, Lyme Regis: looked lousy, great service

Also a big thumbs-up for the King Tut exhibition at Dorchester -- replicas to be seen to be believed -- and the related Egyptian obelisk at Kingston Lacy. And the iron age fort at Maiden Castle. And the floodlit tropical gardens at Abbotsbury: expensive but super atmospheric.

(That's enough recommendations: Ed)