We always drive down to Dorset in the evenings, setting off around 6pm and arriving 300 miles later in the dark of the night. The Dorset Dark always smells completely delicious to me, a nostalgic mix of fresh wet grass and salty night air. I really look forward to that first moment when I step out of the car, stretch my legs and take in a great big breath of night scent. Home. I still get that coming-home feeling when I smell that delicious Dorset night smell, even though it's been 24 years since I left to step out into the big wide world.
The first morning of a holiday away from home is magical don't you think? We wake early of course, no matter where we are sleeping, because we have little-people-shaped alarm clocks. Any time after 6am is a lay in for us, I kid you not. But I've grown to love being "up and at'em" in the early morning, it allows for the day to unfold in a leisurely fashion and a gradual gearing up for the delights ahead.
We see the sun rise on our first early morning in Dorset. It rises bright and red into a cloudless blue Springtime sky and promises to deliver a welcome dose of good weather. We know that we'll soon be heading down to the sea to enjoy our traditional first-breakfast-of-the-holiday by the harbour at West Bay. Sitting at the weathered wooden tables eating bacon rolls and drinking fresh frothy coffee, it's Sooooo Very Good. Warm morning sun on my face and the sound of seagulls in my ears, such a perfect start to the week for sure.
After breakfast we head round to the beach....
...I linger on the promenade and watch as my sweet family go about their beachy business. It's the first time Little B is able to actually walk on the beach as our last visit was eight months ago and he wasn't even crawling then I don't think. His seaside toddling is so precious to watch.
Ahhhhh so warm, I remember it was so warm that morning!
I just love love love the Dorset coastline. It holds a large part of my childhood and I love it dearly for that. I love that it is so familiar, that I can name each of those clifftops stretching out into the distance, that I've climbed over them all too. The above picture is of Lyme Regis, which I've written about before, such a cutesome place it really is.
We are here on a hot afternoon visiting with my good friend who lives here. We walk down from the town to the beach via the picturesque gardens, much as we did back in August. In fact it feels like August, the heat is incredible for an April day, much more like high summer than mid spring. The beach is crowded, but we find a quiet spot and settle down to let the Little People do their thing.
The afternoon ticks along, sand is scooped, built, piled. I take Little B for a tentative paddle in the shallow sun warmed waters, but he cries and attempts to levitate, not wishing his feet to touch the water At All. No Thankyou. But with some gentle encouragement and persistence he finally allows his feet to lower, and he is happy then, stamping his little feet in the watery sand with a big grin on his face.
The late afternoon turns to early evening. We drink chilled white wine and chatter, my friend and I, while the children play and the men folk do the decent thing and go forth to gather food for us all. Fish and chips, eaten with fingers, just perfect.
During the week we were in Dorset the weather remained remarkable for April. Day after day we awoke to cloudless blue skies and brilliant sunshine. But not only that, it was hot too, just glorious for all the beachy outings we had in mind. We visited the coast pretty much every day, sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for morning coffee with extended family (my brother, sister in law and two nephews were also holidaying), sometimes for picnic lunch. But my favourite time to beach was in the late afternoon, with something tasty planned for dinner.
The above beach is at Burton Bradstock and is one of our favourite places to go. It's a lovely stretch of unspoilt coastline, with the added bonus of a great cafe should you have need for it (my-my, I do adore the carrot cake at The Hive cafe, I certainly always have need for it)
We visited Burton beach on several occasions, but the most memorable time was one late afternoon when we set up camp and cooked our dinner on the barbecue. A mug of hot tea with chocolate easter eggs to finish off. Mmmmmmmmmm.
I think my most favourite beach of all is to be found at Eype (pronounced "Eeep"). I love it for it's unspoilt quality :: here at Eype beach there is nothing in the way of facilities. Not a thing. It's just you, the cliffs, the pebbles and the sea.
And it always seems to me to be at it's most appealing in the later part of the day. I've written about our visits here before, we seem to be building some terrific memories at this beach, they take root in my heart and I know I shall remember these times with huge affection.
On this particular day (23rd April, our last night of the holiday) we are here at Eype beach towards the close of day, round about 6pm. We are not alone, many folk have the same idea as us, but the beach is big enough for us to find a quiet little spot. We've already eaten but have drinks and snacks to hand, and the idea strikes us that maybe we could build a small camp fire. We find a place where someone before us has had the same idea, it's a ready-made fireplace. Perfect. We send the Little People off on a driftwood gathering expedition, they are incredibly excited at the prospect of building and lighting a Real Fire.
It gives me a huge rush of pleasure to watch my Little Peeps enjoy the delights of the beach, especially at this time of day when normally all would be winding down towards sleep. They have no intention of winding down when they can run and throw, climb and explore. I love their energy. Love their excitement. It makes me so happy to watch them.
And lets not forget Little B :: he is up way past his bedtime but seems more than happy with this arrangement. He's not able to walk very well on the big pebbly beach, so he sits with J and I and watches his big brother and sister as they leap about.
J takes charge of the fire (of course) and the driftwood lights up beautifully.
We sit around it, warm our hands and toes...
....drink tea and eat chocolate.
It's a perfectly scrumptious early evening.
We stay until the sun goes down, enjoying the last part of a very beautiful and memorable day.
Ahhhhhhhhhh, deep contented sigh :o).......amazing to revisit our holiday four weeks on, to remember how very very Good it was! Our days were so full of Good Things, it was wonderful.
Tomorrow I'll be leaving the coast and bringing you The Countryside, join me for lots of greenery and views won't you?
See you then