:: DAY 3 ::
Weather report ~ blustery cold winds, sunshine and short April showers.
Much more promising Springtime weather arrived on Tuesday morning, and we were so ready for it. The most glorious blue skies and bright sunshine had us heading straight down to the sea, this time a little further along the coast at Burton Bradstock.
There was a strong, blustery wind which made for an impressive Big Sea. I really love it when it's like this, the sound of crashing waves is one of my all time favourite sounds on earth (along with childrens laughter, and the sound of a skylark calling). The air tasted of salt, it was all so refreshing and delicious.
We had an idea that we wanted to lay a picnic blanket down on the shingle and lounge about in the sun a bit. But despite the sun, the wind made it very chilly, not really very comfy lounging about temperatures. So out came our trusty old windbreak, and all five of us snuggled down together....
....to loaf about and eat chocolate. What a marvellous thing to do at 9.30am on a Tuesday morning, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.
The Little People don't really do lengthy loafing or lounging, especially at the coast. They sat and ate chocolate for about 47.5 seconds, then were up and off again, climbing and scrambling up and down these beautifully sculptural sandy banks. Little B however does not like windy conditions and was more than happy to spend his time snuggling behind the windbreak consuming chocolate.
After the chocolately rest, Little Lady and I took a walk together along the beach in search of treasure, which was disappointingly in short supply. I did find one lovely curly-wurly whelk shell, but sadly it still contained approximately one third of it's occupier and was therefore rather stinky. Ah well. It was still a lovely stroll, in which Little Lady described to me her perfect home that she is currently saving up for (I kid you not, she saves every single penny she gets in her own account, so that she can one day buy her own dream cottage. Thatched, and by the sea of course, she is definitely from my gene pool)
By the time we'd finished walking and talking dreamy real estate, we had come back to the boys and the cafe was open, hoorah! Cappuccino/juice at the Hive is always rather high on my list of Dorset must-do's. It did not disappoint, delish in every way.
After all the fun of the beach, we waved goodbye and headed inland to the gorgeous little pocket of countryside where my Mum lives. The sun was still shining, throwing gorgeous shadows through the little curly-latched windows. It always feels so still and timeless and soporific at my Mum's cottage (although the noise of the Little People at play does rather shatter the peace somewhat), and on arriving I always, always get an overwhelming urge to lay down and sleep. I find that I yawn a lot. I lounge idly on the sofa while my Mum provides me with cups of hot tea (in bone china mugs) and feeds me yummy food. It's all rather lovely actually.
Providing yummy food is my Mum's speciality, and she set out a truly scrumptious spread for lunch. It was devoured with gusto by us lot, the visiting hungry-folk. She made five different types of sandwiches on fresh granary bread. There were sweet little cherry tomatoes and bowls of hand cut crisps. Plates of spicy cured meats and homemade pickles. And there were Moores Easter Biscuits. Of course. No Easter would be complete without these, we all love them.
Every year my lovely Mum always creates a very special Easter Basket for the Little People which she started doing when Little Man was a small tot. Even now at 9 years old, Little Man asked me on the way over whether I thought Grandma would've done her Easter Basket, it's become a truly sweet tradition. The LP always very politely ask permission before taking anything out, and this year even Little B learnt to say a heart melting "peeeeeeeease" before running off with his chocolate of choice.
The weather threw down a few short, sharp April showers during the afternoon, but nothing that really stopped play. The soporific feeling continued, even the river flows slowly here, winding gently past the cottage on it's way down to the sea. Grandpa B gave the Little People a slice of bread each, for them to pull off little bits and feed to the resident trout. These fish love granary bread it seems, they rose to the surface and gobbled it up, much to the huge delight of the LP.
Isn't this pansy flower just soooo beautiful? Such vibrant, velvety beauty, I felt like I wanted to kiss it! I refrained, and photographed it instead. Mwah, sweet pansy-face, you are way too gorgeous.
Hmmm....trying to think now where we're at. Yes, that's it. Still on day 3, but much later on now, after dinner, 7pm or thereabouts. The early evening light makes it impossible to retire indoors, so we head instead up to the heights of Egardon Hill.
We parked the car at the roadside and walked out along the ancient ridges, such beauty in the light and landscape at this time of day.
The fields are wearing their gold and green Easter outfit with the crops of rapeseed just beginning to flower.
I love it up here, always have done ever since I was a small child and came up here to picnic with my grandparents. It's so unspoilt and so full of natural beauty, often with the most incredible play of light and shadows across the hillsides. Incidentally, I just googled Egardon Hill (it's an ancient iron age fort with oodles of history attached), and found a stunning aerial photograph of it, do go and take a peek)
Isn't this the sweetest looking road? Any road with grass growing down the middle of it tweaks at my heart strings, it just begs you to drive down it.
Ahhhh....the tail end of a most gorgeous, happy day. We all fell into bed early and slept deeply.
:: DAY 4 ::
Weather report ~ Bright and sunny start, clouding over in the late afternoon.
J made the decision for Day 4, he declared it to be the day we make our pilgrimage to St C's. Do you remember me talking about our visit to St Catherines Chapel last year? Ahhh, sooo funny for me to read that now, to layer last years experience with this years!!!! We had an almost identical visit this year, excepting that Little B walked the Whole Way Up All By Himself. He huffed and puffed a bit, and it was slow going, but he did remarkably well for a 2yr old.
There were sheep in the field this year in place of cows and Little B adored them. He was a bit baffled that he couldn't get close enough to cuddle them, and he was rather worryingly fascinated by their poo, but it was all good fun.
We did our usual thing up here and laid out our picnic blanket, leaning our backs against the ancient sunwarmed chapel walls. We ate Easter eggs and admired the view. Well that's to say that J and I did the admiring and the viewing. The Little People did their usual thing and hared around. Boy, they do soo love to run, run, run up here! Round and round, in and out, it exhausted me trying to keep tabs on them, trying to shhhh them inside the chapel. In the end I gave up, gave up trying to shhhh them, gave up trying to get them to be respectful, and allowed them to just run riot. It actually felt rather brilliant to let go of the parenting for a bit, just allow Freedom to happen. I did feel slightly sorry for the other visitors that kept arriving though. Older folk with guide books and big expensive cameras, spouting historical facts to each other. It was not entirely peaceful up there with my brood.
Ahhh the view, the view.......stunning as ever, absolutely breathtakingly stunning.
The sea was the most incredible shade of turquoise blue, I just couldn't take my eyes off it.
I've never taken any pictures inside the chapel before, but this time I did take a few. There is nothing inside, just a sandy floor and a couple of little nooks where people leave a few coins and some rather heart-squeezing little handwritten notes to St Catherine (along the lines of "please will you keep my family safe and please find me Good Husband to love").......ahh see, good ol' Wikipedia!! I just discovered that St Catherine is the patron saint of Spinsters!!!! Hence the wishes for husbands. Makes sense now, thank you Wikipedia for being so informative and marvelous.
Did I mention how beautiful the view is from up here? Isn't it just?
Some time later, when the Little People had tired of all that Disturbing Of The Peace, we walked down from the chapel and made a visit to the local Recreation Ground. A beautifully designed play area, with super wooden entertainment for children of all ages. Can highly recommend it if you are in the area and wish your offspring to burn off energy in a safe, friendly environment.
Not much more to say here really, excepting that the Little People had a really great time. J and I did more sitting and viewing, with a flask of hot tea and more Easter eggs. Some occasional assisting to Little B, but nothing too taxing.
We ended the afternoon with a journey home via another High Place, with more stunning views and Scenery Appreciation. Little B snoozed, J and the Little People explored and ate ice cream and played ball, and I sat and did some high up, scenic hooking.
It was all rather blissful. A day of fresh air, views and al fresco eating. Gentle exercise, playtime and family time. Relaxed parenting, happy children. Just how a holiday should be.
ps please do come back tomorrow for the final installment, I'm taking you shopping tomorrow! See you then x