:: DAY 5 ::
Weather report ~ cloudless, deep blue sky (yes!!!) Fantastically hot (oh yes!!) 94°F
You know me, whether I'm home or away I'm not truly content unless I have a vessel of fresh flowers on the table. I absolutely love these flowers, aren't they pretty? I've always known them as Red Valerian, although their proper name is Centranthus ruber (thanks Wikipedia). They often grow wild, springing up in verges and hedgerows, and they totally remind me of summer seaside holidays. They grow in abundance in Craster where we go to stay in August, and the hedgerows are full of them around Bridport where we walk.
I plucked this little bunch from the hedge on the walk back from town and put them in a small glass, they gave me so much pleasure in the few days that I gazed at them. Mostly I had them indoors on the dining table, but on this day when we spent much of it in the garden, they came outside with me.
My Dad's garden where we stay when we visit Bridport is small and green. There are patio doors leading out onto a small wooden deck, a dinky square of lawn with table and chairs. And there is greenery, oh so much greenery! The boundaries of the garden, as you can see, are absolutely wild and enclose the garden in a lush, living wall of foliage. It's mainly a mixture of 12ft high bamboo and a hugely rampant, sprawling jasmine, and the result is incredibly soothing. In the warm summer evenings I would go outside and sit on the deck in the dark just breathing in the intoxicating air :: a heady mix of damp grass, sea breezes and the most beautiful fragrant jasmine. That scent is the absolute essence of summer to me, I love it so much and wish I could somehow bottle it up and keep it forever. I would sniff it every single day and be transported in an instant to these warm, lazy summer days.
On day 5 after a leisurely garden breakfast, we made a radical decision and decided to go precisely Nowhere. NO-WhEre. It was agreed we would stay put, chill out, laze the day away in the lush garden and take it easy. This decision gave way to the oddest feeling, it was surprisingly hard to let go of the urge to Go Out, Explore, Make-the-most-of-the-sun, Do Things. I found it quite tricky to give in to laziness and I struggled with this nagging feeling that we were wasting such a precious day of perfect hot sunshine and opportunity. But once I realised that everyone else was absolutely fine with it and were thoroughly enjoying the down-time, I finally relaxed and allowed myself to enjoy being still, slow and in the moment.
It was a really, really, really great way to spend the day. It was soooo relaxing! The day before had been really hot and busy, so it was bliss to spread out a blanket in the shade of the garden and feel cool and chilled out. I read my way through two delicious issues of Country Living that I hadn't had time to look at in recent weeks/months. J and Little Man were inside for much of the time working industriously on building and painting an Airfix model aeroplane. And the other two.....well they mostly did watery things.
Amazing how a few buckets of water can go such a long way in the entertainment department.
Little B was very happy spending a whole morning slinging water about, he was in his element.
The day took on a slow, sweet rhythm as we eased gently towards the late afternoon. A gentle breeze began to blow and for the first time since we had arrived in Dorset, a few light wispy clouds began to appear in the blue. After an early dinner (pasta with meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, thrown together with ease by J), we were ready to head off to the beach to meet with family.
Burton beach again, we do seem to love the ease of this simple beach. You roll up, park the car almost on the beach itself, stroll a mere few metres to the shingle and pick your spot. There is seriously good refreshment here (how I love the Hive Beach Café), an ice cream parlour and WC facilities, yet the beach itself remains unspoilt and free of additives.
It was still very warm on this evening, but the breeze provided a welcome freshness after so many days of stillness and high heat.
The beach at Burton is a mix of small shingle pebbles, changing to course sand near the waters edge. The shingle is surprisingly comfy to sit on and surprisingly agonising to walk on in bare feet. It's also most excellent for digging about in and burying your siblings in. Once again, I breathed an inner sigh of relief at how well the Little People entertained themselves. Phew. Sit back, relax, let them do their own thing. Lovely.
Scattered around on the shingle are a number of wonderful big flat stones which are perfect for resting a barbecue on, holding down blanket corners in a breeze or building castles, mini stonehenges and towers. The above beauty was all my own work and after this photograph it lasted oooooh about 2.3 seconds before it was brutally kicked to the ground. The meanies.
I hope you can tell from my words and pictures how restorative and relaxing this day was. It didn't contain great excitements, but it did contain much happiness.
:: DAY 6 ::
Weather report ~ hazy grey/blue sky, a light breeze, still pretty hot.
Day 6 and time for our third Abbotsbury installment :: The Swannery. We had never been here before and truthfully I'm not sure we would have bothered if it hadn't been for the fact that it was part of our combined ticket thingy. The Little People weren't very enthusiastic about it, they couldn't see what the great big deal was about viewing swans. I suppose we are spoilt in a way as we see swans almost every day on the canal here in Attic land. However, the outing started out with a rather riveting tractor ride, and I say that most sincerely...it was ace! We got to ride in that super-cute trailer with it's jaunty awning, the vintage tractor chugging us gently down the track from the car park to the swannery itself.
There were some very picturesque pathways to meander down at the swannery. It was all chalky, dusty track and swishing green foliage and due to the heat, it once again transported me out of England and away to the Mediterranean. I recalled hot dusty pathways leading down to the sea with the scent of pine resin and herbs. It was very pleasant walking indeed.
We soon arrived at the water's edge and got our first glimpse of the bird life. Lots of birds. Loads of 'em. A mixture of swans and geese with a few others thrown in.
We continued to meander along the pathways, around the water, past this lovely swishing reed bed. Swans. Geese. More swans. Greenery. Murky water. Dare I say it? Dare I speak my mind about this award winning Tourist Attraction?? I'm afraid we found it a tad uninteresting.
Yes there were a heap load of birds. And yes, there was a certain tranquility to be found in strolling around the water. But really, it wasn't quite for us.
At 12 o'clock each day it is declared Swan lunch time, and there is a mass feeding. It is said that there are up to 600 swans that come in to feed each day, and en masse they did look spectacular.
All those long, curvy necks! All those striking beaks!
The Little People did get to help with the feeding and enjoyed throwing grain out into the water for the swans. But once that was over, well, we were left a bit deflated. We wandered back to the tractor stop and enjoyed the ride back up to track, then a short stint in the mediocre children's playground.
Anyways....don't want to sound down about it cos it was a very pleasant morning, but after two hours there I was more than ready to wave goodbye and head to more familiar territory....
Ahhhhh charming West Bay, as bright, breezy and cheerful as ever. This holiday we didn't come to West Bay much, it was actually very, very crowded on the few occasions when we popped down so we didn't end up staying for long. On this day though, our last day, we wanted to have lunch here, and it's a very good lunch destination.
We went for good ol' fashioned fish and chips, purchased from one of the little cabins by the harbour and carried round to be eaten with relish on the seafront.
I think this handsome fella fancied his chances with our chips, he was very vocal indeed. Our lunch was really scrumptious, and it was a lovely way to end our holidays. We said our goodbyes to the sea, and I tried hard not to let the sadness creep in.
Ahhhhh, such a wonderful summer holiday made pretty incredible by the weather, we were soooo lucky with that. Another layer of family memories to cherish, gosh aren't holidays precious?? Many thanks for sharing with me, I've loved having your company as I've spun out my tales.
♥ thank you ♥