The coffee is always first class, and my cappuccino on that sunny Monday morning last week was asbolutely wonderful. My tummy was full of poached egg and bacon and buttery granary toast too, the perfect start to the day.
It's pretty great to be sat in a café that is situated slap bang on the beach itself. The seagulls swoop and cry overhead and occasionally stop by for a nosey, just to really reassure you that yes, you are indeed right on the beach, sat on their patch in fact.
After a perfectly perfect breakfast experience, we can now get down to some serious pootling.
We have shuffled across the shingle beach, jumped down over the low wall and are now strolling around the east side of the harbour.
West Bay does accommodate a thriving tourist industry with plenty of holidaymakers descending in the summer season, but essentially it is still a working harbour. Various fishes are hauled in from the boats on a daily basis, but also crabs, lobster and scallops are the catch here. There is a fishmonger just around the corner which boasts a huge tank in it's window housing live lobsters. It is both fascinating and awful to see those (very large) sea creatures and know that they are destined for someone's plate very soon. The Little People were absolutely fascinated with the still-living lobsters and we had to go back to the shop window several times to see them and wonder at how people could possibly purchase them in order to sling them into boiling water.
Moving on from the lobster thing, lets take a wander further around the harbour...
...which is looking as jaunty and gorgeous as it does in my memory. I always take far too many photos of the boats when I'm here, over and over, year after year, it's just one of the things that Mum Does. This year for the first time I had Little Lady shadowing me with her own camera, taking her own set of Pootling holiday pictures. Although I refused to let her lean out over the harbour wall to get this sort of shot, that's foolish and only for weirdos like me who are fascinated with daisy flowers growing out of walls. How DO they do that?! So impossibly pretty!
OH LooK!!!!!!!! This is new!!!!! In all the years I've been bumbling around this little place there have never been flowery boats.......
,....and oh look, another one, oh so pretty!!!!!! I just loved these boats so much, everything about them made me happy!
We are round the harbour now and at the beginning of the promenade (gotta love that word), and there is another beautiful flower boat. Happy happy!
We always walk out along the pier when we visit West Bay as the views west along the coast are spectacular from here.
I love it in all weather's, but especially on a beautiful warm, clear-blue sunny day like this one.
I think we need some refreshment now, don't you? We'll walk back around the harbour then, and call at one of the dinky little kiosks to buy some ice cream.....
Oh mmmm, this is "cookies and cream" flavour (Little Man's choice), Little B (messy creature that he is) chooses messy chocolate and Little Lady settles for traditional vanilla. We sit on the sun warmed wall next to the green and wait for the whole lot to disappear, excepting Little B who ends up wearing quite a bit of his down the front of his t-shirt.
This was such a fabulous start to our holiday, I couldn't have wished for better. Happy times.
I have many favourite holiday bits, little rituals and traditions that we carry out year after year. One of my best favourite things is waking up in the early morning, opening the curtains and taking in the view of my childhood. Not only the view, but the scent of the air which is a hugely nostalgic thing for me. I don't know how to describe it, but it's so very different from the air of North Yorkshire. It's a mixture of sea and country, an infusion of salt and ozone and sea breeze and freshly cut grass, with a whiff of fragrant jasmine thrown in for good measure. To me, the air smells utterly delicious and I love to hang my head out of the window each morning when I first wake up and again at night before I climb into bead and inhale the fresh scent right down to my toes. Fill my whole body with that fresh smell.
Last week we ate every single meal outside. Every. Single. One. I would start my day with a mug of fresh coffee and some sort of hot, buttered toasted something or another, wearing my pyjamas, sat on the weathered wooden decking right outside the back door. I was often up before the Little People, and the peace and quiet of those early mornings were blissful.
Lunch each day was a picnic, usually eaten somewhere scenic and preferably with a sea view. Dinner was sometimes eaten in the garden and sometimes on the beach. Al fresco eating is high up on my list of feel-good things to do in the summertime.
We often spent the first part of the morning simply pootling in and out of the house and garden, easing gently into each day. We don't tend to make schedules or plans when we holiday in Dorset (which I know my parents find hard to deal with, sorry 'bout that folks). There is a certain luxury in waking up with a whole day stretching ahead and not having any real idea how you are going to fill the hours. Excepting that you know it will be fun and leisurely and sunny, and will involve good food prepared/cooked and eaten simply, and happy times spent with family gazing at beautiful scenery. That's it. That's the extent of the planning. Snail racing on this morning, as you can see. Aren't Dorset snails lovely? We don't find those stripy suckers here in Yorkshire, they are residents of southern chalky lands I think.
We also made this amazing discovery one morning in the garden, a newly hatched moth drying it's still-rumpled wings in the warmth of the early morning sun. Wow, isn't it fantastic looking?! By the powers of the internet, we think this beautiful specimen is a Jersey Tiger Moth. The Little People weren't all that impressed, but I really was.
One thing we notice when we visit Dorset just twice a year is how it opens our eyes to the rapid growth and development of the Little People. We notice how much taller they are each time we visit, how much more energy they have, how their games change, and how the older ones sweetly accommodate their rapidly growing Little Brother. Little B is such a life force, honestly, that kid is quite the character. He isn't always easy to be with, he is demanding, and although he is only four he pretty much acts like he is ten. And yet he is only still four. Still falling over and grazing his knees, still crying when he loses his ball, still cross as hell when he can't get his own way. But this year for the first time we were able to open the front door and let all three Little Peeps run out and play without adult supervision. It was liberating for J and I. All we had to do was listen for any tell tale yelling/crying (which with Little B is hard to miss, always at full volume). They played ball, they played hide and seek, they scootered. Sometimes they just fooled about, playing the most ridiculous sounding character games (Little B often barking like a dog, Little Man often wailing like a baby etc etc). But it was wonderful to have all three of our offspring playing together last week which doesn't happen often at home any more (Little Man has outgrown his siblings of late, choosing his own company and seeking out his school friends).
Of course, our twice-a-year trips to Dorset mean more to me than just us taking a family holiday. It allows me to spend time with my parents, and for them to spend time with us. It is super-precious time, because it is so very short. Two weeks out of fifty two isn't a lot really, is it? But we make the most of it, and it's always good to reconnect with family, to clink glasses and celebrate the turning of another good year.
ps will you come Visiting with me tomorrow? See you then...