Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Stroll around Swanage

Nearly all of my days in England had been gloomy but it hadn't worried me at all. I actually enjoyed the dark skies and blustering winds, and of course it also meant mum and I could explore tourist areas without swarms of visitors. We were rubbing shoulders with just the locals and it felt nice belonging to this crowd,
I had been growing steadily anxious because although we had had a delicious meal of fish and chips in a seaside pub, I was really wanting to enjoy the experience of eating them from a proper fish and chip shop where they'd be served in paper. So we drove down to Studland, taking the ferry for a short trip across the Studland Bay to Swanage, where we promptly parked the car and walked to the town center.
We walked alongside the beach where the wind was whipping up the waves. Few people were out today and we were glad to turn the corner and march straight into The Fish Plaice, where we would have our lunch.
A big thumbs up from Mum. We had just the normal size fish and chips, (the large was huge!), and a cup of tea. The meal was divine. I'd forgotten how wonderful chip shop chips are, they just cannot be replicated, and the fish was like a white steak, so thick and meaty and fresh. I was getting so full that I actually remembered to save a few morsels of fish to feed the seagulls with afterwards.
Adult and youngster gulls all clammered for my measly offering and within seconds it was gone.
There was an abandoned cafe on the beachfront with an excellent trompe l'oeil painted on the front. I would have loved to sneak round the back and see if I could get in the building but Mum wasn't even remotely interested, snorting her derision and saying the building was a disgrace and should be razed. So with a little sigh and a last backward glance we carried on walking.
At the top of the hill we looked down onto the bay and saw this wonderful old tower sat next to some modern houses. I walked down and climbed up onto a fence so I could take a photo without the fence being in the image, but was having some difficulty holding on to the fence and clicking the shutter at the same time. Some nearby workmen were building a tall wall or something and offered me a view from their scaffolding. That was much better.
I looked up the history of the tower and found it had a fascinating tale, click here.
Some views looking down from the coast path and the entrance to the pier.
We walked through the town trying to find the old station but took a wrong road. We were glad we did as we came across some very pretty and secluded areas in the middle of town. Tiny bars, a huge teddy bear and picture postcard stone houses with stone roofs and a small river running by their front doors. The window was in someone's garage looking down their garden path.
We eventually found the station but no steam trains were running to Corfe Castle today, only from March to October. It used to run a passenger and freight service since 1886 but the passenger service was withdrawn in 1972 by British Rail. It's now run by a heritage group who revived a 6 mile stretch of the line.
I loved this shop window. There are a few villages and a river in the area with the word, 'piddle'. There's even an award winning Piddle Brewery, who have some very classy sounding beers, website here.
Checking out the old fashioned saucy postcards, I can't believe these are still running, and this bakery window caught my eye with all those lovely pies and pasties on sale.
We eventually made our way back to the car and decided to run the short trip to Corfe Castle.
But it was nearly 4pm when we got there and dusk was approaching. And then as I walked through to the castle entrance I noticed there was a lot of scaffolding obstructing the view. I guess I wasn't supposed to explore it today but there will be another time for that so I didn't let it upset me. I walked back into the village and up the hill where I could grab a photo of the castle with the pub obscuring the scaffolding. And then we popped into The Sweet Shop. I bought a huge bag of Winter Mixture, rhubarb and custard, and sherbert pips. Yum!
And then racing to get home before dark we drove back to the ferry.
Mum holding a postcard of Studland where we were getting the ferry to. You can just see the ferry and Studland in the photo above as we waiting to board.
This was our last outing on my trip. We spent the last day or so being lazy, meeting more neighbors and saying goodbye to her friends. I certainly won't leave my next trip for another 5 years, it will likely be something I now do every couple of years or more if I can afford it. There were definitely a lot of perks doing our trips without the usual tourists around but I think my next visit home will be to see and smell my beloved bluebells.

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