It was a very dreary and drab day that Mum and I drove to Lyme Regis. The wind was harsh but on the positive side we hoped we'd be able to get a parking space easily.
After getting warmed up with a huge mug of tea and a homemade biscuit we walked to the harbour and round towards The Cobb. It stood tall and strong above us, an unyielding force shielding the harbour from the fierce sea and winds. As well as being used in The French Lieutenant's Woman, Jane Austen also wrote of it in her novel, Persuasion. Dating from the 13th century, it has sheltered the town and helped it prosper.
This is a link to part of the movie with the scene filmed on The Cobb. The weather was pretty similar the day we were there. I left Mum down by the entrance to the aquarium where she immediately engaged in conversation with a local fisherman. I climbed up some steep stone steps to the top of The Cobb and was nearly blown off my feet. And as I peered through the viewfinder on my camera I experienced a lot of balance issues as the gales buffeted me about. I braced myself, feet wide apart and focused on the wall and waves. After a few photos I just stood and savored the experience for a while, watching the white froth fly over the heads of people as they staggered along the top of the wall. It seemed everyone wanted to stand right at the end where Meryl Streep had famously posed. It was fun watching the waves crash against the stone and then hurl themselves over the wall and I relished the salty taste on my lips. I climbed down to the immediate stillness below to find Mum still chatting away with her fisherman, so I carried on walking along the quay.
Adorable, and here is the video.
Here are some spectacular photos of that storm.
We walked back to the car, stopping to purchase a bag of freshly cooked and piping hot chips to eat in the car, then started driving towards West Bay, part of the Jurassic Beach. This part of England's coastline from Dorset to Devon has cliffs with strata that can be read like a book, holding fossils from millions of years ago. This coastline was designated as England’s first natural World Heritage Site in 2001.
On the way Mum suddenly remembered a sweet little coastal town called Sea Town so we turned off onto a very narrow country lane that headed to the beach. We were trundling along slowly and turned a corner to find 3 cars heading towards us. I looked behind and saw one behind me but because we were the minority, we had to reverse up. With lots of smiles and gestures we conveyed this to the driver facing me and started reversing back the way we'd come. Eventually we found a turning where we could both move over to let the 3 cars pass. Lots more waves and smiles followed, because of course we British are awfully poilite, and we set off towards the sea once more. This time we got to the beach but the road ended with very large white letters painted on the road, saying, NO TURNING'. A car in front of me was trying to turn so he could head back towards me, and he was being observed by a man standing with folded arms and wearing a very bemused expression. As we approached, we made our turn without looking at him, as did the car behind me. Pulling away, Mum and I started laughing uproariously, catching the eye of the driver behind us, who in turn also started laughing, and we just beetled out of there. I pulled over further down the road and left Mum in the car while I ran down to the beach.
We carried on towards West Bay, Charmouth, and soon arrived. Once again I left Mum in the warm shelter of the car while I trudged through shingle up a hill and down the other side onto the beach. It was quite a workout. I would have loved to spend more time here, hunting for fossils but it was freezing cold and the wind was merciless. A few folks were also braving the elements, some even sitting around a small bonfire.
Back at the car Mum was patiently looking out for me so I dumped my treasure in the boot and we walked around the small town finding a little cafe that was still open. Another pot of tea and a cake later we were back on the road heading home. But driving down A31 I spotted a fabulous gate looming up into the grey sky. With the drab sky and misty air it looked very imposing and I had to stop.
The full story of the estate is here, it's an interesting read.
Finally i was done with photographing for the day and we made the last stretch home without any further stops. That teapot in the kitchen was calling our names again!