Published: June 18th 2012June 18th 2012
Venturing East along the Jurassic Coast we travelled on the X53 bus from Bridport making our destination Weymouth although we found out that we could stay on all the way to Poole. Heading West we could have decided to visit Lyme Regis or even Exeter but Weymouth it was.
Sat on the top of the bus, I mused. Happiness is a compilation of small pleasures, little delights and tiny surprises. Often the larger things in life can overshadow the nuances of everyday life. I definitely worship the God of Small Things! (Thank you Arundhati Roy).
Hugging the coastline the bus squeezes its way down small roads, dodging parked cars and oncoming traffic for all the world like Harry Potter's night bus. I swear I was thinner at the end of the journey after all that breathing in.
The clifftop golf course at West Bay caught Graeme's eye and the thoughts of slicing and shanking made him quake at the idea of a round. Next we saw bright yellow rapeseed fields scattered amongst the green patchwork. You really get a new perspective on well-traversed countryside from the top of a double-decker.
Farms and villages appear out of the green as you breast a hill and the electricity lines stretch like giant glistening spider's threads connecting the villages like beads on a silver necklace.
Swooping down from Swyre the 14th century St. Catherine's Chapel at Abbotsbury is outlined high on a hill against the morning sun. St Catherine known as the patron saint of spinsters helped virgins and others presumably to find husbands. Set high on a hilltop overlooking Abbotsbury Abbey, this sturdily buttressed and barrel-vaulted 14th-century chapel was built by the monks as a place of pilgrimage and retreat
says the English Heritage site. The Fleet lies beside, a ribbon of water, home to the only managed colony of nesting mute swans in the world. Approximately 600 of these creatures have been managed since the eleventh century by the Abbotsbury monks.
Many moons ago, I took my daughters to see the cygnets hatch and ooh and ah over the pair of gay swans who unfailingly make a nest together each year without issue.
I watch as Chesil Beach stretches out as far as the eye can see, dropped down below us.
The bus wiggles and winds its way through Portesham and then into the outskirts of Weymouth finally dropping us off at the King's Statue. Although we couldn't really see it, wrapped as it was in canvas over scaffolding. Part of the preparations for the Olympics. Spruced and tidied, painted and cleaned the town is definitely getting ready for Olympic fever. We wandered down the main shopping street in search of a light lunch. A few restaurants who looked as though they had missed the email about gentrifying their menu spilled smells of stale deep frying onto the peeling tables and chairs.
Our choice, Antonio's Cafe, was the best of a bad bunch but they were friendly and touted freshly made food. Fish pie seemed a good choice as we were in a seatown but having been heated one too many times to sizzling crispnessthe nuked potato and cheese needed a chisel was really so hard as to be inedible and the burn on the roof of my mouth took a few days to heal. Would I like it heated? I shall think twice next time.
Then we arrived at the harbour. The wonderful crisp
blue sky reflected in the water, the bright terraced houses skirted the walls as we made our way down Custom House Quay and then ferried across the old harbour by a ferryman as ancent as them thar 'Darset ' hills but much stronger than either of us as he rowed back and forth all day. We walked up the hill on Nothe Parade (which was actually South, ha, ha!) towards the fort surprising a cheeky squirrel who had found an almond in the grass.
The Nothe afforded views towards the new pontoons built for the sailing races off Portland. Did Olympic fever grab us as we read the information boards? Not me, I must say, water not being my element, but Graeme has visions of us returning to see some of the races. We shall see!
We dropped back down into the old harbour . Passing a colourful house I stopped in my tracks. I think I might have even squeezed a tear, images of pushing my version of this 'dumb doggy' as a babe in Scotland swam into vision or maybe it was just remembered photos, but here it was, left by another
little child in the porch.
The spanking new paintjob on the Victorian clock tower shone in the sun and the photogenic red bus passed in front of the Royal Hotel. Enquiring about a room we were told that it is only booked by tour groups now, mostly Japanese in fact and there were no drop-in rates available. Ah, those were the days; but the splendour of this old lady has been rather modernised if the plain reception area is anything to go by.
We ran across the cooling sands as the bus pulled in with Graeme marvelling again at my running technique. I didn't come last in races at school for nothing, you know!
There are more photos below