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Published: August 5th 2019
Just like those old-fashioned things called postcards, these will continue to arrive several days after the holiday has ended!
After the long spell of dry, hot weather, Tuesday dawned in Lyme Regis, like most of the country, grey and overcast, with some light rain falling. After having an extended nap, Helen and Anna planned to spend the day ambling around Lyme, looking at the shops and drinking coffee in some of the many attractive eating and drinking establishments. On the other hand, I planned to drive a little way down the coast to Beer to visit Pecorama, the home of one of the major British model railway manufacturers. They have an extensive visitor centre with dozens of model railway layouts on display, a large miniature railway and a fully stocked shop, so I made sure I took my wallet with me!
After getting slightly lost - because I chose to ignore Serena the SatNav when I doubted that the lane she was directing me up was in the right direction (it was!!), but it meant that I did an unplanned circular tour of Seaton AND saw a magnificently appointed telegraph pole on the way - I got to Pecorama
shortly after opening time and the weather was fine. The next two hours were spent looking in detail at the models on display, having a ride on the train, filling a basket in the shop, chatting to the volunteer modelling staff there and getting back to the car seconds before the heavens opened! This was quite exciting because Pecorama, like most of Beer, is built on a very steep hill, and the car park and access road soon became a torrent of water obeying the law of gravity.
I had expected to stay longer there, but having seen everything to my satisfaction I decided to re-visit Seaton and search for some lunch. Entering the town I found a car park with, GROAN, another ticket machine, but this one, no doubt exhausted from its constant warring with hapless motorists, was broken, so I got to park for free HOORAY! First port of call was to try and find a helium balloon seller with which to surprise Anna on the morrow. I was directed to a flower shop who could indeed supply one with '18' emblazoned on it, so having purchased one I left the shop to take it back to
the car and was met outside the shop door by some grandparents with their two young grand-daughters. One pointed at me and asked why I had a helium balloon floating above my head. I explained that it was my birthday and I was indeed 18, but I could tell she wasn't very convinced. After explaining the real reason, the grandfather said to his girls that if they tickled me they might see the balloon float away. The grandmother said that wasn't helpful!
The balloon safely stashed in the car my hunt for lunch resumed. As the guest house we were staying in had provided a filling breakfast I wasn't looking for much and after a circuit of the town centre settled for a meat and veg pasty from a bakery, and went to the seafront to eat it. It was quite gusty there, with only a few people about, like me, dodging the squally showers. Eating my pasty soon attracted the attention of the Seaton gulls, and one in particular took up station on the sea wall just behind me. Every time I turned round to glare at him he looked contrite and moved away a few paces. Within
seconds of turning away he was back only feet from my head. The rain started again so I put my umbrella up, holding it tightly jammed down on my head to prevent it blowing inside out and to give me maximum protection. I realised that this also ensured the safe passage of my pasty from my hand to my tummy! Thus replenished I went off in search of some liquid refreshment.
The Malt Shovel pub seemed to offer what I was looking for, and its offer of Cask Ales tempted me inside. There were three pumps on the bar, but sadly the local 'Otter Ale' was unavailable. The two remaining beers were hardly local, one being 'Caledonia' (guess where that comes from!) and Theakstons 'Shot in the dark', which, according to the blurb on the pump label was 'a very refreshing, black Shwarbeier style lagered ale', so that's what I chose. This was a MISTAKE. It had all the insipidity of lager, but none of the refreshing chill. But at least I got to sit down in the dry for a bit.
My other reason for visiting Seaton was to ride on the Electric Tramway, a narrow gauge
line running on part of the trackbed of the former Seaton Junction to Seaton railway, closed by Dr Beeching in 1965. This turned out to be a very professionally run outfit, with many vintage and newly built trams, both single and double deckers, and with a journey of around 2.5 miles to Colyton. The ticket allows unlimited rides for one day so I took a seat on the top deck of an open topped tram under the overall roof of the Seaton terminus. It was fine at this point. A couple of minutes before departure I could see the rain beginning to fall heavily outside, and by this time the tram was full, with no prospect of going downstairs. I resigned myself to getting very wet and wished I'd brought my waterproof coat with me. To anyone watching it must have looked vaguely ridiculous to see someone hunched under an umbrella on the top of a tram, peering out from under the brim to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery in the Axe valley through which we we travelling. But at least I stayed (mostly) dry. Predictably, the return journey, in a closed single decker, was made in brilliant
and hot sunshine!!
After a couple more journeys it was time to return to Lyme, and I again annoyed Serena the SatNav by making a non-approved detour to photograph the previously seen telegraph pole.
The evening was spent catching up with each others adventures and enjoying a superb meal in one Lyme's many hostelries.
Tot: 2.265s; Tpl: 0.047s; cc: 5; qc: 44; dbt: 0.0344s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
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