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Published: August 9th 2019
Thursday dawned bright and clear, and the plan for today was to have a relaxing morning before heading a few miles east along the coast to Burton Bradstock. The reason for this was that another old friend of the teenage Helen had moved there many years ago, and Helen wanted to see her if she was still living there. We had passed through the pretty village on our journey to Lyme, and saw that there was to be a church fete this afternoon. Helen's friend, Pat, had been very much involved in the church, so if she was still alive, there was a chance she might be there, or at least there might be others around who knew of her.
I decided after breakfast to explore parts of Lyme as yet unseen, and so set off up one of the steep hills, before turning left along a pretty lane with wonderful views across Lyme bay. After not very long I realised just how how the sun was, and wished I'd put my hat on! At that point I found myself back on the road into town, just a few yards from our guest house and opposite the public car park
where our car was. I then remembered that I had to buy another 24 hour parking ticket (only £2, very good value!), and as I had no money with me, I would have to go back to the guest house for some (and the car keys!), so I could at least get my hat. Having picked up some money, I then looked for the keys but there was no sign of them in the places I usually put them down. Nor were they in any of my pockets. Leaving Helen to search for them, I borrowed her set and trudged back up the hill to replace the ticket. Having done that, I then remembered where I had put the keys the night before, so it was back to the guest house to tell Helen as I didn't have my phone with me! Then for the third time, I sallied forth. Of course, all this to-ing and fro-ing made me loose track of time, which would get me into trouble later . . . .
I headed for Lyme Parish church, which from the outside is slightly unprepossessing, but internally is a gem. Parts of it date from Saxon times,
but the bulk is from the 15th Century. As level ground is at such a premium in Lyme, even the Nave floor is on a slope! I spent an informative half an hour looking around with the help of a printed guide leaflet and outside is the grave of Mary Anning, the famous local fossil hunter. Leaving the coolness of the church, I wandered part way along the headland cliff path and then back along the promenade, taking photos on the way. It was part way along that I got a text message at 11.30 asking where I was and why hadn't I met back at the guest house at 11am as arranged? Ooops.
Hot and bothered after a brisk and stiff climb through the steep ornamental gardens I was soon cooled by the somewhat chilly atmosphere back at the guest house!
Later than intended, we set off for Burton Bradstock and got as far as Bridport by just after mid-day. This seemed like a good place to stop and have lunch, so we repaired to a bakers/cafe. Then, with some time to spare before the 2pm opening time for the fete, we explored Bridport individually. Bridport is
a busting small town with many interesting buildings to look at and several inviting looking pubs, but as I was driving they remained strictly 'off limits' today.
By now the day was really warm as we set off again for Burton Bradstock, just a couple of miles away. This is a very pretty village, although not enhanced by having a busy road passing through its narrow winding main street. We parked up outside Pat's last known address and Helen rang the bell. There was no answer and none of the neighbours could recall Pat living there. Helen decided to go to the fete and ask there, so Anna and I drove a further mile or so to the National Trust beach at Burton. Here, high, sheer (and crumbling) red sandstone cliffs back up a glistening beach formed from banks of pebbles. We walked along, looking for fossils, but found only dead crabs, and some not dead but stranded by the ebbing tide. We managed to rescue one by borrowing a spade with which to fling it back into the sea. Having arrange to meet Helen at 3pm we headed back to the beach car park, and then found our
only fossil of the holiday! Unfortunately, it was embedded in a rock that must have weighed at least a ton, so we had to satisfy ourselves with a photograph.
Helen had had some success in her quest, she met several people who knew Pat and could bring her up to date with her life story. Unfortunately, she had moved into a nursing home near London, but Helen was satisfied that she had at least found, if not quite fitted, the last piece in this particular jigsaw.
Once back at the guesthouse we did some preliminary packing, as this was our last night before returning home. Later, we went back to The Cobb Arms and enjoyed a final tasty meal there, a pleasant end to our time in Lyme.
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