Friday, 29 June 2007


It was no good, the persistent rattling of heavy rain made me tiptoe quietly downstairs for an early morning cup of tea before I made my way back to the South of France and the hectic holiday season which is in full swing.

Dorset is one of my favourite counties. The 'Jurassic Coast' as it is now called is a breathtaking piece of coast with picturesque seaside towns and marvellous coastal walks. Inland you can still discover country pubs that have not been blighted by the word 'gastro' reached by winding country lanes with rich green hedges on either side filled with wild flowers and ferns. On the way home one evening a startled baby deer bounded alongside the car and rabbits scuttled back to their burrows their fluffy white tails disappearing rapidly into the undergrowth.

There is a diversity of activities from the newly refurbished 1920's style Electric Palace Bridport to art festivals, food festivals, gardens open, and then there is of course the beach ...

Oh yes the beach, which was precisely where, and not unreasonably given that it is the end of June, I had hoped I might have at least spent one morning. Costume at the ready I was looking forward to my invigorating swim in the sea perhaps finishing off with a clotted cream ice cream. Fat chance. I've spent the entire week well wrapped up I can tell you, the unpredictable weather being a constant reminder as to why I gave up the love of my life, farming.

This week the storms have brought untold misery to thousands with dreadful flooding and tragic loss of life. It especially affects the farmers and the growers whose crops have been devastated. Soft fruit doesn't stand a chance against the cold and damp, taken with dollops of cream and sprinkled with sugar it sums up the British summer fare.

So as I head off back down South today to Le Chateau where temperatures are a pleasant 28 degrees by all accounts and turn my back on the miserable weather I would urge you to do just one thing for me. Buy as many punnets of English strawberries and raspberries and enjoy them while you can, because although I may have the sunshine I can't get either of these for love nor money !!

The picture taken last year is West Bay, Dorset.


Faith said...

Dorset is Hub3's favourite county. I'm sorry our weather's so awful for you. No prob about eating soft fruit for you - I have some raspberries on my breakfast as I type!

Suffolkmum said...

It's my favourite county too, after Northumberland and Suffolk of course! Will do my best with the soft fruit - but am very sulky because my own fruit is ruined.

Un Peu Loufoque said...

Oh dear shall I ship you some fresh fraise and framboise to the south they grow so well here in Brittany!
Never mind dear soon back to the sunshine!!

Bon Voyage!

FunkyMunky said...

Haven't been to Dorset for many years. Some of my childhood summers included a visit to Bournemouth as we quite often stayed with our relatives in Portsmouth. As I'm an only child, we always took one of my cousins with us for company when we went out sightseeing.

Could just eat some yummy strawberries! Think I'll buy some with this week's groceries.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Cait O'Connor said...

I love Dorset too, we had our camping 'honeymoon' there in 1976, now that WAS a hot summer. I love Dorset's little rolling hills, villages, beaches and pubs.
I blogged about strawberries today too but they don't taste the same these days, well the supermarket ones don't.
Lucky you off to France again.

Preseli Mags said...

It's a battle here to see who gets to the strawberries and raspberries first - me, the slugs or the birds. But I will get some and enjoy them in honour of you!

Blossomcottage said...

What a lovely picture, I have not been along the coast of Dorset although I don't live so many miles away, I do spend quite a lot of time inland, friends of mine live near Shafesbury and it is beautiful of course when it is not raining.

muddyboots said...

it's not just soft fruit that's suffering, wheat, potatoes, maize, just organizing loads of raspberries fr inclusion in ice cream, these are the very dark ones that have oodles of flavour but unsuitable for supermarkets. have a good trip home.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

As you know we shall be descending on Dorset for the first time in about 3 weeks so looking forward to it...Will be e mailing nearer the time..thanks
As for strawberries and raspberries..have got to make 2 huge Pavlovas tomorrow and am determined to find a PYO that has not been wiped out!

Anonymous said...

I haven't been to West Bay in many a year but remember it fondly.Englsh strawberries and clotted cream - now there's a thought!

Frances said...

Hello from New York, Sally.

Dorset is a part of England that I have never managed to visit. You write so well about what is wonderful and what is almost wonderful. Thanks for getting me more acquainted!

I always think that whenever I read anyone's local reports on this site, that I do learn so much about what it really is like to be there. Not the pretty version, or the blase version, but the very well observed version. I keep thinking that so much change is coming to every single part of the world, year by year, that we are holding on to memories of places special to us, even though these places are vanishing month by month.

I remember someone saying back in the early 1970's that she wanted to travel, again, to Egypt while she could see the bits that she had so much enjoyed. Now I can quite understand what she meant when I look around my own, much younger, city and see so many ghosts.

Which Dorset seasons do you prefer (and I mean without the effects of heavy rains like those that have been falling this month?)

Hold on to the beauty of the south of France as long as you can!


ChrisH said...

That's a super photo of West Bay, what a pity it wasn't nicer for your visit though.
Thanks for the cheery comments, Sally, I'm putting my shoulders back!

LittleBrownDog said...

West Bay is lovely - especially the riverside restaurant. Many happy memories of day-trips there.