Perhaps, in another life, one of these places would be my spiritual home.
By now, it won't surprise you that rain was forecast, so we wrote off sightseeing and headed out for a highly recommended lunch at the Hive Beach Cafe: quality food, served in a tent. I had Lyme Bay lemon sole with garlic & anchovy butter, new potatoes & salad. Main courses were in the region of £20 or more, and worth it, because the fish was fresh and cooked to perfection. But, obviously, at that price, café is in some ways a misnomer.
Jimmy commented that there was no shortage of money; many of our fellow diners were obviously retired, and, judging by the red trousers prevalent among the men, the quilted body-warmers of the women, and the dogs, of a certain background. There were signs about dogs only welcome when on leads; unfortunately on the table next to us the red trousered/quilted bodywarmer dogowners felt that justified their dog crawling under our table and actually touching me. Shudder. Obviously, one can't blame the business owners, and they probably get more business from attracting the dog-obsessed than they lose form deterring the dog-phobic. It's just a bit weird!
We strolled along the cliffs over-looking the beach, but the weather became colder and windier. I followed a whim and as ace-navigator, I directed my driver along winding narrow country roads. I wanted to find some picturesque village; in my head was a barely-formed plan to wander around taking atmospheric photos of its utter tweeness.
I'm an urban girl and don't understand the village system. I've never been able to understand, when watching Midsomer Murders, how there can be so many villages around one market town. Bridport opened my eyes, and, to be honest, I wouldn't be entirely surprised if Midsomer was set there. Except that there's no sea near Midsomer.
Looking at the map, I now have no idea how we got there, but, seemingly close to the middle of nowhere, was a sign advertising afternoon teas and a secret walled garden, open to the public. The sun had come out, and I could not resist. We drove down a steep road that barely resembled a track, and found ourselves somewhere that barely constituted a village, at the bottom of a valley seemingly cut off from the rest of the world. The middle of nowhere! And I loved it immediately.
This sign welcomed us to the garden, explaining that it was run as a not-for-profit by volunteer gardeners. The sun came out and for a while we basked in its rays, sipping tea out of china and eating fresh cake, and then we set off for a walk around the garden.
We were given a leaflet which not only showed the layout of the garden but also encouraged us to walk through the village, along the river and past the church, to re-enter the garden at the top via the vineyard.
I took many photos, although I find that photos rarely do justice to a garden or to plants.The beauty of plants lie partly in their 3-Dimensions. A garden is about scent, the air, a sense of space, peace and tranquility, none of which are captured by the camera. Rapid changes between bright sunshine and light drizzle only added to the mystique. The history on the village website concentrates, as these places tend to, on the manorial quasi-aristocratic heritage rather than the normal people, which would be more interesting to me.
But here's a selction of photos from the garden and the village. Very little further narrative required.
As ever, more photos of this and other days in the Dorset photo album