A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Holiday time (part 2)

It seems like such a long time ago now that I was on my holiday so it's well over time that I shared some more of it.  Maybe it'll take us back to the days of sunshine rather than these horrible wet and cold days that are fast closing in.

After my few days in Stratford-upon-Avon, I went to Dorset for a week, staying in a little cottage on a dairy farm in a tiny place called Pilsdon in western Dorset.  So here are a few photos of the cottage and the farm:

That last photo doesn't look like much, but the calf is just minutes old and is being licked clean by its mother.  I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, having a wander around the farm yard.  Most of the cows are, of course, out in the fields, but as you see there are plenty in stalls in the farm's immediate surroundings.  All of these ones are very pregnant and being kept a close eye on to make sure that nothing goes wrong with the birth.

Now, you'll have to forgive a lot of my photos as I haven't edited them at all so on some there may be a slightly (or very) wonky horizon, or dust on the camera lens :o( Some would be better cropped etc, but I haven't got around to it.  I hope you enjoy them all the same.

Back to the point of the post.  As I said before, I was staying in Pilsdon, which is a tiny weeny place about eight miles north of Bridport.  Attached to Bridport, though also a little place in its own right, is the lovely West Bay, which you will have seen on telly if you saw the crime drama 'Broadchurch' (starring the delicious David Tennant).  I slightly fell in love with West Bay with its long piers with great views back to the cliffs, the quaint harbour, lengthy promenade, wonderful-looking sandy beach (I couldn't get on to the beach in my wheelchair, but I enjoyed the fact that it was there), it's small collection of independent shops and gorgeous little pottery.  So here are a few photos of West Bay that won't do it justice, but will give you a little flavour of the place:

I ventured along the coast to Lyme Regis, although I quickly discovered that it's not very wheelchair friendly as the pavements are narrow, most of the town is built on a hillside which is quite steep in places, and the majority of the shops have at least one step in to them.  I did manage a little wander around some of it, and very much liked what I saw, but I ended up spending most of my time there trundling along the seafront and daring to challenge myself with the cobbles on the cobb (the harbour wall).

(I had a couple more photos of Lyme Regis, but something appears to be wrong with them and they won't load).

Charmouth is along the coast towards Lyme Regis and is the place to go on a fossil hunt on the Jurassic Coast.  I went there one morning just as the tide was going out.  The car park at the beach is attached and in some places sort of turns in to the beach, though the beach is pebbly, as are many of the beaches down there.  I parked as close to the beach as possible and walked the very short way to the tide-line.  I didn't really expect to find a fossil as the best time to find them is after stormy weather and fractious seas, but quite amazingly, I'd only been there a few minutes when I looked down and saw a small ammonite staring back at me in one of the pebbles.  I don't actually have a photo of it, but I do have the fossil itself.  It's only about a centimetre across, but it's mine and I found it :o)  Charmouth itself is little more than a beach, a visitors centre, some houses, a library, and a long street with a few shops on it.  The main attraction is the beach with the small cafe, visitors centre, and tiny shop packed with fossils.  I liked it there though, and here are a few photos.

 (I want to clean up that last one on Photoshop, clearing away the dust that was on the lens)

The one immediately above is of a big fossil probably around 15 cms across, but I couldn't bring it home with me because it was in an enormous boulder that was part of the wave break next to the promenade.  Perhaps if I'd had a chisel and hammer it would've been possible to chip it out of the rock, but I didn't.

Further along the coast, and just over the county boarder in to Devon, is the lovely little town of Beer.  The fantastic thing I discovered about Beer is that they have long rubber mats laid over the pebble beach in all directions so I was allowed full access on to the beach in my wheelchair.  I had a little mooch about the rest of the town, but most of my time there was spent on the beach, taking in the sun and the atmosphere because it's very much a working beach with fisherman tending to their boats and their catches.

I have more photos to share with you of some of the other places I visited, but I think that's probably enough for now.  Besides which, I need my dinner :o)  I'll get back to you soon with another post.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Holiday time (part one)

It's about time that I got back to you with news of my holiday, given that I promised you a post about it two posts ago, and it's now almost a month since I got back.  It doesn't feel anything like a month, probably because I've looked back over the photos over and over again, and relived the holiday.  I had a wonderful time, and even though I went away on my own, I wasn't lonely in the least.  I've actually always enjoyed going on holiday on my own, I think because I can take my time, keep doing something that I'm really enjoying or stop doing something I'm not getting much out of without having to worry about whether or not it's what anyone else wants to do.  Most importantly this time was that I could pace myself without that concern of boring anyone else, and I spent a lot of time enjoying views or doing things that took little energy.

I took a lot of photos while I was away, so the best way to share my holiday with you is probably to share some of the photos (I won't post all 388).

The place that I was probably 'busiest' was Stratford-upon-Avon.  I was only there for three days, and there was a lot too see, it being where Shakespeare was born and grew up.

First up, a couple of photos of Stratford-upon-Avon itself:

And here's a photo of the inside of the RSC Theatre where I went to see their current production of All's Well that Ends Well.  It's kind of an odd production in terms of placing it in time as the clothing spans several centuries and the opening scene is absolutely up to date, but it works.  It was a fantastic production, brilliant performance, and a wonderful experience seeing the play in a 'theatre in the round' and the home of the RSC.

So, my first port of call in terms of Shakespearean buildings was Shakespeare's birthplace.  I couldn't get upstairs, though the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have done brilliantly with providing disabled access.  They have portable ramps in and out of the buildings whenever they're needed, and whenever it's not possible to use these ramps inside (which is actually most of the properties) they provide a photo album or video point with info and pictures of the upstairs rooms.  Anyway, here's Shakespeare's birthplace:

I then went to New Place and Nash's House (they're on the same site).  Actually, the house New Place doesn't actually exist any longer, but it was on the same plot - sort of in the garden of Nash's House.  This is where Shakespeare died, where his daughter first lived, and where his granddaughter then lived.

The big dip you can see in that last photo is where New Place was.  It burnt down.  I can't remember when, but I think it was a few hundred years ago.

From there I went to Holy Trinity Church where Shakespeare and all his family were interred.  I also include a photo here of the font in which it's thought he was baptised.

Next up was Hall's Croft - the married home of Shakespeare's eldest daughter, Susanna, to Dr John Hall.

The final Shakespearean property I went to (I didn't get to Mary Arden's Farm) was Anne Hathaway's Cottage.  Anne Hathaway, in case you don't know, is the woman who became Shakespeare's wife, and the big long seat by the fireplace that you'll see in one of the photos is called 'wooing seat'.  It's said to be the seat in which Anne and William sat beside each other over Will's regular visits to Anne's house, and in which Shakespeare 'wooed' his fiancĂ© and proposed to her.  On these visits he would also have had to please Anne's family, although Anne and William had to marry as Anne was already pregnant.  So anyway, here are lots of photos of the house and the beautiful expansive gardens:

Oh yeah, as you see, there are several modern sculptures in the gardens, but I liked them.  The gardens were a lovely place to relax, and wander around.  I didn't take any photos along the forest walk (trundle), partly because it was a relatively new feature and it didn't really feel finished and there wasn't much to take photos off.  The lavender in the bottom photo was part of a maze.  It's quite possibly the easiest maze in the world to find your way through as the lavender isn't even knee-height, but it was a pleasant feature that produced the most delicious smell, and a wonderful feeding place for lots of butterflies.  I sat and watched the butterflies for ages, and soaked up the wonderful lavender aroma that reminded me of my grandmother.

So that was my three days in Stratford-upon-Avon, and probably enough for now.  I'll be back before long with an instalment about my time in Dorset, and again it will involve lots of photos.