In fact, let's have ''a holiday''!
Well, we did, anyway......
We headed down to Bournemouth to visit Mum and Dad for the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Much fun was had!
We drove from Bournemouth to Gillingham in North Dorset on Saturday to my sister and brother-in-law's place. Nikki and Trevor were entertaining old friends Paul and Linda and their family, so we gate-crashed the party and took them all on a walk.
Mum and Dad had come along for the ride, but eschewed the walk on the grounds that they'd done it before and it jolly nearly did for them then..........
Yes, we were to make an assault on the North Face of Duncliffe Wood, which, quite naturally, lies atop Duncliffe Hill.
Duncliffe Hill is very steep indeed.
It is also a 'Woodlands Trust' wood.
Jackie and I had bought fifty trees there as a present for Mum and Dad to mark their Golden Wedding Anniversary.
We were keen to see 'our' trees.
We were a bit less keen half way up the hill.........
Surely there is scope here for a funiculare, a mountain railway, or even something along the lines of the water-powered gravity devices on Folkestone esplanade that feature in H.G.Wells's 'Kipps'......?
There might well be.
But, for the moment, you have to walk..........
(Mum and Dad's decision to let us go and explore the countryside while they had a good look at the back of their eyelids seemed ever more sensible with each, near-vertical-seeming, step we took nearer the summit.)
Anyway, we reached it eventually. (Puffing, blowing and wheezing notwithstanding....)
The views were fab.
The best view was of, and from, the seat at the top of the hill.....
L to R Nikki, Linda, Paul, Izzy
Trevor, Some Fat Bloke With Weird Socks, James
(Behind the camera, Jackie....)
What you see from the seat.
Same P.O.V. Different amounts of zoom....
The trig point
Through the gate..........
....and back down the hill.
I was knackered after that.......
Sunday saw Nik, Trev, Charley (neice) and Paul, Linda, James and Izzy join us at Mum and Dad's for Sunday lunch.
(Before lunch, I accompanied Dad to Sunday service at Holy Epiphany in Bournemouth.
I like going to church with Dad.
There is something immutable about it.
And despite the presence of one too many tambourine bashers , the fact that I was with Dad, and felt the steadying weight and presence of his many years of quiet, honest, and above all, humble worship, meant that none of the happy-clapper fraternity left with their guitars wrapped around their heads.
Nice one, Dad......... X.)
In case you were wondering, I am not an Evangelical.
Evangelicals make me Very Cross Indeed.
But I digress................
Luncheon was a pure delight. Mum excelled herself. We all ate loads then went for another, slightly less taxing, walk to aid digestion. Wonderful! I even managed to stay awake all afternoon! (My post-prandial snoozes and snoring are a family legend........)
Sadly, we left the camera at home: there was the most wonderful sky over the river behind the house, and the walk back up to it looked like a green cave in the golden sideways light of a summer's evening.
On Monday, Jackie and I drove over to Blandford Forum to visit with J.B.
He is Jackie's Tutor from her time at the posh school in the neighbourhood.
I'd met J.B. but once at a school reunion just before Jackie and I got married.
I was aware at the time that I was getting the once over, and properly....... Apparently, I passed muster......
Anyway, coffee was taken, antique clocks were inspected (this is another avenue of interest for me which could easily become yet another shed-filler.....) and we were duly sent on our way with a bottle of wine from one of J.B's favourite French vineyards. We were instructed to take tasting notes when sampling it: we have..... all I can say here, for sake of brevity, is 'Crikey, that was good!.....
From Blandford, we drove down toward Tyneham village. This is a very beautiful but terribly sad place.
Tyneham was taken over by the army in 1943 as it and the surrounding area were to be used as practice grounds for the D-Day landings. The residents who were evacuated were told they would be able to return when the war was over. However, when the Nazi threat was defeated, the Soviet threat grew ever more powerful. The government reneged on it's promise to the people of Tyneham: their lands remain part of an MOD firing range. Their houses have tumbled to ruins. Access is limited to a few weeks each summer. It is a haunting and haunted place, elegaic in it's beauty.
Cottages, Tyneham, Dorset.
Sign on a telegraph pole near the ruined village post office.
Most poignant for me, the well outside the grounds of the restored village church.
Detail of the inscription over the well.
And the modern 'Health and Safety' warning next to it........
So, at the last, have we poisoned even our Holy wells?
From Tyneham village we walked on to Worbarrow Bay. The pictures will tell the story of this better than I.
From Dorset, we travelled to the New Forest. We stayed for one blissful night at The Pig in Brockenhurst. It describes its self as a 'restaurant with rooms'.
What a restaurant!
Having had a massage treatment each in the 'Potting shed' spa, we dined in style. I had the Bath Chap as a main course. Now, this is basically half a pig's face, complete with teeth, but, thankfully, sans eyeball...... It is smothered in some of the finest crackling you will ever eat. The meat is the sweetest, most delicious pork you will find. It is also very, very rich. I could feel my cholesterol climbing up and through the 'Danger Do Not Exceed' level with each bite. But hell, you only live once..... I couldn't finish it, though, for all it was superbly prepared and cooked to a turn...
We left the camera in the room for the duration of our stay, which was a mistake. Jackie may have some pictures on her phone which I can add later.
Suffice to say, it was a wonderful stay: not something we can afford every day, but all the better appreciated for being a total treat and indulgence.
After a walk in the Forest the following morning, we drove on to Portsmouth to see The Mary Rose Exhibition.
Once gain, the camera was left behind, but wow! What a ship! What an amazing story! Go and see it!
And there I think I'll leave it for tonight.
More tales of hols soon!