Monday, May 08, 2006

"As in Maid-in Taiwan?"

Raining in the morning, so got up late and did a big fry-up. A local cat (we shall call him Stumpy) came to visit us, grey tabby with a white bib, big ears, golden eyes and missing half its tail. Very friendly and ran in as soon as I opened the door, rolled around our feet for a bit before wandering out again.

Finally headed out around midday for Dorchester, and by the time we arrived the sun had come out. Spent a couple of hours in the Dorset County Museum, which is centred on a purpose built Victorian hall. Collections of archaeology, wildlife (you can't beat stuffed animals in a local museum, love em. No, really.), local civic history, some local mosaics, literary (including a recreation of Thomas Hardy's study and bits relating to John Cowper Powys). A proper museum, with copper-plate handwritten yellowing signs and everything. Fantastic.

Wandered up the main shopping street afterwards, buying essentials like washing up liquid and a bath mat and proper sized bowls, and loo roll (did I mention we only got one? And I don't think that was complete). Went into Waitrose, on the grounds that I'd never been in one before, and acquired some very nice Danish pastries.

Next stop was nearby Maiden Castle, the largest Iron age hillfort in the country. With Neolithic origins, it was occupied into the Roman period with a later temple being built up there after occupation had moved down to what would become Dorchester. It covered an area bigger than 50 football pitches, with massive ramparts with complicated staggered earthworks at the east and west entrances.

The museum earlier had a lot of material from when Sir Mortimer Wheeler excavated here in the 30's. Walked all the way round the ramparts, the weather was the clearest it's been for days and we could see for miles. At its height, the hill fort controlled an area larger than modern Dorset. Lost my handkerchief to a gust of wind, very breezy up there, and with fencing to stop the sheep grazing the top falling all the way down there was no way short of a long walk and a steep climb to get it back!

Back to the cottage through the narrow local lanes for tea and biscuits (one thing about a wedding reception, you end up with a large amount of confectionery to work through). The place still smells odd to come back to, so I'm trying a combination of fresh air and Nag Champa incense - assuming I don't set the smoke alarm off of course...Stumpy came casually wandering through the open door for another visit. Big Waitrose burgers and Abbotsbury relish for dinner.


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