Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Two Go Adventuring Again

After another heart-clogging fry-up, we headed east to Purbeck, destination Corfe Castle. This was the inspiration for Enid Blyton's Kirrin Castle, complete with jackdaws on the tower. In the appealing stone-and-slate village of Corfe Castle is the tiny Ginger Pop shop, which sells various period trinkets and Blyton books, as well as running children's Blyton-based activity tours. Didn't find anything to buy, but was pleased to recognise the lady behind the counter as the one I'd seen when the company was on the telly...

Corfe Castle is what you might call a 'proper' castle, complete with battlements and towers and moat and, you know, castley stuff. A favourite haunt of King John, it was finally captured and blown up in the Civil War, after the Lady of the castle held out in two sieges until betrayed from within the castle. Sadly the main keep was cordoned off, as some of the masonry had become unsafe (blame the Roundheads, presumably).

The weather was the hottest it's been, like the height of summer, and the castle had at least two school parties visiting - groups of small children kept scuttling past, earnestly discussing the merits of short vs longbows, or doing enthusiastic impressions in the garderobe...

After emerging from the castle, we took a trip on the Swanage steam railway which runs from Corfe Castle (actually the first stop is three minutes further up) down to Swanage (about 20 minutes away). Lovely to see the castle emerging from the surrounding hills on the way back, and then to alight amidst the steam and go for an ice cream in the sweltering heat, then pop into Marbler's teashop for a toasted tea cake and lemonade (or Dorset apple cake & ice cream and tea). Very Enid Blyton, I felt.

A brief stop then in Wareham, which appeared to be largely shut, but we acquired petrol and cash and did have a very pleasant half of Badger (what did they do with the other half, I want to know), in the Old Granary Pub by the river.

"Where is it we're going? Dumbledore?"
Bit of a geology field trip on the cards next, as we made our way through the army ranges ("Beware: Sudden Gunfire. Tracked vehicles: 20mph limit") to Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door (avoiding the half hour walk between by discovering that the car park ticket was valid at both sites). Spectacular scenery, where the cliffs have variously buckled or eroded at varying speeds to produce the circular cove and blowhole at Lulworth, and the sea arch at Durdle Door.

Walked down the steps to Man At Arms beach - the sea was calm as a millpond, and beautifully clear - but I wouldn't fancy swimming off this coast, as the shore shelves alarmingly steeply into the water.

Stopped off in Bridport on the way back to pick up fish and chips, which were very nice, but came with the most spectacularly slow service - the usual thing of lots of people behind the counter getting in each others' way and talking all the time but not actually getting on with serving the customers.

Huge thunder and lightening storm as we were going to bed.


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