Monday, 23 November 2015

On the beach

This week there has once again been reports of palm oil being washed up on the beaches of Dorset and Hampshire. It is so frustrating that the ships that discard this oil at sea can't be identified and prosecuted. Dogs have eaten the lumps of oil (which looks like lard) causing them to become very ill. Birds have previously been discovered coated with oil and many have sadly died. Although the sightings of oil were in the east of the County, we have been more vigilant while walking on the beach.

In the winter months the  majority of boats apart from the working fishing boats are taken out of the water and moored on the harbour side. The wooden boats are always my favourites, and the one below I have been admiring all summer. It is good to see it at closer quarters. My father-in-law who was carpenter, worked on building wooden boats in Weymouth . When the company moved over to creating fibreglass ones, he hated working with the new material and left.

We are lucky in Dorset that the wooden boat-building craft is still alive, thanks to the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis. They train students over a 38 week period and the end of the course is celebrated by launching the boats they have created.

There is no river boat hire during the winter either!

Fans of Broadchurch will recognise this beach hut from the first series - it has been announced this week that the hut will be knocked down and a similar one rebuilt further inland. It will be sad to see it go, but it is so frighteningly close to the edge of the cliff.

We had friends around for a meal this weekend and one of my easy signature dishes is pavlova. I usually make it using raspberries but this is the first time we tried it with pears and chocolate. It made a nice change and was more appropriate for this time of year. What are your easy signature dishes?

Wishing you a good week!
Sarah x

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Living by the sea

Would one of your dreams be to live by the sea?  I still pause on our doorstep and take in the distant sea views as I leave the house, or every time I hear the waves crashing on the shore  I appreciate how lucky I am! It was very interesting this week, therefore to be reminded that living by the sea was not such a popular choice in days gone by....

There was the fear of stormy seas, ship wrecks, invaders and pirates and fearful stories about the sea. Even within 10 miles of here the coast has in the distant past been invaded by Greeks and Vikings. Only those people making a living from the sea lived close to the sea shore.

This all changed in the 18th century when paintings showing the beauty of the coast were produced by artists such as J W Turner.  For many it was the first time that they had seen glimpses of the sea. Doctors started praising the health benefits of drinking sea water and sea bathing. Suddenly living and visiting the sea became fashionable. Many resorts including Weymouth began to appear along the coast and with the introduction of the railways in the 19th century and more leisure time people  had the opportunity to visit the sea. Nowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles (113km) from the sea.

 After the first and second World Wars the land along the coast began to be developed, and planning laws were tightened.

The National Trust concerned about  the damage to the natural environment  launched the Neptune Coastline campaign 50 years ago. The aim of it was to protect the coastline and allow us and future generations to enjoy the dramatic, beautiful and diverse landscape. They now own 775 miles of coastline.

The coastline of the British isles is 19,491 miles, (31,368 km) this is longer than the coastline of India! There are also over 1,000 islands in the UK, the majority of which are in Scottish waters and the majority of them are uninhabited.

Briport Literary Festival
Bridport Literary festival
Coastlines The story of our shore
We learnt all of these facts at Bridport literary festival, when we attended a talk by Patrick Barkham the natural history writer for the Guardian newspaper, who was talking about his latest book Coastlines The Story of Our Shore. It was a very entertaining talk and we didn't come away empty handed, although I will have to wait until after Christmas to enjoy reading it! Do you have a literary festival in your area too? The one in Bridport has been going now for 11 years and always invites many interesting authors.

Different branches of our family have lived by the sea since the 1700's and their lives reflect the changing story of the shore too, most of their stories are still to be told here. 

The weather has been mixed this week. This sunrise greeted me one morning as I put Tavi and Twinkle out into the garden. It was lovely too for a few minutes just to stand and watch and listen to the flocks of seagulls overhead, heading out to sea for their breakfast.

We were surprised on a walk around Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens to discover still so much autumn colour. The mild weather and sheltered position seem to have delayed the inevitable.

It has been very blustery here too - it almost felt we were been pushed down the hill on our walk this afternoon, we took the more sheltered way home, rather than struggle against the wind!  The wind is howling outside the window as I write, how lucky we are to have the benefits of modern life to endure these conditions.

Wishing you a happy week ahead, thank you for all your lovely comments about Tavi, in the last post.

Sarah x

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Growing up

A year ago today we welcomed Tavi into our home and family .....

It's hard to remember just how tiny he was....

and how anything left on the floor would be taken or chewed.

Tavi may now be much larger than Twinkle but she is still the boss!

He has always loved running and playing on the beach and paddling in the water. He even enjoys having baths, which is just as well the number of times he finds something smelly to roll in!

 A few steps from our front door are numerous footpaths,, and so he is equally at home in the countryside too......


He has bought us so much joy and laughter, provided a companion in my husband's semi-retirement, given us extra friends both human and animal, accompanied us as we explore our new locations, improved our fitness on the numerous walks we have taken and he has also appeared on this blog many times!

Terriers aren't the easiest animals to train they have a very independent streak. Our home may be muddier and hairier and our pockets may be full of dog biscuits, but we wouldn't be without him!

Sarah x

Monday, 2 November 2015

In the Autumn mist

Was it a good idea setting out on a misty morning to view the last of the autumn hues of brown, gold, orange and crimson? The answer was most definitely yes! 

Our destination was Forde Abbey in Dorset. The monastic abbey was built over 900 years ago. It remained an abbey for 400 years, before it was transformed into a family home. It also has a spectacular 30 acre garden including an aboretum.  Much of the landscaping originates in the earliest part of the 18th century. The avenue of  beech trees line the driveway and they provide a colourful welcome.

 The mist just added to the atmosphere and the beauty, and the colour of the autumn foliage stood out against the greyness of the sky!

 You can almost imagine one of the monks walking by (see video link here )

The walled garden was also still full of colour. If you are in the area in the next few weeks an added bonus is that there are free admissions to the gardens from Thursdays to Sunday's in November.

As we drove home we passed many villages where carved pumpkins stood guarding house entrances,
and awaiting at home pumpkin soup and homemade ginger cake. The colour of the seasonal food matching the colours of the hazel branches just outside the window.  Are you eating any seasonal food that matches the season?

Thank you for all the lovely comments in my last post. I was so glad that the Onion Johnnies bought back some long forgotten memories.

Wishing you a good week ahead.
Sarah x


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