20th October

Today, I look out of the window onto a dull autumn day. I hate that we’re heading towards more darker days and shorter nights.

And why does the winter always seem such a long season, unbearably long sometimes? What happens to time? 

But today, the leaves on the trees, glorious in all their beauty, are  presenting me with a rich aura of colour – browns, reds, oranges, yellows , a little green left too.

 

And so, this season redeems itself for me a little, coming as we are to the end of the year, when everything is dying off, but here nature says a farewell with splendid grandeur. 

The grey skies I’m looking at out of my study ( bedroom with makeshift desk) window, remind me of our camping holiday in the summer and the day we were leaving Princetown. So the following is from my journal from that time.

27th July 2020

The mist is still thick over Princetown so we decide to move on, to set off for Lyme Regis, maybe the sun is shining there. 

I’d like to stay longer, there’s so much more we’d like to do,  but we’ve been here for two nights in the mist and, quite honestly, we’re just fed up. Shivering, I take my bowl, the small red one, now full of our breakfast dishes and mugs,  to wash them, for the last time, in the outside wash area.  My socks feel  damp in my trainers, as do the rest of my clothes, the mist seeping through everything in it’s path. I look forward to getting warm and drying out sometime today. 

The drive out of the moors is stunning. Although my view across the great expanse of moorland is limited, I encounter rivers ( the Dart being one) , waterfalls, and wild horses with their foals. One day I’ll be back  , I mutter to myself as my eyes scan through the grey for more surprises. 

The drizzle shows no sign of letting up, so instead of taking a detour to places of interest, we head straight for Lyme Regis. I’m not sure how I feel about going back. This is the place we always wanted to retire to, the place where we had the best holidays when the children were little. It was many years ago now, but, It was our dream. Life took us down a different path , as it does, but I’m  not sure I’m over that longing.

We’re about an hour and a half away and we discover now that the bad weather wasn’t just hovering over the moors. I phone Kate to get the forecast for the afternoon in Lyme Regis. Mainly showers with a few sunny spells later. I hope that “later” is while we’re there.  Kate also says that there’ll be no change in this weather until next week. Right what shall we do then. We had intended to camp for a few nights, but if it’s going to be miserable.

“Let’s go anyway,” I say, “It might brighten up for a few hours. Be a shame to drive past as we’re so near.”

“I’m glad you said that,” hubby is relieved, “I really want to go.”

We drive on, but not for long . Soon we have to stop for the proverbial comfort break. As we pull into the services I can’t believe what I see. A long line, a queue of people stood outside, going right the way to the car park. 

At first I think there must be a fire drill or something, but no, it’s definitely an orderly row, all waiting to go in, some with masks on, few however keeping the 2mt distance.  What’s all that about, as if wearing a mask is the answer to everything. It is the governments emphasis now though. 

First it was    –        Wash your hands

Secondly       –        Stay at home

Next              –         Keep two meters apart

Now              –         Wear a mask

Common sense tells me it’s a combination of all the above that’s the best way. Like sheep we join the line. And to be fair, it’s not long before we’re herded, (yes herded not headed) into the food halls, where I can see another queue for the toilets. Obediently we join it. Again it’s fast moving, and it’s not long before there are only twelve ladies in front of me. 

But wait! It’s then that I spot it. A disabled toilet. Is no one going to use it? Why not, I wonder? At that point what I should is was push ahead and go and use it. No, I am timid, I  hold back. When my turn finally comes I use it and when I come out I tell a mother waiting with her young son that it’s free and she should use it. She does. It just seems madness to me to have a long queue waiting for the toilets and one free, not being used. If someone comes along who has greater need we can all, of course, step back, no problem, but with huge queues and, possibly, desperate folk watching the line,  it’s quite odd.

After this unpleasant experience we are relieved( no pun intended) to be driving on again. 

Arriving in Lyme Regis cars sliding  through the streets and pedestrians dressed in raincoats and wellies, and holding their umbrellas , it’s like a scene from a Lowrie painting. But hey, we find a car park. It’s busy and yes, we have to wait again. I’m thinking , is this worth it? 

“Come on,” says hubby, “for old time’s sake” 

So, for “old time’s sake” I find my wellies, my lovely Burberry pair, the height of fashion a few years back.

   I put my wellies on, my trainers are still soaked through form the boggy moor.  They’ll take a while to dry out. 

The harbour holds fond memories of when our two older children were small, deep in concentration together, the four of us, securing bacon into crabbing nets and slowly lowering them into the water. The patience needed while crabs find their way to the bait was sometimes too much for the two of them and oftentimes they’d want to haul up the line. They soon learnt that you have to give it time. One time they even showed another  family how to “do it properly”. 

Another activity we all loved, mainly on Charmouth Beach a few miles down the coast, was fossil hunting. When the sun didn’t shine enough for a lazy beach day we’d get our raincoats on and spend hour after hour searching for fossils. There was an art to the finding of fossils. Sometimes we had to break open the stones and find ammonites and bellamites, creatures who lived long ago. And we did find some. That’s what kept them coming back for more. We loved to go into the Fossil Shop and see what we might be able to find. We did buy a handy book on fossils there early on. That book got very tatty over the years. 
Today, I have a little tear as we find the Fossil Shop still there. Unfortunately it’s closed because of Covid. We walk past the houses that we remember and that we dreamed of living in.
The rain is coming down harder and just as I think we’ll have to make our way back to the car, I spot a shop that sells gluten free Cornish Pasties. We tried all over Cornwall to find a gluten free pasty for Peter with no luck and now, in Lyme Regis we find one. Ten minutes later, with a pasty each we search for somewhere to eat them where we won’t get wet. 
“That’ll do” he points to a covered  archway . It isn’t ideal, but it’s sheltered enough.  Licking our lips, we enjoy our pasties.
We don’t hang around and soon are saying goodbye to Lyme Regis and I think, I love where we live, I’m glad we didn’t move here.
Our holiday is over. We decide to head for home.
But what a great time we had, even if it was in Covid times.