I have had such a busy summer that I have not had time to breathe and it has caught up with me now. Weeks of weddings and then 5 weeks with my apprentice off sick and the last 2 weeks with my chef away on holiday had left me feeling mentally and physically exhausted. And there’s the family to look after still , accounts to do, phone to answer…
I realised that I desperately needed a break and this week was the only chance to do it, even though the men were harvesting wheat so my husband could not come. I left my daughter Laura in charge of feeding the menfolk …. Both sons are in their late 20’s so are hardly children but need to be fed regularly. I got in the car and drove away --- did I feel guilty -? Yes, of course but knew that I had to escape before I imploded!
I had this urge to go to the sea. Talking to my oldest lovely friend Clare, she offered me the chance to stay at their house in Weymouth for 4 days and I snapped up her offer. We have stayed there before and love it – the garden overlooks Portland Harbour and is so peaceful.
It is the first time I have spent any time on my own for – well probably over 35 years but I can’t even remember the last time, maybe even never before. I have always been surrounded by people – family mainly.
Did I like it ? Yes, I did – although the first 24 hours without speaking to a soul was a little strange but I soon got used to it. Loved waking up to a dramatic sunrise over the sea, taking a cup of tea back to bed and reading my book , then breakfast outside. Going for walks along the Rodwell Trail towards Portland, taking photographs of boats and sea and anything I liked the look of. I had not realised how much I missed photography since we have had the restaurant. The first evening I walked to the Chesil beach and sat in the path of the evening sun - the only sound being the sea and the movement of the pebbles – a rare moment of peace in my busy world.
What a week to choose weather –wise! Sunshine every day and was so lucky to see the most beautiful sunrise and sunsets over the water. I loved watching the colour of the sea change through the day from shimmering silver to pale blue, mid blue then almost navy blue.
A visit from friend Lindsay was also a tonic as she was excited to be by the sea and she is always good company. We had a lovely walk along the cliff path to Weymouth harbour and coming back did a bit of cliff scrambling where there had been a landslip. Another walk took us to the Chesil Beach Café where we had a good meal and bottle of wine, then an interesting walk back to the house in the dark. We sat outside in the garden in silence just listening to the sounds of the gentle lapping of the waves and the chink of the rigging on the boats.
A beautiful day on Wednesday and I drove to Portland Bill and took some photographs – stunning day again and the sea choppy around the headland. Felt tired after lunch and fell asleep. Woke up to find right eye swollen and very sore. When Clare arrived she took me off to the pharmacy. To cut a long story short I ended up in Weymouth hospital having lots of tests and ended up with antibiotic cream which solved the problem. As I had been sneezing we think it may have been pollen in the eye from the agapanthus which I had brushed against on the steps in the garden. Attacked by agapanthus!
The next day, we drove to Portland and walked to Church Ope Cove, the only beach on the island. A beautiful beach with clear blue sea and strange beach huts with garden walls made of huge pebbles. So hot we wished we had our swimming things as there were people in the sea. Then visited Tout Quarry Sculpture Park, which is well worth seeing – beautiful setting too.
Other memories – Clare getting a wooden drawer knob stuck to her hand with super-glue. I was not really much help as was helplessly crying with laughter. She eventually managed to get it off with lots of soap and water. Every time I open a cutlery drawer now I think of that and chuckle.
Sadly had to leave on Friday but took the scenic route home via the coast road. I stopped at Abbotsbury and sat on the beach - fell asleep in the sun and now look like I have been tangoed-will henceforth be known as the Dorset tan.
In glorious weather there is no better place than England and the Dorset coast is one of my favourites. The coast road from Weymouth to Lyme Regis must be one of the most beautiful in the country.
I had such a good few days with time on my own and time with friends. It made me realise that good friends are so special and should be cherished. I promise to make time to see more of them in future.
And did my family miss me?
Don’t think so – although the dog did! So am thinking about planning the next road trip with the girls…..…. Watch this space!