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Frank's travels around Britain 2009.

South Dorset.

As an atheist, I think the Greeks & Romans had a good idea about how the Gods operated! They stood around looking into a pool of water & deciding which one of us is going to be favoured or just used for a laugh.

On the way down to Bournemouth, they decided that the sun should shine & encourage me to believe it will be a yet another delightful trip. That's what the Gods do for a laugh ... lull you into that false sense of security!

The next day it was like a Bengali monsoon! The rain was bouncing off the roads, the cars & rushing down the gutters. Of course the lady on the TV said there would be heavy showers & sunshine breaks. She was right, the break came about 3 pm!

Dorset is full of stunningly attractive places. I was given a really good list by my son. Unfortunately I spent a lot of time in coffee shops, covered malls & looking for places to hide from the rain. Its the small costs that add up & help destroy your budget. I spent too much time in areas designed to give ladies the opportunity to buy stuff they didn't know they needed at prices that could cure constipation.

As the day changed to evening time, the sun came out low down, I made my way to Corfe Castle in the hope of getting good photographs & views. The Gods grinned & closed it, so I only got outside shots! The word corfe is Saxon for gap. The castle stands above the village called Corfe Castle and dates back in some form to the 10th century. It was the site of the murder of Edward the Martyr in 978. During the English Civil War it was a Royalist stronghold and was besieged twice, in 1643 and again in 1646. The whole place is lovely. A proper village set by the ruined castle. Very touristy but none the worse for it. I imagine during the summer months, it will be packed. I'd like to revisit & get inside the grounds, there maybe some good views from up there.

The next day began clear & sunny. I could see where the Travelodge, Bournemouth Seafront got its name ... it was near the cliffs that over look the stunning beach. Seafront? maybe a bit of trade description there, close but not on the seafront! Sadly it was refitted to the new, "bugger all in the room" model that Travelodge seem to be heading too. A cubby hole but no bedside table. How does a person get a drink, mobile phone, glasses, book & watch in there. Where do they think the Gideons will put their bibles now? Its obvious that they think the floor is the right place for most stuff. Even in the shower, there is now nowhere to put the soap! Its madness. It's next problem has to be parking in Bournemouth. The Travelodge was based on the motorist. Not only are there very few places allocated  by the lodge, but in the middle of the season, you'd be lucky to get street parking. The first week of November is off season & when I took my walk, first thing, there were 3 only spaces available.

Tom Tom, the travellers wonder tool, can get you most places. I usually start with breakfast at Tesco for 3 ish. (it knows the difference between a Tesco & a Tesco with a cafe!). Then I put in the place I want to see. This time my son had said Weymouth was good, so Weymouth it was. The A354 road bridge connects Weymouth to Portland, which together form the borough of Weymouth and Portland. The history of the borough stretches back to the 12th century; including involvement in the spread of the Black Death, the settlement of the Americas, the development of Georgian architecture, and preparations for World War II. It was a lovely trip across, in bright sunshine, to the beach side of town. It's a tatty Victorian place that is just not that attractive. But once again I found a little recent history on the promenade, with its connection to WW2.

There is a memorial to the 2nd & 5th rangers of the USA. Shortly after midnight on 28 April 1944, nine German torpedo boats moved into Lyme Bay, along the southern coast of England near a place called Slapton Sands. Drawn in by heavier than normal radio traffic, they suddenly found themselves caught up in the midst of Operation TIGER -- one of several amphibious exercises secretly being conducted by the Allies in preparation for the Normandy Landing. In minutes the German torpedoes hit their mark. One LST (landing ship, tank) was seriously crippled. Another burst into flames trapping many of the victims below deck. And a third sank immediately, sending hundreds of U.S. soldiers and sailors to a watery grave. It was the costliest training exercise in all of World War II. As the bodies washed ashore in days ahead, the official count rose to 749. The memorial also included the sinking of the Leopold troopship in the same year.

It was Melcombe Regis that it was thought to be the first port at which the Black Death came into England in June 1348, possibly either aboard a spice ship or an army ship. In their early history Weymouth and Melcombe Regis were rivals for trade and industry, but the towns were united in an Act of Parliament in 1571 to form a double borough. Both towns have become known as Weymouth, despite Melcombe Regis being the main town centre.

The nicest & most interesting part of the town was the old harbour area. Weymouth Harbour is long and narrow, and formed the estuary of the River Wey until the building of a bridge to Westham, which separated the harbour's backwaters from Radipole Lake. For centuries the harbour was a passenger terminal and trade and cargo port: goods handled included wool and spices, and in the 20th century Weymouth was a bulk importer of fertiliser and cars. The old harbour side, on both sides of the seaward end of the harbour, still hosts a large fishing fleet, with docks, unloading areas, and a cross-channel ferry terminal. Fishing and cargo trading employ fewer people in the area since their peak in earlier centuries, but local fishermen catch the largest mass of fish in England and the third largest in the United Kingdom. The inner harbour has been refurbished in two phases, in 19941996 and in 2002, to include a new marina with hundreds of berths for pleasure boats, cruisers and sailing boats. Local boats offer fishing and diving trips, pleasure cruises along the Jurassic Coast, and thrill-rides to the Isle of Portland. The place is full of life, nicely painted houses, working boats, cafes & restaurants for all pockets. Close by was a shopping area in the old brewery. Even I liked it. Nice cafe, daft shops & because the rain was ready to come back with a vengeance, still busy at this late time in the year.

By the time the rain came, I was heading out to Portland & Chesil beach. My goodness, the rain came back again so heavily!   I wanted pictures of the guys windsurfing. they were REALLY travelling! But just to get out of the car & retrieve the camera from the boot was asking to be saturated! I saw nothing of the famous beach & I am sure it will be worth a re-visit but not that day!

I ended the day in Dorchester. I lovely town ... for ladies who shop ... but I wasn't in the mood to appreciate it. I could feel myself rusting up!



    Links for information on this page:

    Corfe Castle

    Chesil Beach