Sunday, 26 August 2007

Holidays in Dorset

Two years ago we went to Dorset, we always go down South for our hols as the weather is always better.

At the campsite we were told about Lulworth Cove, which is one of the most delightful places I have ever visited. It is a horse shoe shaped cove, surrounded by panoramic grassy cliffs, with just enough beach and a tide which never seems to go out. We bought a blow-up ring from one of the little souvenir shops of the way down for £3, which did us proud throughout the holiday for sailing on, using as a trawler to collect the scallop shells, lounging about on or even using as a prop for looking through on the photos, though the kids did cadge a go on a much covetted dinghy in exchange for us watching someone's belongings on the beach while they went on the motorboat.

This coastal scenery rivals anywhere in the world, but the only drawback with the beach experience is that the water is icy cold. I notice that lots of people were wearing special wetsuits(probably the locals) but my kids stayed in the water all day and only started shivering when they came out, maybe because they had time to think about it. The secret of swimming in an English sea is just take the plunge, don't wade in gradually as you will soon give up.
The coast is called the Jurassic Coast on account of all the fossils to be found there, and indeed in the cove were a succession of little islets of stones sticking out of the bay like the humps of some prehistoric Dorset Nessie, which all the kids (including my own) clambered about on.
After drying off we went for a walk up to see Durdle Door, which is a huge natural stone arch leaning out into the sea, one of nature's cathedrals. Then my kids found a hill on which to roll all the way down until we were back in Lulworth again.
Sitting on a rock was an ancient hippy (always worth some of your time and attention, these) who was painting the scallop shells which he had obviously found on the beach. He had an art gallery of shells on his rock which everyone was admiring, done in a pointillistic way, as obviously you can't fit much on a shell and he was painting all manner of things. We decided to have a go and started a scallop shell workshop on the campsite which many of the site kids joined in. Quite a good idea for a personalised souvenir to take home to your friends and family. We dried the shells round the front of our tent and had passersby stopping and admiring.
We went to the local hardware shop and got some proper paint, though the paintbrushes weren't up to much, and we couldn't achieve the pointillistic effect. The most successful shells were the ones which looked like peacocks tails, as obviously you have a headstart with this if you are painting on a scallop shell as it is a peacock tail shape. We spent a lot of time picking bits of grass off our objet d'arts though, which I bet doesn't happen in many art galleries.


Bobbie said...

What a fun, idyllic time. Enjoy your kids while they are home with you, time goes by so fast.

Frances said...

That is a great idea, isn't it, the kids are occupied for longer and they have souvenirs they've made themselves. They will always remember those days, I think holidays can make such a difference to children.