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Went home a little early from work, I watered the pot plants (a little needlessly as the heavens opened 15 minutes later - I wonder if that works as a water management strategy for back home: water pot plants, wash cars and organise outdoor barbies with no contingency plan), and off I went to pick up Steve and Lorraine before heading down to Dorset for the weekend. Half way down there, I realised that I had forgetten a couple of important things. Spray. Some food items. Boots. The boots hurt - they were sitting by the front door so I wouldn't forget them.
We had dinner at a pub along the way; one I had picked on-line that I thought looked good. I'll be a little sad when the relentless pursuit of electronic entertainment in large, megabyte-intensive formats grinds the internet to a halt. When internet goes the same way as farming: consolidation and bankruptcy leaves a mass-produced near-monoculture. Sites like this would then be considered a niche organic-like thing (it doesn't look nearly as good, and you'll occassionally find half a worm when you take a bite, but at least the fertiliser used is natural - and I tend to talk a fair-sized pile of fertiliser). Anyway, a nice fruit shank with mint gravy later, and we were back on our way.
We met up with Doug, Andy and Christian at the pub near the hostel, and that was about it for the night. I wasn't especially impressed with the West Ludlow YHA. I've got nothing against kids or families; I just don't think a YHA should be catering for them over the cliched backpacker. Admittedly, as a group, we were closer to bald than dreadlocked; alcohol was the drug of choice rather than anything illegal. But at least we actually used the kitchen facilities rather than taking the cooked breakfasts offered for sale. We did our own dishes (and a few that people had just left by the sink and nicked off). Most importantly, we didn't run around screaming at 6AM (or let our kids do it) in a place consisting of paper thin walls where anyone speaking, showering or flushing was heard throughout the place. While we're at it, (as far as I know) none of us contributed to the hint of a smell of urine emanating from the mattresses.
But I digress...
We got up, prepared our lunches, had breakfast and off we went. We walked down to the water and then along the coast near Durdle Door (I confess, I just wanted to write Durdle Door - isn't it a lovely place name?). And the wind started to blow. There were frequent lulls in the conversation because you just couldn't hear what the person next to you was saying. Around lunch time, we turned off the coastal track and headed inland. I suggested we make a slight detour and have lunch on the edge of the woods. It was sheltered there, and, I thought, far more pleasant than out in the open.
After lunch and a decent break, we headed off. It rained. Boy did it rain. Several times, I took of my hat to ring it out. I could have added a mm to the Thompson Dam with what came out of my hat each time. There was beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, visibility was down to 5 metres and we didn't see any of it. Despite this, the walk was fun: I enjoyed the walk and the company. And there were lots of arguments and debate and philosophy and stuff. Someone else started it, I promise! I was asked what I thought about nuclear power and climate change. I gave an opinion...(gasped shock from my readers!)
We went back to the hostel, showered and dried; ringing out clothing and tipping water out of shoes. We made good use of the small common area for a couple of hours before heading down to the pub. I had a nice steak pie because they didn't have fruit on the menue, and it was very nice. We had a few drinks and went down to the water (the rain stopped when we got back to the hostel, so it was a pleasant walk even if it was dark). Those who may have considered it decided the combination of cold water and unfamiliar water was a sufficient deterrent to swimming. We then went to a local bar, had a couple of drinks and played pictionary. Sometimes it is surprising which words you get, and get quickly. Sometimes it is surprising which words you don't. But horsehoe was easy for me to draw.
We got to the hostel at curfew time. In the common area, they had the game scruples. We read various ethical questions (and then made our own up) and all answered the questions according to their scruples. Or lack thereof.
You have ... a hammer...
Sunday's walk we went to a different stretch of beach and then through a village which had been abandoned in WWII. It was a pretty walk although the village was a little bit of an anti-climax. Sitting on a quiet bench just before we got back to the car park, looking at the boats in the distance, was a much better climax.
Back we went, making a stop half way for afternoon tea. Besides that, the drive was uneventful, even if we did spend too long stuck in queues of cars behind slow moving vehicles.
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.