One of my photos

What I did on my holidays – Wednesday afternoon

August 26th, 2006 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 3 Comments · Life

The end of the trip, and a continuation of the plan to exhaust the children.

After a much-needed Dorset cream tea at Studlands to help us recover from the damp of Kimmeridge Bay, we were going to go into Corfe Castle village to see the model village and let Charlie climb a few huge hills which he had his eye on since the last visit.

That was the idea anyway, but when I asked him if he wanted to show Chrystal the clifftop walk we took before they both decided they would rather do that instead, so we went into Swanage and dropped the pair of them off as close to the lookout point as we could and went off to Durlston Head to meet them there.

Its not a really long distance, but still it was a bit worrying waiting for them at the other end, not knowing how long they would take – expecting them to take a detour down the zig-zag path on the way – but it was important to them to do it on their own and feel a bit of independence.

While waiting, we had a look around the parkland and visitors centre and then a tea and biscuits in the Lookout Cafe while enjoying the view. When the sprogs turned up and had a drink themselves, we wandered down to the dolphin watching point but did not see any dolphins.

While everyone else climbed the path back to the car park I did a bit of bollard-hunting.

I know it sounds like a bit of a sad hobby, but I had read about how a lot of bollards from London ended up in Swanage when John Mowlem was involved in building works there. A notice at the Durlston Head visitors centre explained further that the ships taking purbeck stone up to London for building used to load up with old bollards, cannons, streetlamps and the like for ballast on the return journey. Wherever possible these were re-used rather than wasted and Swanage had a bit of a reputation as London-by-the-sea because of all the London cast-offs around the place, including a clock tower from the old London Bridge and a facade from an old London guild house used for the front of the town hall.

Many of the bollards still have the name of the London borough where they used to be, and I thought they would be fun to see. Most of the ones I found had ‘City of London’ on them but there were a few ‘St Martins’ and a couple of ‘Goodmans Fields Pavements’.

Before too long, even I was bored of bollards, and went to catch up with the others. Chrystal had decided that she wanted to walk back to Swanage. Charlie didn’t fancy it though. I offered to walk back with her and she said I would just hold her back – cheeky mare!

Despite some misgivings we agreed to let her walk back on her own and went down to Swanage to wait for her. As soon as we got there it started pouring and we worried a bit but then she turned up, having taken only 15 or 20 minutes for the whole journey.

She says that she wants to join the infantry when she is old enough, and going by what we have seen, I don’t think she will have any problems with the route marches. Even the map-reading will be no problem – she tells us that she knows how to work out the grid magnetic angle for doing map and compass work. We don’t even know what it means except that its something to do with magnetic North, true North and map North.

So that was it. We all had a good time. I might dislike camping, but I love the area and the chance to take loads of photos of scenery, tanks, castles and steam trains , the kids like nothing more than climbing rocks, exploring caves and scaring the life out of us, and Jayne loves living under canvas, eating in the open air and seeing the children happy.

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