We have been in England for a week now, and our jet lag has finally abated. Today, we went adventuring in our rental car, a VW Polo. We started the day with a visit to the village of Corfe, where we had tea in the National Trust tea shop’s garden, just so that we could gaze again at the ruined castle and wonder at the fact that the Roundheads, having taken the castle, chose to destroy it. If we had conquered that castle, we would simply have moved in. Silly Oliver Cromwell. After tea, we headed for Lulworth Cove, which involved driving through a military shooting range. We stopped in a car park to admire the scenery, and we could hear machine gun fire in the distance. Moving right along……
It’s been sixteen years since I was last at Lulworth Cove. That was on my first visit to England. On that occasion, we took the high path out of the village, along the very top of the cliff. At one point, I said “I don’t want to leave here.” Robin tried to reassure me. He said we would come back the following year. “No,” I said. “I don’t mean that I want to stay in England. I don’t even want to go back to your brother’s house. I want to stay right here.”
That was more than a little impractical. We were sitting on a grassy ledge, looking out over the ocean, listening to the sound of sheep baaing in the distance, feeling the wind in our hair. The view was fantastic, but the site was altogether lacking in amenities, so we left, sighing.
I’ve come back to England many times now, and I’ve now got my favourite haunts – no trip is complete without attending Evensong at Winchester Cathedral, for instance – but somehow, we haven’t come back to Lulworth Cove until now. This time, we took the low road, and even that was a challenge. We have, it appears, grown older.
We strolled downhill through the village, taking our place in a line of what could have been – and perhaps were – pilgrims, all of us bound for the shore. Stepping onto the sand, we looked around the cove and decided that it was a little too populated for our taste. So we backtracked a little way and turned up the lowest path along the cliff. I’m so glad we did. Even from that elevation, the view was spectacular. I saw again the bare cliffs that fascinated me years ago, their rock layers bent and twisted, the sea rushing through arches worn through the rock.
On our way back to the car, we stopped at a shop selling Cornish ice cream. Robin ordered a single scoop vanilla ice cream cone. I ordered a single scoop mango sorbet cone. We walked along, eating our treats, and I couldn’t help noticing that Robin’s vanilla ice cream was yellower than my mango sorbet. I don’t know what they feed the cows in Cornwall, but it’s powerful stuff.
We took the long way home, just to avoid the rush hour traffic at Poole and Bournemouth. I’m not sure how many times I would have to ride in a car here, before I could overcome my terror. I’m happiest on the motorway, where we aren’t screaming past parked cars that I could swear are less than six inches from my door. Today, I nearly leapt into the back seat to get to safety. Not that that would have helped, but that’s what my muscles wanted to do.
Never mind. We are home again, safe and sound, and it’s time for me to go for my evening swim in the indoor pool. Now this, I could get used to.