Ice Cold in Beer

July 5th, 2013 , 17:25

So today was a walking day. Joe had done Seaton to Lyme Regis yesterday and said it wasn’t as nice as you don’t really get any sea views, so we decided to go the other way to Beer Point. Making jokes about being in Beer the whole time (Beer Sailing Club, Beer Town Hall, Devon cream tea Beer).

It’s a lovely walk and fairly easy, though lots of climbing and then going back down. We started along the beach, as the coastal path has a large hole, so it detours around by road, or by the beach. The beach is nicer even if it is hard walking on the rocks. Then a climb up Seaton Hole and back along the cliff tops with views over the sea and Seaton. The climb down into Beer is very steep – so steep they’ve put in steps. Beer is a lovely little village, with a small river (more a ditch) running down the main street. Lots of cute little shops, though we didn’t see much on the way out as we kept heading toward the point. Another steep climb up to the point but worth the views out over the coast line. We found a couple of spots and Joe took photos while I checked out the bird life and bunnies. Then the flowers and bugs. Joe still took photos.

Coming down from the point we stopped off in Beer so Joe could have a beer. Then we walked up the main street and on the way back to the walk got an ice cream (yum) and sat over looking over the beach finishing them. We didn’t go down to the beach (another flight or three of stairs down to that!) Joe thinks the beach at Beer is very regulated – they have walkways over the pebbles and the deck chairs are all in neat rows. Then back along the path to Seaton. Once we got back we walked along the beach to the old concrete bridge (oldest still standing) and sat and watched the harbour.

The weather was, yet again, wonderful. Very warm and bright sunshine and we’re now officially sunburnt.

We’re now back in the room, having a drink and watching Wimbledon. We’ll get washed up and head out for dinner at The Shed later.

Frog Blog

Meanwhile back at the coast . . .

July 4th, 2013 , 19:55

So I left the B&B and strolled along the seafront. It was quite cool as the breeze was blowing in from the sea with a slight mist. Passed over the old bridge which was build in 1877 and claims to be the first ever concrete bridge and then followed the coastal path around to the largest steepest hill in the UK. So far. This got me to the golf course where I followed the little white fossils through the golf course; there were a few people around on the course. Then I went into a series of wheat fields which was very pleasant – mist blowing in and birdsong. Finally got to a sign which told me once I passed I couldn’t get off – no sea or inland access (though I suppose you could turn around and flee if you want). Followed the coastal path and it immediately went into woodland and large hedgerows, in some places the hedgerows fully enclosed the path, like a tunnel, and the path is only one person wide. After a while the path started going up and down and entering the deep, dark wood, where I had to take off my sunglasses to see where I was going. Lots of roots and rocks in the path making the footing tricky and as I got further down it got quite muddy, from streams or where water has pooled. After about two miles of this, I got to where the large slip had happened, not that I could see much as the path is pretty enclosed. After the large slip the path flattened out but still enclosed by trees, so really not a good walk to see the cliffs! But a nice place for trees, irises, hollyhocks, and honeysuckle, with dogroses throughout. Get to the halfway point and there were some old ruins of a pumping station, then a steep climb and much the same as before to Lyme Regis.

I stopped and had a ginger beer at Lyme Regis. Looked at the map and decided to take the detour to Chamouth; the detour caused by the cliff collapse. After another walk along the sea front, it was another steep climb out of Lyme Regis. It spat me out onto a road for a bit, before taking me across another golf course; however, this one was much busier and I had to keep constant lookout and stop to allow play to go through or to make sure they’d seen me and waved me through. (Unfortunately I ran into the not so good golfers.) After dodging through, ducking under, and generally trying to avoid golf balls I ended up on the A35 following the main Chamouth Road to the beach. So much for a coastal path (mind you, it might be better when it’s not a detour.)

Got to the beach where I had a pork pie, cup of tea, and an ice cream. Then waited for Kathleen to finish her three course meal and come pick me up.

The reason for the holiday

July 4th, 2013 , 19:30

So way back in December, we had a gift giving holiday and after much deliberation Joe decided I needed cooking lessons. So he got me a day of cooking at River Cottage and I booked it for 4 July (today) and we built a holiday around it. And this is why we’re pootling about the coast.

I had to be there at 9.30, so I had a small breakfast (or tried to, I got more than I thought I would!) Then headed out – we’d driven the route several times so I knew where to be. We had to wait a bit while everyone turned up – I was thinking it was a huge group, but turns out it was two groups, the cooking group and the beekeeping group. We went down in two tractor trips (tractor pulling a seating car). It’s a steep trip down to the farmhouse and the morning was quite cloudy and chilly.

So we get coffee and scones, which I skipped (breakfast!) and then we started our bread. We’d get a demonstration, then sent off to our work station to do. The space was very nice – all newly rebuilt and I think we were one of the first classes back in! The bread we made was malted wholewheat which I don’t work with (Joe doesn’t much like it) so that was fun. I made mine a bit wet and haven’t tried it yet, so we’ll see how it turned out! I can’t remember the order we cooked everything – some things we’d make a bit of and put to one side, like the panna cotta, others we just did and ate. So we had around lunchtime a loin of pork wrapped in home cured bacon, with sage. We also fried gem lettuce in the same pan which gave it a lovely flavour, with a squeeze of lemon. Very nice. Then for our three course meal around 5pm we had chorizo (which we made from scratch) with broad beans and poached egg; plaice baked oriental style with noodles; and elderflower panna cotta with strawberry syrup. All very good.

All the food was either from the farm (the strawberries were picked that morning, the broad beans were picked just before we used them) or from local producers (the plaice had come in either that morning or the day before and the pork had been butchered over the weekend).  It was a good group though a bit large (close to 20 of us), with four people per work station, and we all worked together (so one of us would get the food, another would get cutting boards, etc.).

We even got into the farmhouse and saw the famous farmhouse kitchen (very tiny, wonder where they put the cameras and lights!) and the dining room and the gardens. So got the tour and a cooking day!

So I’ve eaten my full today and am now in the pub with Joe having a drink.

Beachcombing

July 3rd, 2013 , 21:49

So to me beachcombing is walking along a sandy beach looking for shells. I said this to Joe and he said  but we are looking for shells. Just they’re a couple hundred million years old and they’re in rocks on rocky beaches! Yeah, all rock beaches is just weird.

Last night we went out to River Cottage Cafe in Axminister and had a very nice meal. Really nice place and well worth a visit, but do book ahead.

Then this morning up a bit later and sorted to head out after breakfast (and the breakfasts at Pebbles are really nice). Got the car and drove to Lyme Regis – our landlady said to drive past the first car park and turn right, keep going down and there’s a car park right at the beach which saves you the long steep climb back up to the first car park (and it is a very long, very steep climb!) So that’s what we did and had an excellent spot. We spent two hours walking the pebbly beach (rocks on a beach is just wrong, it should be sand!) At first I couldn’t see what the fuss was about, what with turning my ankle on the stupid slippy rocks, but then Joe point out a fossil. Then another one. Then a huge one on a rock. Then I started being able to spot them and was hooked. Really nifty! As the tide started to come in we headed into the town and spent several hours walking about and having a quick light lunch. Then back out the other way, but there had been slips so the beach was closed. So we walked along the front again, with Joe getting photos (the sun came out!) before getting the car and trying to find the way to Charmouth.

The beach walk between Lyme Regis and Charmouth is suppose to be good for finding fossils, but due to works being done to protect Lyme Regis you can’t do the whole walk. We spent about 2 hours at Charmouth walking across more rocks! And found some nifty fossils. Nothing really spectacular but I was chuffed to find my own.

As it was getting late we came back to Seaton for dinner and now sleep!

Frog Blog

Heading for Seaton

July 2nd, 2013 , 17:29

Today was a driving day. Slept in, got up, got breakfast, got packed, took our time, and still were an hour early to pick up the car! They were having trouble with their computer systems, but didn’t mind us there early and got us sorted and on our way. And we took the boring M27/A31/A35 route. Pretty drive, but we’ve lost the lovely weather and today was grey and cold. So not a bad day to be driving. We’ve driven around the area to see what is where and after a bit of driving in circles found our B&B in Seaton! Once settled we walked around for about an hour, found the Tourist Info and picked up all the information about the Jurassic Coast. We are now relaxing at our B&B in Seaton, making plans for the next couple of days and waiting to go out for dinner.

Frog Blog

Fossils

July 1st, 2013 , 17:09

Not the ones at Glastonbury, but the ones along the south coast! We’re off to the Jurassic coast! But first to Portsmouth, after a night of watching the Rolling Stones at Glastonbury (that was pretty wonderful!) (oh, not live, just the BBC coverage. Unfortunately as it looked pretty amazing!)

We got up Sunday and headed off to Waterloo for the train. Taking the train to Portsmouth gets a wonderful discount for the Historic Docks – about £10 off the ticket. So not a bad ride down and once in Portsmouth headed for the hotel, stopping in a square with a TV to watch the start of Silverstone. (everything happening this weekend – Glastonbury, Silverstone, Wimbledon, cricket, Gay Pride, Armed Forces weekend) Once checked in we headed to the docks to sort out our ticket (which is good for one year – so a great value even without the train discount!) and get our timed entry to the Mary Rose Museum (the reason we’re in Portsmouth!) The docks were still packed even though it was about 4pm – we had no idea it was Armed Forces Weekend, so didn’t realise the docks were open with special ships in and loads of free tours. We found that out Monday. Oh well.

Then we walked. Though Gunwharf Quay  – where we stopped for either a very late lunch or a very early supper – and along the waterfront to Southsea where there is a funfair and all the arcades. Lunch/dinner was at Loch Fyne by the harbour and we had seafood. Decided against the lobster though it did look very nice. Nice walk and the weather was wonderful. Loads of people out and on the pebbles, playing in the water and just enjoying the day.

Monday morning up early for some reason, breakfast and a slow walk to the docks. Where we were early so Joe stopped for photos of the Warrior while we waited (photos will go up on Flickr!) Finally in and in the correct queue (rather than wandering around aimlessly as we sort of did on Sunday). Except the people in front of us were not in the correct queue and decided to argue about it. By the time we got to the ticket check they were surprised we had the proper tickets and our Mary Rose times sorted; also seemed rather relieved! So we got in and got to the Mary Rose museum in plenty of time and were even let in early.

The new museum is really good – crowded but we expected that as it’s only just opened. But really well laid out, with lots on exhibit, well described and with plenty of views of the ship – though it will be at least five years before you can really see it as it’s still being restored. It’s in the drying stage so lots of ducts running through and equipment. Still, with the layout of the exhibits opposite the windows showing the ship, it was very atmospheric and you can really get a sense of being on board. We easily spent 2 hours there before leaving to see the Victory.

The Victory is currently undergoing restoration so the masts are down and you can see some of the under planking (which is really interesting!) But it is still open and we got to wander through – though I missed the plaque showing where Nelson was shot. Oh well, our tickets are good for a year so we can go back! The layout is well thought out and a one way system so you don’t miss anything.

Then the harbour tour which was fun. About 45 to 50 minutes around the harbour with commentary and very very very bad puns. Got to see the modern ships which were in port.

After that we were tired, but headed for the Warrior for a last tour. That one isn’t as well laid out as the others – no clear route through, but I think we saw most of it! And our feet and stomachs voted for leaving and finding a place to sit and eat!

We dithered about where to eat, but ended up back at Gunwharf Quay and Jamie’s Italian, which turned out to be a good decision. The food is quite good and we had a huge meal (another of those late lunch/early supper things). After a nice meal we headed back out along the town and then back to the sea front and along to SouthSea castle. By this time it was about 7pm so the castle was closed but we could walk around it, then back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we pick up our hire car and head off to Lyme Regis area and fossils!

Frog Blog