Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Bright blue skies greeted us this morning accompanied by quite strong, cold winds but undaunted we set off towards Lulworth Bay through the lovely Dorset countryside. Dorset is very rural, dotted with small settlements  each with their own little pub.


We wound our way through all this till we came down a hill and suddenly the sea was there in front of us.

Lulworth is a tiny village perched on the edge of an almost circular bay.
There was a large parking lot which testifies to its popularity as a holiday/ daytrip destination especially for walkers.

 And it wasn’t long before we were toiling up the path towards Durdle Door – a distance of 1¼miles.
The climb was long and steep and there were lots of pauses for a rest and the view from the top was delightful. Then came the long downward trek to Durdle Door.

This rock formation  is a bit like a natural arch and guards a lovely sheltered bay.
The beach is crescent shaped and looks a delightful place to swim if the water is ever warm enough to allow that.
There was one brave soul swimming today and while the sun was quite warm, the wind was very strong and cold.
There were quite a few people around and an ice cream man selling a variety of ice creams.
We then headed back to Lulworth along the chalk cliffs.
 Our first outing to the Devon Coast was a spectacular introduction to this beautiful part of England.


We set off for Sherborne Abbey through rolling countryside , checkered  in greens and the  bright yellow of the rape crop in flower. The road is lined with cow parsley everywhere we go. We passed through some pretty little villages on the way and soon found Sherborne.

There was a cold wind blowing and it was morning tea time so we found a lovely pub called the Half Moon where we had a hot chocolate and a cappacino for the small sum of 4 pound – about half the price of the same thing in Oz. 

We returned to the abbey to explore this lovely old building whose history goes back to the 700s. It is a very large, grand building with a spectacular roof and lovely windows.


The abbey is apparently known for its music and choir performances and after an invitation we sat in on the beginning of a free program which featured a girls’ school choir. These buildings certainly have great acoustics. 

Lunch was back at the Half  Moon after walking around the town a little more then we returned to the car and set off for Sherborne Castle ( old and new ).

The old castle is a ruin courtesy of Oliver Cromwell but the new castle, first built by Sir Walter Raleigh, is lovely and we toured inside where many rooms are fairly well preserved and furnished.
The castle is still owned by the Digby family who acquired it after Raleigh was beheaded and his property confiscated by the King  ( James I ). The grounds are lovely and were designed by Capability Brown whose talents we always admire.
On the way home we managed to find the Cerne Giant, a huge drawing of a man drawn in chalk on the hillside near the town of Cerne Abbas.

It’s origin is unknown  so it could be really ancient or just 400 years old !
Either way it is really something.


Sunday, 1st May 2011

Our cottage was lovely and had everything we needed. It was in the small village of Martinstown which has a farm shop, a post office, a church and a pub.

Roses and wisteria climb up the front of many of the little cottages and both were blooming so it was very pretty. Our cottage is the second one in a terrace and the only one with a thatched roof.

Inside it was very comfortable with a fully equiped kitchen

book  shelves with novels as well as information about the area

and comfy lounges with warming fire if needed .

 A tiny “burn” runs along the edge of the road that passes through the centre of the village and several houses are built right up to the edge of this tiny stream, entered from the road by little bridges over the burn.

There is a very old " wool wash" which makes use of the burn,

no longer used but still in great condition


After a short visit to Dorchester this morning we walked up to our local pub, the Brewers Arms, for a Sunday roast.

Seated at the table next to us were a local couple, farmers who breed Hereford cattle, and we started chatting with them.
We really enjoyed their company and chatted on .. and on till three hours had passed ! The roast pork was lovely ( Yorkshire pudding too ), followed by Sticky Date pudding .  
 Later we walked up through the fields towards the next village along a pathway lined with some white flowering wild flower which I now know is cow parsley.
It was very windy up there but the hedge gave us shelter.and the views across the countryside were lovely.
A delightful spot to settle in for our week long stay in Dorset.

Sunday, October 6, 2013




We arrived at the Swiss border after a short thirty minute drive. We knew from our research we had to buy a vignette which enables you to drive on the toll roads for twelve months and must be displayed on the windscreen. We crossed the border and with more luck than good management we ended up in the correct lane and were stopped by two female French speaking border guards.

One slapped the sticky vignette on my hand and and I think asked for money.  I handed over 40 euros with the other woman waving me on. They were both scary women with boots and a uniform, so we exited with vignette in hand , and guessing there was no change.

Already we had learned several things:

1. Do not to take a car to a city in Switzerland
2.Observe the road rules, particularly speeds as this is not France, fifty means fifty, not seventy ! 
We passed the World Trade Centre with Lake Geneva and the French Alps on the other side. We bypassed Geneva as we had been warned that parking is near impossible there and we may go there by train later in the week. Heading for Lausanne instead seemed to be a good idea but the same parking problem arose.

Heading for Thun the snow covered mountains were looming closer and closer as we drove through a valley with grapes growing on the slopes and apple trees on the flatter ground. Beautiful vistas were all around us, as we both comment positively on our first foray into Switzerland.
Soon we were in Thun and managed to find a five story car park.

It was sunny and quite warm and hundreds of people were all seated out doors enjoying their lunches and refreshments at the many cafes lining the streets.

 It really is a beautiful setting with a number of very fast running streams with a series of locks making the water cascade through the city.

 Add some classic buildings, snow covered mountains and beautiful trees and gardens and Thun was looking to be a standout beautiful place.

Next we headed for Faulensee about a 15 kilometre drive. This is where we will be spending our week in Switzerland.

We turned off into a narrow street that wound its way up the side of the hill. All the houses here are of the chalet type design and have lovely gardens giving the impression of a wealthy area.
After a little trouble we found our chalet and can't believe the view. We are on the side of hill looking straight down a lake with green hills and huge snow covered mountains as the backdrop.

Our unit is under the house but has been beautifully finished and is well equipped.

 What a great place to finish our holiday!