Friday, 30 July 2010


I've been out of internet coverage for eight days while we camped in a field just outside Weymouth. We intended to stay two or three nights but we couldn't drag ourselves away. Love Weymouth. Couldn't believe how much there was to see. Apart from Weymouth itself there was Portland Bill and Chesil Beach, and further afield we went fossil hunting in Charmouth and walking in Jane Austin's footsteps along The Cob in Lyme Regis. And while the rest of the country has been washed out, we've had wall-to-wall sunshine every day.

One of the highlights was a production of Oliver by Weymouth Amateur Operatic. A very professional job they made of it, and it made a change to be in the audience instead of in the pit – at least, for once, I got to see what happens during the songs.

We also visited Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens. Didn't expect much, in the end I ran out of superlatives. Abbotsbury was, no question, the best gardens either of us have ever visited. Fabulous.

Prize for most fun goes to fossil-hunting at Charmouth Beach. Expected to be tripping over fossils, found nothing. But the beach was full of kids with amateur fossil hunting kits beating hell out of the cliffs with hammers and chisels. One kid, about five years old, had plastic goggles for eye protections while devastated the cliff-side with a pick axe. At this rate there'll be nothing left in a couple of years. The cliffs had visibly eroded in the couple of hours we were there.

Today, though, we had to move. Back at work on Monday and I wanted to escape the worst of the M5 before the weekend, so we moved to Slimbridge in Gloucestershire. We didn't quite escape the worst of the M5, though. A two hour trip became three hours. Worst was the chaos in the motorway services. We tried them all and couldn't get into any until reaching my namesake services only fifteen miles from our destination. Had to stop, though. There's only so much bladder control a person can exercise. It's mad. The M5 always suffers, every summer. And it's not the fault of caravanners, it's everyone. The M5 is the gateway to Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset... A lot of people want to go there. So why don't they do something about the motorway and the lack of services. We don't need shops selling sweets and CDs and windbreaks and latte. Just a bloody-big carpark every now and again, with toilets and a place to rest would be fine. They keep putting up the signs "Tiredness can Kill, Take Break." Hell, yes, agreed. So give us somewhere to take one!!

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