Those days in Dorset merged together in a glorious melange of memories, sites, sounds and experiences. Where to start? Where to stop? Dorset ice cream in a park, fish and chips on the river walk. Did I mention that I visited the Keep military museum? Excellent experience – so much history that isn’t always thought about in a place you’d hardly expect it to be. Did I discuss going to Weymouth? No, I doubt that.
I lasted all of an hour in Weymouth. I left on that Sunday morning, £4.50 return. Did I say I lasted an hour? No, not quite that long! I arrived in Weymouth and was quickly overwhelmed by the stench of vomit, stale piss and chip shops. Oh well, I came, I might as well see it. I walked to the strand. There was a hideous cacophony of white bodies shrieking, flocking together near chips and any other cheap, easy food. No, not seagulls – Essex grockles. Ghastly, I tell you! Poorly behaved children and even more poorly behaved parents. Eek! I’m off, mates. I can’t be bothered with this! Enough chavs for this go!
What next? Swanage. Yes, Swanage was far more civilised. Families with young children, dogs on leads. It was crowded but overwhelmingly civilised. What’s that structure over there, from the pier? It looks out of place in the best, most British way possible. A bell tower, innit? Wellington’s, originally of London pedigree. It was located in the middle of a busy road and became a safety hazard. Sold off to a Swanage captain to use as ballast it, instead, was re-built.
So, where am I? Where was I? Bugger verb tenses, they only lead to confusion. Breakfast at the B&B. Yes, that’s it. Glorious, glorious English breakfast! The owner cooks it on order for each guess – no additional charge! Bacon, egg, sausage, beans, toast and grilled tomatoes. It was so civilised with visiting Britons – an Ulsterwoman, a few Scots and English tourists from Oxon, Berks, Wilts and Essex – even that nice elderly Greek man who has spent decades in Britain. What’s that, what cretinism unfolds before my eyes? Toast and bloody cereal? Only toast and bloody cereal? People go to England and willingly forego the glorious full English breakfast? What is wrong with them? Don’t they know that the only people who have turned breakfast into an even higher art form are the Jocks? Woggish cacophony pours forth – they’re Spaniards. Typical, can’t expect anything else out of them. Given the choice between eating Spanish food for the rest of my life or plundering Dougal’s or Abigail’s kibbles I might well go for the kibbles!
Train of thought lost again, typical these days. I’m a hopeless mess except when I’m not. Glorious days under the Dorset skies. I’m tanned now, at least by my standards. The fresh air and sunshine have seemingly been a boon. My jaws are fully unclenched for the first time in months. Hours followed each other outside; foraging for wild berries in the woods, finding new footpaths. Sitting for hours in an English church.
Oh, where did time go? It’s 1 PM. I need to get going. Just over an hour until my train leaves Dorchester. Get on with it, mate. I pick up my luggage. I walk out the door of St George’s Church sadly, looking over my shoulder one more time. The train is punctual. At 2:13 the train pulls out of Dorchester South. I found a seat with enough room around me to safely keep my luggage with no need to cram it above me. I have to sit backwards. Dorchester disappears in the distance. Then Moreton disappears, then Wool disappears. All these towns and cities gone without so much as a minute’s hesitation. Wareham, Hamworthy… Cities disappear, Poole, Bournemouth, gone in the flash of an eye. Winchester, Woking… Through Clapham Junction without hesitation. “The next station is London Waterloo. This train ends there”. So I’m back in London, where all of this began.
I look at my watch – hours to go. I walk with my bags to Westminster. The sun is blazing, I don’t care. I sit on a bench across from Parliament and read Churchill. Why not? I wait until a reasonable hour, then I walk around Parliament once and return to Waterloo Station. Mine was a combined ticket, train and underground. Zone 1, London Euston. I make it in good time – the Northern Line had good service. I arrived at Euston far too early. Not much to do there, all I can do is wait.
Finally, the Caledonian Sleeper is ready for boarding. Change at Edinburgh-Waverly at 3:50, arrive in Fort William at 9:55. I fall asleep early. We stop. Crewe. Oh, okay. We’re in northern England. I go back to sleep. An hour and a half later, we’re still in Crewe. At last, we start moving again. I’m sore and stiff at this point. I only had a standard seat, not a bunk. I wake up again. The hills are higher, the landscape is covered in mist. Surely I’m in Scotland now. We stop – Carlisle. We arrived three hours late at Edinburgh Waverly. Passengers to Fort William can’t find their coach. It’s been delayed. We wait around, finally we can leave. We travel through the Central Belt, through Glasgow, into the Highlands. We arrive at last – over 4 hours late. The Highlands are stunning, but my heart’s in Dorset.