Let us journey back to the UK for a short while . . . Soaring high on a hill above a village in Dorset is a ruined castle. It’s a strong, defensible position and the crumbling edifice dominates the lush green landscape all around.
This is the 1000-year old Corfe Castle, built by William the Conqueror in the 11th Century, blown apart in 1645 by Parliamentary Forces when it was betrayed from within.
We made a special trip from our base in Bournemouth to visit Corfe Castle — hired a car even, because it would have been a challenge to get there by bus. And we were not disappointed. It’s a spectacular setting, and a cute little village to-boot. Straight out of a fantasy novel, really (except for the cars, of course).
The village is called Corfe Castle too . . . and I thought maybe I should move there, so I’d always have the address, Corfe Castle. Wouldn’t that be awesome?
Being midterm holidays, the castle was teeming with families and it was a challenge to take photos without them getting in the way. Nonetheless, there was much stone and rubble and canted walls and sheep and grass and blue blue sky. Definitely a castle worth the effort to visit.
Other highlights of our three-night Bournemouth stay were visits to
- The cemetery where Mary Shelley is buried with other members (and parts thereof) of her family. This was the main reason we visited Bournemouth, I believe.
- The village of Wimborne Minster, where there’s a gorgeous old medieval church. We mainly went to see the chained library, which has illuminated manuscripts, but in this we were thwarted, as the library was unfortunately closed.
- The old port town of Poole, next town along from Bournemouth. We checked out the ancient log boat in the museum — really cool — and then wandered around the town on a self-guided walking tour.
- The ‘Great Storm‘, although it seemed to skip over us completely. There was much hype about the storm on the news, but we didn’t really get to see any of it. It might have hit Bournemouth in the middle of the night, but there was little evidence of this. I felt a bit ripped off, to be honest…
Bournemouth itself was nice enough, if unexciting. We managed to find decent coffee at Espresso Kitchen, a tiny little coffee shop in the central shopping district.
After Bournemouth, we drove to Brighton, the location of the World Fantasy Convention and the last stop on my trip. I got around Brighton to a small extent — it being a lot warmer than the last time I was there. We wandered out along the famous Brighton Pier, meandered through the Lanes (where there is much shopping to be had), toured through the garish Royal Pavilion. That was about it.
I did find a great cafe in Brighton — Cafe Coho. I found it by accident on my first day, and went there every morning for breakfast thereafter. It has a breakfast menu like we have at home, and great coffee (with at least one Australian barista). On our first morning in Brighton, I spent several hours there as I worked on reacquainting myself with my WIP before hitting the convention.
Anyway, this wraps up the tales of my recent UK adventures. It’s been fun to share them here. I guess it’ll be a while before I go anywhere this exciting again. Until then, I guess it’ll be back to regular programming…