Our long English weekend was almost entirely unlit by sun; but the colours and light of that countryside are worth looking at, even with grey overhead. This small photo-essay features Lyme Regis, a likeable kind of place.

We drove from Oxford down to Lyme Regis, stopping at the White Horse in Wiltshire. It’s what its name suggests; a huge white horse figure laid out on a high hill by scraping away the grass to reveal the chalk. I don’t have a picture of the horse because you can only really see it from an airplane, which says something about the minds of its makers. But you could see sun and rain moving across that countryside.

View from White Horse Hill, Wiltshire

The bookish crowd is drawn to Lyme Regis, which provides some of the backdrop for Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Austen’s Persuasion; in the picture below, the Cobb, a crucial part of the literary landscape, is the big stone construction behind the beach and boats.

One or two of our English acquaintances had politely raised their eyebrows at our plan to visit there, offering that it was “kitschy”. Well indeed, not to mention tacky and cheesy. But I like it, it’s not trying to be anything but what it is, a comfy little English seaside town, all about boating and fun at the beach.

The English are prepared to put up with quite a bit less in the way of beach than many others, the picture shows lots of fun being had on really a fairly modest beach under a grey sky.

The Cobb, harbour, and beach at Lyme Regis

From a little further down the cost, at the the charmingly-named Beer, comes another picture of idiosyncratically English seaside fun. You rent a deck-chair and buy your snacks from the same vertically-integrated vendor. We did this, and since it was basically a snack-shop on the beach, I drank no beer in Beer.

The beach at Beer

Here are a couple of Lyme details; nautical junk on the Cobb and the view down Sherborne Lane.

Nautical miscellania on the Cobb, Lyme Regis
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Sherborne Lane, Lyme Regis

We were walking along the promenade under that grey sky and chanced on a concert by the Lyme Regis Brass Band. Just as we arrived they launched into A Whiter Shade of Pale, which turns out be a nice band piece and they played it soft and straight; it was dreamy and evocative.

On our last evening, there was finally a rainbow, prophesying the inevitable outbreak of infinite glorious English summer sun the morning we were to depart. But everyone else takes pictures of that.

Rainbow over Lyme Regis

author · Dad
colophon · rights

August 02, 2005
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