EDitorial ± 7-Nov-2013

Endorse It Again

Back once more (previously) in the land of Williams Barnes (1800-1886) and Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), the former known as the Dorsetshire Poet, the latter known as the Dorsetshire Novelist. Not him with the monument but him what wrote Tess and such. Rustic? That's what happens if you leave it out in the rain.

Monday and it's been a fearsome night with the St Jude's winds whipping up a storm. Dorset, though, seems to have escaped the worst. Late morning and we've already made inroads to reclaiming our National Trust membership with a family ticket to Montacute Hall. Magnificent frieze of a Skimmington Ride, note. Come on, you must remember that scene from The Mayor Of Casterbridge?

Mid-afternoon, overpriced NT lunch a distant memory, and we're in search of coffee and cake. Clever old me knows just the place. There's a highly recommended cafe at Yeovil Junction, so I've read. Station YJ turns out to be less than central, we discover. Parking facing the windswept platforms, there's little sign of a warm welcome. I cross the bridge and ask the ticket fella. "Peppers Cafe? Closed for months." Ah. Oops. Which is how we end up in non-indepedent Quedam centre Costa. Should have gone to Coffee#1.

Tuesday and we're halfway there on the yearly NT fee with a trip to family favourite Corfe Castle. Genius idea to have a teddy bear zipwire, by the way. Lunchtime and, guess what, Dad's done a little online research. It's five minutes drive, I say. Down the narrowest of country roads, at one point reversing out of a farmyard, and here's Kimmeridge on the coast.

Over there is Clavell Tower which has given its name to the well-regarded Clavell's Cafe. Parking next to a generator, there's little sign of life. I cross the car park and read the sign on the door: "Sorry, closed today, no power." Ah. Oops. Which is how we end up down in Swanage at the perfectly fine Brook Tea Rooms.

Honorary mentions for:

  • River Cottage Canteen at Axminster: obligatory and classy HFW destination
  • Lyme Regis Penny Black Cafe, tucked away behind the post office at the back of a gift shop: intimate and welcoming
  • Carriage Cafe at Exmouth: lunch on a train!
  • Exeter's Tea On The Green: cathedral view, awesome cream tea
  • Oliver's at Sherborne: long tables, alcoves and good food, hence two visits in one week

Roll on the next half-term.