After Wednesday's fabulous weather Thursday dawned rather grey and cloudy. After another delicious breakfast I paid my dues to Mrs B&B and departed carrying my backpack and headed for the bus stop where I hoped to get a bus to Sidmouth once again and from there the little Sidmouth Hopper bus which would take me to the Donkey Sanctuary at nearby Salcombe Regis. The driver dropped those of us who were planning to see the donkeys warning us that on a wet day most of them would very sensibly be indoors rather than in the fields! As you can see it was now not only grey and raining a fine light rain but also foggy but these hardy souls were not indoors after all.
Whilst over in the yard this little poppet was standing in the open door of her stable and I stopped to make a fuss of her.
She was called Holly - all the donkeys wear collars with their names and information on them and the different colours of the collars signify certain things such as yellow for females like Holly's. Whilst I was talking to her and one of the chaps who work with the donkeys another employee came along and said Holly was wanted - she had an appointment with the dentist! I am sure she knew what was coming as she didn't want to go and refused to budge. She had to be cajoled by both of the employees; not kicking and struggling but certainly not going willingly. About 5 minutes later I noticed she was back in her stable and said to her "That wasn't so bad was it?" I'm not sure what she thought but she gave me a look as only a donkey can!
I don't remember what this little cutie was called but she too was waiting for someone to fuss her. The chap I'd spoken to earlier said they jossle for the front of the queue to be first in line for one of these stables in the yard each morning where they know people will come and talk to them and make a fuss of them!! Donkeys are definitely not daft, indeed I think they are very wise animals, and it would be hard to be stressed whilst fondling one! After a bowl of soup for lunch in the cafe and a brief look round the shop I decided to head off towards the main road where I hoped to get a bus to Seaton my next stop. I had the greatest difficulty in finding my way out of the place on foot having to go back more than once to ask for directions and I then took the wrong turning along a narrow lane in the fog and drizzle until I decided that must be going the wrong way and turned back. I did eventually reach the main road and the bus stop and luckily didn't have to wait too long for a bus.
The bus I caught was the X53 which runs all the way from Exeter to Poole along the Jurassic coast and normally the scenery is amazing but this time it was just very wet and very green with no distant views through the fog to be seen! This was Seaton on Thursday afternoon - dreary and grey. It is unfair to judge a place on first impressions especially on such a miserable day but I have to say it wasn't an inspiring little town.
I had imagined spending a couple of hours exploring here but instead I had a wander round and then whiled away some time in a rather dull cafe over a cup of tea before I could get another bus to Colyton where my last night's stay was booked. I must admit I did wonder whether it might be better if possible to get a bus home instead!
Booking in time at the Colyton B&B was any time after 4.00 pm and as it was only about 3.00 pm I wandered round in the rain still lugging my backpack. This is the church - it has an octagonal lantern tower atop the 12th century Norman tower which I gather is unusual.
I pushed open the door and stepped inside out of the rain - it was a lovely light building with a huge stained glass West window which is apparently one of the largest in a parish church...
... and two magnificent brass chandeliers each holding 36 candles which were purchased in 1796 at a cost of £82 - probably a fair amount of money back then. I wonder how they light all those candles and whether the wax drips onto the churchgoers beneath. And who cleans them and how?!! I always seem to think of the practical side of things instead of the spiritual! There was also a huge Saxon Cross dating from 900-1000 AD which was discovered after an extensive fire in 1933. Displayed alongside the cross was a clock face which was also rescued from the fire - though how old that was I didn't find out. I felt calmer after my time in the peaceful interior.
Outside the church I noticed that rain had stopped play on repairing a thatched roof nearby (as with all my photos if you click on them you will see them full size and in more detail). As by now it was not far off 4.00 pm I made my way to the B&B where I was booked. The Budleigh Salterton one was always going to be a hard act to follow and so it proved although maybe the fact that it was a miserable wet day and I now had a long evening ahead of me with nothing to do and nothing to read didn't help. (My earlier B&B had a shelf of books of every genre in the bedroom and a drawerful of local magazines with articles about places in the area) No cup of tea and cake here either although to be fair I did have the facilities for making myself a hot drink and there was a little packet of shortbread biscuits too. Having sampled both I put my mac back on and went back into the village/town to see if I could find a magazine or something to read and struck lucky at the little newsagents so at least now I had something to while away the time. Back in my room I decided to take a shower and wash my hair which was now looking the worse for my day in the rain with a hood up and down all the time, and I felt more human once I was clean and fresh and sat on my bed in my PJs reading my magazine till it was time for dinner. Luckily this time I didn't need to venture out as this was a restaurant with rooms so I just had to go downstairs. (I did change out of my PJs though!)
The next morning I had breakfast and having paid the night before for both my dinner and my room I said goodbye and went to wait for the bus into Seaton. Luckily I was rather early as the bus arrived and departed before the scheduled time - a few minutes later I was back in Seaton. This time it looked a little better as the rain had stopped and although not sunny it was at least dry.
I walked along the sea front towards the estuary where the River Axe (remember I had seen it from the train on Tuesday) made its way out to sea. - looks pretty doesn't it? You might notice that I spoke too soon about it not raining as a shower began whilst I was at this end of the beach!
Once again the mouth of the river has become silted up with a bank of pebbles which the tides have washed eastwards I gather this occurred when part of the cliff fell into the sea many years ago and this affected the direction of the tides.
Upstream is a bridge which is the oldest concrete bridge still in existence - built in 1877 and is also the youngest scheduled Ancient Monument in the UK! This bridge has one foot in Seaton and the other is in Axmouth the little town across the river and slightly upstream. I had intended to walk to it the day before on arrival in Seaton but because of the weather I had thought better of that idea and now there wouldn't be time. By the time I had walked back to the town I had but a 30 minute wait for a bus to Lyme Regis.
Lyme Regis is a lovely town and well known as the setting for many novels and films. Jane Austen said of it "The principal street almost hurrying into the water, the walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay which in the season is animated with bathing machines and company..." (in Persuasion which she wrote in 1816 but which was published in 1818 a year after her death) and the main street does indeed seem still to be hurrying towards the sea. I got off the bus here and set off towards the sea myself.
I walked round to the Town Mill where I knew there was an exhibition of paintings, textiles, photography, land art and sculpture called Colour Line and Thread which I wanted to see. I enjoyed a potter in the garden there too..
and decided to have my lunch sitting outside in the pretty yard. It was delicious!
This week I have seen the mouths of several rivers and today was no exceeption as along with the River Axe this morning at Axmouth/Seaton I now saw the River Lym as it joins the sea here.
I walked round the famous Cobb ...
... admired the planting in the gardens....
... and looked back towards the harbour and beach.
Then I made my way up the steep little high street and a bus was at the stop heading for Bridport so rather than spend more time in Lyme Regis and wait for the later one I jumped aboard - well maybe jumped is not quite the right word as I was still carrying my backpack!
The journey took me along the coast with lovely scenery to be seen from the top deck where I had secured a seat at the front. This is the museum in Bridport...
... and this the little square - aren't those flowers pretty? I also found the lovely Yarn shop which I have been receiving e-mails about for ages but never actually visited. It stocked some lovely yarns and it was a good job I couldn't carry anything else or I might have been seriously tempted! After yet another cup of tea I wended my way to the bus station where I waited for my bus home. I didn't notice the scenery as much by now as I was on familiar territory and it wasn't long before the bus reached Yeovil where I got off.
A short walk down through the woods and I was soon home. Kettle on, boots off and feeling glad to be back yet having enjoyed myself and wondering where to go next!