That’s it. I’ve had two years of non travelling and I’m fed up with it! A few weeks ago, just before Omicrom hit us with all force, I decided to go on my travels again… to Dorset. My typhoid, yellow fever etc are all still valid, so why not? My dear friends, who normally live on a tiny island in Greece, had decided to put down roots in the UK at last and recently bought a wonderful rambling Dorset House, conveniently next to the pub, and they kindly invited me there.
The village is tiny, just one of the many little villages in the Piddle Valley. It’s all Piddles and Puddles in that part of Dorset and I still can’t tell the difference between a piddle and a puddle. Anyway I set off – I hadn’t done a three hour journey for over two years. I felt slightly strange as I set off with only Waze to guide me. It seemed awfully odd not to be carrying my Swiss Army knife, mosquito spray and, most uncomfortable of all, my passport. I left the roll of loo paper behind. I thought they would have some.
It was a miserable day, the sort that no one wants to be on a motorway. The sort that, every time a juggernaut passes you (perhaps I am a slow driver), the entire contents of Diddly Squat mud appears to be deposited on your windscreen. My wipers were groaning with despair at the amount of slurry they were expected to heave out of the way. I am no wuzz however and, nothing daunted, I drove on blindly without my trusty radio playing, just in case I missed a precious direction from the nice lady who lives in my Iphone. She is so calm and reassuring and magically tells me at the right moment which turning I have to take on the roundabout. I love her. She doesn’t mind how often I go round the roundabout unlike my husbands who used to get furious with me.
Three hours, driving south west, I found myself driving through what looked like Devon. High hedges and very narrow winding lanes – please God I haven’t overshot Dorset! I tried to remember what the countryside looked like in Tom Jones. Trouble was all I could remember was naughty Albert Finney and that sexy eating scene and I couldn’t remember for the life of me what the terrain was like. I’ve walked across Vietnam and Burma and I’ve done the pilgrimage to Santiago – surely I can get to the right bit of Dorset!
Aha! A sign post to Yeovil. I must be on the right path. Yeovil sounds deeply yokelish and Dorsetish. Roadworks! Oh no, will my clever girl on Waze be able to find me a way through? Road closed! No she certainly won’t. I decided to push on since there was no sign of a detour. I comforted myself with the thought that there are often signs saying roads closed when they are not.
I was right. There was no sign of closure so I drove on another 16 miles. That’s very naughty you know, leaving false signs for days on end saying road closed and making people go miles out of their way. Do you think it might be the petroleum giants doing it? I digress. I must put those thoughts out of my head. I was nearing my destination. The roads were getting narrower and narrower. At one point my Waze lady had me going down a farm track which looked like private land.
I was looking out for a pub. Well all I can say is that Dorset appears to be a county of alcohol lovers, every single tiny little hamlet has a pub. Finally there it was. The Antelope, the pub next to my friends’ house. I was there. My trusty Waze had been brilliant – no arguments, no comments on my driving and only twice as slow as they had estimated. Do I care? No.
It was a wonderful weekend! We drank a lot, reminisced about Greece and explored the new terrain. The village and the muddy paths surrounding it. I had a nasty feeling that since the mud was so thick that at any moment I might disappear down a puddle a la Vicar of Dibley.
Dorset was real country and, although I spoke the same language as the locals (well nearly), it was a wonderful adventure. I am determined that, if I cannot go abroad in the near future, I shall be a little more adventurous. Come the good weather BPG is going to discover a little more of my her country. What excitement there is ahead.
Good wishes to all you readers – may you all have an interesting 2022. BPG