Holidays aren't really complete until you get back and bore everyone to tears with your 'snaps'. Here are six of mine...
Bothenhampton Church is near Bridport. I went to see it because it was designed by one of my favourite architects - E S Prior, who, a few years later, designed St Andrew's Church at Roker. Known as 'The Cathedral of the Arts and Crafts Movement', St Andrew Roker is one of the most important 20th-century buildings in England. If you haven't seen it, you're missing a treat.
Until last week I hadn't seen the Cerne Abbas Giant. As I was taking this picture a family of four parked up to take a look - man, woman and two lads of about 6 and 8 years old. I was very impressed indeed with the matter-of-fact but very loving way Mam and Dad answered the inevitable questions about the Giant's 'features'.
Sherborne is a lovely little town in north Dorset and its Abbey is truly stunning. People come from all over the world to see the fan vaulting in this picture but I had another reason to visit it; in the 1920s the eastern end of the Abbey was remodelled and rebuilt by yet another of my favourite architects - W D Caroe - and a great job he made of it, too.
Milton Abbas is one of those rare villages that was moved lock, stock and barrel because it interfered with the view from a landowner's stately home. The Duke of Devonshire moved Edensor out of the way at Chatsworth in Derbyshire and Lord Dorchester did it here. This is his 'new', 18th century Milton Abbas.
Amongst enthusiastic church-bashers like me, Bere Regis church is best-known for its amazing roof, installed in the 14th century. Seeing is believing; it's jaw-dropping but you do tend to get a stiff neck looking up at it. Dropped jaw and stiff neck - an unhappy combination.
The same church is a magnet for Thomas Hardy fans for an entirely different reason; it's the burial place of the Turberville family, the inspiration for Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. As it happens, my friend Mark gave me that very book a few weeks ago and I took it with me to Dorset. Reading a book in the area in which the book is set is an interesting experience; I half-expected Tess herself to tap me on the shoulder in Bere Regis churchyard.
I've searched the internet for a copyright-free picture of Meryl Streep standing mournfully and wind-blown at the end of The Cobb at Lyme Regis but I can't seem to find one. So this one of mine will have to do. It's an evocative, exciting and strangely beautiful place.
For more about my week down south see blog 143.
THE NEXT AGM...
...takes place this upcoming Sunday 24 May at the Tanfield Railway. I'll be there from about 1030-ish and will be catching the 1100 train to East Tanfield even if I have to travel alone!
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