Friday, April 8, 2011

Heat Wave!

6 April
Maiden Castle, Dorchester

A free night at last!

It is just so crowded in the UK that our favourite camping areas – the FREE ones – are almost non-existent. But tonight we are nestled in, on a very warm and sunny afternoon, at the foot of Maiden Castle, the largest ancient earthen fortified 'castle' in the UK. Six thousand years ago, neolithic tribes began to fortify this natural high point on the green and rolling Dorchester hills. Then, of course, most of the landscape was dense forest. Over the millennia, many different civilizations called this hill home. They added miles of earth works, ditches and wooden fortifications. All to no avail as it turns out. They are long gone and we, and the dozens of locals walking their dogs, have taken over. There must be a lesson in there somewhere?

Visiting Britain is always going to be about culture, castles and cathedrals. Some of these places we have already seen two or three times, but we just keep coming back! Canterbury and Salisbury Cathedrals are cases in point.

We always find something different and interesting. In Canterbury, for example, we were able to pick up a special Australian guide to the Cathedral. It detailed special monuments to locals who had made good in the colonies who were buried in the cathedral. One of the vergers at Salisbury offered us a special Aussie guide, but it was just a normal one that was printed with the inside pages printed upside down (in error). Very droll!

A new spot for us was Corfe Castle - a magnificent ruin perched atop a hill and commanding a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside on this, probably the best day, weather wise, we have ever experienced in the UK!

7 April
Somewhere in Sunny Cornwall

London experienced its hottest April day since 1892 yesterday. 23.5C. Down south, where we are, it was shirts off, shorts on and down to the beach for many of the sun-deprived locals. Not a pretty sight, your early spring pommie on the beach. Nevertheless you've got admire their spirit. Beaches of mud coloured sand, waves the height of a two year old's knees and water temperatures that would curl your toe-nails and they are into it!

We spotted these excited beach goers and thousands of others, out and about enjoying beautiful early spring sunshine in the old fishing towns of Looe and Polperro. We have visited both towns a couple of times before, but we've never seen them in bright sunshine like this. Beautiful!

Twilight is an unfamiliar phenomena for us tropics dwellers. As we write this, the sun is still belting down at 7:30pm and it is still well above the horizon. No complaints from us though. We recall the shortened days of winter on our previous trips when it was dark by 4:00pm. We do have to take care though, that as we enjoy the warmth of the twilight, 'beer o'clock' doesn't extend to the point where we can't be bothered to cook dinner!

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