Dorset: Day 6 – 28.07.20……..And then there were three!
It’s Maices birthday today and instead of a card, Jane and I decided to put together a little video trailer montage which we posted on facebook. Unfortunately, for some reason Maice wasn’t able to share it with her family and friends so after numerous FaceTime calls as early as seven o’clock this morning, we still couldn’t find out how to do it. Now why hadn’t yesterdays home-schooling session incorporated Facebook? Neither of us really know what we’re doing on it. There was only one thing for it. We’d have to call Susan, she’d know what to do. Fortunately she did know what to do, told us what to do, we did it and hey presto, I tagged said video to Maice. It wasn’t until the evening that we realised she then needed to ‘share’ it with her family and friends so they could actually view it. We’re such duffers when it comes to these sorts of things that Susan has kindly offered to give us training in how to use Facebook….properly!
So, not only is today Maices birthday, Happy Birthday Maice, but today we’re going to be joined on our circular walk of Milton Abbas by our friend Jane. With three of us scrutinising the directions there’s no chance of us getting lost on this walk, another walk selected from the AA 50 Walks in Dorset book. After the usual early morning trip to Lidl to purchase foodstuff for our picnic, we drove off to Milton Abbas where we were meeting Jane at 11am. Before we set off however, we popped into Clotho in Dorchester where Maice treated herself to a pair of trousers. Well, it is her birthday after all!
We parked up opposite the only pub in the village, the Hambro Arms and with backpacks in place and directions in hand, we set off down the hill to the starting point at the church. Today’s walk was just five miles long and would, apparently, take us 2.5 hours to walk the circular route. Now that there were three of us, we were confident that we would a) make it round without any deviation or backtracking b) walk it in the five miles it said it was and c) walk it in the 2.5 hours it said it would take.
Arriving at the church we were instructed to ‘take the footpath just above the church’, so assuming we needed to walk through the church to get above the church we did exactly that, We walked through the church gate and round the back only to find a nature trail and not a signpost. ‘There’s a signpost at the side of the church’ said Maice! Now, as the one with the directions in her hand why did she not mention this before we came into the churchyard? We backtracked and followed the sign that took us up the steps. What the directions had failed to tell us was that we’d be walking up some very steep steps to get to the top. There must have been at least one hundred!. Honestly we were exhausted when we arrived at the top. Our legs in particular were not happy with this early intervention of muscular activity! We carried on across the field of broad beans which like other bean fields near Dorchester seemed to be attacked and decimated by some sort of insect infestation, the leaves were black and covered in them. Such a shame.
We carried on until we came to a ‘footpath closed’ sign in the hedgerow. Now we were in a dilemma, What to do now? We stared at the sign and deliberated our next move. Maice re-read the directions again ‘Descend to a gate in the hedgerow. Turn left’. Ah, so it’s not actually telling us to go through the gate with the footpath closed sign. It’s telling us to go left. Now, look, we just need to read the directions properly, so having ‘spoken’ to ourselves and told ourselves to go with what the directions are telling us, not what we think the directions are telling us, we went left. We continued on, retracing our steps a few times where we went a bit awry, even though we were being meticulous in following the directions, sometimes the signposts and markers are just not where they’re supposed to be!
Our next dilemma came when we were supposed to ‘reach the convergence of ancient routes at the high point of Gallows Corner, an eerie landmark’. To be honest, we couldn’t find the track that would take us there so we had no option but to cut that part of the walk out and we made our way through the fields until we joined the route about a mile or so along the walk. We were, by now, nearing the end of the walk and we hadn’t yet stopped for lunch. Once back in Milton Abbas we thought we’d walk up to the Abbey and set up our camping chairs and enjoy our picnic on the lawn outside the abbey. Walking back into Milton Abbas we stopped to chat with an ex-colleague of mine who lives there and advised us that due to COVID-19 the pathway to the Abbey and the Abbey itself was closed, but there was a nice little farmshop and café up the road. So, in need of refreshment we set off up the road, a steep road I might add, until we came to this lovely little outdoor café and farmshop tucked away on the hillside. It was lovely, it was sunny, we were sat outdoors, what’s not to love.
We were still in a quandary about where to have our picnic and we couldn’t exactly take our rolls out and eat them at the café so thought we’d follow the nearby sign to Milton Abbas which we thought would take us above the village and maybe we’d find a suitable picnic spot along the way. However, with no picnic spot to be had, we came across a gate into the woods. Now if we go through here this should take us down to the village and back to the car, so through the gate we went. We followed the path to the end where we were confronted by a wire fence and no exit route so had no option but to retrace our steps back through the woods and out onto the path. We walked along the road and headed down into Milton Abbas. Well, imagine our surprise when we came across a picnic area not far from where we’d parked the cars. So, without further ado, the bunting came out, the table cloth came out, the rolls and crisps came out and we enjoyed a lovely picnic birthday lunch. Ah, it’s the simple things that make it so special!
So our ‘five’ mile circular walk had come to an end. Considering we’d cut out a fair chunk of the walk we still managed to walk further and according to Maices App we made it round in 8.6 miles! Now, how did that happen? And we’d walked a massive 21,726 steps! We can‘t remember exactly how long it took us, but we think it took us 4.5 hours which isn’t bad for us. Just two hours over the estimated time according to the AA book!
We said our goodbyes, set off to our respective homes and looked forward to meeting up later, with Abigail, for Maices birthday meal. Supporting our local restaurants, we’d booked into Basilico in Dorchester. None of us had been here before and we were looking forward to enjoying some tasty authentic Italian food. Well, what can we say about our first experience here other than it was superb. The food was wonderful, the doballs (dough balls) in particular were excellent, the pizzas were delcious……all in all it was a great dining experience. And, for the first time this staycation……… we drunk alcohol! It was lovely. And on that note a big Thank You to Johnny for providing a bottle for the table…..you’re a star!
So, our July 2020 staycation has come to an end. As always we’ve had a great time, we’ve got lost a lot, we’ve experienced the great British weather a lot, we’ve explored a lot and we’ve laughed a lot…....oh how we have laughed, with tears running down our faces particularly when we played back our Zoom Quiz Night ‘name the dance and film’ rehearsals. You have seen nothing like it, and you won’t see anything like it as we have deemed the videos unfit for public viewing! So, looking back on our staycation, we’ve done a lot. We just need to do a bit more home-schooling, honing in our IT and social media skills and we’ll be perfect!
So thank you all for coming on our staycation with us. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. Our next one is not until September. Watch out for the forthcoming announcement of where and when and with whom!
That’s all folks……it’s been great!
P.s don’t forget to look at the Holiday Snaps tab on our webpage. The daily photos are added to the bottom of what’s already there.