Dorset, England (Minterne House): August 17 – August 22
August 18, Saturday am.
Arrived into Heathrow yesterday morning after a long, uneventful flight. Rented our car and followed an outrageously long set of directions from Heathrow to Dorset. I am impressed that we only made only little misstep along the way. Surprising really, especially considering that Charlie and I were both running on about 30 minutes of sleep plus Charlie was driving a stick and driving on the “wrong” side of the road.
Arrived here at Minterne to meet Henry and Hector along with a party of dogs. The kids and Hector ran around exploring the house while Charlie and I enjoyed a beer, walked around the grounds and had a chance to meet and talk with Lord Digby, aka “Eddie”. He’s 88 years old and full of fascinating anecdotes about the house, his life, etc. We really enjoyed talking with him.
When we started exploring the grounds we walked outside onto the lawn and heard the most beautiful music coming from the apartment of Henry’s parents – Lord and Lady Digby. Lady Digby is part of a group of music aficionados who bring chamber music back into the domain of where it originated – the home. The three musicians were practicing for a concert this evening. It was almost surreal – listening to the music, walking around the property and realizing that our three month journey had really just begun.
Day one – first full day: Charlie and Henry Went shooting clay pigeons for a little practice before the tournament tomorrow. The kids and I watched for a while until they grew restless so we went to the playground, bought some drinks, “crisps” and ice cream cones. Went to a great place for lunch called “Gaggle of Geese” in a small village not too far from Minterne. The food was great, the weather was amazing and the kids were (thankfully), very taken by the indoor bowling alley. Good times were had by all.
On our way home from the pub, Henry took us on a very small little road that runs along the edge of Minterne and someone else’s land. Easy driving for the Isuzu 4-wheel drive however the BMW wagon did not handle quite as well on the little road filled with potholes, water, mud and overhanging branches. We stopped at the top of the hill and got the two photos above — you can see Minterne in the distance. The kids had an amazing time. Charlie and Henry drove the kids home and Sophie and I walked with the “running Indians”.
Big fun swimming followed along with Henry teaching my Henry the game of Croquet. How very British! Sophie and I attempted to start a small fire on the gas grill while cooking dinner but it all ended well. Dinner was great! It’s almost 10:30 pm here and we are all well worn out with day one!
Day two at Minterne
Another day with sunshine and record high temperatures. The kids jumped on the trampoline, ran around with the dogs and generally got out some energy before the shooting competition.
The competition was held at Oliver and Charlie’s house. Their home is located in ___.
Henry (Digby), Charlie, Adam and Max (their two partners were a father / son team) did a respectable job in the shooting competition – they did not win the trophy (this went to the “Hot Shots”) nor did they take the cabbage. 🙂 When the competition was over, we were served a great luncheon buffet among tables in the converted barn. We sat with Adam, Susannah (she’s from Munich) and their son Max.
When we arrived, Hector and Henry spied the table full of Nerf guns. We quickly learned that the boy who lives in the home (Felix) wanted to sell the whole lot of them for 15 pounds! According to Henry, that was a “great deal” so we had to have all of them. What fun! “What do those adults know about really shooting when we have Nerf?”
Day three (August 21): Started the day with our first homeschooling effort while abroad. Our classroom was located downstairs – across from Henry’s office.
The kids did remarkably well, after a little initial adjustment. We had our standard day of school plus a botany lesson, courtesy of Lord Digby who took us on a walk through Minterne Gardens.
For lunch today, we were invited to have lunch with Lord and Lady Digby and the grandchildren. We had lasagna, peas, tomatoes and pudding with clotted cream
for dessert. After lunch we had our tour of the gardens. Make sure you click on that page so you can see more photos of the gardens.
Day four -August 21: Started day two of homes schooling. Had a little rocky start with Elsa but once everything settled,
we got our work done in about 2 hours and were on our way to see the Cerne Giant and Lulworth Cove. This evening, we are having an adult night out — yea! Tomorrow morning we leave for Stonehenge and then on to yes, of all places, LegoLand . Photos and stories to follow.
The following description of the Cerne Giant is courtesy of Wikipedia:
The Cerne Abbas Giant, or Cerne Giant, and more recently referred to as the Rude Man and the Rude Giant, is a hill figure of a giant naked man on a hillside near the village of Cerne Abbas, to the north of Dorchester, in Dorset, England. The 180 ft (55 m) high, 167 ft (51 m) wide figure is carved into the side of a steep hill, and is best viewed from the opposite side of the valley or from the air. The carving is formed by a trench 12 in (30 cm) wide, and about the same depth, which has been cut through grass and earth into the underlying chalk. In his right hand the giant holds a knobbled club 120 ft (37 m) in length. A 1996 study found that some features of the image have changed over time; notably, the study concluded that the figure originally held a cloak in its left arm and stood over a disembodied head.
The figure’s origin and age is unknown. Early antiquarians associated it with a Saxon deity, though there is little evidence for such a connection. Other scholars sought to identify it with a Celtic British figure or the Roman Hercules, or some syncretization of the two. The 1996 discoveries strengthened the identification with Hercules, who was often depicted wielding a club and carrying a cloak made from the Nemean Lion. However, since the first descriptions of the figure do not appear until the mid-18th century, many scholars conclude that it is not significantly older than that. Regardless of its age, the Cerne Abbas Giant has become an important part of local culture and folklore, which often associates it with fertility.
After a quick stop, we traveled onto Lulworth Cove – had a little stop for lunch (trailer park). That’s a whole other story but the food was actually quite good. 🙂
Lulworth Cove is a cove near the village of West Lulworth, on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site in Dorset, southern England. The cove is one of the world’s finest examples of such a landform. It is close to the rock arch of Durdle Door and otherJurassic Coast sites.
The cove has formed because there are bands of rock of alternating resistance running parallel to the shore (a concordant coastline). On the seaward side the claysand sands have been eroded away. A narrow (less than 30 metre) band of Portland limestone rocks forms the shoreline. Behind this is a narrow (less than 50 metre) band of slightly less resistant Purbeck limestone. Behind this are 300–350 metres of much less resistant clays and greensands (Wealden clays, Gault and Upper Greensand).
Forming the back of the cove is a 250 metre wide band of chalk, which is considerably more resistant than the clays and sands, but less resistant than the limestones. The entrance to the cove is a narrow gap in the limestone bands. This was formed by a combination of erosional processes by wave action, glacial melt waters and the processes of weathering. The wide part of the cove is where the weak clays and greensands have been eroded. The back of the cove is the chalk, which the sea has been unable to erode as fast as it does not dissolve in the sea acids.