After three days of disappointing weather, it was only natural that everyone would make a beeline for the coast as soon as the sun made an appearance.
We were spending a few days in Exeter with our student son. The forecast suggested the best of the weather would be in the east so we headed for Lyme Regis, about an hour away, in the adjoining county of Dorset.
Car parks would be busy so we planned to make use of the seasonal Park & Ride arrangements. This had served us well earlier in the week where, in Dartmouth, a very efficient double decker bus had taken us all into the heart of the town, for a fee of £5 per car. It had been quite a jolly ride although I’d been surprised to see so many people with their dogs. Was this a new initiative in Dartmouth? Mutt on a Bus? Bark and Ride? Thankfully they were all rather sweet animals despite the whiff of wet dog wafting down the aisle.
The Park & Ride system on the western approach to Lyme Regis consisted of a field and no sign of a bus, or a bus stop for that matter. There were many cars and a large number of people in a very British queue. When the bus arrived it was small, only slightly bigger than a minibus and certainly not big enough to accommodate the whole queue.
At this point we made a bold decision to abandon the Park & Ride and try our luck with the normal car parks. There were plenty of choice words from the driver and his passengers as we negotiated narrow roads down to the harbour, only to find ourselves cruising round full car parks or, worse, being sandwiched between other cars as we tried to exit.
Coming out of Lyme Regis on the other side, we thought we might give up and go elsewhere when a miracle occurred. A car park, with spaces, for the bargain price of £2 all day. It was perfectly positioned next to a set of steps which led down to the sea.
Lyme Regis was beautiful although very crowded on the one patch of sandy beach. Away from the beach I rather enjoyed pretending to be The French Lieutenant’s Woman (minus the cloak) walking along The Cobb and we found the perfect spot for a drink on the balcony of the Mermaid Theatre.
We ended our day fossil hunting at the foot of the Jurassic cliffs. As we searched for ammonites the sky darkened and the wind picked up. A dull booming sound could be heard in the distance. Was it T Rex, brought to life by our geological activity? We took stock of our situation and headed quickly back up the steps and reached our car, just as the thunder cracked and the rain exploded out of the sky. We were safe and dry.
And to think, we could have been queuing at the other side of town, waiting for a minibus.
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