Celebrating my namesake in Portland

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Thursday 20 October 1664

Up and to the office, where all the morning. At noon my uncle Thomas came, dined with me, and received some money of me. Then I to my office, where I took in with me Bagwell’s wife, and there I caressed her, and find her every day more and more coming with good words and promises of getting her husband a place, which I will do.

We cannot accuse Samuel P of being inhibited with his affections for women. If FB and Twitter had been around I wonder how long the marriage would have lasted. Perhaps he sees his behavior as part of softening people up for some sort of selling opportunity be it an idea or material goods. In his own mind, therefore, such behavior would be justified.

*****

Today is Saturday 21st October, the day that my name, Brian,  is attached to a wind storm, or the tail end of a hurricane, giving its attention to Ireland and the West of England. Around 8AM I got the idea that we should drive to the south coast, Portland Bill no less, and see for ourselves the effect of the wind and the elements in general on our southern coast. It was indeed a magnificent display – bright blue sky – rain at 45 degrees – wind that made it impossible to stand straight – inky black skies – the sun sending beams of light towards the landscape – all this on the straight forward but boring route southwards on the A37 (Bristol to Dorchester).

We arrived on the promontory to see many sightseers with the same idea. We were not disappointed. High tide had been about 7.30 am so it was going down but you could never guess. I will let the pictures speak for themselves. The wind was about 55-60 mph

The lighthouse

We did not go round as we did not have time or inclination but Trip Advisor reports are good. I have stopped writing reports for them as in my 6 years of writing I feel I have done my fair share. Trip Advisor are turning into a travel agency with reviews as secondary but their show goes on its in own sweet capitalist way. They have changed the landscape and have done a lot of good. I have benefited from them and since checking reviews before I travel I have not had one disappointment.

Obelisk

No I have not removed the colouration this is how it looked.

boiling sea
braving the elements
from the cliff edge

I could not help noticing that the quality of the grass was almost as good as that on a bowling green. Weedless and even. How come when it is so close to saltbearing water.

an unglamorous picture of yours truly trying to keep upright
a very definitely ‘off season’  row of beach huts or should they be cliff huts
Not easy to capture the moment when a wave breaks.

After an hour of this we had had enough of being blown to death. We glanced at the cafe, The Lobster Pot, DT5 2JT and decided against having lunch on the grounds that it was completely and utterly full of people, and that at 11.30 am. So it may be stratospherically fine and brilliant but that is not the type of environment that I enjoy so we moved on.

*****

I love old rail tracks, old machines, anything old really so this caught my eye.

mysterious machine
any guesses anybody?

Being the home of the famous Portland stone, it was probably for lifting or cutting or processing said stone. It is a form of limestone but has interesting properties. It is like a sponge and will partly absorb rainwater but after a day or so the stone dries out again.

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The man himself. He is there on Saturdays

We then came across the Portland ‘Grove Prison’, and the museum associated with it. The guide was all too keen to talk with us and we had to make the difficult decision to break him off in mid conversation because we were very hungry not having eaten. He recommended us to a cafe, the Sugar Loaf, in Easton DT5 2AL.  People round here certainly know each other’s business. He felt it necessary to give some background to the introduction.  It was run by Dawn, who was a New Zealander and came back here to UK to settle. She eventually married her friend Ivan. The establishment was at one time a Fish and Chip shop. He recommended it highly for its reasonable prices and boy was he right. He asked us to say that he had suggested the cafe.

unpretentious exterior don’t be fooled

I paid £6.95 for a large smoked haddock which I could just about finish. That was with chips and salad. That was followed by a raspberry crumble with lots of custard.  Total yum yum.  I was particularly glad to find this as I do not care to pay in the £12.95 region for what can be very ordinary food with a fancy title. ‘covered with home made sauce’. I don’t care where it is made so long as it is healthy i.e. not full of chemicals. When the time came to pay I asked the waitress why there were no credit card facilities. She shrugged and said that that is the way it has always been. Who am I to argue. I left a tip anyway.

*****

Back to the prison museum. The chap had waited for us because we said that we would be back by 2PM. We failed in this objective. He was just locking up.  We shall return. The opening times are a reflection that this is an entirely voluntary effort. No funding from anywhere.

Opening times : Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10.00am – 2.00pm throughout the year. Closed for a fortnight before Christmas, including Christmas week and a fortnight after New Year.

There were some intriguing memorials in the grounds.

The micro climate supports these palm species. We saw quite a few fig trees.
Memorials to those prisoners who passed on
rather unusual decor to say the least.

This was one of the first prisons to focus on the rehabilitation of the prisoners. To do it justice we shall return probably early next year.

an attractive way of supporting a bed of greenery. They are logs not stone
looking 150 feet down from the cliffs.
so how many of you have heard about Portland Goats. Read this by pressing Ctrl (bottom left) and + keys top right.

Hmm. Starting to rain so off we go back home. I love going out but I love returning to base just as much. To be rendered homeless must tear your heart out.

2 thoughts on “Celebrating my namesake in Portland”

  1. Thank you for your observations and insights Brian. It is a lot easier to let someone else do the exploring while enjoying it from the comfort of home. You must have some interesting memories of the old Vicarage in Guildersfield Road, but I imagine your diary does not go back that far? I did receive reports that you had made a noble effort to sustain an homeless person yourself in the intervening years, but that may have been hearsay?
    Portland caught my eye because I thought you might be exploring its eponymous relation in Oregon.

    1. I do indeed have memories of the vicarage. You have unwittingly ‘outed’ me as the son of a vicar – quite something in the 1960’s when I was seen as different. I still am seen as different but for other reasons, probably an incurable anarchy. No not hearsay it is true that I tried to assist ‘Ron the Tramp’. He eventually passed away through pancreatitis but was happier in his last days. I would look it up but that was before the Internet got going.

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