A Thousand Miles of History XXXXIV: Dog-sick with ice cream

By late afternoon I was flagging. We had been on the road for a mere six days, and although we never rush and we take our time at each of the sites we visit, we don’t stop either. It is easy to drive the short hops between sites, staying alert for obscure turnings, the perils of road-hogging sheep and lanes so narrow the hedges either side brush the car doors. But, after a few days, the longer stretches get tiring unless you are planning on stopping along the way, for that breaks the journey into bite-sized pieces and gives you a chance to stretch your legs.

My navigator keeps an eye on me though. “Fancy an ice-cream?” he said, casting a critical eye over his driver. Well, as it was rush hour and the roads were busy, and as the sea was only two or three miles to my right, that seemed like an excellent idea. He found me a seaside town where there was not only bound to be ice-cream, but also a last look at the sea.

I was born in an inland city and have lived away from the sea all my life. Distance is relative and what seems like an impossible distance to someone from a small country may be a daily commute for someone born in a land as big as the States.  For all that Britain is an island, and a fairly small one at that, trips to the coast were rare and therefore special. I think that inland-dwellers tend to forget that we are islanders at heart, but the rhythms of the sea still sing in our blood and the sea calls to something that is buried deep within body and soul.

So, we drove into the little town of Seaton in South Devon and headed for the shore. The cliffs of the Jurassic Coast encircle a bay of deepest sapphire. The shingle beach was almost deserted as we sat with our ice-creams beside the sea. Watching the bathers, you could see how steeply the beach falls away at the waterline… no place for small children to paddle, perhaps, but I was sorely tempted, and had I packed a swimsuit, would have been in there like a shot.

Instead, I watched an old lady and her elderly dog… a joyful and strangely familiar dog, with a passion for tennis balls. We cannot bring Ani on these trips when they begin with a workshop, but I couldn’t help thinking how much she would have loved to be frolicking in the water and chasing her ball. After a week away, I was not homesick in the slightest, but I was missing my Ani.

Time was getting on and with still another fifty miles to go, we did not linger for long. Uncertain of what would be available in the village inn where we were staying, we decided to stop in Dorchester for something quick to eat and chose to return to the place where we had eaten with the girls at the end of the workshop weekend. They would have a light snack… or so we thought. They also do a wonderful elderflower cider…  But apparently, Thursday nights they do a unique take on one of my very favourite meals… raclette. The whole central island is covered with dishes containing salads, pickles, olives and charcuterie with which to stack your late. The chef melts mounds of a local Dorset cheese over the lot and me? I was in heaven. (Thank you Alethea, Larissa and Helen for introducing us to the place!)   

Just a few more country lanes, a few more places where ‘if only we had time’, and we arrived at our destination, the aptly named Fox Inn. We had pretty much come full circle and were once again in a village close to Cerne Abbas. The adventure was almost over… all we had to do was go home. We were unlikely to find anything else on the way, though we did intend stopping at a couple of familiar places. But then again, you just never know what surprises a day is going to offer…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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27 Responses to A Thousand Miles of History XXXXIV: Dog-sick with ice cream

  1. Dalo 2013 says:

    I like the way you describe your travels, I’ve similar feelings before ~ no matter how easy going we are during travel, taking our own sweet time at the sights and places we visit…we are always moving. At the end of the week, it is impossible not to feel a bit drained – but also so happy to know at some point in the future we will do it all again 🙂


  2. Love the swimming dog 🙂


  3. fransiweinstein says:

    Looking forward to the surprises …


  4. Thank you for another wonderful sightseeing tour, Sue! With your describtion its like a real own visiti of the locations. I think too, Ani had a lot of fun near and in the sea. 😉 Best wishes for the week, Michael.


  5. Widdershins says:

    Now I know what a raclette is … an upside-down fondue! 😀


  6. This brings back so many wonderful memories of my own of the California sea shore. Such wonderful times spent there and so many adventures. And I remembered a wonderful Shiz Tzu I brought home from the pound when my rescue dog Bunny died. I named her Moufi Ani, which is as close as I figured to be Thank you from the Yiddish. Her pound name was Annie, and we couldn’t have two of us, Sadly, she is gone too, but Your story of your Ani reminded me of her. Bless all their sweet hearts! What would life be without creatures. It gives us a whole new perspective in life. I loved the story of the visit to the sea. I could almost feel the sea breeze and smell that wonderful air. And I could see the sea birds flying off in some direction going who knows where. Perhaps they too are exploring! Tonight when I go to bed, I’m going to fly to the ocean once more.


  7. noelleg44 says:

    My goodness, that dog looks like Ani! As one who grew up on the ocean, I find I NEED to return there a couple of times a year to rev my engines or my tidal surges. And if I’m there, I’m in. Actually any body of water beckons! Oh, yum, raclette!


  8. Jennie says:

    This was delightful, a pleasure to read. Thank you, Sue!


  9. These photos are breathtaking, Sue. I was astounded at the BLUE of the sea. Sounds wonderful, and thank you for sharing.


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