I knew I would love Dorset before setting off, but I was not expecting falling in love with the area as much as I did last week. If I told you I have found the perfect place, would you believe me?
Well, let me tell you: I have found it.
It is not easy to describe, even for a writer, the kind of feeling you get when you are out there, standing in a landscape that hasn't been changed nor spoilt for hundreds - even thousands of years. You feel like you are in a timeless place, a place in which Nature has always had the upper hand. You feel at peace.
It is the best of places for a writer: Dorset can give you beauty and danger, placid hills and uncompromising cliffs, chocolate-box villages and atmospheric manor houses, but also isolated, ruined ghost villages and wind-swept 14th-Century chapels.
It offers you a much needed quiet and allows you to retreat inside yourself, your thoughts at last unpolluted by the increasingly attention-seeking outside world.
The countryside is lush, abundant and extremely varied. It is full of animals and feels incredibly alive.
You feel linked to the past and the future and tend to reflect on the place of human beings on this earth, especially when you look at the breathtaking Jurassic coast or at the imperious ruins of Corfe Castle. If you have an ounce of imagination, then hundreds of images appear in front of your eyes and you make up stories in your head at the pace of at least 100 per hour.
No wonder the area has got links to literature and the arts. It is one of the most inspiring places I have been to.
It is also well placed if you itch to explore further (Devon, Somerset) or go back to the pulsating hive that is London (about 2 hours and something only away!).
Now for one of my favourite places in South Dorset: St Catherine's chapel in Abbotsbury.
We saw it under a blue sky with the sun shining. I want to go back and see it in the winter... I will see it in the autumn, which is not too bad.
The chapel is overlooking the incredible Chesil beach.
Incidentally, St Catherine's chapel has inspired PJ Harvey's song "The Wind".
Catherine liked high places
High up on the hills
A place for making noises
Noises like the whales
Here she built a chapel with
Her image on the wall
A place where she could rest and
A place where she could wash
And listen to the wind blow
She dreamt of children's voices
And torture on the wheel
Patron-Saint of nothing
A woman of the hills
She once was a lady
Of pleasure, and high-born
A lady of the city
But now she sits and moans
And listens to the wind blow
I see her in her chapel
High up on a hill
She must be so lonely
Oh Mother, can't we give
A husband to our Catherine?
A handsome one, a dear
A rich one for the lady
Someone to listen with
Below is the video for "The Wind". It has absolutely nothing to do with the song, but hey. Never mind.
Here are my pictures of St Catherine's chapel.
Read more about the chapel here: St Catherine's chapel
I think therefore I write.
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