I’m on my annual (semi-annual if I’m lucky) visit home to the UK. I hail from South London, but my parents moved down to the coast several years ago, to the area of Dorset where we spent many holidays growing up. So, quickly, in between caring for the baby and being on holiday, here are seven favourite things about Swanage.
Actually, I’m cheating a little here, because my seven could read Chococo, Chococo, Chococo, Chococo, Chococo, Chococo, Chococo. This tiny seaside town has given birth to possibly the best chocolatier in the UK. My favourite handmade chocolate is probably the Espresso. Or is it Old Thumper? Maybe Brilliant Black Cow. Possibly Bob’s Bees. Not to forget the chocolate biscuit cake, which I still buy even though I have the recipe from their cookbook. Their chocolates are so good, I can eat one a day and be satisfied. And then there’s the café, where my current snack of choice is almond hot chocolate with a raspberry Melting Moment, but I’m gearing up to try the 100% hot chocolate (made with Venezuelan chocolate), which you get to sweeten to your own level. Aargh, enough, excuse me while I run downtown...
2. The view from my window
3.Christmas pudding ice cream
On a beach in July. The ultimate satisfaction for lovers of irony.
4. Being able to walk everywhere
A bonus: pushing a stroller up steep hills equals postpartum boot camp.
5. Being ten minutes from the sea
I never get tired of the sea. I swim even when it’s icy (which is the usual temperature here). It’s really not so bad once you go numb. I’m never indifferent to the way its vastness makes me seem so insignificant yet is somehow so comforting, assuring me I have a place in the universe.
6. Second hand books
Being a tourist town, there’s always a good turnover of books holidaymakers buy and leave behind. Plus an Oxfam bookstore and a local bookstore stuffed with second hand treasures and local offerings. Last year, there seemed to be at least one copy of Fifty Shades of Grey in every charity (thrift) shop. I suppose people were letting their literary hair down (or tying it up!) on holiday.
July is fete season in England, and around here there’s at least one traditional fete each weekend. I can’t resist a good rummage, fortified by homemade cakes and tea, of course. Vintage books, cake keepers, plates, lamps, knitted tea cosies, fairtrade rubber gloves… the list of peculiar bargains we’ve stuffed into suitcases to bring back to the States is endless.
Bonnie at A Knotted Life is hosting Seven Quick Takes this week. Pop over and say hello.