Walking Purbeck


‘Water? From a bottle? Perlease!’

I love Dog. You do, if you own a dog. Get a dog and watch as your DNA mutates into a slobbering devoted mess.

But there are things that make me question my general besottedness. Like his insistence on ignoring the fresh water I carry for him on a long walk if there’s a puddle with the black gooey consistency of a doggichino. Or how he will attack a horse or sheep turd with the relish I save for gingerbread muffins. He’s a carnivore, for pity’s sake – well ok an omnivore but the veggie are definitely fillers – yet climb a grassy hillside where the sheep have been grazing and he’s hoovering up their offerings like a Dyson commercial.


Which is exactly where we were a week or so ago.


As you, dear readers, most of you anyway, know, I was, in a different universe, an overpaid member of the legal profession, all dark city whistles (whistle and flute: suit) and shoes that proved the malleability of feet. I was lucky to make some very good friendships, though, and a group of us, now all beyond the day to day grind, regularly visit places from which we can walk while chewing the fat, laughing at our past and current pretensions and praising the day we moved on.


This month it was to Dorset that we repaired and specifically the Isle of Purbeck. We wandered up and down, around Swanage and Corfe Castle, we meandered along the coastal path towards the beautifully named Worth Matravers.


In particular we stopped at the eccentric Durlston Castle (which I also visited recently with the Archaeologist). This country park of some 280 acres was the brainchild of a stone magnate, George Burt, who pretty much paved London in the 19th century and created this place as a visitor attraction, using recycled stone for the purpose.


The centrepiece of which is a stone globe with a somewhat bizarre (nowadays) 1880s world map in relief thereupon.


The countries reflect the then European Empires and the geography is somewhat, hmm, off-kilter.


But around it are statistics and worthy sayings that make you wonder what the Victorians thought on their days out, possibly by charabanc from Swanage.

2016-10-02-12-27-18-1 2016-10-02-12-26-40

But this last by Pope, well, it still has resonance today. If you can, visit. The tea rooms alone justify the effort!

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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24 Responses to Walking Purbeck

  1. Ah, the beauty of Dorset, Poole being my home town. I remember the concrete globe, Swanage beach, and the steam railway. Best bit about the prom? Mango ice cream.
    Only available at one of the kiosks and he didn’t have any, but suggested we came back in half an hour. Lo and behold, Mango ice cream and sorbet was waiting for me. How could I refuse having a double scoop? Sweet memories indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gordon759 says:

    You should have added that George Burt had a very clear, perhaps low, expectation of what the charabanc visitors would do. Beside the improving and educational messages around the globe, he left one stone blank – for graffiti artists to write their names on!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. M. L. Kappa says:

    Fascinating place. Btw, my dog loves eating and rolling in swan poo. Ugh! A bath is requires ASAP, which is why I’m all for short-haired dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. stevetanham says:

    My wife’s favourite county, Geoff. But she hasn’t been to Durltson, apparently, so it’s on the list! We have a collie, so we will fit the bill!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautiful (meditating?) walk. Love the idea of recycled stone and I think it’s beautiful, actually, if not exactly perfect geography. And here’s to tea rooms! We need some over here.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Erika Kind says:

    So beautiful and what gorgeous weather!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. willowdot21 says:

    That globe looks like it is about to escape and run off any second with Dog in pursuit!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Toby is much the same with drinking out of muddy puddles and wanting to bathe in fox poo, etc. I guess it’s his version of Black pepper Molton Brown?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent pics. Nasty habits, dogs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a delight, Geoff. I didn’t think anything could be more entertaining than the comment you left at my blog this morning… But your description of “Dog” had me in stitches.
    I envy anyone who is retired, since it’s not likely in my future… maybe if I’m extra lucky (just not likely). I used to joke that I was going to put my life’s savings into a used RV and live in the middle of the desert (so no rent), and teach the cats (now unfortunately just cat) to catch lizards for dinner. Then someone told me about the Breaking Bad TV show, and I realized that my joke suggested I’d engage in some very unsavory activities. So no more RV and lizard fricassee jokes.

    Loved the photos and the narrative. Happy weekend. Hugs.


  11. Norah says:

    Dorset looks lovely. Though, I must say, you haven’t convinced me about dog ownership with your opening paragraphs. If that was your intention, I’m sorry to inform you – you failed! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rachel M says:

    What of my dogs used to eat gross things like that and even cleaned up dog vomit which was handy.

    Liked by 1 person

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