Monday, 2 November 2009
A weekend in the DORSET PUDDLES Part 1
Over the half term weekend we went to Dorset for a break. It was a trip down memory lane for me. Most of my childhood was spent living in the South of France. However, when I was 14 years old (early 1980's), we moved to AFFPUDDLE in Dorset. Where? I hear you say. I agree, it is a funny name, the whole area is full of funny names with puddle or piddle being part of the name. The River Piddle runs through Affpuddle. In fact, Affpuddle was once known as Affpiddle.
Affpuddle is a very nice hamlet with lovely houses & thatched cottages.
Affpuddle is situated between Puddletown and Bere regis. (Click on photo to enlarge the map)
For the first six months I REALLY did not like it there at all! Too much of a contrast with living in the South of France (Monte-Carlo & Cannes). Not long after we moved to Affpuddle, I recall going to the little shop in the neighbouring village of Briantspuddle. As I walked out of the shop, two men were sitting on the doorstep. One of them said: 'That's the foreigner' in quite a strong Dorset accent. There was no attempt at being discreet!
I remember thinking how rude!!! I was not impressed and couldn't wait to go back and tell my parents how rude people where here! On other occasions we would be stared at as if we have landed from Mars, no hello, just starring and muttering. Oh how I missed France! I have to say that I did not experience that with any of our immediate neighbours who were all very nice. It seemed to happen when we were out and about.
Thirty years ago things were different then, anyone who was not from Dorset was an outsider or a "Grockle" is the term some locals use/used. Things weren't as cosmopolitan as they are now. Now people travel more and are more used to outsiders. This is fair to say of some other parts of the UK too.
I eventually settled and Affpuddle became one of my favourite places to live! I discovered a different way of life, rural life, the countryside and a slower pace of life. Cycling along the country lanes, something which we where not able to do where we lived previously. Affpuddle still remains a very special place to me, unfortunately we only lived there for 3 years but I have some wonderful memories including an idyllic snowy Christmas.
If I had to choose between living in the South of France or Affpuddle, I would choose Affpuddle. Surprised, shocked & stunned? Especially after what I said about how I felt upon arriving here? I still very much like the South of France and am very lucky to have lived where I did. However, life out there can be quite artificial, Affpuddle is real, down to earth and wholesome.
Fancy having a little tour around this lovely village?
The house I lived in was previously owned by an elderly lady called Joan Brocklebank, the author of "Affpuddle in the County of Dorset". When we moved in, she left a copy of her book for us to have.
An illustration from the book
St Laurence's Church
The Old Vicarage
In the 1990's the Old Vicarage was a B&B. After we left Dorset, my sister and I would stay here from time to time for a weekend break to reminisce and visit friends and old neighbours. Sadly, it is no longer a B&B as the couple who owned it moved. It was such a beautiful house to stay in!
Proudly put up inside the Church
Illustration from the book ( That is one of the views we had from our house)
and so was this view. Another illustration from the book. The foreground shows some of the garden that belongs to the house. I was lucky enough to have that view from one of my bedroom windows.
Walking towards the house which I used to live in on the left
Here is where I used to live. So little has changed from what I could see, apart from the windows which are now PVC. ;-( I prefer the ones we had then, wooden ones with small square panels ( just like the window shown on the very last photo of this post)
Lovely name for a cottage
Views from Affpuddle
A cottage for sale! Very tempting...
Turning back and making our way back to the Church where we parked our car.
Had to have another look of course! I so wanted to have a peak at the lovely large garden around the house. Just to know if it was all laid out as before...
This cottage is almost opposite where I lived.
Back to the entrance of the village.
We then headed for BRIANTSPUDDLE where we stayed in a B&B
The next day we woke up to a lot of wind and rain outside. Luckily it cleared up by late morning. This meant a lot of walking and exploring but that's all my next post...
Thank you for letting me ramble on and reminisce about my past! ;-))