Travel Log: Rain & Reflections – Day 11

Rain in England is not just a myth. We’d been fortunate so far with only one day of rain, and now we were treated to our second; just so we didn’t get the wrong impression of this green isle. We awoke to rain spattered windows and trees leaning sideways, already having given up the fight against the wind which continued to buffet them. The scene on the other side of the living room windows did not inspire us to leave the house. So let me take this opportunity to share some of my reflections of the trip.

Dogs

The Brits love dogs and they take them everywhere. Dogs on the trains. Dogs in the pubs. Dogs in the National Trust Historic Sites. Practically everyone walking down the street in Swanage was connected by leash to a dog. The majority of the dogs we saw were some variation of the King Charles Spaniel. We saw so many I began to wish I could take one home. Our Swanage Airbnb hosts had a sweet old dog, but interestingly he was a Labrador mix. He was on the larger side of dogs we saw during the trip. Pickles the pub dog, whom I’ve mentioned before, was on the other end of the size scale. He was small, and being a terrier of some sort, was also an anomaly according to our observations. I couldn’t believe dogs were allowed in half the places we saw them! To be fair, many of the places we saw dogs had signs reading, “Well behaved dogs allowed.” Which brings me to my second point…

Pickles the pub dog

The Brits are SO Polite!

The Brits are polite and clean. They don’t seem to mind queuing, they say “sorry” when they bump you, and they go out of their way to be helpful! On the subway we saw one man drop a piece of lettuce from a sandwich…and he picked it up! Also, the seats on the underground are cushioned and fabric, unlike the hard plastic seats on the the NYC subways. I was sure had this been NYC, these seats would have been knifed and trashed within minutes. (Please remember this comes from the perspective of a small-town girl, so I may be wrong about that fact, but that is my perception of the big city.) The streets and subway cars of London are relatively clean and untrashed. The pub on our block in London was full every evening with a crowd so large they filled the surrounding sidewalk and half the street, but in the morning there was no trash, and no evidence that anybody had been there the night before. Businesses in residential areas are conscious enough to ask their patrons to leave quietly out of respect for the neighborhood. I’m going to miss the British politeness when I return home. Which leads me to…

The rest of the world could really learn a thing or two…

We found that overall, the worst people we saw when it came to being oblivious of others and personal space were tourists. Indian, Asian, American…everyone. If you’re a tourist somewhere, please consider those around you. No need to push and shove towards the museum display case, also no need to camp out out in front of the display. Even if they’re the crown jewels. (Every museum should have a moving sidewalk along the display cases!) One other thing, in Britain when the subway doors are shutting, they will NOT spring open if you put your hands and/or feet in the way. The doors will continue to try and shut until locals in the car decide to rescue you by pressing the door open button, and then they will sigh heavily at you for delaying the train. (No this was not me, just another clueless American couple… But I really did feel like a rude slob compared to the British locals.)

Tourists. Tourists everywhere.

Restore my faith in humanity, share with me a story of a considerate world traveler. Has it made you more aware when traveling yourself?

Now back to the day at hand…

The rainy day provided the perfect excuse to continue reading Enid Blyton and her Enchantment with Dorset. I learned that Blyton spent much of her time in Swanage and had even stayed with her family in the Ship Inn, which I remembered passing in the downtown area. By mid afternoon the weather relented, the rain surrendered to blue skies, although the wind persisted. More encouraged to leave the house in search of food, I suggested we have a dinner date at the Ship Inn. We had seasoned, minced meat burgers, but the highlight was the local Dorset Honey Comb ice cream. I wish there was someway to to take it home with me! That’s another thing I’m going to miss! While eating, I looked out the window and wondered if the view was similar to that which Blyton would have seen from her hotel room.

Happily full, and hesitant to return to the house where we’d been cooped up all day, we decided to take a seaside stroll since the blue sky appeared to be holding. Well we strolled… so close to the door of the seaside arcade, Fun World, and the door opened! I was surprised it was open at this hour since the streets and beach were deserted and I assumed the vacationers were all headed home at the end of this bank holiday weekend. So we went in. We had the arcade to ourselves, and it was nice to just have some good old fashioned fun unrelated to books and history.

Fun World Arcade
Series Navigation<< Author Footsteps: Blyton and the Castles, Smugglers and Caves of the Dorset CoastA Purbeck Bus Expedition & Good Eats in Wareham >>

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