Sunday, 10 July 2011

No apologies for Charmouth, Lyme Regis, or Seaton

A tiny part of my brain wonders if I should apologise for what is about to happen on this blog.

But I tell my tiny brain, I'm not going to apologise!

What is about to happen is all about self-interested gratification and self-absorbed enjoyment and it's all mine.

Obviously I'm not going to apologise! It would be like having a completely fulfilling experience and a satisfying moment of pure physical pleasure - like sipping a hot cup of cocoa while wearing carpet slippers - then putting down your mug and saying sorry. That would be absurd, right?

Or maybe a self-indulgent blog would never attract any readers! I keep hearing how the whole point is to write so you are read, because without an audience there is no point.

I beg to differ. From the pov of my outsider world, you can come and go as you please. I write selfishly. My fingers are driven to it, I want joyful pictures of England to look at from my gloomy den in Hong Kong, I might need this record to get one over on a Local Authority jobsworthy, and I have other things to do, and amusing myself with this blog is a way of not doing them. (If you're reading now, I assume the last of those reasons is true for you too.)

Now who was it said that a historian is like a deaf man answering questions that no-one asked? When I heard that, I thought, welcome to my blog.

So, here begins a self-indulgent week of educational rockwatching in Dorset. Pure pleasure. If you choose to happen along, then I can say, who knows where it will take us, we rootless, free-roaming romantics of England's coast? We seekers of answers, we learners, we child scholars of the world?

Okay, the week might turn out less Aristotle and more Then we did this... then we did that... then we did something else... for which also I am not apologising and not returning to edit. Take it or leave it.

But one thing's for sure. The week ahead will have plenty of photos of rocks.

The fantastic Charmouth beach! We begin the ammonite scrounge right here, begging the sea to throw us those tiny perfect pyrite ammonites that glint like studded metal in the sand! Tiger mugs an old lady, who gives up her collection in an act of selfless generosity. Or maybe to escape from us quicker, I can't quite tell.

Kids, you had your fun. Over to Lyme Regis Museum for their excellent introduction to geology, geologists, and local history. (Included to prove my kids can write, jobsworthy.)

Pause to re-enact the French Lieutenant's Woman down at the Cobb.

And, not even finally for the day's adventures, because this morning I shook these children early out of bed, there's still time to spend the early evening pebble-picking in Axmouth and Seaton, which looks exactly the same today as the last time I recall seeing it in 1965.

This is a journey, along this coastline, that I needed to take. I want to indulgently delight in it, each and every day, be never fretful or apprehensive about it, enjoy it, live it for what it is and not ask it to be more than it is.

We are taught in our culture that for something to be learned, there must be suffering. For a wisdom to be gained, there must be experience of pain, or despair, or solitude. In seeking knowledge, we must come upon it with hardship, show how our understanding is limited, apologise for our shortcomings, and show humility in error.

For this week, I'm proving all that wrong. Learning can be had without those ideas to attend it. It can be simply a moment of enjoyment, self indulgence, and pure pleasure.

That too, needs no apology.


Nora said...

In learning the lesson of your blog, I thoroughly enjoyed myself too. The photos were lovely and so were your words.

sharon said...

Such a beautiful part of the UK. Glad you are storing it in your collective memories before the return to HK.

Just to make you sigh wistfully - we had two frosty mornings in a row and today, by way of a change, it is cold and pissing down - but not frosty!

MadameSmokinGun said...

Used to go out with a boy from Seaton. Nice to see it again. This time without the 80's radio soundtrack, peroxide hair and skin tight clothing.... shudders.... Nice rocks! (changing the subject...) Very nice rocks.

Maire said...

Love Charmouth and Lyme, front drive still littered with rocks meant to be hacked into after our last visit two years ago.

We are Hesfessing too, with the little Bambi and big tent, wave if you see us!