A flying visit to Dorset

This is one of the retrospective write-ups that will require some thought on my part as I am writing it two months hence.  The genesis of the story begins on the 2017 Badger Moot.  As regular readers know, one of our favourite haunts while in that corner of Dorset is Lyme Regis.  In Lyme Regis there is a gallery that sells paintings by Lucinda’s favourite contemporary artists:  Lucy Young.  Lucy Young’s muse is Lyme Bay and in particular scenes on Lyme Regis beach and the Cob.  Every year we enter the gallery and Lucinda gazes upon the paintings trying to convince herself to buy one.  There have, in the past, been many that she has liked but none that have inspired her to part with her hard-earned money.

Until this year.

However, there was just one problem with it: it was a little more expensive that we had originally budgeted.  We talked about it in the gallery but Lucinda wasn’t quite in the right frame of mind to part with her money. We spoke to the assistant and told her of our dilemma. She said she understood and suggested that she would reserve it for us but if we didn’t return by the end of the day then she would cancel the reservation and put it back on sale the following day.

Happy, but still undecided, we left the gallery and headed for lunch. After lunch, we spent some time on the beach, making sand sculptures and paddling in the sea. While we were sitting on the sand, we discussed the painting and the only negative was the price.  Therefore, we decided that we would include it as just a part of the extension and then the money fades into noise.  So, before we changed our minds Lucinda picked herself up and headed off to the gallery. I followed shortly afterwards, with the Baguettes and Nanny but bumped into her before the gallery sans painting and looking upset.

There had been a bit of a mix up at the gallery. The person that we had arranged the reservation had gone on lunch shortly after we left the gallery. She had handed over to her colleague and told her of our conversation but as she had not taken our names was only able to give a description of us. While the first assistant was on lunch another couple, looking similar, to us came in and bought the painting. The second assistant had thought it was us and had even said to them that I bet they were glad that they had reserved it! When Lucinda walked in, she spoke to the original assistant who was mortified about the mix up. Lucinda was obviously upset, but there was no one to get angry with, it was just a genuine mistake and sheer bad luck.

The assistant then rescued the day. She said that they were good friends with the artist and would ask if the artist would commission another painting an exact copy of the one that Lucinda had fallen in love with. The assistant was true to her word and after a conversation with the artist, she agreed to paint the same scene for the original cost (far cheaper than a commission) but better than that, she would paint our family on the beach including Lucinda’s mum and dad and their dog, Harvey.

We received notice that the painting was ready shortly before Christmas but with work and the lead up to Christmas and the fact that the building work was overrunning we decided to pick it up between Christmas and New Year.  We booked a room in Dorchester for the 30th December and arranged to pick the painting up on New Year’s Eve.

The Baguettes we not over-enamoured with a two-day trip away from their new toys and the Christmas decorations.  Lucinda and I, on the other hand were quite happy to be away from the upheaval that has been our life since the building work.  Therefore, we bribed them with the fact that they could spend some of their Christmas money at the Toymaster store in Dorchester.  We arrived in Dorchester around lunchtime so after checking in, unloading the car we walked 50 metres down from the hotel and grabbed a pizza before heading into town.

We wandered around Dorchester, the Baguettes got to spend their Christmas money, and Lucinda spent some Christmas money too!  After an afternoon of retail therapy, we headed back to the hotel to drop off our booty before heading out for a Chinese meal.  When we were down in October we found a nice Chinese restaurant in Dorchester and so we decided we would return, for it would seem rude not to especially since we were stopping in Dorchester this time.

We returned to the hotel with full bellies and slept soundly.  We headed out for a nice breakfast before checking out of the hotel and heading to Lyme Regis.  The weather wasn’t promising; we will have to visit Lyme Regis in the summer, as we only ever visit in the autumn and winter.  Therefore, we donned coats, walked down the hill from the car park, and headed to gallery first.  We explained who we were and the assistant brought the painting from the back of the store onto the shopfloor to show us the finished piece.  We were very pleased with the commission but asked him to wrap it back up and put it back in storage so that we could wander around Lyme Regis before collecting it on the way back to the car.  We paid for the painting and headed to the beach.

We were only on the beach for a few minutes when the heavens opened.  The rain quickly turned to hail and we headed for shelter.  Realising, that there was not a lot to do and the rain wasn’t going to go away too quickly, we decided that retreat was the better part of valour and I took the Baguettes back to the car.  Lucinda headed to the gallery and waited for a gap in the rain.  As the rain broke, I headed down the hill, stopped semi-illegally in the road; we carefully placed the painting in the boot (the beauty of an S-Max) and headed back home.

With the extension still not complete, the painting was carefully stored before it we hung it in pride of place in our new kitchen.

It may have been a little extravagant but we are extremely pleased with our purchase and it is even more special with the knowledge that we are on the beach (and you can tell it is us – don’t believe me?  Check the photos below!

What a way to end the year!  You can bet your bottom dollar that 2018 will not be as exciting.

Peace and Love