When I was in England in 2009 I took a couple of days off to visit the County of Dorset. Though not well known by tourists it is a gorgeous part of England. If I were a rich man I would choose to live somewhere in Dorset.
A word of instruction to my American readers:
1. Dorset is a county, but it is never known as Dorset-shire.(nor are Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Kent, Surrey, Sussex etc. Not every County is a shire).
2. The word "shire" (as in Gloucestershire) is pronounced "shure", not "shyre".
3. But when referring to English counties as a group they are (or were) called "the shyres".
Have I confused American readers? I damn well hope so!
Back to 2009
1. I went to Dorset to enjoy the lovely countryside (see pictures below), but more especially to visit Tolpuddle: see http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/
This is the home of men who were not (strictly speaking) "martyrs", but who were entirely important in the history of workers who chose to combine together (unionize?) to resist the oppressive tactics of employers.
I am a great supporter/advocate of workers' unions and I wish that they were more powerful in the face of the oppressive policies and practices of big business.
2. I could not resist a visit to see the Cerne Abbas Giant, one of the great chalk figures of England.
Is he as ancient as some other English chalk figures?
Is he an erotic/fertility symbol?
Is he "Oliver Cromwell"?
Who knows? You pays your money and you takes your choice. (see
"Whatever!" The Cerne Abbas Giant is a great English endowment.
3. I also spent some time in the gorgeous town of Dorchester. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorchester,_Dorset. )
It's a lovely town and a busy place, made famous by the "Bloody Assize" of Judge Jeffreys.
My parents and schoolteachers talked about Judge Jeffreys as if he were their contemporary.
4. I ended my visit to Dorset in the seaside town of Weymouth and Melcombe Reis. It's mostly referred to as Weymouth but there is also the Melcombe Regis part.
Here are some Dorset pictures.
Countryside near Weymouth.
Countryside near Dorchester
Hooke Farm, a Dorset B and B.