Well, it has been a while since I managed to write a blog post. So long, in fact, that the time has come to start work on the third edition of Slow Dorset! I am very much looking forward to beginning my research next month. If anyone has any ideas, or knows of a business in line with the Slow Travel and Slow Food ethos, all suggestions for inclusions in the next edition are welcome. Please email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was delighted to be asked to contribute to Deepest Dorset, a book that seeks to provide an insight into the character of this wonderful county. Deepest Dorset is sold in support of local charities. The book is available to purchase from www.deepestbooks.co.uk.
We are in the final stages of the ninth edition of the Bradt guide to Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion. I have been pulling together some photographs for the book and found some lovely ones from my last research trip, which bring back some fantastic memories.
I am currently researching one of my favourite projects, the Bradt guidebook to Mauritius, Rodrigues and Reunion. This will be the fifth edition of the book that I have written. I love returning to the islands on my research trip and seeing what has changed. You might be tempted to think life doesn't move very quickly on a tropical island - not so in the Mascarenes. There is plenty of updating to do.
Here is a sneak peek at the cover for the ninth edition.
This competition has now closed, and I am looking forward to judging the entries.
Bradt Travel Guides is running a competition to win some fabulous Dorset prizes: a two-night break at The New Inn, Cerne Abbas and an ‘Udderly Delectable’ meatbox from The Udder Farm Shop. To enter, you just need to send them a description of your perfect day in Dorset in up to 500 words by 30 June.
This is my idea of a perfect day in Dorset:
As the darkness recedes I begin to make out the comforting and familiar landscape of the Blackmore Vale. The neat hedgerow-lined fields and ancient trees are the key elements of a scene which has been unaltered for centuries. I hear the cows mooing in the distance, and I imagine they are exchanging the daily gossip on their way into the milking parlour. The clouds are beginning to glow orange as I start my walk up Duncliffe Hill, through some of Dorset’s finest and most ancient woodland. Some of the trees here are believed to be a thousand years old. I catch sight of a roe deer grazing on the edge of the wood, and a little while later a fox glares at me before hurrying to cover. The rising sun illuminates the carpet of bluebells and intensifies the unmistakable scent of wild garlic. The lighting is perfect for photography and I get some good shots before I walk back down the hill and head to my favourite farm shop for breakfast. I have been overseas for months and one of the things I’ve missed most is bacon traditionally cured in Dorset, so I savour every mouthful.
I fancy some sea air, so I take a drive south through the centre of the county. En route I pass Dorset’s most famous resident – the 180-foot chalk carving known as the Cerne Abbas Giant.
In Lyme Regis I stroll along the beach in the sunshine, watching out for fossils as I go. I find a dainty, perfectly formed ammonite, and tuck it into my pocket as a memento of the day. At a nearby farm shop I buy the ingredients I need for a picnic, all sourced within a 10-mile radius of the shop, including some delicious Portland crab. I drive along the coast through the unspoilt Bride Valley and my heart sings as I reach the hill above Abbotsbury. It’s a glorious view – Chesil Beach with the Fleet Lagoon behind it, watched over by St Catherine’s Chapel, which stands alone on a hilltop. From the village I walk up the hill towards the squat, 14th-century chapel, built of golden stone. St Catherine is the patron saint of spinsters so, like so many girls before me, I pop inside and say a quick prayer for the ideal husband to come along. I enjoy my picnic on the hillside overlooking the Fleet. It’s a clear day and I can see the Isle of Portland in the distance.
I continue eastwards, stopping off at picturesque Durdle Door, which lies on one of my favourite stretches of the South West Coast Path. I arrive in Corfe Castle in time to take some photographs in a beautiful evening light. Then it’s off to the pub for dinner, knowing I have a comfortable bed waiting in a nearby B&B.
There is only one thing that could have made this day more perfect – the miraculous appearance of that elusive, ideal husband.
- See more at: http://www.bradtguides.com/articles/dorset-competition/#author
I am delighted to announce copies of Slow Travel Dorset, edition 2, are now on the shelves in all good bookshops. Bradt Travel Guides is offering 25% off when you buy the book via their website: http://www.bradtguides.com/shop/series/slow-travel-guides/dorset-slow-travel-pb.html
Spent a fascinating evening getting some tips from Australian landscape photographer, Paul Kowalski. Paul has a gorgeous gallery in Bungendore, a small country town near my house in Australia. Paul specialises in panoramic landscape photography and you can see some of his amazing work at www.paulkowalskiphotography.com.
I've always loved photography but an evening with Paul certainly re-ignited my eagerness to get out into the landscape, make some memories and capture them with my camera.
After many enjoyable months of research and writing, I handed in the manuscript for the second edition of Slow Dorset on 1 October 2014. The Bradt staff and I are now in the final editing phase and we are on track for publication in April 2015. Here is a sneek peek at the cover of the forthcoming edition- a classic Corfe Castle shot.