As a child growing up in a small coastal city, I thought everyone lived by the sea. As an adult, I am still drawn to the ocean. Its vastness both scares and excites me with its sense of possibility. So I didn’t hesitate to say yes to an offer of a trip to the seaside two weekends ago. On what must have been one of the hottest and sunniest weekends of the year so far, five of us headed down to the Dorset coast to the pretty town of Lyme Regis – the setting of The French Lieutenant’s Woman and a key part of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
We had planned walks and fishing trips but it was so hot that our plans changed to lazing on the pebbled beach and swimming in the sea. Food consisted of classic British seaside fare, pasties, ice-cream, more pasties (!) and a barbecue on the second night.
We were staying in a tiny cottage amidst a patchwork of buildings on a steep winding lane that had been there since Saxon times. This magical-sounding doorway was part way up the lane. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to look inside so I’ll never know if I would have been transported into Alice’s wonderland!
As you can imagine I was pleased to find that Lyme has a relatively large number of vintage and antique shops. Many of them had a combination of new ‘vintage style’ items and genuine vintage china and linen. My favourite shop was the Little Shop on Silver Street, which had been open for only two months.
Started by a collective of artists and designers, who each take it in turns to run the shop, it had a boutique feel with a very tempting selection of handmade and vintage items. The vintage clothes were beautifully displayed and regularly changed to reflect different seasons and styles. This lemon 1950s tea set immediately caught my attention but it had already been sold!
Further down the hill, I stumbled on a vintage furniture shop, with an enticing street display. I can think of numerous uses for these vintage crates: storing toys and vintage sporting equipment, or even displaying books and records. I added them to my ever-expanding vintage wish-list!
After only having been away for two nights, it seemed too soon to leave this characterful town, with so much left to explore. But when the time came, we left Lyme feeling relaxed and sun-kissed and with a new taste for the sea. And sure to return.