I DO LIKE TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE
Last weekend Cheltenham was blessed with the Jazz Festival. The weather was perfect and Montpellier Gardens rippled with people and cool dude musos. I’ve always rated the town for the quality of its buskers but two guys playing drums and smoky jazz guitar on the Prom in a fringe event had me and many transfixed.
And my bank holiday didn’t finish there because I was whisked away by my other half for a couple of days of R&R in lovely Lulworth Cove because ‘for too long you’ve been running on empty.’ So there you have it. I was officially ‘burnt out’. However that soon changed…
In Shaftesbury, I spotted the actor Michael Kitchen. I’m a fan of his work but didn’t want to bug his day. I especially didn’t want a repeat of a horribly embarrassing episode with an aging rock god some years before in Ludlow. So I drew up alongside, murmured how much I loved Foyle (Foyle’s War) and kept walking. Over my shoulder, I heard his charming reply. ‘Very nice of you to say so,’ he said in that elegant, understated delivery so typical of him. Joy unconfined.
But the thrills didn’t stop there. Close to the cove, there’s a military base. Signs stating ‘Tanks Crossing’ and ‘Sudden Gunfire’ set my pulse racing. We were soon following a couple of tanks trundling down the road, and watched as they headed off into nearby woods. And we hadn’t even arrived!
The cove itself is a communication black spot. For almost three days I was ‘off air’, which was a welcome novelty. You don’t realise how much time is dedicated to emails, social media and gabbing on the phone until those particular avenues are unavailable. Did I miss it? Did I hell.
Lulworth Cove Inn was the epitome of sophisticated seaside chic with exceptionally friendly and professional staff. Our room was palatial and, as soon as we dumped our stuff, we headed for the sea metres away. I understood immediately why Thomas Hardy was so captivated by the place. With sun blazing down on water the colour of pale turquoise, we could have been in the South of France.
Walking to the other end of the cove, we lucked out when we spotted a film shoot in progress. C J Daugherty, writer and director, ran towards us to explain that the filming was for a book trailer of one of her ‘Nightschool’ novels. No escape from the writing game – not that I minded a bit.