Rocky foreshore and distant cliffs
Coast & seascapes,  England,  Lens-Artists,  Monday walks,  Travel galleries

Gallery: not just any day!

In recent years I’ve been fortunate to celebrate my birthday in a number of different places. A memorable day in Ecuador visiting Cotopaxi, which was somewhat spoiled by an attack of altitude sickness! An even more memorable one in Ranthambore National Park in India, where a guide promised to find me a birthday tiger – and did! A day spent travelling to the Atacama in Chile, one of my dream destinations. A number of birthdays in Paris, including my 40th when my husband surprised me with a weekend visit. And a lovely birthday weekend three years ago in Lucca, Italy.

Sometimes we stay closer to home, however. In 2019 we went to St Ives in Cornwall, as we weren’t long back from North Korea. And last year the pandemic kept us at home in London! This year I have been celebrating with a stay at a lovely hotel in Dorset and I thought I’d share my birthday day with you as my response to Amy’s Lens Artists Challenge theme, A Day of My Week. This was a special day in my week. As it also included a walk I’m doubling up with Jo’s Monday Walks.

The hotel

We stayed at the Summer Lodge Hotel in Evershot. The house is set in pretty gardens at one end of the village street. They spoiled me with chocolates in the room on arrival and the rest of our stay was as good as the start!

Lyme Regis

The weather spoiled me too! We’d had rain overnight but the day itself was lovely, sunny and warm for the end of October. We both love being by the sea and I’d long wanted to visit Lyme Regis, because of its connections with Jane Austen, so that’s where we went.

We had a wonderful walk from the village centre along Marine Parade, stopping for coffee on the way. It was warm enough to sit outside in the sun!

Man with surf board on stony beach
Man in a hat in front of a children's train ride
On Marine Parade
Row of pastel coloured beach huts
Beach huts
Ornate lamppost with swirl design
Ammonite design lamppost

We also walked part of the way along the Cobb, the harbour’s breakwater. But we didn’t go right to the end as the tide was high and the wind was whipping up the waves. There was a lot of spray and we decided against getting soaked! Not everyone was so cautious, and I got some interesting photos of people further out along the breakwater.

People silhouetted against the sea and sky
Walkers on the Cobb
People silhouetted against the sea and sky
Walkers on the Cobb
Pebble beach and low cliffs
The beach beyond the Cobb
Small town with wooded hill behind
Looking back at the town from the Cobb

The Cobb features in Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Louisa Musgrove jumps off the steps expecting Captain Wentworth to catch her when he wasn’t ready; she falls, hitting her head, and is rendered unconscious. It is many weeks before she recovers and when she does she is transformed from a silly girl to a more sober and sensible woman.

Like the ladies in the novel, we found the winds on the higher level rather strong, but you can believe that I was a lot more careful than Louisa when descending the steep steps!

Paving stones with ammonite design
Pavement outside the museum

Once back in the village centre we enjoyed an ice cream sitting on a bench overlooking the sea.

Later we visited the museum. This part of the Dorset coast is known as the Jurassic coast and is famous for the large number of fossils to be found here. The museum had lots of interesting information about them and some good examples of fossils found near Lyme. It also had a section about Mary Anning, a famous fossil collector who lived in a house on the site where the museum now stands.

Formal restaurant with lots of ornaments
Restaurant at Summer Lodge (taken at breakfast the next morning)

After a quick visit to a contemporary gallery in the Town Mill we headed back to the hotel for some down time in the spa – a relaxing swim and session in the hot tub!

We then had a fabulous ‘fine dining’ meal in the restaurant, featuring local produce such as mackerel and lamb. A great way to end this rather special ‘day in my week’.

I visited Evershot and Lyme Regis in October 2021


  • Anna

    Happy belated birthday Sarah! The only problem with not being active on Facebook anyway is missing everyone’s birthday! Hope you had a good one, and hope you’ll celebrate one in Perth one day! 😘

  • Sue

    Ah, Lyme…..those amonite lamps, the beach huts and, of course, The Cobb. My late mother lived in Axminster in later life, and I always tried to get to Lyme when I visited (7 miles away so not difficult). Those days are over, but I have happy memories

  • Oh, the Places We See

    What a lovely place in the world to spend a birthday . . . or any day for that matter. And you’re right — you have had some marvelous birthday experiences. Thanks for great pictures that help to tell a great story! Perfect day for this challenge!

  • Tina Schell

    Belated birthday wishes Sarah – it seems you had a very special day without the annoyances of travel – air sickness…UGH! The older we get the more we tend to ignore or wish them away. But as we say, the alternative is not pretty!! But speaking of pretty, what a lovely spot you chose for this one. My favorite of you images, believe it or not, is the pavement outside the museum. It looks really special!

  • Manja Maksimovič

    Ahh, Sarah, happy birthday and cin cin! This was a great idea, to walk us through some of your birthdays, including the most recent one. It looks divine. All the fossil shapes are amazing! And the chocolates, the surfer and the silhouettes. Three years ago you were in Lucca! Great to see. I was there only once and loved it. Quite a way from me, more than two hours. And I was in Dorset once and we visited Lulworth Cove and I remember because I have a cup from there. 😀 Is it possible that we passed Lyme Regis? We had lunch somewhere really nice… It was the year of that terrible flu and I caught it (probably in the theatre watching Ewan McGregor), was out of if for many days, and only Stonehenge cured me. 😉

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Manja 😀 Glad you enjoyed the photos! Lulworth is lovely, we were there a few years ago. I suspect you won’t have passed Lyme Regis however, as it’s a little further west along the coast. Funny you mentioned Stonehenge curing you. We hadn’t been there for years so we stopped off on our way back to London!

  • CliffClaven

    Evocative photos, as usual. You could have mentioned – as someone else commented – Tracy Chevalier’s novel about Mary Anning, or John Fowles’ “The French Lieutenant’s Woman”, which became a memorable film with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      I could indeed Michael but as I said to Margaret below, I did this in more of a rush than my usual posts and also wanted to keep it brief (again, unusual for me!)

  • maristravels

    A belated Happy birthday and hope future birthdays may be spent back in the exotic lands that you love. Love the photographs on the Cobb but for me Lyme Regis speaks more of The French Lieutenant’s Woman than Jane Austen. My birthday falls in January and it was always spent abroad until the past 3 years and looks like next year will be the same. I’ve decided to bite the bullet in 2022 and apart from going to visit the family in Sweden and Ireland, I’ve booked for Lille in March and Portugal (not fixed but hopefully) in May. Meantime, holiday savings have been spent on new bathroom, painting of living-room and hall, and new electric fittings caused by my ancient bones not wanting to bend down to the skirting board for switches and my TV being moved to another wall. Covid has caused a lot of people to look around their homes and find things wanting (or so my workmen tell me). Back to your birthday though. What a great present was seeing that tiger! When I was faced with a lion in Kenya (first African trip) I couldn’t even get the camera to my eye. I was mesmerized by the gorgeous beast just yards from me so all I came back with were pix of elephants, deer and zebras. I’m still a bit like that. I get so engrossed in what I’m looking at that the camera takes a back seat. I suppose that’s why I consider myself a writer with photography on the side! Your Dorset hotel looks lovely, too. Glad you had such a good time.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Mari 🙂 Let’s see what the future holds for birthday trips! The more ‘exotic’ ones (India, Chile, Ecuador) have all been coincidences – we wanted to go to those places and October was a good month to visit. Whereas Lucca and Paris were deliberate decisions to go somewhere to celebrate, as was this trip and one a few years ago to St Ives. Next year we have Sri Lanka booked for February (our tour company is cautiously optimistic on that one) and are considering Alaska for the summer, plus I hope to go to a Virtual Tourist meet in Chicago in September. Maybe we’ll get to Italy again for my birthday, if we don’t go for Chris’s in April.

      I know what you mean about finding things that need to doing around the house. We did so a lot at the start of lockdown – new garden fence, bathroom and kitchen decorated. Then we ran out of steam / enthusiasm and the hall is still awaiting attention!

      I’m afraid I tend to be a bit the opposite to you – when I see something amazing my first thought is to get photos and I have to be careful to remind myself to look and appreciate the sight too 🙃 I guess I’m a photographer first and the writing is there to support the images and provide a framework!

  • Amy

    You have been many beautiful places to celebrate your birthday! Hotels are wonderful, Sarah.
    I love the images of Walkers on the Cobb especially, great shots!

  • restlessjo

    Lucca is pretty special, but Lyme Regis is a place I always fancied seeing too. French Lieutenant’s Woman for me, and ammonites, of course. I usually like to go further afield for birthdays but this has been such a busy period, and there are events planned here in the coming week that I don’t want to miss. I’d like to see Silves lit at night, and I can still walk with my group on Friday morning and get there in time for check in. It’s a win-win! Many thanks for the link up.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, the French Lieutenant’s Woman too of course – although rumour has it that the figure shrouded in the cloak at the end of the Cobb wasn’t Meryl Streep but a stuntman! It’s considered dangerous to walk out to the end in high seas and I can see why after our visit – it was getting very wave-swept just on a slightly windy day!

  • margaret21

    As a follow up to your visit, you might like to read Tracey Chevalier’s Remarkable Creatures, a novel based on Anning’s life, and maybe a little different from the lifestyle of the Jane Austen heroines. What a lovely break, even if less exotic than many of your holidays.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks Margaret – I’ve read Remarkable Creatures and should probably have mentioned it in my post. It was the main reason I wanted to visit the museum in fact. I did this in a bit of a rush after getting home yesterday evening as I was keen to share a few photos of Lyme that I was particularly pleased with and also get a post up after a few days of silence – so unlike me 😆

      • margaret21

        It’s funny how these things have a habit of coming together in a rush. Mary Anning keeps on imposing herself on my life at the moment, whereas a year ago I barely knew her name.

        • Sarah Wilkie

          Yes, it’s odd how that happens. I read a theory once that in fact you have always been hearing about a certain thing/person but it’s only when a particular mention of it makes a big impression that you start to notice all the other references. I’m not sure if I believe that or not!

  • Annie Berger

    Hope you had a Happy birthday a little closer to home this year although Lucca, Atacama, and Paris are all delightful escapes to celebrate your special day. Loved your photos and descriptions – thank you for sharing.

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