Tales of walking, eating, watching and playing. Vintage treasures and simple pleasures ... the things that make her happy.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Edge of the World

Portland, Dorset, UK … the edge of the world.
They walked past the lighthouse, over quarry and field. 
Climbing down into their sheltered cove.
Warming sun, forgiven for a day.  
Heating the stones.  Radiating warmth into her bones. 
Enjoying this book ...
... and some inspiration from Jamie ...
A strange furry creature sailing by.  Making them laugh ...
Sustenance ...
Rock climbing, pool poking.
As the day tired and the sun's rays became a mere whisper, they headed for home.
Stopping at Weymouth on the way. 
Revellers revelling on the quayside, girls in stretch limos, boys being boys.


The Isle of Portland is a tied island, with a population of almost 13,000.  The island forms the southern point of Dorset with a bar of chesil, over which runs a road, connecting it to the mainland.

The hard white stone  quarried there is renowned worldwide and has been used since Roman times. 

Portland stone was used to build the Palace of Westminster, the Tower of London, the east side of Buckingham Palace, the Queen Victoria memorial, The British Museum and numerous other grand and important buildings in other UK towns and cities.  Six million tons of the stone  was used to rebuild St Paul’s Cathedral and many other buildings after the great fire of London in 1666.

Portland also provided the stone for the Cenotaph in Whitehall and for the gravestones of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers killed in the Second World War, whilst many bombed out towns and cities were reconstructed using Portland stone facades.  It has also been used in buildings across the world including the UN building in New York.

Accidents in Portland's quarries led to a fear of the word rabbit – long associated with bad luck the use of the word is still taboo for some residents.  The reason is believed to derive from quarry workers who blamed rabbits for increasing the risk of sometimes deadly rock falls and landslides – they would often see rabbits emerging from their burrows immediately before such an event.  If a rabbit was seen the workers would pack up and go home and local fishermen would refuse to go to sea if the word was mentioned.  As a result the rabbits were referred to as ‘underground mutton’, ‘long eared furry things’ or just ‘bunnies’.
The Portland superstition came to national attention in 2005 when a special batch of advertising posters for the Wallace & Gromit film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit were made just for Portland, omitting the word ‘rabbit’ and replacing the film’s title with ‘Something bunny is going on’!


YeamieWaffles said...

I reckon I've been to Portland before and if not I've definitely been to Dorset and I remember loving it, great photos Jane. That Wallace and Gromit film was awesome too!

greenthumb said...

I love Dorset, have very fond memories of a head teacher at a private boys schools when i was backpacking around Europe we had some good times in Dorset.

Rose H (UK) said...

Many happy memories in and around Weymouth and the Devon coastline :o) Thank you for bringing them back to me Marina :o)
I've got the hedgerow book too, isn't it fascinating?
Rose H

Jen said...

It looks like the perfect day! Interesting history too.

Flaming Nora said...

I do love Portland and Weymouth. But even more I love the sun! Its like a rare and precious friend at the moment. Looks like you had a top day/

Tangled Sweetpea said...

Gorgeous post! Dorset holds a very close place in our hearts. We visit on a regular basis. Portland and Weymouth are lovely but Lyme is our favourite :) Thank you for following my blog.
Victoria xx

Liz said...

Interesting facts - especially the superstition about rabbits!
Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

Delightfully Vintage said...

What a lovely day you had, I love Portland and was in Weymouth enjoying the sun this sunday gone. Interested facts too! xxx

Jelly Jam said...

Ha, hadn't heard about the Wallace and Grommit poster!
I remember speaking to a teacher from Portland who told me about listening to a child read. The child was being encourage to sound out the words in the book. He read r-a-b-b-i... and quickly said 'bunny'!
Now I've just glimpsed that chocolate pud again. I was trying to forget about it....

Miss Simmonds Says said...

How bizzare! I love how the superstition is still recognised. Looks like you had a wonderful day on the beach, interested by your hedgerow remedies book!
I always associated Portland with Portland Bill the 80s children's program

Anonymous said...

Weymouth looks like such a charming place! I think I would like living there.

Interesting bit of history about the "bunny". I never would have thought "bunnies" could cause rock falls and landslides? I always thought "bunnies" lived in shrubs and bushes.

Vix said...

How fascinating about the word "rabbit", I had no idea!
Loving that embroidered cushion of yours and I had a basket like that for school in 1981, I haven't seen one in years! x

Red Rose Alley said...

The Isle of Portland is beautiful. It looks like a little Italy. I love your cloud picture too. Do you know that cloud pictures are one of my favorites? I even did a post about them one time. Have a happy weekend.
~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

*Maristella* said...

Hi Marina. Che luogo meraviglioso, io tengo nota per il prossimo viaggio in Inghilterra...sperimo di poterci tornare!
Un abbraccio, *Maristella*.