A Bright Morning on Chesil Beach in Dorset, a set on Flickr.
From April 9 to 12, 2013, I escaped London for a brief but thoroughly refreshing family holiday in Dorset, on England’s south coast, far enough away from London to escape the greed and pretension that is sadly so dominant in the capital.
In two previous sets, “A Rainy Easter: Chesil Beach in Dorset,” and “Fog, Prison and the Sea: The Isle of Portland at Night,” I posted photos from the first day of the holiday, as the weather veered from overcast to foggy. None of this mattered, as the house we were staying in — a converted former chapel and former fisherman’s store — was a wonderful, inspiring place, as the first few photos in this set hopefully show, and we were, in any case, staying somewhere that was enchanting whatever the weather.
That location was the Isle of Portland, right beside the eastern end of Chesil Beach, the 18-mile long shingle beach that is one of the wonders of the English shoreline, and the combination of the beach, the sea (mostly violent, but sometimes calm), the changing sky and the cliffs along the shore was so engrossing that we could easily have stayed for far longer than four days if holidays were fantasies and not just short breaks to heal ourselves of the stresses and strains of modern life.
On the morning of the second day, when most of these photos were taken, the weather was radiant, and although it had changed within a few hours, as the clouds and the rain returned, I hope to have captured something of the joys of a bright spring morning on Chesil Beach. I certainly found that it left a deep impression on me, and I would love to return in the not too distant future.
I have three more sets of photos to publish from this trip, although I am also aware that it has been some time since I have published anything from my ongoing project to photograph the whole of London by bike — to which I am constantly adding photos, so that my archive now contains around 10,000 unpublished photos. I also have other sets that I’d like to make available from earlier in the year — one from Brighton, and eleven from New York and Washington D.C., when I visited the US to campaign for the closure of Guantánamo on the 11th anniversary of the opening of the prison.
I hope you will stay with me on these various journeys, but for now I hope that you’re enjoying this break in Dorset.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed — and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr (my photos) and YouTube. Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in April 2012, “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” a 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, and details about the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here — or here for the US). Also see my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo campaign”, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
On Facebook, Sandy Oscar Grant Fessler wrote:
Thank you. Looks like a peaceful area.
Except when it’s stormy, Sandy! But yes, in general, it seems very peaceful. There are signs of economic decline, as there are almost everywhere – not much work for those of working age, the fishing industry and the traditional quarrying almost gone, retired people with all the money, that kind of thing – but there’s also a sense that people could turn back to the land if necessary, and there’s little of the obsessive, flashy materialism of London.
Great photos as usual! I especially like the Chesil Beach one – the light just looks perfect when you took that photo and I can appreciate the vast scale of the beach itself.
Thank you, Diana, for the supportive words. I’m delighted that you appreciate the light in the photos. It rather takes my breath away when I look at the photos, actually – a sense of longing that surprises me. A very special part of the world, that’s for sure!
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