Saturday, April 11, 2015

Portland Bill Lighthouse

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We visited Portland Bill lighthouse on a cold and windswept day back in January. The Isle of Portland is actually a lot bigger than I thought it was going to be and the lighthouse is about five miles out from the mainland. This was a fairly calm day but the wind was blowing out there and the sea looked treacherous, as it is, with it's famously crazy and unpredictable tides and pulls. It isn't the sort of place I would ever like to attempt to get a boat around. The Isle was a lot bleaker than I was expecting too - very few trees bent with the wind, grass just about hanging on. The whole place has been quarried for it's stone which has been used far afield in Exeter catherdral and also in London I believe. On a cold day in January it looks a grim place to live, but people do.

I lived in a lighthouse for a winter back in the 80's and very cold it was too. When the fuel ran out we burned driftwood that we collected from the beach. I shared it with ten other people who coupled off and hid in their bedrooms whilst the two singletons, Hugh and myself sat infront of the tiny fire and smoked fags to keep warm. He got in touch a few years ago via facebook before disappearing again. He was living in Australia and told me that he still had my sabatier kitchen knife that I'd left in the lighthouse when I moved out and asked if I wanted it back. I joked that every time he used it he must've had to think of me, which was a strange punishment and I'd figured that he'd more than earned the knife.

On the day of the visit to Portland I'd just had another tooth pulled out at my dentists in Seaton, the eighth to be taken out in a couple of months and I'd also just had new ones put in, so I convinced a friend to drive me to Weymouth afterwards to pick up a 1936 valve radio that I'd bought from ebay to cheer myself up with. If you're going to have something painful done it's good to have something to look forward to afterwards I'd decided. My friend also bought an old radiogram, one from the 50's.

I haven't been to Weymouth for many a year and I must say I was quite impressed with the place; it looks like the sort of town you could have a lot of fun in, my kind of a place in fact. Driving back as it was getting dark my friends' car gave up on a hill just near Lyme Regis; head gasket gone. Not realising exactly what was wrong with it we crawled back to our town and headed to a supermarket for food. When we returned and started the car huge billowing clouds of oily smoke appeared out the back, so it turned into a bit of an expensive outing unfortunately.

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