Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Underworld

We've just had the last Bank Holiday of the summer here, the traditional signal that Autumn is on the way, and then in no time it's winter, and then we might as well all just DIE in a howling void of ice and gales and closed roads due to 20 foot high snowdrifts. 

Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

Mr WithaY was away for the weekend, taking part in a re-enactment thingy as part of his cunning plan for future solvency through swordfighting.  I was, therefore, at home on my own for a 3-day weekend. What would Captain Kirk do?  Call his mate and suggest going out for a curry, obviously.

As it happened, Bestest Mate was available at the weekend as well, so we went out for a curry on Saturday night.  Mine was fab. His was good but not brilliant, partly due to unfortunate menu choices. For example:  garlic mushrooms as a starter. In an Italian or French restaurant, yes, fantastic.  Mushrooms. Garlic.  Butter.  Nom nom nom.  But in an Indian restaurant?  I'd suggest sticking to something a tad more traditional.  That way, there's not likely to be any surprises when you cut into your vivid orange-crumb-encrusted mushroom to discover a strange yellow curry-flavoured paste nestling in there along with the mushroom. 

As an aside, I learned a good deal about a product called "Ruskoline" that evening.  It's a (possibly) vivid orange breadcrumb-type "crumb dressing" used to cover fish. I expect it could cover all kinds of other foodstuffs but Bestest Mate seemed most knowledgeable about the fish aspects.  I'd never heard of it, he was insistent that it was well-known. Possibly only in Shetland, though.

The things you learn on a night out.

One thing I like about that particular curry place is that everyone in there seems to know everyone else.  I saw some of our neighbours, and said a quick hello, but the surrounding tables were full of people exclaiming at seeing old mates around them.  The restaurant used to be a Little Chef, so it's huge.  I like that; it never feels crowded even if there are 30 people eating in there. 

They have a childrens slide out the front of the restaurant, left over from the Little Chef days, in the shape of an elephant.  I noticed that now it has been adorned with eyeliner and golden bodypaint highlights, rather than just plain grey paint.  Excellent. 

The following day we decided to go to the coast for a nice walk and a crab sandwich.  Mr WithaY and I live in a landlocked county a surprisingly long way from the sea.  It's always a bit of a shock to realise how fara way the coast is.  We drove and drove and drove, miles and miles and bloody miles, till we got to Weymouth. 

"There's the road to Portland," I advised, in my role as unwilling human satnav. 

"Are you sure?" was the reply.  Never a good sign. We had an agreeable - if accidental - scenic tour of Weymouth seafront, before finally turning round and following the road I had suggested initially.  The one with the sign on it saying "Portland." 


Portland itself is an odd place.  As you drive through it on the way to Portland Bill, you pass a small shop for Portland's Feral Cats.   I imagine it is a fundraising shop, rather than a hellish room crammed with spitting furry pointy-eared bastards wearing labels saying "This one half price" or "Special offer - buy one get one free" and a terrified sales assistant in full body armour, poking at them with a long stick if they get too close to the till. 

We kept our eyes open but I failed to spot any cats whatsoever, never mind exciting feral ones.  I had hoped we might witness a lynx perched moodily atop a rock on the cliffs, or perhaps leaping onto the fish and chips of unsuspecting holidaymakers.

No such luck.

As an aside, I just did a Google search for the Portland feral cat place, and found this news story in the Weymouth newspaper.  It's got nothing to do with my post, but I like this quote in it:

               Photographer Dave Haysom of Tollerdown Road said: “I didn’t see the car go up in flames but when I got there I saw the police photographing a pair of trousers which had been discarded in the road."

Never mind chasing the arsonists.  Photograph their trousers, dammit!

Anyhoo.  Portland Bill.

It was a breezy day, with big black clouds blowing across from France, so there were plenty of "Jeeeeez it's cold!" comments interspersed with basking in the sunshine.

Here's the lighthouse under moody and magnificent skies.

Here it is from a different angle, demonstrating the changeable-ness of the weather rather nicely.

There were plenty of people wandering about, a few brave souls canoeing in the sea off these cliffs.  Mental.

I liked this boat-lifting crane, and the tumbled blocks of stone.  It all looks half-finished somehow, as if someone will be back to put a last wall up or something.  Once they've had their tea break.

And of course Portland is where they bury demons, to prevent them taking over this dimension. It's hard to bestride the human realm like a mighty terrorising fiend, subjugating all mortals to your eternal will when you're up to your horn-tips in Portland stone.

They also do a nice line in signage here.

I was tempted to stand on the clifftop, pointing at the sun, just to see what happened.  Maybe they release the demon from his stone prison to fling you into the uttermost abyss of perpetual darkness.  You and your unsupervised children, puny Earthling. 

And there was this place.  Is it a beach hut?  A stable?  A dairy?  A hobbit holiday home?  It looks like it's made of corrugated iron that's been plastered over, but the front is all stone.  And it has a stable door.  And a chimney.

I was very taken with it, anyway.

Maybe it's where the demon-wrangler lives.

Other news: The carrot crop is starting to get freaky.

Brrrrrr.  It's the end of days, my friends. 


The Return of the Native ... sort of. said...

Did you see any car stickers whilst you were there? 'Keep Portland weird'.

I live 20 minutes away from Portland, but we never ever go there!!

livesbythewoods said...

Ha, excellent car stickers! No, did't see any, but I shall look out next time I go. What with those and the feral cats I will be keeping my eyes peeled.

You must go to the Lobster Pot and have a crab sandwich, they are fab.

@eloh said...

I've been here more than once and always get caught up folling your links.

I must take time here and tell you about a "house" I had to walk by to get to my friends hoise back in the 1950's.

It looked just like this, nothing more than a door and a pipe. It was said that the people had started to build a house but ran out of money after they finished the basement... which thinking about it doesn't make sense. It was likly a large bomb shelter.

I do wonder what this is.

the pants story was really the best I've read in a long time.

livesbythewoods said...

eloh, thank you, that is a lovely compliment. I laughed out loud at the "abandoned trousers" story. I love local newspapers.

I'm guessing that there are actually hobbits in the world, and we are stumbling upon their dwellings.