One of the loveliest things about being in the depth of winter are the frosty mornings that meet us each day. For the past two weeks or so, my early walks to the bus stop have been at that idyllic time when the sun is slowly beginning to make its appearance: the scenery bathed in a gentle glow, a slight chance of slipping on the icy ground. To my dismay, when weekends roll around, all of the lovely frostiness is washed away and replaced with an abundance of grey that doesn’t help the misery atypical for January. Last Sunday, however, the season must have sensed my frustration as we were treated to howling wind and bright blue skies, an odd but nonetheless welcome combination. So, we hopped in the car and headed somewhere completely new.
Abbotsbury is a little village in Dorset, not far from the coast. An hour’s drive from home, it felt far away enough for a much-needed change of scenery yet perfectly doable in an afternoon. The drive itself was an adventure, with rolling hills, narrow one-way lanes and farm animals dotting the fields. We had a couple of near misses but managed to arrive in one piece. Driving through the village on the hunt for a place to park, we were greeted with a peaceful silence that soon explained itself clearly: Abbotsbury is very much a summer destination. Even the car park attendant’s hut was boarded up. And here we were, in the midst of a wintry chill.
It’s not really like us to simply pick a place and go, without much research, but on this occasion, I am so glad that we did. Truthfully, if we had known we would be visiting off-season then we might have put it off until another time and missed out on the beauty of this picturesque village, even more so fully in its slumber. The streets were awash with a sense of quietude that’s only present in seasonal places, with solely local life at its core. Wandering its streets and taking in the pretty stone cottages, we were soon ready to warm up with a tea and a scone. Most of the tea rooms were closed, of course, but we did manage to find one happily serving fellow unfazed visitors. A delicious homemade toastie, salad and coleslaw at The Old Schoolhouse Tea Rooms later, we were ready to return to our corner of Dorset, more than satisfied with our frosty-yet-cosy outing!