Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Swimming at Chapman's Pool, Dorset

The English climate is the Bipolar Disorder of all climates - up and down, always at the extreme end with nothing in the middle, and prone to sudden change.  

Weeks of Satanic weather cleared on Sunday and it's been Caribbean weather since: Tuesday 24th July was the hottest day of the year, peaking at 31c, with flawless blue skies. 

Villagers here complained it was too hot, the tarmac was melting, they couldn't sleep or even think straight.  They forgot that 5 days ago, they were complaining it had rained for 40 days and 40 nights, their streets were flooded, mildew was forming between their ears and that they were ready to sell up and move to Ethiopia.  Now they're praying for rain again.  I don't think there is pleasing some people. 

I live in a rural North Buckinghamshire village and I don't suppose they're accustomed to high fashion.   I recently purchased this adorable set of designer flip-flops, for just £2,750.  A mere snip for such uber-chic footwear.  No doubt me being seen wearing these has put some locals' noses out of joint.

Apparently, fashionistas in New York and Milan are raving about these flipflops, all the catwalk models are seen in them.

In order to make the most of the weather, I rose at the crack of dawn and my butler, Juan, gave my green Jaguar XKE a fine-tune, ready for a day's drive to the coast; not to the kiss-me-quick, 'all-you-can-eat' and candyfloss tatt of Southend or brash Brighton but the peaceful beauty of the Dorset coastline. 

Wearing a peacock-patterned Hermes scarf around my head, and driving with the roof down, it took just three hours to reach Chapman's Pool, a small, isolated cove of fine shingle, to the west of Worth Matravers.

The magnificent cliffs, grazed by sheep and divided by thick hedges and scored with fox-ridden lanes, are rich in fossils and I believe the Jurassic Coast runs through here.  It's not easy to get to, but is very quiet, with not a single hotel, town or building anywhere close - that's the untouched quality of the Dorset coastline.  

I change into my peppermint-coloured, diamond-studded bathing costume and make my way down to the beach, my fish flip-flops attracting some admiring glances.  I spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the English Channel.

The sea, here more of a lagoon, is perfectly still, and pale blue like old people's eyes.   

Tourists visiting London for the Olympics and reading this should make the effort to leave the capital and visit the Dorset coast.  It's a world away from the England that the metropolis represents, like comparing chalk with cheese.  When the sun is shining, its rare beauty rivals many more exotic countries that I've had the opportunity to visit.