Short break away …in Poole Dorset

Boarding school

This week was spent down in Poole Dorset as our great friends Katie & Barry gave us free use of their holiday home, based down here. It was so nice to get away and more importantly for me just to get out of the house for a few days. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do, but spending all day in the house editing, marketing myself or doing the dreaded paperwork, then spending the evening at home too, can drive you a bit crazy after a while. The drive down on Sunday night was a great one, arriving at around 9:30. We had brought some food with us (and drink of course) and the plan was to cook ourselves something on arrival. Unfortunately have never used a gas cooker before, we were unsure how to turn it on ….. How sad is that ! So it was a case of ” we will figure that out on the morning” and off to the local Chinese it was. Morning came and we were up early so went for a walk down by the sea, we were gone for ages, then back home for breakfast. The rest of the day was a lazy one, going in to Poole itself and just having a look around the town, walk along the sea front and take in the occasional drink or two.

Tuesday turned out to be a busy day. The plan was to go to Bridport which is where I went to boarding school for one term. According to lots of family members, I was a little horror and my Mum could not control me, so had no choice but to put, sorry I mean send me away ! I was only four and a bit, who would have thought someone so young could be that bad.

On the way to Bridport Jan suggested we stop at Dorchester for a look around, which we did. It’s a nice place with lots on nice shops and alleyway with small little shop in, so was wort the visit.

We got to Bridport just after lunchtime and parked the car up a lane just off the high street. We noticed a Museum on the way in so that was the first stop. It’s only a small museum so we had a wind around, then I asked at the desk if they knew where the boarding school was. They did not know of any boarding school, but suggested I go across the road to the Bridport Historical centre as they may be able to help. We walked in and there was five women all reading and I assume cataloguing various bits. One women asked if she could help and I said many years ago there was a boarding school somewhere close by ….. and before I could continue, she said you mean “The Visitation Convent” She walked over to a filing cabinet and pulled out a folder full of paper cuttings and pictures regarding the school. The next bit of news was sad, it had been knocked down and a small housing estate replaced the site of the convent. Looking through all the cuttings I found one picture of the football team that one a cup the year I was there. It was strange thinking I was at school with them 46 years ago back in 1967/8 …. Wow that was a long time ago !

Another photograph which brought back memories was one of the dormitories. It showed a long row of round sinks running down the middle of the room which is where we would have washed and brushed our teeth in the mornings and last thing at night. What else do I remember ? Well quite a lot really considering my age. I remember the waiting room at Reading railway station, which is where my Mum used to hand me over to the nuns. I can clearly remember my Mum running along side the train as it left the station me in floods of tears and her the same. Getting on a mini bus at Bridport end to take us to the convent. Looking out the window on 5th November watching the fireworks. All being lead into a hall with a TV on to watch The Magic Roundabout before going to bed. There is a video which my uncle Mel from Canada took on a visit to see me, wow how the streets have changed over the years. Going to Westbay, a small fishing port just a mile away from Bridport and going in a cafe to have a drink and iced bakewell tart, which I still love today. The cafe is still there on our visit to Westbay we just had to go in. Sadly they don’t do Bakewell tarts anymore, so it was cream tea for two.


The Cafe I went to in very short shorts … many years ago

Apart from the tear’s at Reading station the only other bad part was the food. Being made to eat lumpy, un tasteful porridge which used to make me reach was horrid, you had to finish every last spoon full, also with sausages, fatty, chewy skin and full of grizzle, again until your plate was empty, you were not leaving the table. To this day 46 years later, I have never eaten a sausage or had porridge since, nor do I intended to ever!



My closing point on the convent is a website the lady at the historical center told me about. ….. Francis Frith took a picture of the convent and passed pupils have left comments …… Most of it it not great reading ….. but very interesting how times have changed, may be not for the best, I think from a discipline perspective we should have stopped somewhere in between the 50/60 and 00/10.

After Bridport we stopped in Weymouth another place I visited when young, well 15. It was a lads holiday in a caravan, our parents thought two older adults were going with us, but they forgot to turn up! Well that story is for another time.



A walk around, a drink taken in and that was enough for us. We stopped at a pub on the way back to Poole for something to eat, it was call something like “The Smugglers Arms” later that evening found out we were just down the road from Lulworth Cove, a famous smugglers den of past.


Lulworth Cove

Lulworth Cove

We stopped at Lulworth cove and decided to climb that big hill to see if we could see Lulworth Castle. As it was getting on in the evening I though we could get a great picture with the sun going down, but when we got to the top there was no view of the Castle, as it was over the other hill ;)

That was a long but great day.

We also spent a day in Bournemouth, it has changed a lot over the years and not for the good. Just found it full of drunk undesirable people on the whole.

Sandbanks was a surprise for me , it was the first time I had visited and could not see what all the fuss was about. It’s just a place that has the sea, yet for some reason people pay ££££££££ to have a home there, can’t see it myself, London or New York would be far more appealing to me, but then what do I know! Some houses were for sale £6m and some … I would have to ask why, it’s Sandbanks !

All on all it was a great short break and can’t wait to go back again.

One Response to “Short break away …in Poole Dorset”

  1. Can’t believe you were that much hard work at such a young age Frank!!…unfortunately I’m not lucky enough to be a mother, but I know that if I was, there’d be no way could I send my young baby off on a train in tears. Sorry Hazel!! Anyway it must have worked, you turned out alright in the end!! I agree with you about Sandbanks, people have more money than sense, it’s just a house near the sea! Brankcombe is nice (think that’s what it’s called), I was there at the weekend too with friends who know all the nice places to go, which does not include the centre of Bournemouth. Glad you had a good time! Joy x

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