Durnovaria

South West Trains, no room for luggage
South West Trains, no room for luggage

When I awoke at the slothful hour of 6 am, Tigger had already left. My train was to leave Waterloo at 9:35 but I like to be at the station with time to spare. I left home at 8:25, took the tube at Angel and arrived at Waterloo at 8:55.

I had plenty of time to spare at Waterloo which is not the most convenient place in which to wait around but I was fortunate: my train was ready by 9:15 so I could go aboard and wait for departure. I was travelling by South West Trains, whose carriages famously have no room for luggage despite the long distance routes covered by this service.

Town cottages
Town cottages

After a dull start, the day brightened into sunlight but it was very cold. As the train rolled into more open areas I could see white patches of frost. In a text, Tigger told me it was sunny but freezing in Dorchester, where she had made the drop and was now exploring a town that held memories for her.

My train is due in at 12:04 and I hope the day will have warmed a little. It is quite cool even on the train. It is now 11:02 so I have just over an hour to wait for our joyful reunion and, all being well, lunch!


The Horse with the Red Umbrella
The Horse with the Red Umbrella

When I reached Dorchester, Tigger had taken refuge in the public library where I went to meet her, splashing out on a taxi, as I was unfamiliar with the town.

We then walked through town, looking at places Tigger had known as a child and then had lunch at the Horse with the Red Umbrella. A notice inside this charming restaurant tells us that the name is supposed to derive from a theatre that operated in the back 100 years ago. The title of its final production has remained as the name of the establishment.

High West Street
High West Street

We visited some of Tigger’s old haunts and then returned to High West Street, which you see here. Tigger wanted to visit the Dorset County Museum (on the left, just before the clock tower). This is quite a nice little museum though some displays are badly in need of sorting out and rearranging as they currently resemble shelves in a junk shop rather than those of a carefully tended museum.

You are allowed to take photographs in the museum – and I took a lot – but you have to sign a form agreeing to use the photos only for study or for slide shows. I asked whether a blog could be considered – with a bit of latitude – a slide show but was refused permission to display my photos here. Rather a shame, I think, as my little photos are hardly likely to make a dent on the museum’s copyright and could even encourage people to visit. After all, since this museum charges an entry fee, the more we encourage people to visit, the better it is for the museum. Rather a myopic policy, I think.

 

Ecclesiastical ruin
Ecclesiastical ruin

As you know, I am always interested in knowing the origins of the names of towns. It is thought that when the Romans arrived, there was already a town here, a capital of the Celtic Durotriges. The invaders Romanized the name as Durnovaria. There is some argument over the meaning but some think that durn- has to do with stones, such as might be found on the hill where Maiden Castle is situated, and that varia has to do with water. So the name might mean something like “the stony place at or near water”. The town presumably acquired the “chester” from the Anglo-Saxons who tended to apply “ceaster” to towns founded or developed by the Romans.

Char Chars
Char Chars
Cream tea
Cream tea

Exploring is thirsty, not to say hungry, work. So when we came upon a teashop called Char Chars and found, moreover, that they offered cream teas, well… Say no more!

Fortified by tea, we continued exploring. As you wander around Dorchester, you see:

Glimpses of the Dorset countryside
Glimpses of the Dorset countryside
Fine old building
Fine old buildings
Vestiges of the past
Vestiges of the past

There was still a lot to see but as darkness was beginning to fall and it was by now quite cold, we decided to leave the rest for another day. We walked back to the station and found that a London train was due shortly. All in all, a good day out and I hope to go back one day soon and explore Dorchester further.

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About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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