Setting the Scenery.

I wasn’t born in Dorset, but I am very fond of my adopted County and happy my children are natives.

I’m drawn to the water. I became engaged next to an oil rig in the Arabian Gulf, married beside the boats in Weymouth Harbour, and toasted at a thirteenth century inn at Osmington Mills, where the cliffs overlook the English Channel and stories of contraband and shipwrecks are fodder for an active and hungry imagination.

It is no surprise to me that people want to write about the area. I do.

Dorset’s landscape is awe-inspiring, with magnificent views around the Jurassic coastline, sandy bays and secret coves; its history is rich with myths and legends and tales of smugglers. There is the abandoned World War Two village of Tyneham, and the dangerous, crashing waters of the Bill, to provide mystery and drama. And then there is Chesil Beach. I’ll tell you about her one day.

On a hillside not far away is the White Horse of Osmington, a depiction in limestone of a mounted King George the Third, who took many holidays in Weymouth. The sculpture was created in the King’s honour, but he was so upset that he was shown riding away from the town, he never returned.

Within the last week, following a gorse fire, we almost acquired a piebald. Thankfully, the fire was extinguished before too much damage occurred.

Further inland, there is the splendid and statuesque figure of the Cerne Abbas Giant, in all his glory. I would love to make him an integral part of a novel.

Not surprisingly, there are stories of the Giant’s magical fertility abilities, and folklore suggests that childless couples can increase their chances of fertility and conception by doing one of the following: dancing around a maypole erected upon the Giant, making love on top of his phallus or, for those women of a slightly less exhibitionistic nature, simply sleeping on him. Alone.

I will not be commenting on the effectiveness of these methods.

Recently, I learned that Enid Blyton was fond of Dorset and there is a suggestion that some scenes from her Famous Five books were based around Lulworth Cove. Certainly, this is plausible, as the Jurassic coastline is the perfect setting for an adventure.

It would be remiss of me not to mention Thomas Hardy, Dorset’s most famous author. I find it exciting to visit the places mentioned in his novels.  Is that geeky?

Having made the decision to base my novels in and around Weymouth and Portland, I hope I’m able to convey my love for the area in my story-telling.

I can understand why Dorset attracts authors and I can see how and why she creates writers.

What is it about your favourite place that inspires you?

Laura x

14 thoughts on “Setting the Scenery.

  1. Ah, you’ve stirred up some memories there, Laura. My first illicit weekend away with The Exec was in Lyme Regis. We arrived in a beaten up Metro in a thunderstorm. It was fabulous …

    • Good morning Rachel. When I think of Lyme, I associate it with the Cobb and the The French Lieutenant’s Woman. I now have an image of your car parked on the Cobb, wrapped in a shawl 😉
      Thank you for popping in – I’m now considering a blog about illicit weekends… x

      • Hi Laura,
        Enjoyed the post, and am chuckling at idea of blog about illicit weekends
        (picturing said blog peppered with ‘anonymous’ submissions and comments)! 😉

  2. I love your scenery! Me, too, I am sea person. Devon, Cornwall, Wales… Actually, just about anywhere will do, Norfolk dunes have their attractions, too. I love the open space, the sparkle of the sun on the water, the blueness of the sky and the fresh green and white (and yellows, in the spring) dotted against it all. And the air! The breeze… I don’t know, there’s something about that environment that makes me feel right, and happy. My best place to write? Well, it’s been my long-standing day-dream to buy a lighthouse, and to convert the lightchamber into a lounge-cum-writing area. My desk would face out to the sea with endless vistas of white-capped waves and wheeling seagulls. Maybe one day….

    • Hi Nicky. We do live in a beautiful country. I have so many inspiring places on my doorstep, it would be difficult for me not to write about them or use them for scene setting. x

  3. Hi Laura,
    Osmington Mills is one of my favourite places and not too far from us in Bournemouth. I also feel inspired by Kimmeridge and St Aldhelm’s Head. Always felt grateful for being born here being surrounded by sea and countryside – the best of both worlds as far as I’m concerned 🙂

  4. Hi Laura, I have fond memories of holidays in Bournemouth as a child and more recently have visited the Isle of Purbeck with my family which is lovely. I like to write about my favourite places so that I can return to them. It’s my way of going on holiday without having to spend any money! (apart from on paper and printer ink of course)

    • Hi Anita. I mostly grew up in the Home Counties, as far away from the sea as one can get in this country, but I’m making up for it now. 🙂 It’s nice that the post has brought back fond memories for everyone. x

  5. What I wouldn’t give for an illicit weekend, Laura! lol.

    Never been to Dorset but it sounds wonderful and as a big Thomas Hardy fan I really should.

    For me it’s Yorkshire every time which inspires – the towns, villages, countryside, textile mills, everything about Yorkshire, especially the parts I came from around Leeds.


    • I’ll see what I can sort out, Debbie. *Makes mental note* One illicit weekend to arrange…
      It’s been a while since I’ve been North. I visited Richmond many years ago on a jail break fund raising weekend. Might tell you about that another time. I remember Yorkshire as a very green place. x

  6. There is something about dramatic coastlines that makes me want to write dramatic historical romance! Men in skintight breeches and white linen shirts….sigh!!

    • Hi Phoebe – thank you for dropping by and commenting. I’m a contemporary writer, but you had me at skintight. Laura 🙂

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