Dorset Past – Memories of Days Gone By

I’ve had some awesome autumn walks this year even though the countryside has not taken on its full colours yet. The clarity of the light, especially when the sun shines, is great and there is that classic crispness in the air and a dampness under feet. Add to that, the hedgerows ripe with autumn fruits and curling leaves, the harvested fields, the warmth of light created by the lowering sun, and you have a recipe for a special time of year.

My recent walks have sparked some lovely memories in me from a time gone by, and those memories stir up a wonderful warm glow inside. It takes me back to a time over 50 years ago when, in my late teens, I had a dog and we used to walk together.

Of course, I walked Rex in all places, at all times of day, in all weathers, and at all seasons of the year, but the walks that always leap to the forefront of my mind with those warm memories, are the ones we took in autumn and early winter. On Saturday or Sunday afternoons, sometimes both, we would jump in my old rickety Austin A40 Devon and drive out into the country to walk the woodlands and farm margins. Just getting there was an adventure…..

Rex sitting in my Austin A40 Devon in the late 1960’s

My first car was a ‘sit up and beg’ Ford Popular with a big end gone – you could hear it before you saw it! I paid Β£15 for that car and the ride wasn’t that great. When the Austin came up for the crazy price of Β£30, I bought it, and it immediately felt like pure luxury after the Ford as it was more plush and gave a much softer ride. In fact, the soft ride was in part a problem because the front shock absorbers were shot which meant that driving down country lanes was like riding in a powerboat as the front end bounced mercilessly πŸ™‚ ! With little money, I couldn’t afford to do anything about it except keep topping them up with fluid but that just leaked out very quickly! Of course in those days, most roads in Dorset were country lanes. To this day, we still have no motorways but back then, I’m not sure we had many A roads either! It was great fun to drive, or rather bounce, down those lanes though, and Rex loved it too πŸ™‚ !

My dog Rex

Anyway, Back to the dog walking – we would park up somewhere in the countryside and walk the hills, woods, heaths and lanes until the light disappeared, just exploring together. I have particular memories of walking on Cranborne Chase and the Purbecks, but we went where the mood took us. And we would get very cold as winters then were cold and dry, unlike today. Having got frazzled, we would drive home and sit in silence beside a blazing log fire with a warming cup of tea (me that is, Rex wasn’t partial to tea πŸ™‚ ) with just the dancing flames to light the room. I think the competition used to be to see who could get closest to the fire but Rex always won that one πŸ™‚ ! Today, you would warm up in the car but in my Austin, that wasn’t an option – I do remember driving one of my cars with a hot water bottle shoved up my jumper though πŸ™‚ !

Rex at Badbury Rings

It’s really funny which memories stick in your mind isn’t it. Our Autumn and Winter walks are really strong memories for me and they and they really create a warm, fuzzy feeling over 50 years later.

On a technical note, the pictures in this post have been taken from transparencies that were originally taken with a cheap and old rangefinder camera, I believe it might have been a Prinzmatic. I should add that the fire in the first picture is not really blazing up the chimney as much as that, it is just the effect of the long exposure!

Make memories to treasure, they will last longer that any latest gadget!

Stay safe, and thanks for stopping by.

Until next time,
Your friend
The Dorset Rambler

If you would like to contact me, my email address is β€“ comments and feedback are always welcomed.

All words and pictures in this blog are the copyright of The Dorset Rambler and may not be reproduced without permission.


  1. Hey Terry, I really enjoyed this one. Thanks for posting it!

    On Wed, Oct 13, 2021, 10:45 AM The Dorset Rambler wrote:

    > thedorsetrambler posted: ” Warming up after a long winter walk I’ve had > some awesome autumn walks this year even though the countryside has not > taken on its full colours yet. The clarity of the light, especially when > the sun shines, is great and there is that classic crispness ” >

  2. Beautifully written and brought back memories reading about your old Austin as my Dad had one, with the runners on the side! We met you yesterday on the Cotswold Way and are enjoying reading your blog. Thankyou for sharing. 😊

  3. I have just found you, what a joy, I love your style of writing, and the way you weave a story into all the experiences and memories collected along life’s highway.
    My favourite is your 4 pieces on the churches. My husband and I have decided this year to do our own random pilgrimage. He now has a massive mobility issue, so sites have to fit certain criteria. We have mused over the old oak door at Bincombe with 1767 carved into it, loved the Norman Arches and font at Martinstown and shivered around the church in Cerne Abbas. To sit quietly within these buildings makes you feel comforted, peaceful and reflective. We have bought a leather journal and write down our feelings and thoughts whilst saying a prayer on how wonderful are life is.
    Take care Anghared.

    1. Ah, thanks so much Anghared for your lovely, encouraging comment. I love churches and should put more posts up as there are so many great churches in Dorset. I love the architecture that these old buildings have, but even more, I love the heritage and what they stand for, and I always have a time of meditation and prayer when I visit. Stay safe, and enjoy your exploring, and thanks again for your comment. Terry

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