A solid place

It was raining when I woke up this morning, so after arriving in Weymouth I decided to skip the book blanket/bicycle set-up and give away today’s edition (Weymouths Volume 2: Sense / Weymouth can refer to) at the bakery. It was slow going, but not without some beautiful encounters throughout the day, until 3:30 p.m. with three books remaining. I packed up the reading room and walked down to Aunty Vi’s snack shack on the sea and there was Peter out on the promenade, waving me over.

Peter read volume one last night and told me that the three Dorset towns that he’s lived in his life—Weymouth, Upwey and Poxwell—are all featured or mentioned in the book, and he was obviously struck by the coincidence. He entered the work and found himself there.

There’s a mountain of content in these twelve books, but I’m discovering that it doesn’t take much to bring this project to life. The books are only a key to access a conversation. A serendipitous connection in the moment, through language, memory or an image. All it takes is a few words.

Earlier in the day I showed the memorial bench book (Volume 11: Memory / Who enjoyed this view) to a couple (behind the tea pot in the photo below) who told me about a bench dedicated to their dear friend at the far end of the esplanade. We started searching the book for his bench and view of the horizon. They said they sit there almost every day.

Peter told me today that “Aunty Vi’s” snack shack is named for his mother, Violet, now passed away. He describes her as a real character and a beloved aunty to many. I was then introduced to the gentleman who would receive the last copy of today’s edition, standing there at Aunty Vi’s getting a tea. Gordon is a distinguished professor of logistics and a regular at Aunty Vi’s. We immediately connected—when I mistakenly mentioned that I was “getting rid of the last few copies” (ugh!) he laughed and corrected me, saying that I was giving him the honor of receiving the last book, and I said yes of course, I was gifting it to him. I don’t like the word “gifting” as a verb but it seemed appropriate here.

After a long search along the coast for the perfect seaside retreat with his wife, Gordon told me that they found Weymouth and knew that this is where they had to live. He says Weymouth is “neither posh nor down-and-out, neither this nor that—a solid place.” They now live on the Weymouth esplanade, overlooking the sea and Aunty Vi’s.

And a lovely visit from Chiswell neighbors Steve McPherson, Lindsay Marsden, Matilda and hedgehog, earlier in the day. Very happy to have made these new friends.


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