I went on Saturday 21 September 2013 because it was the Lyme Regis Art Fest and I not only enjoy looking at art, but I also wanted to show my support for the creative industry that mostly consists of people whose love of their trade is the driving force rather than the money they make, although that is always a welcome bonus!
Anyway, my trip to Lyme Regis ended up being so much more than following the Art Path through the town and walking round the exhibitions; I decided to take a longer route that took me past Belmont House.
Now I’ve lived down here for around 8 years and I am ashamed to say that in all the times I have been to Lyme, I have never seen this magnificent property. And what is more, if it wasn’t for the large placard that is adjacent to the pavement, I may well have walked past it again.
Now it’s not just the fact that John Fowles of The French Lieutenant’s Woman fame lived there, but the house itself must have been remarkably beautiful at one time and sadly now it is less than a shadow of its former self and the Landmark Trust need £2m to restore it. Their link is here http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/Properties-list/Belmont/History1/
Anyhow, after standing in awe and imagining the stories this grand but decrepit old lady could tell, I made my way down to the sea front.
My ears were assailed by a not unpleasant sound of energetic drumming. I presumed there was a band performing at one of the eateries on the front and the wind was carrying the beat up into the Langmoor Gardens. But I was surprised to come across a lone drummer sitting in one of the shelters; I thought he must have put a great deal of effort into his act because he had the full set of highly professional looking drums.
I moved on, wondering just a little, why he should be there.
My question was soon answered as I made my way onto the Marine Parade and came across another lone performer who had acquired a small but very keen audience then a little further on was a quartet of youngsters who were equally enthusiastic albeit, sadly, with no following.
It was of course the B Sharp Busking Festival and these dedicated, resourceful and courageous soles were performing to the passers-by.
Like the artists who were exhibiting throughout the town, these young musicians were equally passionate about their art and wanted to show their wares whatever the outcome.
(After the amazing Guinness World Record attempt of Guitars on the Beach to celebrate Buddy Holly’s birthday, it would seem Lyme Regis is becoming something of a mecca for music).
Then as if that wasn’t enough, I along with the rest of the seaside guests were treated to an entourage of a happy wedding party, although I am guessing the dress code was slightly unconventional as I saw some children with dainty dresses and pretty hair slides who had chosen pink wellington boots to match their wedding attire and a slightly older guest who wore a posh ‘above the knee’ frock exposing two vividly tattooed legs that were planted in clean white trainers!
à chacun son gout
But alongside these more unusual events, I also saw the hardy few who were determined to enjoy the sea; a fishing vessel coming into the safety of the harbour and dozens of people sitting on the wall enjoying their fish & chips.
So whether it’s to promenade, listen to and look at the talent that is bursting out to greet you, be swept along with the joy of a wedding party or be reminded about our fantastic architectural heritage; don’t just visit Lyme Regis once to skim the surface, come again & again to see what it really has to offer – you won’t be disappointed!