While location searching in Dorset was certainly very enjoyable, so was the opportunity to meet some friends.
Some of you may remember the Umbria workshops with David Noton (and his associate Jonathan Gooding) I wrote about. I had briefly run into them beginning of the year while on a professional trip to Birmingham. The Dorset trip had come up and we’d agreed to get in touch. I’d thought Jon and David would be preparing for Umbria in May but I was in time so right before the trip we agreed to meet for lunch.
I was looking forward to the chat. Unbelievable that I had to miss the last Umbrian workshop because of work…
The Old Granary in Wareham
Anyway, after some email exchange David recommended a place that turned out to be only about a mile away from my hotel: The Old Granary in Wareham, the UK. I had checked it out on the Internet and made reservations. Despite the proximity I had not been in that part of the city yet. When I arrived there, I was pleasantly surprised by the location. First very positive note: I found a parking place instantly, in the parking lot right outside the pub. Pay and display of course. Free parking seems to be rare in the UK.
The pub and the whole surroundings looked very attractive and the riverside was inviting for a walk, or just to hang out. The Old Granary has a superb terrace on the river (the weather all of a sudden was unbelievably sunny as well). In the parking lot, I saw David’s Discovery (a piece of machinery I understand he is deeply in love with).
I must say that after a rather adventurous trip to Colorado with some hazardous road choices Sonia sent me on a 4×4 course as well. Land Rover Experience ran it and even if I don’t own a Land Rover I must admit it is in competition with my BMW as a next car now. By the way, if you’re not actually buying a Landy these courses cost an arm and a leg, but you do learn some off-roading.
But back to Wareham.
So in I went to see immediately that Jon and David already (and luckily) had found a spot on the terrace. I found my way outside ordering “the same as those gents” from the waitress and seconds later I was shaking hands with my photographic friends.
Obviously we were immediately on our favourite topic. For the two professionals, the Umbria workshops (the 6th and last year) came quite close now. We chatted on about all things photography: the next lens we would like to add to our gear, the worrying development on copyright legislation in the UK, places to travel to and the changing profession with virtually everybody being a photographer these days. I loved it.
When I was wondering about the venue chosen, the Old Granary, as it was clearly not close to either Jon’s or David’s home, they explained that the place is actually where they kick off the Dorset workshops. Before the workshops, the Old Granary would be the place for Jon and David to meet and have lunch. And as if in a ritual, every time the same dish would be chosen.
Curious? Good old fish & chips. As a person who does not want to mess with traditions I decided to join them and so three portions of fish & chips were ordered. Not with the traditional chips, but with some finer crispier kind. And of course some beers to wash it all down.
No joke: this was a fantastic meal! If you ever pass through Wareham don’t forget to stop at the Old Granary and try this. Gone is my prejudice about fish & chips being greasy junk food (I know this may trigger some comments but I am admitting it was prejudice!).
So this turned out to be a very pleasant get-together with friends and a perfect lunch on top. When we finally went separate ways intentions were already made to do this again on a next Dorset visit! So now I am committed, I just have to come back next year!