Monday, 10 February 2020

The Epic Holiday Part the third--Fossils and the Fall of Louisa Musgrove

This was the first of our grand days out. We made arrangements with a lovely local taxi driver to take us around places as Cricket St Thomas is out in the country and public transport is not great.

Today was all about Science and Literature.  We thought it would be appropriate since our LC/MC exchange experience included both English literature with Dr Connie Douglas and the history of science with Dr Ted Snazelle.

We spent a glorious sunny day in the town of Lyme Regis on the Jurassic Coast.  The first thing we did was go to the local museum to learn about Mary Anning. Who was Mary Anning I hear you cry. Well I will tell you.

Mary Anning was a 19th century English fossil collector and paleontologist. Wikipedia says:

Mary Anning was an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Her findings contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

Her observations played a key role in the discovery that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces. She also discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods. 

It is said that the rhyme "She sells seashells by the seashore " is about her.

We walked down to St Michael the Archangel Church and saw her gravestone and the stained glass window dedicated to her. Sadly she died from breast cancer at the age of 47 and was never admitted to the Geological Society in London due to being a woman. However in 2010 the Royal Society listed her as one of the ten most influential women to influence the history of science.

We had a fantastic time learning about her and bought a small amonite fossil as a souvenir.

The view of the sea:

Then we walked down the promenade by the sea. Because Lyme Regis is known for its fossils, even the lampposts had a fossil theme.

We walked to The Cobb which features in Jane Austen's  final book Persuasion.  It is here that Louisa Musgrove made her impetuous leap and brained herself.  Jane Austen writes:

Here is me reinacting Louisa Musgrove's jump in the exact spot mentioned in the book. 

Overheard conversation while I was lying there:

Confused man: Why is she lying on the ground?
Exasperated wife: Because it's Jane Austen, dear (heavy sigh)

Then we wandered back to the the high street and found this adorable place to eat called the Aroma Cafe. It was this quirky independent cafe with lots of vegan and gluten free options.  We had savoury waffles and salad . Look how vibrant this was!

Even the toilets were beautiful!

Stay tuned tomorrow for part the fourth where walk in the footsteps of  Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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