After having swanned around Swanage all morning I had felt quite chipper, almost good in fact. Maybe it was the salty air or seeing one of the dreaded seagulls fly into the side of a beach hut. Feeling anything other than a bag of spanners is not exactly a regular occurrence though; I can remember the last time I had a spring in my step because it was just before we played Tunisia in the 1998 World Cup.

The family bag of Maltesers in my rucksack was shouting in my ear but I put them on mute. I then applauded myself for dodging the bakery I visited yesterday where the lady serving must have at least the third-largest breasts in the West Country. Feeling pleased with progress I crossed the road and headed for the sound of waves bashing up against the shore.

Should I go for a paddle? The idea was appealing until I contemplated emptying sand from my shoes for the next three weeks. I then noticed a square of enamel dangling with the words ‘Cafe’ on it. It was a sign. Sorry.

This caff is almost on the beach so if there is ever a tsunami heading to the south coast, I’d advise not to hide in here. Though you may get swept away (sorry, bad taste) with the view from most of the windows at the back of the building (there is a shop counter at the front for takeaways). My partner arrived and we entered via the open side door at the back of the cafe so we could get some air in these Covid times. We got perched on some hard wooden benches akin to sitting on church pews. The extent of a ligneous plenitude was now evident, the panelling snaking around the walls behind stacked-up tables. There was a lot of timber here. If the millions of trees in Norway are ever decimated in a massive forest fire, this will be their first port of call when they come to restock.

There were a few knick-knacks scattered about such as a odd collection of teapots styled in weirdness from a Boehringer teas made to a Mammy Two Shoes lady in a bath. The wall art was also random depicting paintings of birds though not seabirds as you’d expect but robins and sparrows. Oh well, this is the South-West after all and I come down here for the dottiness. 🙂

The menu was not exactly a lengthy tome – a laminated side of A4 marked with a few reasonably priced soupy and doughy items. I ended up ordering a cream tea from a rotund lady straight off the set of The Darling Buds of May. She was friendly but her other oppos had a face on them like they had been locked in a car for two hours with Professor Chris Whitty.

The Mrs had a carrot and coriander soup with, unusually, corn bread, which was spot-on. I ordered a Dorset Cream Tea and having Cornish blood, ate it the Devon way. Not to deliberately attract opprobrium from my fellow diners because I don’t know how if they put the jam on or cream on first in Dorset. And I couldn’t be arsed to ask – I just asked for the bill.

When Ma Larkin came to take our sponds she seemed surprised that I had a cream tea for one and seemed to be intimating that I would have been better off with a cream tea for four. If I sue her I think her lawyers will go by the name Pot, Kettle and Black.

Shaking off that corporeal insult I put away my credit card (which gives Haribo rewards points) and vow (again) to go on the salads for a few days. As I rise I spot a few bald tourists from far-flung Asian countries and again I’ve got my mind on those bloody Maltesers!

Verdict: 3/5

Good: Quirky. Sea air

Bad: Not exactly comfy. Limited menu. Good for wood fetishists.