Seven o’clock in the morning and the whole bedroom was filled with bright sunshine. Jayne pulled back the curtains. The sky was alight with the red glow of the morning sunrise. She reached for her camera. This would be the first photo on the first morning of her holiday in Dorset.
A startled gull rose from the beach, shifting the thick line of pebbles. Another followed. Jayne watched their flight across the bay. She focussed the camera for the shot - two gulls caught in a golden beam of light that stretched across the calm waters of Weymouth bay.
But something else was framed in the picture. A long neck stretched skywards, arching and curving above the water.
“What are you taking a photo of?” Jayne’s brother, Tom, called from his bunk bed. “What’s out in the bay?”
“Just seagulls,” said Jayne, as she leaned forward to take the shot. But the horizon was clear. The long-necked creature had gone.
“I’m really looking forward to my breakfast,” said Jayne’s Mum, as she sat down at the table in the guesthouse dining room.
“Best part of the holiday,” Tom’s dad joined her. “I could eat English Breakfasts all day.”
“Derek, there are other things to do on holiday than eat all day.”
“It’s a dinosaur fossil!” Tom shouted from the corner of the room. “Dad, come and look in this cabinet. There’s hundreds of fossils!”
“So you’ve found my treasures, have you?” Mrs Baxter, the guesthouse owner, carried a tray of food to the family’s table.
“What’s that?” Tom pointed to an extra large fossil in the cabinet. “Is it a T. Rex?”
“I’m afraid I can’t name all the fossils,” said Mrs. Baxter.
“Where did you get them?” asked Tom. “Did you find them on Weymouth beach? Look at the size of that fossil! I bet it’s 8 cm across. Where did you find that?”
“My father was a fisherman when we lived in Portland,” said Mrs. Baxter. “Those fossils were trawled up from the bottom of the sea.”
“Sea Monsters!” Tom shouted.
“Tom, come and sit at the table.” His Mum patted the chair beside her. “That’s enough, now. Tell Mrs. Baxter what you want for breakfast. Forget about dinosaurs for a moment.”
“Jayne - dinosaur fossils!” Tom called out again, as his sister walked into the dining room. “They were found at the bottom of the sea near Portland. Mum, can we go to Portland?”
Jayne stared at the grey stone fossils in the cabinet. Large tightly coiled ammonites rested with pointed carnivores’ teeth and the backbones of giant plodding dinosaurs… The creature in the bay had a long neck like a dinosaur - like a Diplodocus. But could a Diplodocus swim?
“Tom,” Jayne sat down at the table. “Which dinosaurs could swim?”
“Dinosaurs didn’t swim!” said Tom. “Jurassic marine reptiles swam.”
“You’ve come to the right place if you’re interested in dinosaurs,” said Mrs. Baxter. “We’re at the heart of a World Heritage Site. This is the Jurassic Coast. They say that you can find nearly 200 million years of the earth’s history in the rocks on this coast. They’ve even found dinosaur foot prints on Portland - some kind of Iguanodon and a Megala…”
“Megalosaurus!” Tom shouted. “The fierce flesh eater! That’s a Jurassic Dinosaur. We’re in Jurassic Weymouth!”
“Can we forget about dinosaurs and sort out your breakfast,” said Tom’s Mum.
“I’d like dinosaur steaks, please.” Tom laughed.
“I’m afraid I can’t do those,” said Mrs Baxter “But I do have some nice scrambled egg.”
“Do you want scrambled egg, Jayne?” Her Mum looked across the table. “Will you please tell Mrs Baxter what you want for breakfast?”
“Oh… scrambled egg, please.” But Jayne’s thoughts were on other things.
“Certainly,” said Mrs Baxter. “And you young man?”
“Toast,” said Tom. “Please.”
“Very well. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“Mum.” Jayne leant across the table. “I saw something strange in the bay this morning. It had a long…”
“Mum!” Tom butted in. “Can we go to Portland and see the dinosaur footprints? We could go on a boat.”
“You’ll need to eat more than toast if we go to Portland,” said Derek. “The sea air will make you hungry and you’ll have to look out for the Megalosaurus. He’ll be a handful. I hope he’s had his breakfast before we get there.”
“There’s no Megalosaurus on Portland,” said Tom. “Dinosaurs and marine reptiles died out millions of years ago. Footprints can’t come to life. I’m not frightened of footprints.”
“Then what about the long-necked Loch Ness monster in Scotland?” said Derek. “Some people say that could be a Plesiosaur.”
“It’s a story,” said Tom. “You tell him Jayne. You’ll never see a Plesiosaur in Weymouth bay!”