Sunday, 8 July 2018
The Sea! The Sea! As the Greeks said...
It's possible a Greek or two were wandering about when we landed on one of Europe's best beaches. It ought to be best as they spend vast sums dredging up sand and piling it on to keep the beach in good condition, they succeed well. Here we see one of the growing dunes that are being manufactured, the majority have grass planted to bind them together and lower the risk of the tide sweeping them away and the result is a more natural beach, natural if you remember much of it is dredged form somewhere out there.
Bournemouth beach on a Wednesday morning is one of the safest around. Flags fly to indicate safe places to swim, large huts contain lifeguards sitting on watch, dogs are allowed but in parts restricted, security prowl looking for those who wish others harm. All in all they work hard to ensure a safe day out and it works well in my view.
The wind offered an opportunity for those who like sailing yet few were to be seen from here. The cloud to our left allowed some sun to appear to our right where the 'Old Harry' rocks are situated. The sea meanwhile gave different shades of light to us and I failed to capture the 'silvery sea' in front of me. The settings wrong again! Bah!
After inhaling all the sea breeze we could and discussing great affairs (she was back indoors scared of the sea so conversation could be deep and satisfying) it was decided to head upwards and get the view from on top of the cliffs.
A great view of the sweep of the bay from Old Harry rocks to the far end at Hengisbury Head, a place she indoors will not let us travel as it's too windy. On the beach we could not see these four yachts trailing one another yet up here all sorts of things appear in front of us.
What was he carrying as he jogged along the sand? Such running is good for the fitness but in what looks like a wetsuit and carrying a deflated banana of huge proportions? Maybe his dog was well ahead of him?
This one made several attempts to put out to sea but appeared to get no further than fifty yards before returning to shore. Quite what he intended I was not sure but he did not go far. It is not uncommon for people to row canoes (Kayaks?) around the British Isles but it is hard work in the seas round the coast. In some ways I understand this, we all wish to do something rather daft that exercises the body, I cycled from Edinburgh to London once (once!) in 1974 at around fifty miles a day. Not bad for someone who did not have a bike until a few weeks beforehand, rather stupid now of course! The adventure of doing something physical and unusual is within us all, even though it is often daft! I hope he makes it.
Behind us stood a long row of houses developed to take advantage of the view. Some dated a little like this one (I will take a penthouse please), others replacing 1930's houses with modern three story blocks of wide windowed apartments costing just over a million each. Down on Sandbanks where the rich live a modern home on the front could set you back five or six million, unless you wanted a big one. Personally I prefer this block to the modern sleek trendy minimalist offerings. I would wish for a home not a cold austere trendy flat, that is not a home just something to show off to others.
My wishes of course make no difference, neither are coming my way nor I suspect will they come yours. The view is great however and it is free to walk along the front inspecting where the ground has slipped away or sit and cogitate while gulls fly over the head and a Kestrel hovers over the cliff seeking lunch. We saw one hover and suddenly swoop down below but we did not see him rise up again. I wonder if he got fed or is still there chomping away?
This area was quite quiet while we sat and pondered but down below every 250 yards or so sat small pockets of people, usually a couple of women and a huddle of children, near the water and chucking down sandwiches in between enjoying the beach. With the holidays round the corner it is clear that this area will be a mass of people doing similar and I will be happily above on the cliff rather than down there in that throng on that day.
These Scots thistles get everywhere, you see it is a fact of life that without Scotland or Scots this world would not work! I er, will not attend church today in case any racist comments and or bottle throwing erupt during the service as comments regarding last nights result might be considered provocative....
We scurried home for lunch stopping only at the gorgeous Poole Bay! Here those who stand on surf boards armed only with a sail learn to develop their hobby in the knowledge that this water is less than two feet deep. In the distance sits Poole Harbour, which along with Christchurch at the other end of the bay have been the only workable harbours here since the Iron age, that's from around 500 BC until today. Bournemouth itself was no use to anyone bringing goods ashore as these two places provided the harbour for the area, it being fear of Napoleonic invasion and the occasional smuggler that led some to seek the Militia to defend the beaches against such invasion that brought the Bourne Mouth to prominence. Lewis Tregonwell, a captain in the militia secured this area and after his wife suffered depression when their child died they holidayed in the area. They loved it so much they built a house in 1812 and moved in. Knowing sea bathing had become the cure all for all sickness Tregonwell built large villas, for the rich, to indulge themselves while holidaying, secured his fortune and created Bournemouth. Now it possesses almost 200,000 souls and combined with Poole, Christchurch etc, almost half a million live in the area. Too crowded for me.
Naturally the water means a great many live as they have done for generations on the water. Quite what this one was doing was unclear but I suspect his boat gets more use than those that appear unloved around him. It is not unusual to see such craft slowly die and disappear into the mud. Cheaper than having them broken or removed I suppose but there again do they not pay mooring fees?
Having lunched, how nice to eat properly for a few days, we two returned to the front late in the afternoon. This meant parking in the cheapest place and how attractive such car parks can be! Several levels of concrete with millions of pounds worth of debt laden cars in buildings using cheap paint to keep costs down. Few holiday here but it is clear why movie makers often find themselves in such places.
Walking though the gardens to the pier we saw something of the huge numbers of young folk who fill this town while attending the University or the many language schools. Vast numbers filled the park, kicking balls about, shouting, chasing one another, or as here on the beach, posing so as to attract the girls. We sat amongst the throng, something you realise we were not too keen on, people watching for a while. How much better the view was from high up above the cliffs than sitting amongst so many people here at the centre of beach life. While it is right folks ought to enjoy the beach, and it is a great beach, I wished it was November, then the beach would still be great but these folks would be elsewhere!
Like the gulls we were wondering 'who ate all the pies?' Or was it 'who drank all the 'Stella?'
Did I explain I enjoy Bournemouth? My spiritual mentor was there, and she just as important in this even though the phrase I mostly hear her say is 'Shut up!' The beach, comfy bed, good food, the sea, the countryside, the castle and the variety of intriguing houses built by the wealthy over the years are a delight to me, especially as I have not been there with them for two years. Enjoyment is the word to sum it up. You will be glad I am off home now...