- Three Ships, Three Ducks
- One Cat
- Lockdown, and More
- Lockdown, Again
- Just a Picture
- I Saw Two Ships …
- Raised to Rest
- A Rainy Avon Beach
- All Change
- Spot the Marshals!
- There is Always Work
- New Store in Town
- Stanpit Marsh
- Christmas is Coming
- Decorations Started
- Southbourne Birds
- Decorations Continued
- ‘Tis the Season
- A Somerford Cat
No apologies, though you have seen images like this before. Yes, it’s more windsurfing.
It can always be difficult starting a new month, as it is a matter of fortune as to whether anything worth publishing happens on that day. Fortunately, despite a miserable start, the beach at Mudeford was fantastic, really busy, and a large percentage of them windsurfers of varying ability but determination and flair.
Click any of the images below to go to the gallery.
After the enforced confinement yesterday, sorting out a problem with this website, it was good to get out this morning. Near the path to Steamer Point I saw once more a child seated on top of a high wall. This was worrying, for the wall is definitely a high one, and the child looks small enough to climb but perhaps is not yet old enough to be aware of potential danger.
So I went to have a look. It was the same child, but fortunately she was definitely not real. I mentioned it to a man who had parked his car, and he said he had never noticed it before. The owner of the house definitely has a sense of humour, for the ‘child’ is now wearing a mask, as all good citizens should!
Then along to Steamer Point. The ships are still there, and because of the virus the three of them will still not come sailing in for some time. Click for larger images, as before remember View Full Size, bottom right, on any image.
The little lake by Steamer Point is full now, very still, and really green with vegetation, alive and rotting. To continue the rather tenuous theme of three, here are three ducks having a lovely rest on a fallen branch. Contentment!
To finish, a couple of pictures. The first is of Highcliffe Castle Obviously that is closed now, but the cafe was open, and the scene was glorious. The second one is of the tennis at Mudeford Wood Community Centre. Two of them were in use, and as they were arriving to start I said, in my usual humorous way:
Me, smiling cheerfully: “It’s a pity you won’t be able to do this soon. I blame Boris Johnson.”
Nice lady, not smiling: “I blame the whole bl**dy lot of them.”
She then went on to play her socially-distanced game! No mask required.
Having been busy today and still no update done at 6pm, here is a remedy, something to fill the space. I pictured a very friendly cat last month. Well, here is another one. It does not look so sweet, but was actually very friendly, going up to passers-by. Unfortunately it was more skittish than October’s feline, so almost all the other pictures were blurred. Look closely at today’s tail, and you can see some blur at the tip. Click for larger, back to return.
Well, here we are again – lockdown for nearly a month. However, it is not as restrictive as before (schools are still functioning, for example), though I do hope that your hair is not the quick-growing and easily-unkempt variety! The roads are emptier than usual but not almost deserted as they were previously. This is the A35 from the footbridge at about 10am today.
The picture below is exceptionally boring, but in fact very important. It is the entrance from Ambury Lane to the little road leading to Sainsbury’s. You may remember a September item (click and scroll down a little), showing a burnt out car which had obviously been torched there (also shown below). Well they won’t be able to do that again!
Here are two snapshots in Highcliffe this morning. First, The Paddle, the restaurant on the corner of Lymington and Waterford Roads. It is still open for business, and they have an intriguing and unique design of barrier.
Further down Lymington Road, The Globe has a very impressive notice outside. Smart!
This is a bit of a cheat as it is meant to apply to the specific day, but going through pictures taken last week, I was impressed with this one of Highcliffe Castle on a gloriously sunny day. Click for a much larger version in a new window (over 4ooK) or get a huge one (around 8MB) on SmugMug (new window again). Remember, the latter takes some time to show clearly, depending on the speed of your connection.
To salve my conscience, here is an update actually from today!
Although this is not within Christchurch, yesterday I had cause to visit Southbourne, just a little way along the coast. It is quite a walk but certainly a manageable one.
You have no doubt seen the many pictures of the cruise ships, still anchored off the coast during lockdown. Well, from Southbourne they are spectacular, although I admit that the sky helped! Click for a much larger images and remember View Full Size, bottom right of each one, if you want even bigger. Very much larger ones are also available on SmugMug.
There is an interesting article about the ships in today’s Echo.
Nothing terribly exciting has happened to me today, though the machinations and intrigues in Downing Street have significant wider interest. So, all I have for you is another pumpkin. “What?” you say, “Hallowe’en was nearly two weeks ago.” However, it did have some poignancy to see a poor, abandoned fruit placed heavenwards in the bough of a tree on Ambury Lane this morning.
I had to do some serious scientific research before writing the above: is a pumpkin a vegetable or a fruit? Google once more came to my aid, and the consensus is that it is a fruit. I have quoted one of the many sources below. I suspect that this came from an American site!
Like other foods that are not what you think, pumpkins have got you fooled. These orange treats are fruits, not vegetables. See, vegetables are the edible portions of herbaceous plants. Fruits are the edible reproductive body of a seed plant. Fruits grow on a plant and help carry out its seeds.
Further research defined a pumpkin as a squash, which is also a kind of fruit. More investigation revealed the origin of the word ‘squash’ in this context. This from wikipedia:
The English word “squash” comes from askutasquash (which means “a green thing eaten raw”). It is from the Narragansett language of Massachusetts.
Here endeth the lesson, but here is a fascinating description of the language.
You will not doubt be aware of how resilient and enterprising our local folk are. That was demonstrated yet again this morning, a dreadfully rainy, dull and windy one. Avon Beach wasn’t very busy, but there were nevertheless some intrepid venturers enjoying the fresh air.
Here are more, wrapped up against the rain, photographing their very wet dog. The man is emulating David Bailey, the lady is smiling. Again, click for larger.
Finally, when I had got out of my warm, dry car, zipped up my coat and walked towards the steps I took the chance to be rather rude to two nice ladies, certainly not dressed for the weather. “You’re not going swimming, are you … you must be mad!” Fortunately they laughed and even posed for a smiling photograph at the end of their ordeal. As usual, click for larger.
For another example of the resilience of ladies, go to December 2019 (opens in new window).
After the awful rain and floods of yesterday there were even more today. Thankfully this time they were interspersed with periods of brilliant sunshine, which certainly brought out the crowds. In each of these galleries click to view much larger (then remember View Full Size if you wish).
A new game: Spot the Marshals! Today Christchurch was very quiet and the marshals were gently wandering, though I would have found it rather dull. You can get an impression from the pictures below, and by the time I had had a rest by the river, I caught up with them, still on the (friendly, leisurely) prowl at the junction of Stony Lane.
I’ve been outdone! You may remember my brilliant joke:
‘What’s the best London borough to buy a dog?’ (Answer: Barking)
Well, today a group of walkers, with assorted pooches, approached.
“That’s a fine collection of hounds,” I quipped.
“I wouldn’t say fine,” responded a lady, continuing the repartee.
“What’s the best London borough to buy a dog?” I returned, smiling.
“Hounds-low,” said a man, also smiling .
So I was outdone, I had never thought of that one. That’s two excellent jokes for the repertoire now.
On a slightly more serious note, there was scaffolding going up again in Bridge Street yesterday. I don’t have a picture of that, but here are three of some happy scaffolders taken last week on Willow Way. Click for much larger, remember View Full Size if you wish. Brave
men persons. You wouldn’t catch me up there!
This morning I remembered the picture of the coastguard, taken on August 30. I had intended to print it and give them a copy. Well I did it today. The weather was brisk, though I have known brisker, and the Priory looked superb. Click below for a larger image, then back to return. Note that you do need the larger one, the little picture below does not do it justice.
The coastguards liked the picture, by the way.
As we are now in lockdown once more, it was pleasing to see that the very large building they have been constructing on Stony Lane (between Honda and Toyota!) is due to open on Monday.
It is a branch of ToolStation, and judging from the current map (see right), this new branch will fill a void. As you can see, there are no branches in this area – until Monday!
Today Stanpit Marsh was cloudy and dull, but egrets, humans and horses loved it. It was surprisingly busy. As you may know I am particularly fond of egrets, and they were there in abundance today.
Here are three pictures. Apologies for the indiscrete horse, I told it to turn round, but as it was enjoying about a minute of rolling around – presumably to scratch an itch on its back – it just ignored me, and who could blame it! The humans were really relaxed, some searching for wildlife but others just ambling. It was not a day for hurry. Finally, a shot of an egret. The light was poor at the time, so I had to push up the sensitivity, with the consequent noise on the picture. It wasn’t the best shot of these birds, but I do like its streamlined shape, especially its legs and feet: it obviously understands the scientific principles of wind resistance. Click to view the gallery, remember View full size, bottom right, if you want even bigger.
Although this has not been the most cheerful or relaxing of times, it was good to see the Tesco Christmas Tree in Highcliffe. It is not exactly resplendent yet, though if you look carefully you can see a string of lights ready to be switched on, nearer the time. Anyway , from little acorns do great oaks grow, so it will no doubt look fantastic next month.
The building down the road already looks fantastic (though not Christmassy!).
I was (quite) excited to hear yesterday that this week the Christchurch Christmas Decorations are to be installed, so I rushed down today to have a look. I was hoping that the Christmas Tree would be erected in front of my very eyes. Sadly it was not to be, so more visits will have to be forthcoming.
There were a few posh baubles on display, however, so instead of leaving empty-memory-carded, here are two, taken in Saxon Square.
It was not entirely a wasted journey, however. On the way to see the display, a lady and very young child were descending the steps from the Castle, and the arch made a good frame; it is a pity about the two signs on the right, but there we are. Finally, some of you may have seen on the local Facebook pages images taken yesterday: the sky was spectacular, and there were some great photos. I can’t say that mine were as good, but the light was beautiful, as the two shots from the bridge show. Click to see the gallery, and remember View Full Size, bottom right, to view them even larger.
I have a confession. This update is not about Christchurch, nor about the cruise ships. The first was planned, the last is entirely accidental. I had cause to visit Southbourne this afternoon, and the ships looked spectacular, so equipped with camera I started to photograph them. Then the accident happened: some excitable seagulls got in the way and as it turned out they were more impressive than the ships. So here are three. Click for larger, and much higher quality are available here (scroll to the end).
I reported above (24 November) about the Christchurch Christmas decorations. I’m pleased to say that they are moving on apace. The images below show the High Street and its panels displayed on high, and in the second picture you can see the Christmas tree, which is yet to be unfurled. Click for larger.
I intended today to be full of profound observation and rich analysis of the political situation. Thankfully, though, I decided first to have a walk, and by the end the natural depression had lifted, though it had become more intense at the start, seeing this poor abandoned (lost?) teddy on a gate post, and soon afterwards a deflated Santa in a garden did not really help.
It was worth it in the end, though. Bob Hancock, of Somerford, has been at it again, and it is spectacular. His garden is a famous attraction around there. Search for Hancock to see more: there are several years’ updates. Click the gallery below to see much larger.
Look at the previous update, from September (opens in a new window). There are several more.
It has been busy today, so this is an unusually brief update. Probably the nicest part was meeting another delightful cat in Somerford this morning. His owner was there, but unlike what a proper reporter would have done, I did not even get the cat’s name! Indeed, a ‘proper’ reporter would have also discovered the date of birth, number of siblings, and favourite cat food! Click to see the gallery.
Even larger versions are available here, in the order of those above (open in a new window). Remember, depending on your connection, they may take some time to show clearly.