- Teddy, Dog, Butterfly, Romanians
- Much Happening In Christchurch
- I Saw Three Ships
- Jersey Tiger Moth
- Early Warning of Crowd
- Teddies and Butterflies
- Done It!
- About a Garden / Art in Druitt Gardens
- Horses, Cat, Starlings
- The Rain It Raineth
- The Aftermath
- The Rain It Raineth – Again
- Gorse and Thistle
- Lots of Adrenalin
- Natural Action in Mudeford
- The Last Fairground Day
- Rude Pictures?
- Almost Finished
- A Windy Day, Introduction
- A Windy Day, Yesterday
- Really Heavy Rain
- Bank Holiday Saturday
- Bank Holiday Sunday
- Bank Holiday Monday
First Day of the Month
This is just a brief update to get the month started. It was noticeably cooler than yesterday, though in the direct sunshine it could be very hot indeed. The beaches and car parks were emptier today, though still busy, and the surfers were thronging the foreshore, most of them learning to stand on the board, and finding it tricky – as would I if I had the nerve to go in!
Sad Teddy, then Happy Husky
The above was seen in Burton. It became an eventful morning, with a beautiful-looking husky on the Avon Valley Path on the way to Winkton. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I am definitely not a dog person, but I was taken with this fellow (below – as usual click for larger, then choose View full size, bottom right). The conversation with the nice owner went along the lines of:
‘Beautiful looking dog.’
‘Yes, and he knows it.’
‘Oh dear, rather vain then. Wouldn’t he rather be in the Arctic pulling a sled.’
‘There is absolutely no way he would want to be pulling a sled!’
I had been pleased to meet this dog as my attempts at butterflies had all been failures. The husky was willing to pose, but no sooner did the butteries settle than they were off again. Anyway, one did stay still for about 0.36 second!
It wasn’t just huskies and butterflies, however. On another part of the Avon Valley Path there were two humans: Romanians who not only stood still long enough for the photograph, but asked if they could pose. Click for larger (if you wish)!
Finally, and I know I shouldn’t laugh, but the lady in pink above had just been rescued by her family or friends after falling waist-deep into the river with a piercing, chilled scream. I have not produced a larger image, to spare her blushes!
An Eventful Stroll
I intended today’s updates to be rather
dull functional – the news section, reorganisation of some of the menus, that kind of thing. However, this morning’s walk was so interesting I have done this instead – or as well as, if I can do more later.
So often, people in Christchurch do not appreciate the beauty of the area, and this was brought home to me when I came across a young man from Ipswich. I did ask, when he was bending down to photograph a duck at close quarters (without dropping his ‘phone in the water!), if he was keen on photography. He said not particularly, but it is so nice here. A pleasant youth, he said that his mother had moved down to Bournemouth and he had never been here before, so he had looked at the map and ‘it is only two stops on the train.’ Then he was thrilled by the swans, and being a bit of a clever clogs, I asked don’t they have swans in Ipswich? He laughed, and suggested they were quite scarce there. Anyway, I left him photographing swans on the Quay and ventured into town.
Actually, I must go back a few minutes. Near to the Council Offices I saw a beautiful butterfly. It was not a red admiral (I think) but looked spectacular, brilliant red, so I was delighted when it settled on the wall. No, more than delighted, I was shocked. It had turned into the one below, which looks equally spectacular:
David B informs me that, ‘The picture is of a Jersey Tiger MOTH with its wings folded. The Jersey Tiger is a day flying moth which can be seen from July to September depending on location.’ Read more on August 6, below.
On into town. There was a very impressive group (The Henrys) performing in the High Street. I will try to put the video on later (they were good), and people were very thoughtful, they all avoided walking in front of me, except one lady who made a donation, so she is forgiven. Click here to see their Facebook page.
To give you an idea how more ‘normal’ Christchurch is looking now, here is Saxon Square. Sadly, the set of chairs in the middle were not for sitting on today, they were for sale! They did look good, and if I needed a chair I would certainly have bought one.
To End at the Beginning
This was on the way to Christchurch, via Stanpit Recreation Ground and then the old golf course next to 2Riversmeet. I was amazed to see the huge cruise liner parked offshore.
I asked another walker what that ship was and he told me it was the QE2, which is parked near here. Having checked online, I am sure it is not the QE2, but (probably) the Aurora. SEE BELOW (4 August)
The first picture shows the view in context, the next one zoomed in. The final picture is the exit from the golf course. Click to see larger versions, then View full size to enlarge further.
It looked beautiful – the young man earlier would have loved it!
An Even More Interesting Stroll
Still no dull update today, I am afraid. I was thinking about the actual identity of the ship which was visible from Christchurch yesterday and decided to go to Hengistbury Head to find out for myself. It was the Queen Elizabeth, not the Aurora or the QE2. It was another beautiful day, so there are lots of shots below. There are descriptions below each gallery. If you want an even bigger version of each, choose View full size on the bottom right. These open in a new window.
Click the above for larger. On the left-hand picture, the lady with her back to me (not the one doing yoga!) told me that she had sailed near to the ships in a small boat and they were incredibly dirty and rusty, because they are not being cleaned, as they are regularly when in service. The right-hand picture shows a runner posing nicely, with the Queen Elizabeth on the right and another ship on the left. A kind man checked through his binoculars and told me that it is from the Royal Caribbean fleet.
I suppose these huge ships become part of the scenery. Jumping on rocks or climbing a fence is much more exciting!
It was a Moth!
As you may have seen (August 3, above), I thought the insect by the Council Offices was a red admiral butterfly, because it looked spectacular, though redder than a red admiral, if you see what I mean. In fact it was a Jersey Tiger moth, a day-flying species, and thanks once more to David B for correcting me. I had been amazed how it was able to change its wing pattern so dramatically and had been puzzling about it for some time, so now I can relax! Here is a better image of the moth (not the same one – I assume!):
As you can see, it really is brilliantly coloured. Here is something from the butterfly conservation website:
Resident and a suspected immigrant. Well established along the south coast of Devon and Dorset, extending inland to the edge of Dartmoor. Also found on the Isle of Wight, Sussex, Kent and recently from parts of London, with a few records elsewhere.
At the risk of becoming repetitious, I have posted my picture again. It is not great, and I will be visiting that area more frequently now that I know what I am looking for.
Early Warning, but Probably Too Late!
This is a very quick update, there will be more later. Today at 9am Avon Beach was already becoming packed.
Arriving home, I checked the newspapers. This was the headline on the front page of the Daily Mail, at around 11.30am:
The beaches are already full! Brits stream to the coast and cause huge tailbacks as nation braces for the hottest day EVER with temperatures of up to 102F – amid fears social distancing will go out the window
There will be more later, but I will conclude for now by saying that the car parks too are full, with streams of cars in both directions. Procedure at Mudeford Quay:
- Join queue to find a space …
- … fail …
- … join another queue to leave!
Going a few minutes back in time: though I have said before that I am not a ‘dog’ person, I was struck by the two below. Actually, that is not quite true. There was a very smartly-dressed lady with her husband, their promenade on the promenade was quite something to see. Unfortunately, as I was taking it the lady was concerned that the dogs weren’t looking at the camera, so she left the scene and stood next to me to attract their attention Ah well, you will have to make do with the dogs and husband!
Finally, the dovecote by the car park entrance is always good for a photo.
More Teddies, More Butteflies and a Service
Burton always seems to be fruitful in terms of photo opportunities and wildlife and cuddly ‘life,’ and so it was today. First, the cuddly life. At least the two teddies below would not have been lonely, they were facing each other along a gate and no doubt had some interesting chats about passers-by, local birdlife, and, ‘Who was that nice/weird person taking our pictures?’ From the evidence of the cobwebs, they must have been there some time. The final picture is – obviously – not a teddy, but I couldn’t resist.
Today I actually found a very unusual butterfly in terms of behaviour: it stayed still and calm for a few seconds instead of fluttering off before the lens was even vaguely pointing in its direction! I am fairly sure it is a speckled wood butterfly. Click to go to the gallery, and if you want a larger version (in a new window), remember to look at the bottom right.
Finally, a more serious, and even happier, item to conclude. The vicar of St Luke’s in Burton was waiting to welcome his flock. It was good to see, even with him wearing a face shield, and there was a slow stream of people attending.
The Sweet Sound of Success!
Today it was good to see The Henrys back in action. They were first described and justifiably praised last week, August 3. Once more they were excellent, and they had quite an audience at times, including some teenagers/young ladies who definitely did not see it as uncool.
So why ‘success’? Last week I tried to produce a video. It worked, but took hours, so this week, instead of trying to show off my expertise with the most complex programs (then, it was DaVinci Resolve) I tried iMovie. It has worked remarkably well, though there is a slight error at the very beginning I could not get rid of. Anyway, it is published here complete with the fraction-of-a-second error, and is definitely worth listening to.
Of course, a market is a place where you buy things, as well as a social occasion. It was really good to see Bookends open again, and there was sometimes quite a queue, great to see it back in action once more.
Finally, to reflect the cheery weather, below is a happy smallholder with his belts and leather goods. Click for a larger image.
A very short update on this section today. This is a new view of Robert Hancock’s garden. He lives in Somerford, at the corner of Edward Road and Somerford Road, opposite the Meteor Centre. His garden is well-known locally for its displays, and today I was impressed to see a new sign, not in the garden, but on the fence by the road. It was obviously done recently, 72 years from the inception of the NHS.
Search for Hancock from the home page to see the other updates. Here is the first, from October 2018.
It’s Not Only Music in Christchurch …
Having taken more photos of the funfair (available soon), hopefully better than the previous ones, I walked back through Druitt Gardens. Turning a corner on the approach to Druitt Hall, I was delighted to see a truly pastoral scene, with three artists serenely at their pleasant work and the Tuesday gentle hustle of Christchurch just yards away.
Their work was really good, too, and thanks so much to them for putting it down so I could photograph it.
I’m only talking about a photo target, but I promise you, even tigers must be easier to photograph, though more elusive and dangerous (has anyone ever been eaten by a butterfly!) – but at least they stay still for a time. The trouble is that butterflies are rarely settled for more than a second or so, so today was another failure in that respect, but there were opportunities elsewhere. The walker with the Chicago top and the USA hat made me smile.
To see larger, click the image. Use the back button to return.
I said that horses were easier! This was approaching the rustic (rotting!) bench near to the ford on Waterditch Road. It is an idyllic spot, with cheery greetings from the few people who pass.
The other update today is the header on the home page.It is a line of starlings which were perched on the cables across the road. This also appears below, though obviously it looks better full size. Click to view, or go to the home page.
As you are no doubt aware, it has rained heavily this afternoon. Sadly, being a morning person, I missed it, so this update is not a personal one except for the picture below.
in the early afternoon I heard two fire engines racing through Highcliffe. Not only were their sirens wailing, their horns were blaring, too.
It was definitely serious; This is the headline in The Echo:
McDonald’s, Aldi, Lidl and M&S in Christchurch closed after storms hit
Here is an extract from the article:
A crew from Christchurch were called to an incident outside McDonald’s on Somerford Road, Christchurch at 3.01pm this afternoon. Firefighters found a manhole cover issuing with smoke so have cordoned off the area to make it safe and are currently stood by with CO2 extinguishers. Next door at Lidl a sign has been placed on the door, which says: ‘Due to unforeseen circumstances, it’s with regret we have had to close. We are reopening tomorrow. Sorry for any inconvenience.’
Staff in the town centre M&S store could be seen restocking shelves, however, the retailer’s doors were locked shut. A sign on the door said: ‘We would like to apologise for the closure of this store today. We have had an issue with flooding due to the heavy rain.’
Read another Echo article.
This was the scene in the underpass in Christchurch this morning. Though the photograph does not do it justice, it made people hesitate, even stop, and one lady had to be reassured that it was not deep. She eventually tiptoed warily through the puddles and made it, dry and unscathed!
Look for the reflections of the tiled walls. The water went all the way across.
I imagine that yesterday, at the height of the storm, even tiptoeing would not have kept people dry!
It Was Good While It Lasted
On my walk this morning I met a lady who was most definitely a pessimist. It had just started raining, and I asked her what sort of idiot doesn’t bring a coat (pointing at myself, she and her husband were very appropriately attired). She smiled and replied that there had been a 30% chance of rain. Her optimism brought the response, “That makes a 70% chance of it not raining.” She was right and I was wrong. Sometimes, perhaps, pessimism is the best policy.
It got worse, and Saxon Square was a pretty depressing place. Click for larger images, below.
You may remember how dry the River Avon, by the bridge, has been. For days the level had been very low, but now the water is part-covering the sign.
Beauty and the Thistle
As it was fairly bright this morning, and the rain was promised only for later, I decided to have a morning walk. Sadly, driving down in the direction of Sainsbury’s the raindrops began and so I parked there. However, on getting out of the car it had stopped, so I risked the walk after all. Was it the right decision?
Yes – it was certainly worth it! Crossing the A35 by the footbridge, I ventured through the Somerford car park, good to see it relatively busy again after the desolation of lockdown. It was still dull, but the sight that greeted me on Edward Road cheered me up. One house there had some spectacular sunflowers, which had continued to thrive and bloom even though its neighbours had begun to wilt. They looked fantastic in their isolation:
So it was on through the estate and then back along Ambury Lane (see further down).
I was aware of the sunflowers by the A35 and, carrier bag now full, I decided to park in the large lay-by on the way to Hinton and walk up in order to photograph it. It still hadn’t rained, though crossing the busy road to get to the footpath on the other side was rather hazardous. The slideshow below shows the sunflowers through a fence, sunflowers almost all on their last legs, and a pleasant childhood experience.
So why ‘Gorse and thistle’? You may remember that Winnie the Pooh had trouble with gorse, prickly stuff it is: ‘Pooh, who now knew what an Ambush was, said that a gorse-bush had sprung at him suddenly one day when he fell off a tree, and he had taken six days to get all the prickles out of himself.’
Well, Winnie’s gorse bush was nothing compared to the thistle I fell into, having re-crossed the road and then tripping on a piece of green strapping which had fallen off a lorry. It wasn’t just any thistle, it was the King of Thistles! And then there was the indignity, in front of passing traffic … but at least it had been a soft landing onto the grass and not into the traffic!
They Are Everywhere
Beryl Bikes, I mean! Here is one on the rural approach to Sainsbury’s, no sign of its owner/renter anywhere:
Ok, it is perhaps not such an ordeal as, for example, dealing with a boomslang in the African bush, a gang of desperate criminals in Colombia, facing an onrushing polar bear in the Arctic, or clinging to a precipice on Everest.
However, we are talking about Burton here, where similar dangers are rare indeed: one of the most common stresses is trying to photograph a butterfly! The first picture today really had the adrenalin coursing through my veins. It was absolutely beautiful, and I am pretty sure not a red admiral; and it was only a few centimetres away, with its wings outstretched as if shouting its beauty. So I pointed the camera at it and guess what? It flew off, still only a few centimetres away, but this time its wings were folded back and it looked, well. dull. I took several pictures, it was quite still, so very gently tapped the twig. Being a butterfly and hence determined to annoy and frustrate it fluttered off, over the hedge and far away. So the picture is below. I still have no idea what it was, but it still looks great.
After walking across the footbridge I had been rather concerned about the effect that the rain yesterday would have had on the usual puddle location on Hawthorn Road. It floods easily and regularly, and is often quite deep. Today it had already stretched across the road, but it was not too full, only reaching halfway up my shoes, and not a spot of damp reached my socks! Having gently waded through, this is looking back towards the A35.
It’s Windy Today
As usual in conditions like this, locals – and no doubt visitors, too – were out in force. And what force they were witnessing, too! There was much excitement and dodging of intrusive and very salty waves.
View the gallery below, all taken at around 10am (remember View full size, bottom right, if you wish). The video at the bottom is very short, but gives an idea of the conditions and, if you are lucky, to add to the experience you will feel seasick after viewing, as the wind was fierce. It was impossible to hold the camera steady.
It’s Calmer and Sunnier Today
And it was the last day of the fairground. Being of a miserable disposition you would not have expected me to actually attend. However, it looked to be crowded today, and there were lots of screams and arm-waving, so they obviously must have had a great time! I stayed safely (and boringly) on the other side of the fence.
Peaceful life reigned elsewhere. New Zealand Gardens were beautiful, as usual, and people were sitting there, just enjoying the sunshine while serenaded by the sounds of fairground just yards away.
To close, a still small voice of calm: the willows on the river by the Council Offices are fantastic now, and the kayakers appreciated it, I am sure.
The Wrong End of the Ducks!
Apologies if you came on here expecting something quite exciting, revealing, or whatever you prefer! In fact the river today in Christchurch reminded me of the perfectly innocent poem by Kenneth Grahame:
All along the backwater,
Through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling,
Up tails all!
As you can see below, the ducks were certainly dabbling this morning, with tails above the river for all to see! Lots of ducks were dabbling, lots of tails were up, but these were the best two.
The river was quite low today, very different from a few days ago (see above, August 16). The swans’ cygnets are growing up now, and venturing out in glorious procession with mum – or dad – keeping a careful eye. Notice that one of them is keeping much closer to its parent, no doubt admiring the courage of its siblings.
I was amazed this morning. As you know, the fairground finished yesterday evening, but at 10am a lot of it had already packed up and gone.
Finally for now, I spotted this sign outside Waitrose. It was facing the roundabout near the car park, so I doubt that many drivers will notice it while negotiating the heavy traffic. Ironic that this sign warning about global warming is facing a very congested roundabout. Make of that what you will.
Part Two – Dyllon Practising
Having photographed the clearing of the fairground, I turned round, macro lens at the ready, poised to try another butterfly for the hundredth time, or so it seems. However, I didn’t get to New Zealand Gardens, for on the way I was surprised and intrigued to see a fit-looking man in bare feet doing what looked like weird things with a pole.
We had a pleasant chat, and he told me that he does stunts, fitness training, all sorts of things, and even gave me a Facebook address to have a look. I recommend that you check it out, there is some great stuff.
I had been very impressed with some of his routines on the bars, and I asked if he would do one again. It was very good indeed, so much so that a father with his very young daughter (and I) all applauded heartily and even enviously.
A video, with some copyright-free music. Notice also the huge lorry in the background, removing just some of the fairground equipment.
The Fairground is Almost Gone
Today it was a brief visit to Christchurch, and the clearing of the fairground from the recreation ground is nearly done. It has been very impressive, and when I complimented one of the crew on their speed, she praised the others and said to me with a smile, ‘It works like a dream, If you work as a team.’
So there were just a few lonely attractions remaining. You could still see the pale patches of grass marking where the rides had stood, but I am sure that they will soon be back to normal.
Unusually, though I am definitely a ‘morning’ person, I ventured out to Mudeford Quay after enjoying the Salzburg v Liverpool game (well, the second half, anyway!). It was a beautiful evening, though incredibly windy at times, and people were crabbing – successfully – and windsurfing – usually successfully. Here are two shots from the evening, taken at around 6.30pm. There will be more, and more information and an interesting link, tomorrow.
Better Late than Never …
… At least I hope so. It has taken some time to go through all of yesterday’s pictures, but now that they are ready, here are more details of the happenings in the early evening.
Activity 1 – Crabbing
As I am sure you know, this is a very popular activity on Mudeford Quay. I don’t know if anyone has ever taken a census, but there must surely be many thousands of brachyura just waiting to be collected by tourists and locals, poured on to the ground and admired, viewed nervously, or run away from, according to disposition.
Activity 2 – Windsurfing
As I am sure you also know, this is a very popular activity on the local beaches. In fact, looking on various websites for recommended windsurfing beaches, this area comes out as one of the best in the country. Click any image for a larger version, use the back button to return. Also remember View full size at the bottom right from the gallery – these open in a new window. There is a very short video here:
As I was leaving, I met a pleasant young man looking wistfully out to sea. He told me that only reasonably accomplished surfers would venture out today. He was a member of the Avon Beach Surfers, but sadly was unable to join in, as he had a – thankfully minor – back injury. Their website can be viewed below. It’s worth a look.
A slightly more restful picture. This was in the sheltered bay on the way to the Quay. It was choppy, even there.
The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here.
And on the ships at sea.
The above, by RL Stevenson, is probably not the greatest poem about rain that has ever been written, but the mention of umbrellas and ships confirmed its suitability for Highcliffe.
The road was flooded all the way across, as two pictures below will confirm.
A Quiet Bank Holiday
Just a quick update today, there will be more tomorrow. Thankfully today’s Bank Holiday was not as crowded as the previous one, though people were still out enjoying themselves. The car park was only part-full, so that it was possible that drivers of all ages and modes of transport could practise.
Of course, most people wanted to enjoy the view, and some even had a dip in the sea. The ships were there, of course, though only of passing interest after the initial excitement.
A Quietish Bank Holiday
It was a trip to Hengistbury Head today. First, though, an informative picture, taken a couple of days ago, by pressing the camera against the window of the Tourist Information Centre in Christchurch. As you can see, it is still closed.
Of course, a visit to the Head would not be complete without looking at the resting cruise ships. There were four of them today.
At the top, the coastguard had a break from seeing the ships moored, with only an occasional smaller craft to watch, and so he enjoyed telling visitors about the locality. He warned the people you can see here not to go too near to the cliff edge. The adults laughed in gratitude for the advice, and the boy waved his (plastic) scimitar!
Soon afterwards I was taken by surprise. As I was descending a steep hill a group of sprinters were told to ‘Go, go, go,’ and rushed past, enabling only two rapid shots after I had dived onto the verge. A fiercely energetic dog provided extra encouragement to the runners! Click to view larger versions of the two pictures in the gallery. Incidentally, in the second picture, the child did manage to get out of the way!
Further along, the view from the end was fantastic of the beach, the famous and sometimes very expensive huts, and the harbour full of boats.
By lunchtime, the car park was almost full.
Approaching the church, I saw something rare indeed: butterflies actually staying still and posing for the pictures. Sadly they were not a rare species, but as they say, a butterfly in the hand is worth …
Finally, I am sure you are aware that Beryl Bikes are to come to Christchurch. There was only a single one remaining, parked lonely on the special area near Wildown Road. Still, it had obviously recently been on an exciting off-road expedition! It needs a good clean.
Happy Last Day!
The last two updates above show a little of the Bank Holiday. Today is the final day, Monday. This week the schools will return after their uniquely long closure because of the COVID-19 virus. It will seem strange to the pupils, teachers, ancillary staff and parents, but hopefully all will go smoothly.
So it was good today to see so many enjoying the sunshine in Christchurch. The Quay and Quomps were quite busy, though not oppressively so, and there were almost universal smiles. Larger versions of most of the images below are available on SmugMug. Those few which are not will be indicated.
They were enjoying a mid-morning coffee and cake at the Captain’s Club:
A nice lady, dressed appropriately for the river with her life-jacket on, happily smiled and posed for the camera. It was good of her.
It was a time for families, too. The pictures below show one family who were all paddling by. Father called out to me and asked his sons to smile. One of them did (dad was paddling), and the other (Harry, I think) was concentrating hard on his independent paddling. Note that two pictures are the same. Most of these were against the light, and the first looked great as a silhouette, so that has been included as wells the ‘improved’ version. Mum is in the smaller boat in the third picture. Clicking will give larger versions in a gallery (full size on bottom right when you are viewing), but remember SmugMug for the biggest.
On the way back to the car, there was a small group of flowers on the ‘wrong’ side of the crash barrier near the footbridge by Ambury Lane. Their disturbed solitude appealed.