- It Is Fantastic
- MacDonald’s Re-Opens
- Cute Cygnets, Good Jokes!
- Market, and Toilets
- McDonald’s, Again
- Happy Families
- Back to Normal?
- Non-Travelling Teddy!
- Nice House, Then Litter
- Just Eat – Or Not
- On a Lighter Note
- Ships from Hengistbury Head
- Bird and Organist
- A Fairly Eventful Walk
- Bad and Good in Highcliffe
- The Travelling Community
- Armed Forces Day
- An Oasis in Highcliffe
- Preparing for Opening
Not Quite Back to Normal
The relevant part of the notice received from BCP Council on the last day of May is reproduced below. The section in white on black was, in fact, incorrect, and various non-food stalls were open.
It Must Have Been There For Ages
Today, for the first time for months, I walked past Mudeford Junior School. Though there have been a lot of posters of various kinds since the lockdown, these two were different. Printed very large, they had been laminated and fixed to the fence outside the school for all to see and enjoy, presumably when the school was closed all those weeks ago. I’m sure the pupils really appreciate the care and enthusiasm shown. Click below to see the posters in a gallery.
The Old Story
From time to time there have been updates on here about fly tipping. Of course, it is an incessant problem across the country, but it was still disappointing to see this on Preston Lane, Burton, on Monday. Whoever, did it, you certainly mustn’t blame the horse for a small part of it! The Bournemouth Echo reported the problem on Tuesday, with the headline, Beach litter louts could face fines after 20 tonne clear up. There are some restrictions on access to the article in these difficult financial times for newspapers, but here is the link for you to try. to view the gallery, click below.
I rarely eat at McDonald’s, though I know they are popular. However, there was an article in The Echo yesterday which piqued my interest. The headline gives a clue: Traffic mayhem in Christchurch and Poole as McDonald’s reopens.
So this morning I went to look at this mayhem. Although it was not yet quite lunchtime, there was already a queue along Somerford Road. It has always been a busy branch, and this exceptional state is, I am sure, because of the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown. Hopefully the situation should resolve in a few days.
Joke – Cygnets – and Another Joke
After the chill of yesterday, it was back to warm weather once again today, a great chance for a walk. Going through Burton two young ladies walked into the road to achieve the correct social distancing.
My usual hysterical joke, to the young ladies: “Boris and Dominic would be proud of you.”
Ladies, after calming from their laughter: “They should start by doing it themselves.”
Tutti: Much laughter.
And so on across the Meadows, starting on the footpath entrance on Stony Lane. Picturesque, as always, and then the crowning glory: two swans with their obviously recently-born family of five. Mother was very protective, they stayed close, but father was quite aggressive, beating wings and making the noise that swans make very threateningly. A passing dog had quite a shock, and quickly retreated. They were so cute, I make no apology for these photos. In each case, click for larger.
I promised one more joke: Lady passes with two dogs.
Do you know the best London borough to get a dog in?
The London Borough of Barking!
She, and companion I had walked some distance with, laughed. It was very pleasing, and not the usual reaction to that joke!
A Busy Market, and Toilets!
It was good to see the market back in busier action today. Of course, there were differences, some may say improvements: social distancing was, on the whole, well-observed, so tripping over dogs or stepping back into someone were quite rare events.
There there were the toilets. You may know I am something of an aficionado of those establishments, being a male of a certain age: they are back in action!
More Traffic Issues With McDonald’s
This is reported above, but today the headline in today’s Echo reads, Police to deal with traffic problems at McDonald’s in Somerford.
So this morning I went to have a look. It is obviously a transient, though undoubtedly very difficult, problem. The pictures below were taken at 9.15am and 11.15am respectively. Click for a larger image, which will open in a new window.
I Couldn’t Resist!
After seeing the cygnets the other day (scroll up) I really had to go on one more visit. Three of the pictures are below. Click to see the gallery, then View full size on the bottom right for a larger version.
Don’t Fly With Me
Yesterday a nice lady on Stanpit Marsh saw me taking pictures. We had a chat about photography, and this and that, and then she said I must visit Bournemouth Airport as the many, many planes which are parked there during the lockdown look spectacular.
So, eager with anticipation, I drove out there. It was worth doing, they really are impressive, and more people had the same idea, both to have a look and to take pictures.
However, it was rather disappointing. Yes, they looked spectacular, but the security fence was a tall, strong one, topped with barbed wire, and with airport security and the police passing by from time to time. It was difficult to get the full impact – the lenses were too big to put through the wire, so some of them are taken with the mobile phone. However, no regrets, and I would recommend a visit. They really are impressive. Five pictures are in the slideshow below, followed by a little background about the airport situation.
The estimate from the Echo article of March 30 is that there is around a billion pounds worth of aeroplanes parked, to ease pressure on Heathrow. Look at the article form The Echo, there are some much better pictures there.
Back to Normal-ish, and More
Today many more shops could be opened, as there has been some easing of the lockdown restrictions. Christchurch was busy, though there were some surprises – Bookends, for example, was closed. The day was sunny and hot, and there were lots of people about. Of course, many – including me! – forgot about walking on the left and the other advice, but on the whole they were avoiding each other nicely. In each case click the image for larger.
Now to the swans, again (you can never have too many, just ask Henry VIII!). Today on the river between Stony Lane and Waitrose there were two families. Those below show a quite placid family who ignored me and just got on doing what swans do when they have a brood to care for. Again, click for much larger, and then View full size, bottom right, for even bigger. My final swans, promise!
These are not what you might call the intelligentsia of the swan world, or perhaps they just like confrontation. They were some way ahead of the ones above, by the water works. Instead of just getting on with life, as the previous ones did, they followed me, and when I pointed that camera at them, became quite threatening. So I would move off, and they would follow me, stop when I stopped, and threaten again. It all seemed rather pointless!
Alas, Red No More
Today I risked the walk from the A35, opposite Verno Lane , along the path to Sainsbury’s. I say ‘risked’ because that path is regularly flooded, and I have had to turn back in the past.
It was perfect today, dry, and not a puddle, or even a damp patch, in sight. Towards the end I came across a parked van which is obviously lived in. I chatted to a walker and he said that the man who lives there is very pleasant, and it does in fact help to stop fly-tipping.
But it was not just the van. There have been various teddies over the previous weeks, but this one seemed to have some poignancy. The van’s inhabitant was not there, and it is looking out of the little window, presumably awaiting his return.
For interest, I looked up this van on the government website. The record is half right: it was described as red, but it is also now green. However, the colour is irrelevant as it is SORN anyway.
Moving on towards Ambury Lane, there is now a barrier to discourage the regular fly-tipping which took place. Mostly successful, though there is the van, shopping trolley and more there!
It’s Definitely Gone
You may remember Just Eat, or Baggies as it was before that. You can read a recent report here. It was obviously having difficulties, though of a culinary rather than a financial nature. Well, now it has been stripped down, and the premises is to let.
Not So Serious
Look at the pictures below. They show the view from Avon Buildings and the well-known figure sitting outside a shop. Perhaps things will be back to normal soon. The Mail Online has an article with the headline:
Drinkers gather outside pubs across Britain amid plans to give al fresco garden and street drinking the green-light – while gyms get set to reopen as scientists clear path for Boris to slash two-metre rule.
So, what better than a picture of a customer queuing in Christchurch? OK, the link is extremely tenuous: the customer isn’t real, and it is a clothes shop rather than a pub. An unreal customer with a sense of style!
Finally, a few more slides. In the meadows near Stony Lane today a dog was having the wet time of its life, and I couldn’t resist the swans and cygnets yet again. You will be glad when they’ve grown up!
Trains and Boats and Planes
As seems usual in this area, the day started rather dull, with lots of clouds and even some rain. However, by eight o’clock it had cleared, so remembering the article in The Echo about the cruise ships which are ‘parked’ off Bournemouth, similar to the planes reported last Sunday (scroll up), I ventured to Hengistbury Head to have a look.The Echo headline is copied below. Sadly, one has since moved, but they still look pretty spectacular.
Echo headline: Ventura, Queen Victoria, Aurora and Arcadia ships off Bournemouth.
Remember to choose View full size, bottom right in the gallery, to get an even bigger version. The final picture is of this bird. I know it’s a bird rather than a ship – or a dog – a process of remarkable deduction determined that! However, I don’t know the species. Please email confer@ThisIsChristchurch.com if you know, and I will add it. Click for a much larger image.
More of the Bird, and an Organist
After some research, I believe yesterday that the bird seen at the top of Hengistbury Head yesterday was a sparrow hawk. Please correct me if I am wrong, the email link is on yesterday’s item. The third picture below shows a blurred bird and a sharp Priory Church.
Today was Market Day in Christchurch once more. The famous, oft-photographed view of the Priory church looked spectacular. I was surprised that there are three people in the picture. Can you spot the third? Move to the next slide to find out. It’s a good life!
Finally, there was an excellent keyboard player in Saxon Square. He was attracting a lot of interest, and so at the end there is a video. Nothing fancy, video not being my strong point, but it is really worth listening to.
Finally, the video.
and Boats and Planes
Forgive the heading, it seems only fair to Dionne Warwick’s famous song after the boats and planes updates earlier this month (scroll up). This morning, in eager anticipation of the lockdown being eased, I went to Christchurch at around 8am to post a desperate begging letter to get an appointment at my barber’s, Sweeney Todd’s on Bargates. Then, what better to follow up than a walk along the Avon Valley Path (entrance just opposite said barber) to Stony Lane.
Perhaps surprisingly at that time, it was busy. There were several
fishermen – oops! fisherpersons, sorry – already settled, as the pictures below show. It’s very near the train, but still a beautiful spot.
So on across the Meadows. Glorious weather, and a few more early birds out, mainly walking their dogs. One lady in front of me was peering down, looking intently into the marshy area near the river. I asked if she had lost anything. She hadn’t, her dog was having the time of its life sitting in a puddle.
Me: ‘I wondered what you were looking for. That puddle’s very mucky.’
Lady, laughing: ‘He (meaning dog) just doesn’t care! He loves it.’
Finally, approaching Stony Lane there were three fine young gentlemen waiting with their bikes. They looked worried.
‘Are you OK?’ I asked.
‘We’re worried about those cows,’ responded the intrepid adventurers!
‘Yes, I was a bit worried, but I walked through the herd and they were fine. One approached me and ran away when I got near. I’m sure you’ll be all right.’
‘Thanks,’ bravely mounting their machines.
They were all right, as the sequence below shows.
Disappointment and a Surprise
This morning, venturing out on my daily walk, I was disappointed to see the mattress, below, leaning against the window of a Highcliffe shop. I don’t know the story behind this: the mattress looks better than most dumped mattresses, and were the words ‘Fly Tipped’ written before or after it appeared against the window? Oh for Sherlock Holmes!
Finally as a sequence to the ships above (scroll up to 21 June), I was amazed to see that they are also clearly visible from Highcliffe Clifftop Car Park.
The Travelling Community – Information
I saw this morning that travellers have encamped on the little recreation ground by Saffron Drive. Coincidentally Cllr Slade, who had held one of her weekly Q&A sessions on Wednesday, had explained the issues, so the information is reproduced below. It is quite a small site, seems tidy, and as I walked along the path four little girls who were climbing a tree said hello to me quite pleasantly. Here is Cllr Slade’s general response; it is lengthy but very informative, so the whole statement is below the picture:
Let me clarify the rules relating to travellers. Every year we suffer from unauthorised encampments of travellers who are moving through the area. It happens from about March until about August every year, and most seaside areas across the country are affected by this problem. We have two ways of dealing with this.
As a council, we are legally required to provide a transit site for those people who are travelling through to stop at. We do not have a transit site anywhere in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. Until and unless we take the decision to build a transit site which people travelling from the gypsy and traveller community can visit, when they then turn up on a park or a car park and they impact on the rest of us, we legally cannot move them because we do not have somewhere that we provided to move them to.
Now, that feels wrong, I understand that, I understand the frustration, and I personally stood in my local park and had a full-on row with people to try to move them on, I’ve faced the intimidation, most councillors have done their best to physically stop these encampments. The council has worked hard to make some areas what they call ‘target-hardened’ to make it more difficult. But those things then stop campervans being able to use our parks. And then we have local people say, ‘I drive a campervan, you’re stopping me from accessing the park.’ Some of the places that they break into are car parks and therefore that has an impact on us being able to use the car parks.
The situation we have here is that yesterday afternoon various people were reporting travellers arriving. I was very involved with lots of the senior officers from about five o’clock through to about midnight and in recognising there were several groups of travellers all arriving in different parts of town. The police did a great job: move them on, mover them on, move them on.
Unfortunately, what then happened is the group got ahead of the police and have collectively settled on Poole Park, have caused damage and are behaving in a very unpleasant way, and we had some really unpleasant reports. There has been an emergency meeting with the police today. The law states that the council has to carry out a needs assessment. That needs assessment is basically saying the children and vulnerable people who live apart, the traveller community, have a right to be assessed to make sure they are safe. We make sure there’s nobody there that’s a victim of modern slavery, that there are no children who are vulnerable or not being looked after properly and there is nobody who is ill. Once that needs assessment has taken place, which we are required to do and morally I support doing, we then start the process of a court order. That court order process will start and it will run its course. Most traveller incursions disappear before that court date because they know they’re going to get an eviction order, and they really don’t want the aggro.
Secondary to that if there is a major incident, the police are able to invoke something, I think called Section 61, which forces them to move immediately. There are thresholds that have to be met it’s for the police to decide whether we have a Section 60 situation which allows them to enforce movement.
Whilst those people are there, yes they’re breaking the rules, yes they’re using the playgrounds which are closed, yes, they are defaecating in public, which is unacceptable, yes, they have ruined our cricket ground. We recognise all of that. But actually, as a Council , we have limits on what we can legally do.
My request to all of you is lobby your MP, because the law needs to change on the so that councils have more protection and police have more powers. Without that, we’re going to face this all the time. The alternative is, as a council, we need to find a transit site. Somebody needs to be prepared to say, I don’t mind having 15 sets of caravans coming down to my location every year, a parking lot, three, four, five, 10 times. If you know of somewhere that is happy to do that rather than the rest of the community having to deal with this from time to time, please let us know, because we will gladly look at that. But bear in mind, the other local residents will probably have something to say about that. It was tried before. It failed.
Armed Forces Day
Today is a special day, as you can tell from the heading. Though the sun has just come out, when I photographed the flag at the Council Offices early this morning it was pouring with rain, and the flag was so wet it could not flutter, and was generally rather bedraggled because of it! That depressing scene is shown below, and an image of the flag as it should look is taken from the web, and is at the end of this article.
It is a pity in so many ways that ‘normal’ life has had to be put on hold for a time. Click here to go to the Armed Forces Day website. As you will see, there are many virtual events listed. I have looked at some, and I am sure you would find it enjoyable to browse some of the events for yourselves. Many are available on their website here. Of course, some links will not work, but it is still a pleasant way to support the Forces and the fantastic work they do both at home and overseas.
An Oasis, of a Kind
You may be aware of Lakewood, in Highcliffe. Surrounded as it is with houses and flats, it is remarkably peaceful yet very popular. Fishing takes place there, and apparently it is a good place.
I have just had a look at their Facebook page, and found the following message:
‘Thank you. We are fully booked for our free fishing on the 28th of June. Always July‘
There are some great pictures on that page, too.
So, today is the 28 June, and when I passed they were hard at it – if you can be ‘hard at’ fishing. It is certainly a lovely spot, even if, like me, you are not ‘into’ fishing. There are also some weird birds which you can get very up close and personal with if, by any unlikely chance, you are fed up with the view! The first picture shows this morning’s free fishing for youngsters taking place in today’s beautiful weather, and the picture below that was taken on 5 October 2017. Click to see much larger images in the gallery, then View full size at the bottom right.
Looking Good – Soon, I Hope!
Last night, just before 10pm, they were hard at work on Hair on the Cliffe for opening, presumably on Saturday. Their smart website states: Please note: Our salons will be closed until 04/07/20 while we adapt to new Covid-19 safety measures. We look forward to seeing you when we reopen!
Last Update This Month
It was fascinating to see the photographs taken of the NHS staff who have worked during the pandemic. John Rankin, the world-famous photographer, has taken this series, and on the NHS site there is a lot of fascinating detail about each of the subjects. The photographer is normally known just as Rankin, and his pictures, particularly of the Queen and the Rolling Stones, are particularly famous. This is what he said about the NHS project:
‘As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease. Taking a portrait is a unique and intimate experience, even with social distancing in place. Everyone had their own inspiring story which to them was just doing their job. I hope these images portray the resilience and courage they show every day in the face of real adversity.‘
Click the image below – a representation which does not do them justice – to see them properly and read the background to each of the NHS workers.