(0i) April 2020

Note: Easter was very quiet because of the COVID-19 virus, so the header image now shows a panorama of the A35 on Easter Sunday, 12 April. It’s always been busy on Bank Holidays, but not this year! The vehicle on the right is an ambulance on an emergency.

1 April

An Interesting Start

Obviously with the isolation restrictions because of the Coronavirus crisis, I expected this single morning walk to be uneventful, with few photographs and little news. The expectation was incorrect.

First, by Honeysuckle Way, the daffodils – or are they narcissi? – looked spectacular. The first-encountered cyclist also shouted, as he rode past, ‘They look fantastic, don’t they!’

The was right, they DO look fantastic

Moving on, I walked past St Joseph’s Primary School on Dorset Road. For obvious reasons I have not taken a detailed photograph, but if you peer closely you can just make out some children in the distance. They were obviously a small group, perhaps of those whose parents are key workers, and they were doing something interesting involving small bushes and a spade! It looked educational, enjoyable, and useful, too, and thanks also to the staff who were helping.

Spot the environmentalists!

And so it was on, over the footbridge and down Ambury Lane to Sainsbury’s on my day-unique walk. At the end of the lane there is an abandoned camper van. It has been there for some days, and is fly-tipping in the extreme.

Click for a larger image

Across the footbridge over the ford, Sainsbury’s bound, I spotted my next cyclists approaching. What a great picture that would be, I thought, the water radiating as they rode across the stream. It was not to be. They, too, used the footbridge. I talked to them after they had crossed, and they were interested in the abandoned vehicle. A very pleasant couple, they said they had not gone through the ford as they had not fitted their mudguards. She told him, laughing, that he should have made her fit them. “It’s always his fault,” I said, and he replied, both laughing, that it was bound to be. They rode off, and I progressed to Sainsbury’s to join the now-lengthy queue.

No mudguards, and the van, taken from about four metres away. Click for a larger image.

So ended a more eventful journey than expected. In case you don’t know, you can check the tax and MOT status of any vehicle by clicking the image below, which shows the result for this van. Incidentally, it has been reported to Dorset Council, though I expect they are rather busy at the moment.

The link is also here: https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax


2 April

Seen at Church

Although I am not very religious, this morning I was intrigued to walk past Highcliffe Methodist Church. As social distancing is vital to fight this virus, all places of worship are temporarily closed. In the pictures below you can see a table laid out in front of the doors,the notice on the door, and the contents of the table (next Sunday is Palm Sunday). Click below to see the gallery.

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4 April

Good Weather, but a Lockdown

As I write this, at around 3pm, the sunshine is fantastic, it’s a pity we can’t get out for very long to enjoy it. However, necessary shopping – hopefully infrequent – is still allowed, as is a short daily spell of local exercise, unless you are in one of the seriously at-risk groups, of course. In that case you should not leave your home. The way this virus will be beaten is by stopping its spread, and while you may feel fine, it is still possible you have the virus and could be infectious.

Anyway, you know all that. The subheading above called it a lockdown. That is not accurate, of course, it is only a partial lockdown, and this morning there were a few people out and about, thankfully socially-distancing from other passers-by.

The picture below is once more on Ambury Lane. The runner in the distance was doing a series of short, timed sprints, starting at the abandoned van described above. The other man was doing a steady pace. I bet they can’t wait until they can enter a race once more!

The weather was dry but dull this morning. Around 10am.

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5 April

Obeying the Rules – Mostly!

And so it goes on. The restrictions in place because of the Coronavirus pandemic are gradually taking effect. Although there were a lot of transgressions in recent days, on the whole Christchurch folk are being sensible.

I hope that I was being sensible when I went for my constitutional this morning. I’m sure I was, though perhaps the picture below, taken at Highcliffe Clifftop Car Park, might suggest differently! It is currently closed.

Click for a larger image

Finally, the below shows three people together (four if you count the dog) on the beach. This should be fine, though – it was probably a family group.

It was great weather. Click for a larger image.

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6 April

Spring is Here!

On the way to Tesco’s in Caird Avenue, New Milton, the lambs were frisking in the glorious sunshine. Although it is not Christchurch, I thought you might appreciate a couple of pictures, a bit of cheer in a difficult time. The final one is not of lambs, but a sign outside the New Milton allotments. This was interesting as it goes into a lot more specific detail about what you are, and are not, permitted to do. Click an image to see the gallery and a full-size version – you can choose that at the bottom right of each picture. Note that if you choose full size, these open in a new window, so you have to close that to get back to the gallery.

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8 April

Naughty but Necessary!

You may be aware of the various charity shops in Highcliffe and, indeed, across the Borough. Of course, they are all closed now because of the COVID-19 virus. One morning I saw some bags left outside the Sue Ryder shop, despite the short notice on the shop window (right-hand, below). That did surprise me.

This morning I saw a much stronger message, which does, I think, make a very good point. Obviously with the local tips being closed people will have to put up with some inconvenience for a few weeks, but sadly some people do not seem prepared to. Anyway, this morning there was nothing there, so hopefully people will now co-operate.

Click for a larger image

You may also be aware of the difficulty charity shops are in at the moment. Here is a quote from The Guardian about Sue Ryder:

Sue Ryder, one of the UK’s biggest providers of end of life care, has warned it may have to close its hospices after the coronavirus crisis blew a £12m hole in its budget.

Read the full article here.


On a happier note, this is a sign outside the Toby Carvery near to Sainsbury’s. It’s good to see the NHS receiving lots of praise, they are doing a fantastic job in tough circumstances. Notice also how quiet the usually busy A35 is (about 10am). You can see a bigger version of the relevant notice here.

Click for a larger image

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10 April

Not a Normal Good Friday

We have been rightly deluged by a plethora of reminders about staying home, because of the dangers of COVID-19. Well, the messages seem to have worked. The main road was almost empty:

And Christchurch itself was almost deserted. The scenes in the slideshow below would have been crowded last year, and there would have been a long queue at the team rooms for ice creams in the warm weather.

Finally, although it was Good Friday, The Priory too was closed, as were all other churches and religious buildings in the country. Click the image below to read the notice (opens in a new window).

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11 April

They Listened!

The weather is absolutely beautiful, shorts and t-shirt and it is still warm. Most people seem to have obeyed the instruction to stay at home except for the special conditions, which thankfully for me includes an hour’s walk.

11am, very warm, and Highcliffe and Avon Beaches are empty. Click for a larger image.

A webcam picture taken at around midday from Bournemouth is below. A few seconds before the screenshot a police car passed, but sadly I missed it. The image below is obviously low-resolution, but it is clear that there is hardly anyone there. Click the image to go to the live webcam.

Click to see the live view. Opens in a new window.

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12 April

Easter Sunday: Warm, Sunny – and Quiet!]

It’s a shame, but oh! – so necessary. The beaches were virtually deserted late morning, and everybody seemed to be behaving themselves. Some pictures below taken on my daily exercise, and the header image at the top shows the A35 with hardly a vehicle on it.

On the way (1): Thanks to the NHS in Highcliffe. Click for a larger image.
On the way (2): Easter Sunday at St Mark’s, Highcliffe, and the gravestone looked beautiful against the blossom. Click for a larger image.

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13 April

It’s a Chewton Glen Sign!

You may be familiar with the many apologetic notices in the now-closed shops, perhaps handwritten or printed. Click here for a good example. Remember when toilet rolls were as scarce as gold?

Well, here is a very smart sign. Click on the image for a much larger version.

That’s how to do it!

If you can’t read it, here is a close-up.

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14 April

The Van Is No More

At the very beginning of this month (click or scroll up), there was an item about the camper van which had been abandoned on Ambury Lane. Well, today I was pleased to see that it has gone. I hope it has been removed rather than driven away, as a search reveals no change to its tax and MOT status.

This time the cyclist did go through the ford, but the splash was very disappointing!
As an aside, nothing could distract the horses from their delicious hay! Click for larger.

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April 17

Go to 2019

I have put today’s update on December 2019. It is about Eat, the new cafe which replaced Baggies. It has had a hygiene rating of 0 (zero). You can read the background here, and then scroll down a little for today’s update.

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19 April

The Hanging Teddy!

As you can see from the picture below, the weather today has been glorious, and folk were out in force just enjoying the approaching summer, hopefully for the quite limited time recommended by the Government. The roads were actually busy, not with cars, but cyclists and walkers.

This is Preston Lane in Burton. Quite a crowd (for Preston Lane, anyway!)
Further on. A passing lady told me about the Teddy: “Says it all, doesn’t it!” Tough times indeed. Click for a much larger image.

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April 22

Signs of the Times!

This is an item of hopefully at least some interest. If you have been able to get out and about, you will no doubt have seen the various signs, generally including rainbows, expressing support for the NHS. Here are three of very different styles.

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24 April

A Very Sad Day

Today was the funeral of Councillor Colin Bungey, who died suddenly on April 1. He had served Christchurch Borough Council since 1983, and BCP Council since its inception last year, and served two terms as Mayor. In recognition of his exemplary service he was also made an Honorary Freeman of Christchurch, a rare tribute indeed. 

Our thoughts are with his wife Sue, and his daughter, Debbie. 

Perhaps rather than trite words of praise, see below three of the comments from readers of the Bournemouth Echo. It is notable that all of the comments are full of admiration, and they can be read here.


Very sad, a lovely man

I’ve known Colin for decades and all the nice things said about him are true – a kind, honest, hardworking gentleman who has done so much for his ward and town over many years. He was one of the few truly independent Christchurch councillors. Always a pleasure to meet and to talk to. We’re the poorer for his passing. We’re thinking of his family.

Colin Bungey was a lovely man … always helpful and thoughtful. He will be missed by many people. A lovely man who really cared about the residents he represented. I’ll miss his cheerful countenance at Beaulieu where he worked as a volunteer. RIP Colin.

Note: Unfortunately the local paper had said that the procession would stop outside the Town Hall in the High Street at 10am, with the flag at half mast. I missed it – they were early, the picture above was taken just after 9.45am.

Click here to read the Echo’s report on the funeral.

Finally, two pictures from the Christchurch Church Borough Council Civic Ceremony on June 3, 2007. Colin is at the back of the first one, can you spot him in the second? Click each image and the choose ‘View Full Size’ for larger versions of each.

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26 April

Seen in Winkton

You have seen lots of signs praising the great work done so far by the NHS and
carers, both in homes and in the community. The sign below particularly impressed me, and it must make the carers in that particularly home feel really valued, as they all are across the country.

Click for a larger image

Alas Poor Teddies …

But it is all in a good cause. Seen yesterday in Burton. I’m sure you have seen few more yourselves.

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28 April

Scaredy Security Cat

The Lidl Cat is quite famous in the area. This is, of course, a very responsible, respectable feline: here is an article from December, on guard protecting the wine just before Christmas. It was great this morning for the lady at the door, ensuring that the store did not become too crowded in these troubled times, in this extremely dull weather she must have been thrilled to have such a companionable associate.

Not great quality – sadly no camera, so it was taken on my iPhone.

Finally, in case you missed it, here is an article from The Echo, 18 June 2017.

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29 April

Well Done, Robert

It was a brilliant surprise today to see how much work Robert Hancock has put into his garden once more, it has had several very important additions. There are two new themes. First, he has fashioned a very stylish nurse, to give thanks to the NHS and all carers, who put themselves at risk in order to help the ill and vulnerable at this very difficult time.

A very smart nurse. Click for a much larger image.

The other focus, shown in the picture below, is a tribute to Captain Tom Moore, famous for being nearly 100 years old and raising millions for the NHS. As I write the figure is £29,465,348. A link to the JustGiving page, with more information about Captain Moore, is here.

Click for a much larger image.

Robert has even framed some of the local children’s rainbow tributes, as you can see above. You can read them properly here.

30 April: A good mistake in the above, so no apology needed. As you can see in the bottom picture, the sign says Captain Tom Moore. That is now incorrect – he has been promoted to honorary Colonel. It is his birthday today, so it’s twice the story to make you smile, and the total is now approaching £30M: £29,590,219. Note that the JustGiving page closes at midnight tonight, wouldn’t it be great if it reached £30M! It has been a surprise to all – his initial target was only £1000.

Here are the first two paragraphs from the article linked above:

Captain Tom Moore has been promoted to Honorary Colonel by the Queen to mark his 100th birthday today after the World War II veteran captured the hearts of the nation by raising £29 million for the NHS by doing laps of his garden. 

The promotion comes alongside a personal letter from Her Majesty and the new Colonel has also been re-presented with his Second World War Defence Medal ahead of next week’s VE Day celebrations.

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