(0a) December 2020

December 1

As we come to the final month of what has been a difficult year, it was good to see that people are still able to enjoy themselves. Today the weather was glorious and people were out in force, relaxing and strolling along the promenade, as you can see in the header image. In fact I even saw a man emerge, refreshed and shivering a little, from the sea, then wrapping himself in a towel and padding barefoot to his car.

Earlier I had been surprised to see a lady and six (yes, six!) dogs emerge from a car, the lady near-tangled in the leads. I asked her if all those dogs were hers or was she a dog-walker, and she replied that only two were hers, and the job was the best she had ever had. She released them from the leads, and they rushed excitedly onto the sand, thankfully ignoring me, so I then plodded on in my lugubrious way. Click to view the gallery, remember View Full Size if you wish.

The next one is an indulgence. Though no ornithologist, I had been very impressed by a small bird near Waitrose, and asked a passing shopper what it was. “Pied Wagtail,” she replied, and a few more details too, most of which I have already forgotten. I didn’t get a picture of the birds in Christchurch. but here is one in Mudeford today. In fact there were two, but the other one didn’t pose!

Pied wagtail posing. Click for larger.

Finally, something not nice. On the way back to the car, I was disappointed to see a lot of KFC litter. Obviously they had not been able to sit inside to enjoy it, so they had a real party in the bushes, below. Pity they left the mess there: the waste bin was a hundred yards away, much too far to walk (grumble, grumble).

I did not have a wide lens with me, to this is on my phone. No larger image.

December 2

Last night, as you may be aware, the tiered system passed through the Commons. BCP is in Tier 2, and there is now more freedom. These will be reviewed in mid-December.

Here are the new possibilities, as described by BCP Council
  • The stay-at-home requirement has ended
  • Non-essential retail, gyms, personal care have reopened
  • The leisure and entertainment sectors have reopened to varying degrees
  • Communal worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume
  • You are no longer limited to seeing one other person in outdoor public spaces -the rule of 6 will now apply’

This was Christchurch this morning. There have been queues in shops around the country, and it was true in Christchurch. Well, in the Car Factory, anyway. You can see on the left of the doorway an exceptionally cheerful assistant, controlling the line and ensuring that the freshly covid-safe shop did not become too crowded.

Fortunately the young lady was very cheerful – and observant! She saw me on the other side of the street and jokingly requested that the waiting shoppers smiled for the camera. So I then went over and asked her to pose. Merry Christmas to you, and get your cards here!

Click for a larger image, back to return.. She is smiling behind the mask.

There are some more general views in the gallery below. The first image amused me, you can see the now-open nail bar with the ability to do extentions: no doubt a better type of extension!

Finally, I had heard of the clever way that gulls use to entice worms to the surface. Well, one was enjoying its elevenses with real style at Waitrose. See the video below for a recording of the process from the heavy thumping of the ground to eating the worm. Of course, this was not just any worm, it was a Waitrose worm (sorry, I know it should be M&S, it is poetic licence). Note that I have removed the sound, as it was impossible to hear the stamping gull above the traffic.

Click for a larger image, back to return.

Unlike all good reporters would have discovered, I have no idea which teams are playing, though I understand one of them is Blush. I also do not know who won, the score, or how many fouls were committed. I suspect it was not many, as it seemed a good-natured game, played with enthusiasm. Here are two shots of the teams in action. Click to view, and remember View Full Size, bottom right, for even bigger.

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December 7

Today’s is only a short update, but I hope an enjoyable one. The weather was cold, but the market was busy, though not dangerously so and it was great to see a busker. You can even click the card below to hear him in a new window, or see his website here.

December 9

Today was a cold and – yes! – and a miserable day. However, there were some bright spots, and the market had some interesting stalls.

These illuminated bottles had a lot of interest. Click to see larger, back to return.
Note that they were not tilted, I was being creative!

Brightest moment of the morning was the nice young lady with hams and meats on display. She very kindly asked me if I would like her to be there, and of course I said yes! At the end she also apologised to me because her smile would be hidden; I’m sure she was smiling, she seemed cheerful enough despite the dull weather: I expect she might have been one of the few people who was warm there – I imagine her job isn’t so nice on a boiling hot day, though!

December 12

Apologies – there is no immediate news directly relevant to the area, so I remembered an item yesterday about the cliffs at Hengistbury Head. Read it here in a new window.

It is quite a hard walk along the coast there, so I have only done it three times. Surely I would have a picture of the cliffs? No, they were actually not very photogenic. However, on scrolling through I saw the picture below. It is not actually current – August 2018! – but might cheer you up as winter arrives. This was on the approach road (no cliffs there). The lady clearly knows how to travel in style!

Click for larger, back to return

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December 13

Today is the last day of the Christmas Market, and I went along – despite the weather being exceptionally dull! – with eager anticipation of the joy to follow. Sadly, that was only half the case. Many of the stalls and counters had been removed, and Saxon Square was not nearly as exciting as it had been during the week! One kind couple had a good laugh, though, and they kindly posed just as I was about to take a shot of the scene.

Click for a larger image, back to return.

Another update today, 7pm: The weather was dull and the day gloomy, so I was delighted to see the superb Christmas tree in the porch of the Priory. There are two pictures below, click for a larger version, and there are massive copies on SmugMug (these open in a. new window) – Image 1 // Image 2

The Quay was very busy, as it always is with our feathered friends. Rain or shine, they know where the food is:

Click for larger, back to return

Finally, and these were accidental rather than skilful, I pointed the camera at random birds, and these came out:

Click for larger, back to return
Click for larger, back to return

December 16

This morning I was interested to read the warning in the Bournemouth Echo about floods. So I did what any intrepid local would do and went down to the Quomps to have a look! It was worth it. Click to see the gallery below, and remember View Full Size on the bottom right of each image.

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December 17

After yesterday, the weather today was much more pleasant, with sunshine alternating with rain and sometimes appearing together. There were several rainbows, one of which is shown below. This is the Quomps, and as well as the rainbow you can see the detritus left on the ground when the water had overflowed yesterday.

Click for larger, back to return

It was much more pleasant feeding the birds today – you could get near the water! See also more detritus behind the lady.

Click for larger back to return.

Finally, the Priory looked beautiful this morning.

Guess what you have to do to see a larger version!

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December 20

This morning I spotted some canoeists below Tuckton Bridge, an idyllic scene in the winter sunshine.. That was the first impression; in fact I was surprised and delighted to see that it was a procession of Santas (this being Christmas!). It was a Christmas Paddle. I had not heard of it, and know very little about it, but it looked to be a great occasion, obviously pre-arranged, as there was a professional photographer there.

Click for a larger image, back to return
Click for a larger image, back to return

There are lots more pictures on the SmugMug page. This does open in a new window. Remember, these are large files (4Mb-6Mb), so they may take a short time to show clearly, depending on the speed of your connection.

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December 27

This month has certainly been eventful, with the Prime Minister agreeing a trade deal with Europe and Parliament recalled for Wednesday to pass it through the Commons.

Not to be outdone, there was a storm last night. Her name was Bella, and she certainly caused damage across the country, as this article from the Daily Mail (where else!) shows. Fortunately we seem to have missed the worst of it, with only mild issues as this picture of a fallen bough on Lymington Road shows. There are more pictures in the Bournemouth Echo.

It was cleared an hour later.

It being rather breezy, I ventured to Mudeford Quay in the hope of seeing some windsurfers and the like. There was nothing, just one solitary swimmer heading oceanwards.

The swimmer. Click for a larger image, back to return.
Hopefully the swimmer won’t need this, taken this morning. And yes, the blades were rotating.
Click for a larger image, back to return.

Finally here is the video from yesterday:

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December 28

You can’t have too much of a good thing, but today I visited the beach below the Cliffhanger, only to realise when I saw all of the surfers that I had the wrong lens with me! Ah well, there are yet more surf photos below. Interestingly, though the day was sunny but cold, an ice-cream van was enjoying some trade.

Click for larger, back to return

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December 31

Today is the end of a year, and of an era. It has been an enormously difficult year with the trials of covid and the Brexit negotiations. Thankfully the latter seems to have gone well, and the EU era ends completely at 11pm.

Covid, of course, will be continuing for some time. Yesterday BCP was put into tier 4 of the restrictions, and the shops once more were closed.

The pictures today show a misty Christchurch, which came as a surprise: I had left Highcliffe in brilliant sunshine. The pictures below show shops closed, Christchurch quiet and foggy. Click to view the gallery.

Finally, a happier postscript for the year. A video, taken this morning, of some gulls enjoying fine dining on the grass outside Waitrose. Sadly I was using a wide lens, taken for the still photos of closed Christchurch, and it has focused on the grass. An amateur mistake, but you get the idea! You may also remember the earlier one, taken at the same spot.

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