(0d) September 2020

September 1

New Month and New Forest Ponies

The first day of the month is always tricky. It depends on the local news or other items of interest. In the absence of exciting incidents such as Martians descending, the Prime Minister visiting or Prince William playing polo on the Recreation Ground, I decided to have a walk on Stanpit Marsh, to think about how to start September on ThisIsChristchurch.com.

No thought was required. Beautiful warm weather brought out runners and ponies. You can see a runner below crossing the Bailey Bridge. I saw her again fifteen minutes later.

She had intended a circular run, but was perturbed by the ponies blocking her way round, which had decided to mingle and loiter on the paths. Of course, the area is marshy (hence Stanpit Marsh), so it had not been possible to run round them.

Click any of the images below for larger versions, back to return.

Easier than a butterfly, it posed nicely!

They were certainly friendly today. Halfway round there is a very basic seat, so I decided to have a rest, hoping that the ponies would eventually move away. My frail nerves failed me, and I moved away when they came too close.

They were VERY friendly. Seat now vacant

Finally, just in case you’re fed up with horses (as if!):

Paddle boards and a big boat.
Paddle boards and The Priory

Larger versions of these, and more images, are available on SmugMug.

2 September

Shhhh … Don’t Tell

You may remember the item from August, where Extinction Rebellion had glued a sign onto the cabinet neat Waitrose. Passing today, I saw that someone definitely doesn’t approve. The picture below shows the earlier and today’s versions. They are on the same picture, just to give you the idea.

Finally for today, the Great Tower looked impressive in the sunshine, though admittedly it is not the North Face of the Eiger. The figures look tiny, with grandad trailing and the rest of the family at the top. The picture below will be put on to the Attractions page tomorrow.

Click for a larger image, back to return

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3 September

In Sickness and in Health

Today’s is only a brief update on this section, as a new page is being produced for Attractions. Two animal-related items were spotted this morning in Purewell.

First, the vet on the corner of Stony Lane. Despite the virus, this has been working throughout, though with restrictions which are relaxing only a little now. It is becoming busy once more, but the customer, complete with pet, has the initial consultation outside, or even at the car, rather than the initial diagnosis and treatment being decided in the surgery.

I have no idea what animal in inside the box, but it is good to see its owner staying near for reassurance.

Next, this healthy hound was seen in a window, also in Purewell. The dog definitely did not trust me!

Click for a larger image, back to return

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4 September

Why, and Why Not?

First, the ‘Why?’ Yet more fly-tipping on Ambury Lane, but this time they even do it on pallets. They obviously moved a lorry or flatbed truck on to the parking area to make it easier for themselves.

Now the ‘Why not?’ On Somerford Road this uninspiring portakabin was parked outside a house. ‘Unremarkable,’ I hear you say. As I walked past I noticed the very smart door, complete with letter-box and knocker. Could there be people living there? So I walked back and it appears not, unless they like living in total darkness. I wonder if anyone posts any letter there, or knocks on the door!

Click for a larger image, back to return.

Finally, I said yesterday that there is a new Attractions page being developed. Here is a clue. And no – it’s not a page just about churches.

Not telling you where this is! Larger available, back to return.

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6 September

Hard-Working Heroes

Being a lifeguard is, of course not just about the thrill of plunging into shark-infested waters to rescue a soul in distress. All right, there are no great whites in Christchurch as far as I know, but you get the idea.

Today’s update is once more by the sea and it is good to see that the lifeguards are back. There is the preparation and alertness, and this morning it involved a lot of hammering!

The gallery below was produced quickly. Esc to return, and View Full Size at the bottom right of each picture gives larger images in a new window if you wish. I am determined to get to grips with video, of which a lot of material has been taken. Watch this space, with perhaps a little hope.

Finally, two more images to show that it isn’t all hard work in Mudeford:

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7 September

No News is, well, No News!

Yesterday I had forgotten about the video I took at the Sports’ Ground on Grange Road. It has been good to see that local sports are back, though there are still some precautions. It is not a very informative video because:

  • It is very short
  • I don’t know what teams are playing
  • No decisive action takes place
  • I don’t know the final score

Apart from that, I quite like it!

I’m still working on the lifeguard video!

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10 September

Bob Hancock’s Gardens, and a ‘Well-Table’

It was good to see Bob again today, at his house at the corner of Somerford and Edward Roads. This has been one of my focal points since October 2018; it is frequently changed and improved, and he was working hard again this morning.

Re-painting the carrot! Click for larger, in a new window.
Close up, illustrating the correct technique. He knows the colours don’t match, he will deal with it.
Click for larger, in a new window.
Look carefully at Woody – it’s easier in the larger picture, in a new window if you click.

My age or miserableness hampered my understanding – he told me that the small figures at the front (between the two frogs) are Woody and Buzz. I had no idea who they were, so I checked on Wikipedia, which appears to have everything:

‘In Toy Story, Woody is the favourite toy of his owner Andy Davis and is the leader of the toys in Andy’s room. However, his position is jeopardised by the arrival of Buzz Lightyear …’

So now we know! If you look carefully at the larger version of the above, you can see that Woody has a pair of handcuffs on. We did laugh about it, I was wondering about his criminal tendencies, but Bob explained it by saying that he found them in the street, so just put them on. Before the police read this and swoop, they are toy handcuffs, not the real thing!

He told me that he used to do carpentry and shop-fitting, and showed me his back garden. He had found an old log, and had the idea to make it into a rustic bird table. He likes it, I like it, and I think the birds like it too!

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

Finally, we have the Olympic Games in his garden. He has build a set of rings and a set of parallel bars. His (presumably strong) son uses the rings and they do hold his weight. I was going to try, but chickened out!

Bob in garden. As you can just see, the shed is tidy, too. Click for larger.

Not Quite As Appealing!

Setting off from Sainsbury’s, heading towards Ambury Lane, I was very surprised to see a burnt-out car. Now, call me Sherlock, but I think it might have been used in a crime. The number plates had been removed, and I don’t know if the VIN number had been filed away, but I imagine it would be hard to see in any case and possibly not worth the effort. The fire had been so intense that the bonnet had blown off. See the slideshow below, no larger versions available.

Anyway, Ambury Lane was hardly more pleasing, there was rubbish dotted around and quite a large pile at the end.

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11 September

Yesterday and Today

I was impressed yesterday morning to see the Beryl Bikes in Christchurch, in the evening to read an Echo article about them with lots of pictures, and this morning to complete the page about their development in this area. Links and pictures are already on that page, so I will not repeat it here.

However, this afternoon I saw that they have arrived in Highcliffe, and of course I could not resist taking pictures of them. Now that they are here, they will be last photos of these bikes, unless they appear in some very unusual places of course! Click below to see larger images.

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12 September

Really Stylish Video …

All right, the heading is a lie, or at least an exaggeration! This video is a compilation of various scenes around Avon Beach and Mudeford Quay in August. Reasons for lack of style:

  1. There are no cool effects, jumps, slo-mo, reverses, etc
  2. Part of it is a bit jumpy, despite stabilisation
  3. The ending is rather abrupt, particularly with the music
  4. I zoomed in much too quickly on one section (we live and learn)
  5. The music was difficult. There are free ones with the program (Filmora), but they weren’t suitable or, more usually, really boring. So to avoid copyright issues I used some of a friend playing the piano in the ’70s. It doesn’t end in a cadence, so apologies for that. Music, possibly subscription-based, is the next target. There are only so many times you can use jazz piano!

So here it is. There are two identical copies. The first is on SmugMug, and it avoids adverts, delays, and suggestions for often unsuitable videos to watch next. Try this one first, and for comments – or if it doesn’t work – please email me. Depending on the outcome, all other videos will be uploaded there and YouTube no longer used, or SmugMug will be scrapped for videos.

So, here is SmugMug:

If that failed or was really slow, YouTube will work:

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13 September

A Very Special Butterfly

This butterfly is very common in the hedgerows and gardens, but there was something almost unique about this one: it kept still for around two minutes while I moved around it, clicking away like someone possessed, as indeed I was for that time!

It was taken from various angles, about twenty pictures. These are two of the best. Click for a bigger image, or go to SmugMug for really large (this opens in a new window).

Some people, of course, are never happy, and I am disappointed that the background is rather intrusive in the first one. Sadly (or not), the insect did not want to move.

I Lied!

I did say above that there would be no more pictures of Beryl Bikes. Well, this morning was an exception. Near the Somerford overpass a bike had been parked, with its lights on. See the short video below. It is low-resolution and only on YouTube, just to give you the idea.

Being a frugal, socially-aware kind of person, I decided to try to turn them off. Sadly, despite searching and twiddling and twisting, all I did was set it to 3rd gear! So for all I know the light might still be going now, eleven hours later.

Here are even more pictures of these bikes, all in or around Burton.

To Finish:

Before the helpful butterfly I had heard some horses galloping towards me, on the path between Burton and Winkton. Fortunately they slowed down, so I passed unscathed.

Click for a larger image, back to return

Just now, Everton beat Spurs 1-0, but football was also happening on Christchurch Recreation Ground this morning. Click for larger images.

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15 September

Unusually, I am putting an update in this section which is not a typical Oddment. However, it is of considerable importance to the whole area.

As I am sure you are aware, tonight there is a Council Meeting, at the end of which will be yet another Vote of Confidence in the Leader, Cllr Vikki Slade. The meeting starts at 7pm, and the vote will take place near the end, so probably around two or more hours, though don’t blame me if you miss it! See the Agenda.

Click the image below to watch it live (remember, 7 o’clock tonight)

On a much lighter note, here are two more pictures of the same butterfly photographed above, on the 13 September. In each case, click for a larger image, use back to return.

Much larger available on SmugMug

Much larger available on SmugMug, in a new window.

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16 September

There are even bigger versions on SmugMug. This opens in a new window.

It has been an interesting, though not unusual, day. It was rather chilly and a little misty this morning, but there was a surprising amount of activity on the water around Avon Beach and Mudeford. There are much bigger versions of the images below, which look spectacular (though I say it myself!). Click and use back to return.

Going fishing
An invigorating swim

I said it was an ‘interesting’ day. How? Because it was hot and very sunny soon afterwards.

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17 September

I do not know how it happened, but by the Captain’s Club a boat had definitely sunk. It was resting on the bottom of the shallow water and was attracting quite some attention. Click the images for larger, back to return.

On a more cheerful note, the popular stocks by the castle were in use. The gentleman had obviously not behaved himself, and his wife meted out the appropriate punishment. Again, click for a larger image, then back.

Serves him right!
All right, I forgive you

Afterwards I did suggest that she should now sit on the ducking stool. However, he thought about it for a moment, laughed and said that she should just buy him a drink instead. They both left happy!

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18 September

It’s back! The van on Ambury Lane has reappeared. You might have seen it several times on this site, and after checking the tax, it is the same as before. Click for a larger version in a new window.

Yes, I do know it is really called the Road Fund Licence!

Here is the ‘offending – or not?’ vehicle:

Click for larger, back to return

Then, approaching the Nirvana that is Sainsbury’s, I was surprised to see that the car is still there, and in an even worse condition than before. The tape says that the police are aware. See 10 September, above, to see it as it was before. Click to see larger versions, <esc> to return.

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19 September

Yesterday the BHLiving magazine arrived, and one article in particular interested me.

Click for larger, opens in a new window

It reminded me of our Christchurch group of four, near to Twynham School. I had initially walked past them, being alert (as always!) for the views around me. However, this time I looked down and thought they looked impressive. As you can see, there are ten of these across the Borough, and they are intended to encourage people to use the actual crossing, which is just near. I confess that I am guilty too, including when I carefully walked across the road to photograph the one on the other side!

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21 September

Crawling With Us!

This morning the Quomps were warm and sunny once more, but very quiet, there was hardly any active sailing. You may remember that on the 17 September I showed a boat sunk in the harbour. Well, I know know how they managed it, but now it has been refloated.

All well now. Click to see the original, in a new window.

Crawling with photographers became apparent while I was photographing the boat. A lady came along taking the same scene, with lots of hunting for creative angles, and I saw her later framing other scenes with tree branches, stones and and so on.

Ambling along by the Quomps there were a couple more David Baileys in action, concluding with the gentleman below.

He spent some time photographing his willing victims and was even able to get up without help after bending down!

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22 September

Different Creatures

1) The Birders

This species are frequent visitors to Stanpit Marsh. Sometimes solitary, they do often congregate in groups, displaying their magnificent splendour for all to admire. Unlike their flittery-feathered relations they stay still and usually very quiet save for the softest whispers, waiting and scanning in all directions for some rare prey-morsel to capture; and when their search is complete they will retire to their homes to examine and record the successes and failures of the day. Each dawn brings a new hunt and new chances for reward, and so it goes on, each day bringing new prospects, new hopes.

Click for a larger image, back to return.
Wonder if they had photographed this egret, dining in the mud! Click for larger, back to return.

2) The Somerford Cat

These are surprisingly evasive creatures, living as they do amidst the fumes and rushing traffic of the busy Somerford Road. Sometimes approachable, spotting scopes and long lenses are rarely required. They can he skittish, however, and must be approached carefully so that they are not frightened and dash out into the road.

Click for larger, back to return. Incidentally, I wonder if this is the Lidl Cat.

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23 September

It’s Nearly That Time Of Year

No, I don’t mean Christmas, though that will be upon us all too soon, the days will fly by. Before then, however, there is another event. Here is a clue, from Shakespeare’s Scottish play (can’t use the proper name, it is bad luck):

Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison’d entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

It is just over a month to Hallowe’en, so why am I mentioning it here? Well, today dawned miserable and promised wet, so I was relieved to see pumpkins growing on the pic-n-mix farm near the garage on the A35. ‘Here is a good update for today,’ thought I.

So I parked the car and ventured across the busy road. Sadly I was unable to get a close view of the pumpkins as there was a nettle-filled ditch between the verge and the fence. I only had one lens with me, so you will have to look closely to see them. The first gives a general idea of the scene and is not clickable. The second one is a much larger version.

Look through the fence.. The orange blob is a marrow.
Click for a much larger version, with clearer marrows. Back to return.

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24 September

Upstairs Downstairs

A rushed visit to Christchurch this morning, but it was interesting to see workmen on the steps leading to the underpass. Both sets were blocked off with tape, and when I arrived one set had already been completed. It is not just a matter of painting them, there is a white plate which had to be drilled to fix to the edge of each step. Click to view the gallery.

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26 September

Video is now complete. Click the image to view in a new window. Also added to the Attractions – Stanpit Marsh menu.

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27 September

A Mixture

Today was surprisingly eventful. Well, perhaps not eventful, but certainly there was much of interest. First I spotted this in Highcliffe:

I had not seen this before, and there were no others displayed in Christchurch that I saw. It is from the European Union Regional Development Fund. You can go to the website here, though I warn you, it is not very interesting. Here is an extract to give you an idea:

The Programme’s strategy focuses firmly on growth, building on England’s competitive advantages and addressing key bottlenecks in specific sectors and geographies. The aspiration is for locally driven growth and development. The resources will be focused on the core objectives of innovation, SME competitiveness and the low carbon economy whilst at the same time recognising the need for targeted interventions to unlock barriers that matter strategically to specific areas in England.

So, to more local and perhaps more interesting news. You may remember that they were improving the underpass steps, see above, 24 September. Well, they look really good.

Two people sitting in the underpass asked if I had taken any good snaps (snaps, grrr, I think they meant photographs). I said that the steps looked brilliant (they do), and they told me that a lady had slipped on them the previous day. It might not, of course, have been the steps’ fault, these things happen, and the men told me that fortunately she was all right.

Fairmile Road this morning. It is nearer the roundabout now.

Fairmile Road is still closed, here is the evidence.

Finally, some lighter moments. Click to see the gallery. Remember View Full Size, bottom right on each photo, for larger versions.

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28 September

Trivial But Nice

Unlike my usual updates on this site, today’s is not BCP-shattering news, news of huge importance. It is just three photos, taken this chilly summer’s-coming-to-a-close day, on the Quayside and at the market. Click for larger images, and really big ones are on SmugMug (these may take some time to show at full-resolution).

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29 September

Proper Pumpkins 

If you read the entry for 23 September, above, you will have seen some exceptionally dull images of pumpkins, ready for Hallowe’en. Early this morning I actually ventured down the pick-your-own path off the A35. There was hardly anyone there, so uninterrupted close-ups were possible. Despite the characteristically early-morning dull weather, they did look great, really well displayed. Click below for larger images, back to return. Remember View Full Size, bottom right on individual pictures.


Then on to Mudeford. It was good to see the competition image below, encouraging people not to leave litter.

Finally, further along there was art in action. The lady kindly allowed me to photograph her work, which she had been really concentrating on – until I disturbed her!

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30 September

A Soft Close to the Month

Rather stuck on how to do a final update to September. Nothing really out of the ordinary is happening (as far as I know), so I end with just a couple of inconsequential images from this morning. Details are under each, click to see a larger version, back to return.

Horse, Ambury Lane
Friendly fish, Sainsbury’s/Stewart’s

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