(0f) July 2020

1 July

Flowers, Bus

In scorched July
The storm-clouds fly

So wrote Christina Rossetti, but sadly this morning was definitely not scorched. Clouds and a brisk wind kept the temperature merely pleasant, and this first update of July is a mixture, as nothing exciting has happened to report on this new page.

So it was into Christchurch. I was first attracted by the flowers on the Fountain roundabout, at the end of the High Street. As the traffic is now approaching pre-pandemic levels, would it be too risky to get across for some pictures?

The solution was yards away – The New Zealand Gardens, just across the road. Two gardeners were working hard, and it was good to chat with them. BCP Council, and Christchurch before them, deserve great credit for the displays of flowers over the years, and the men were obviously enjoying their work. See the pictures below (click for larger), and also the header.

Then, ever a punishment-glutton, it was on to the Quay. This was quite empty, though a couple of food stalls were doing occasional business.

From the Quay and along the path by the Castle. I promise, the hat in the picture is not mine. Presumably it had blown off earlier and some kind soul had put it safe. It was nice hat, I wonder if it is still there!

Click for a larger image

Then through Christchurch town to view preparations for the easing of lockdown.

Finally, several buses passed and they were all empty, or nearly so. Here is one with, I think, a whole two customers on board!

Surely they must be running at a loss

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2 July

An Egret

Today the private fishing path near the waterworks was unlocked, and there was no-one around, so I sneaked in (they can’t touch you for it, I hope!). It was absolutely beautiful, as the pictures below show. Click each one for a much larger version, choose View Full Size (bottom right) and then click again to zoom. As I turned round to beat a nervous exit, I saw a white bird on one of the outlets from the waterworks. It kept gazing intently at the water pouring through, walking backwards and forwards for several minutes. I left before it went away, remembering the idyllic scene, despite the man-made torrent!

Note that I did not have a long lens with me, so the last picture was as close as I could get, and later zoomed on the computer.

Visit Highcliffe For Style!

So who needs Bond Street? I already knew that Muir-Chapman hairdresser was closing their salon near The Arcade. Surprise, surprise, today there is a new sign on the empty shop further down the road towards New Milton, and they are moving there. I don’t know is this was already planned, but it would seem good time to move while customers were not allowed because of the lockdown. This shop has been difficult to let, as there is relatively little passing custom, and there were suggestions about converting it into a flat.

Regarding my first sentence, you can get everything in Highcliffe, from hairdressers to wedding gear, you can even get a tattoo and a piercing. What’s not to like! As you can see from the picture, there are two hairdressers next to each other, and a fashion shop, all within a few yards.

More style close by.

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4 July

Robert’s Been Updating

Yesterday I had another look at Robert Hancock’s garden, which has been shown several times on this site, the last one was on 13 December. As you know, approaching his hundredth year Captain Tom Moore did incredible work by walking for miles to raise so much money for the NHS, and was duly promoted. Robert has updated it, as the first picture shows, and looking the other way is a great tribute to the NHS. Click for larger.

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5 July

Proper Horse-Work!

Near Winton today I was taken by surprise. There is only so much enjoyment one can get from scudding clouds (see further down), so when a horse and trap approached at speed, I couldn’t resist.

The driver looked quite tough, but his responses to my shouted comments to him were really friendly, so I need not have worried. Indeed, his answer, as he sped by, was, “You’re welcome, mate.” When he passed in the other direction fifteen minutes later (click for the image) his cheery greeting was, “No problem, be lucky,” and the horse seemed to be going even faster, though I would not have thought it possible! Click for much bigger pictures (After clicking, see the bottom right for even larger).

As promised, on to the clouds. The sky was spectacular.

Finally, a slideshow of some news, such as it is.

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6 July

Approaching Normal

Today the library re-opened. There are some restrictions, of course and a lady security guard on the door to make sure that they are adhered to. The second slide, below, shows Saxon Square at least looking a little like the place we all know and love.

The final slide of the three shows clothing for the fuller figure. It’s silly, but I couldn’t resist!

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7 July

History – A Tragedy

Recently I read the sign on a bench outside the Royal British Legion building on Bargates. It is a memorial to an accident which happened in 1995.

A group of 29 pensioners had been to the Bass Brewery in Cardiff. On the way back the coach went down an embankment and into a ditch. Ten people were killed, and others injured. No other vehicles were involved, and the driver’s breathalyser test was negative. This is what the fire brigade said:

‘When I first arrived it was utter carnage – a scene of total devastation. The roof was completely crushed to within inches of the coach floor. There were half a dozen people wandering around on the motorway bloody and dazed.’
(John Dando, Avon Fire Brigade station officer)

Read a newspaper article from the time.

Not my usual cheerful update, but do have a look at that bench when you are passing. There are so many things we should never forget.

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9 July

I Thought It Was Litter!

Since the pandemic began – it seems so long ago now – there have been displays of decorated stones, all of them looking impressive. Walking through Avon Beach car park at Mudeford towards the Quay, there appeared to be a lot of bottles on the beach, or so it seemed without my glasses.

When I arrived it turned out to be a fantastic display of stones, absolutely spectacular. I took lots of pictures. Some young cyclists were passing and, intrigued, came over to see what all the fuss was. They too were really impressed and spent some time there, discussing and pointing.

So well done to all of the contributors. There are just eight pictures in the slideshow; there could be many more.

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10 July

Fading Beauty!

I’m sure that many of you know the sunflowers which are grown very year in the fields by the A35 at Hinton. Well, this year is no different, though sadly I arrived a few days too late. Click below to go to the gallery and see bigger images.

Then, on the way back a Land Rover pulled up by the side of the road. A nice lady got out with armfuls of straw. The horses ran away and I laughed, but then returned very quickly with a happy ‘neigh’ and started to tuck in.

Leave me alone, I’m trying to eat my breakfast.

Last two pictures, promise! This year’s blackberries are nearly ready, I had a few and they weren’t too sour. They are not perfect yet, but at least the the mouth doesn’t actually pucker. Then some carpentry workmen were queuing at the bakers in Highcliffe to get something which I’m sure is definitely edible!

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11 July

Good, and Goodish

Today it was fun to see the obviously home-created display in a garden on Everest Road. It made me smile.

Click for a larger image

I reported above that the travellers had left very little mess on the recreation ground near to Sainsbury’s. Sadly, I was wrong. In Cllr Slade’s Q&A session on Thursday she reported that the human waste there has been dealt with: I wondered what the piles of soil were for. So this one is just goodish, it isn’t too bad really.

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12 July

Mostly Locals, I Think

Yes, another beautiful day at Hengistbury Head.

Warning to keep away. It was not as busy as the other weekend, but people still enjoyed it.

It was busy, though not yet not as busy as Sandbanks, as reported in the Bournemouth Echo. At 12.20pm BCP Council tweeted: Please avoid the peninsula and the Sandbanks / Shore Road area.

Taken at around 10am. Click the image above for a larger version.

As you can see from the smoke, they have to have some engines running, so it is not pollution-free.

Another ship, the Empress of the Seas, has been anchored. I believe it it the small(er) one on the left. Again, click for a larger image.

Finally, I couldn’t resist the happy picture below.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside.

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13 July

I Have No Shame!

An inconsequential update today, just three pictures. First, at around 9.30am, the busker tuning up his guitar ready to entertain the quite sparse throngs – if there are such things – in Saxon Square.

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger copy of the picture below. I’m sure you have seen this view, but it seemed to work unusually well today!

Click for a much larger image

Finally, I ventured on to the old golf course behind Two Riversmeet today. The views of the Priory and Stanpit Marsh from the top of the little hill are fantastic, especially on a sunny morning.

Stanpit Marsh. Click for larger

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15 July

Grab Your Opportunities

In a hurry this morning, it was quick walk on the Stour Valley Way, one entrance of which is by the camper van showroom near to Iford Bridge. The day was cloudy and opportunities sparse, but there were some interesting flowers, weeds, seed pods or whatever – I am no horticulturist! – which looked fantastic. So in between guzzling a few still-ripening blackberries, I took a couple of pictures. Surprisingly, one of them looks better than a beautiful flower!

The signpost marking the way. Don’t follow this, the best way is through the camper showroom grounds.
IMPORTANT: Click for a much larger image
You can’t have too much of a good thing!

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16 July

Only An Element of Truth

The extract below from, Endymion by John Keats, is certainly not true in this case. In fact, it could be argued that much beauty is transient. The pictures from yesterday (above) show potential for beauty, but the Stour Valley Path was worth another visit to try to make the most of it, while it was still possible before they really pass into nothingness.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: 
Its loveliness increases; it will never 
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep 
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep 
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. 

Click for a very much larger image

Click a picture to view the gallery.

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17 July

Dem Bones: A Weak Attempt at Humour

Ok, it’s an old joke, but you can hopefully see why. After a long walk, I spotted the chiropodist on Barrack Road. They have a skeleton in the window dressed very appropriately, with nothing on the bones, but a face mask on the skull. What better image could there be in these trying times? So I put a very wide lens on, pressed the camera almost against the window, and it worked! Even the receptionist is in the right position. Click for a larger image.

I don’t know if you were out in the afternoon, but if you were I hope you weren’t too hot. It was already baking at 10.30 that morning. It had been good to see things getting back to a bit more normal. Three workmen were grass cutting on the verges, though I am still not sure if that is a good thing.

For reference, here here are the cygnets when they were much younger, fluffier and cuter. Here also is the same teddy, still looking spruce after being there from at least April 19!

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21 July

The End of Frustration, at Last

Another glorious day today, and yet another day when it is impossible to get a decent picture of a moth or butterfly. They seem to spend only a second or so on each flower, then they flutter away unaffected by tiredness or in need of a proper rest. Anyway, after another fruitless walk across the Meadows I reached the lay-by near the Stony Lane roundabout. The traffic was busy, almost at pre-lockdown levels, and there was a rare creature indeed: a peacock butterfly (not an emperor moth as I had thought) willing to pose! The pictures are below.

Important correction, 27 July: I have been informed by David B that it is in fact a peacock butterfly. Thanks so much to him for letting me know.

He also told me that, ‘… They seem to have had a good year for numbers. They will soon go into hibernation and reappear next spring.’

Click to see the gallery, then View full size, bottom right of the picture.

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23 July

The Future

The brickwork almost sparkles – well, not really, but you get the idea! Click for a larger image
Same as above, looking the other way

You probably think that the picture above is exceptionally boring. True, there are far greater attractions in Christchurch: the Mayor’s Parlour, The Castle, Constable’s House, the Priory, even the High Street and Saxon Square. However, in its own way this functional underpass is also impressive.

Cllr Slade, of the new BCP Council, said that the aim is to improve on the previous Council. Street sweeping is an example, there was none before. It has also included cleaning the underpass. It wasn’t really bad, I’m sure we have all seen far worse, but the brickwork has had a clean, and it has made a big difference, though there are a few weeds, which I am sure will be dealt with in time. Below is a transcription of her response to a question in her Q&A Session on July 15:

You know there’s a lot criticism of BCP, but I think we have to accept that in some areas, the previous councils didn’t all do a great job of everything. And my goal is to make sure that where something is not done well in one area that we lift it up to be as good as it is elsewhere. Street sweeping is a perfect example. And some of the other measures in Christchurch for a range of reasons, weren’t as good as they could have been. I think that it’s very easy to have a go at BCP Council, but we are a year old and when Christchurch came in, it came in without any road sweepers, without a policy around how they dig the weeds out of their verges and things. And so it hadn’t been done. Those things were being done in Bournemouth and Poole, and what we’ve done is we’ve reallocated some of our Bournemouth and Poole resource to make sure that it’s lifted across the board. 

There were very good before and after pictures in The Echo, but sadly I can no longer find them, so you will have to take my word for it!

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26 July

A Thing of Beauty is a Joy For Ever

Today in Christchurch, having visited the quay and quomps, I walked back into town and was very impressed by this marvellous inflatable gentleman advertising the Turkish barber near the Colonnades. The barber was justifiably proud and took some care to ensure that it was displayed perfectly.

I’m not sure about the cartoon in the window on the right! Click for a larger image.

As I said, he enjoyed a job well done and next time I need a haircut I will be going! Seems fun.

Great work, even the inflatable is pleased.. Click for larger.

A Classic Surprise

On the A35 after leaving Christchurch, I saw on the left a Classic Car Show. I do not know much about it, there seemed to be few people there and the vehicles were nicely lined up. Anyway, after parking a hazardous walk across the main roads and a few shots from distance. These are not available larger, they are just to give you an idea. Here is a link to a report from 2019.

Waiting for my owner: seen in Christchurch. Click for larger.

They Get Everywhere!

You are no doubt aware of the intention to bring Beryl Bikes into Christchurch, which will make it standard across the Borough. They have been in Christchurch and Poole for some time, in fact it is the second most successful bike hire scheme in the country. Two were parked by the Quay this morning.

Click for a larger image

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July 28

Our New Sweeper

As I was walking along Somerford Road this morning I saw the famous, and most welcome, street sweeper in action, the first time one has been available in Christchurch. This is what Cllr Slade said in one of her Q&A sessions:

(Caller) Thanks for the Christchurch brand new street sweeper. 
(Cllr Slade) You know there’s a lot criticism of BCP, but I think we have to accept that in some areas, the previous councils didn’t all do a great job of everything. And my goal is to make sure that where something is not done well in one area that we lift it up to be as good as it is elsewhere. Street sweeping is a perfect example. And some of the other measures in Christchurch for a range of reasons, weren’t as good as they could have been. I think that it’s very easy to have a go at BCP Council, but we are a year old and when Christchurch came in, it came in without any road sweepers, without a policy around how they dig the weeds out of their verges and things. And so it hadn’t been done. Those things were being done in Bournemouth and Poole, and what we’ve done is we’ve reallocated some of our Bournemouth and Poole resource to make sure that it’s lifted across the board. 

Stopped to check equipment. Note the clean verge. Click for larger.

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29 July

A Brave Lady

I have always been a little wary of swans, though I understand that the tales of the breaking your arm with their wings are untrue. However, I have never been quite sure of their beaks, so when I saw a lady feeding them from her hand I went to have a chat. She assured me that it feels like nothing more than pressure and also told me how to identify the gender of a swan. Sadly, as I had the camera in my hand I was unable to try feeding them. Shame, perhaps next time …

Click to see the gallery, then View full size for a larger one.

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July 30

Very, Very Busy

I’m sure you remember the problem earlier in the season when Bournemouth beach was totally packed, so much so that it made national news. It has been thronged yet again today, though not to the extent that an emergency has had to be called, thank goodness. It all seemed good-natured and well-behaved. hopefully the new app which is being developed will help more as the season progresses. Today I went to Hengistbury Head in the morning. As you can see from the gallery below, it was already becoming busy by 10.30 in the morning. Click for a larger version, then View full size, bottom right if you wish.

My real intention was to photograph the QE2, which has been parked in the bay recently. It was not visible today, I was told that they sail off into the horizon and then come back, to keep the engines working. Anyway, I was struck by the pictures below. The one on the left is one of the two ships which were visible. The one on the right is the same picture, zoomed in. The speedboat is tiny!

Of course, wildlife is a vital attraction on Hengistbury Head. The pictures below show -I think – an egret taking off, an oyster-catcher, a dog which loves swimming: don’t worry, it was in a different area from the wildlife and its owner was nearby. Finally, a truly dedicated birder – camera, very long lens, binoculars. Not sure what else was in the rucksack and his capacious pockets, but I’m glad I wasn’t carrying it all!

To conclude, people were working even on a day like this. Four very friendly men were repairing the steps down to the beach. It was hard work, the old wood had to be dug out and replaced. Last of all, a photograph of Christchurch Priory, similar to those which have no doubt been taken by millions before me.

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July 31

Hottest Day of the Year – and it’s Busy

At about 10.30 this morning I travelled from Iford to Highcliffe. The traffic was very, very busy, now literally at pre-lockdown levels. That is not surprising, as today is heading into the mid-3os (mid-90s in ‘real’ measurements) and the sunshine is intense.

Driving from Sainsbury’s up the A35, the police were in action, blue and red lights flashing. In the lay-by near to Verno Lane there were three cars and a police car parked, with the officers speaking to the drivers, pads and tablets in action. I don’t know what it was for, and I decided not to risk taking a picture as I passed – another police car was immediately behind me (not that I would have done it anyway). Just take my word for it: it was busy.

When I reached home there was a Facebook message about the traffic. It is interesting that now comments have been closed by the administrators. No doubt the usual trolls have been active with their abuse. The image shows the first few comments, some of the others are not suitable for publication.

Lunchtime Update

First, well done to BCP Council. Although there were the inevitable queues as frustrated drivers tried to find a space, the good humour of the attendants helped to relieve the annoyance, slightly. I heard one say, with an apologetic smile, that they should try further along the road. It was not a promise of success, but spaces did become available and it would be pure luck as to whether the motorist arrived at the right time to fill it immediately. The slideshow below shows scenes in Highcliffe. The overflow car park was open. These pictured are not available large – they are just of traffic jams!

Finally, a view of some of the throngs enjoying the sunshine. It was fine at lunchtime, I hope the majority stayed socially distanced during the afternoon! Click to see larger versions.

To conclude, a quote from the Bournemouth Echo. No more words are needed about what has been the third hottest day of all time.

Blimey, be prepared for a long journey back if you’re heading along the A31 this evening.

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