(0j) March 2020

1 March

And the Road Before Me!

March is a time of rebirth, with the daffodils a-flower and the world anew.

So I have taken the liberty of basing this first update on rather tenuous connections to the famous poem by RL Stevenson.

The header picture was taken today. The weather was beautiful, though slightly cold, and it looked spectacular. I am sure you will have seen thousands of images like this, or even taken your own, but it is still a great view, attracting locals and tourists alike.

I had intended to go into Christchurch to check the progress of the restoration of the cupola on the Mayor’s Parlour. Sadly it is not yet complete. That is not through lack of effort: the workmen workpersons were up there even on Sunday. Note that the colours are correct: the sky was a beautiful blue.

All I ask, the heaven above …

So then I wandered into Saxon Square and was impressed with the cycles parked outside Costa Coffee. They were caked in mud, mud, glorious mud, and the clearly intrepid riders were enjoying a well-earned break. I was pleased that they said I could photograph them, and they even seemed to find it amusing! In both cases, click for a larger picture.

Give the face of earth around,
And the road before me.
Bread I dip in the river –
There’s the life for a man like me,
There’s the life for ever.

As I said, any poetic connections are purely coincidental!

2 March

Beauty and the Beast

More flowers and poetry! They are beginning to wilt, so enjoy them while you can. You may be familiar with the annual fantastic display of daffodils in the central reservation on the road by the Hoburne Roundabout. Hurry – they will be gone soon. Perhaps surprisingly, this morning I had to wait over five minutes for a big lorry to appear. Click below for a larger image.

And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

Apologies to Wordsworth. They would have looked even better by a lake!

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7 March

It’s Nearly Finished

As you can see below, The Bear of Burton – previously The Manor – is ready to open after its extensive revamp.

The front is ready, the inside is getting there (inset)
It looks fantastic. Click for a larger image

It opens this Thursday, 12 March, at 5pm.

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8 March

International Women’s Day

As I am am sure you are aware, today has been International Women’s Day. It is appropriate, then, to mention the Silent Nurse on Burton Green.

I cannot find anything local about this one, but a Google search produced the following information, from The Leader, November 2018, in Holywell, near Wrexham. This is the relevant part:

I like the idea that we have two nurses as it’s worth remembering that women had a role in the war. They do look very good and I have not seen the nurses in another town. We had a choice of what to buy and we chose two nurses and two silent soldiers. We need to recognise that women put themselves at risk too.

The Silent Soldier and the Silent Nurse, together on Burton Green. Click for a larger image.

Finally, thanks so much to the vicar of St Luke’s, who was very helpful and gave some background information about the statue, and the importance of nurses in the war.

Here is information about ten of them. Fascinating, inspiring reading.

He suggested I look at his church, so here it is. It is worth a visit, and the churchyard is beautiful, really peaceful.

St Luke’s Church, Burton. Click for a larger image.

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9 March

A True Oddment

… for my terrible ‘joke.’ You may remember the proposal to bring the famous Beryl Bikes to Christchurch. They have not appeared yet, but if you would like to take a look, today there were a few dotted around the big Tesco on Castle Lane.

It did seem weird to see them just left there, at random. Maybe there will be some here before too long?

Tesco in the background, my own shadow on the path. Amateur, sorry!

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11 March

Don’t Even Think About It!

An early update today, 11.30am. I am sure you are aware that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat is dominating the news. One consequence of this scare is the amount of panic buying. I am sure you will have seen the pictures and videos of empty shelves and panic buying, particularly toilet rolls! Ironically, frequent lavatorial excursions are not a side effect, even if you do have the. virus.

Well, it is here now. Below is the scene in Sainsbury’s, Christchurch, at around 10am. The liquid soap was almost gone, too, and there were gaps in a few other areas.

Not a loo roll in sight!

Finally, here is a video from Australia. They must have big houses, or big sheds. I don’t actually have a cupboard big enough to store all of them.

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16 March

All Quiet

Today the area was noticeably less busy. People have been worried by the Coronovirus pandemic, which is beginning to take hold in the UK. The Monday market was certainly not busy. At 11am today the approach to the event was very quiet.

These horses, near Burton, were as relaxed as ever on this warm, sunny day. They stood there, as shown below, for several minutes, perhaps wondering what the weirdo with the camera was doing, or contemplating Boris Johnson’s forthcoming pronouncements with no great interest!

Now what will Boris say … It takes some thinking about! Click for a larger image

Oh and as a postscript, in Waitrose the toilet paper and tissue shelves were just as empty as Sainsbury’s had been last week!

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17 March

Burton This Morning

On my journey home from my walk I went through Burton. You may remember that our Prime Minister said yesterday that pubs and other social venues should be avoided because of the Coronovirus.

The reborn Manor, now The Bear of Burton, was looking fantastic. A nice lady passed and we had a chat about it. We agreed it was a pity that this had happened so soon after opening. Amusingly (?) she said it might be the shortest-lived pub ever, and that Boris probably had drones ready to pounce at any moment.

Fortunately, she was joking, and there will be no chance of either event happening. It is run by Fullers, a reputable company.

The quiet Bear

Moving on, I came to yet more horses. This time they were being groomed by two young ladies, and they kindly agreed to let me photograph them. Three pictures are below – as you can see, the beasts were exceptionally friendly. In each case, click for a larger image, and View Full Size then appears at the bottom right.

Postscript – 18 March

Today there is an article in The Echo about the opening of The Bear, which includes twelve interior photographs. Click the picture below to read the article and see the remaining photos.

Click to go to the article

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19 March

It Is Finished

A bright spot in the rain, at a difficult time. Even though the weather was poor this morning (cheer up, good weather is in prospect), and the Coronovirus crisis becoming ever more fierce, today it was good to see the Cupola on top of the Mayor’s Parlour at last revealed in its new glory.

They were taking the scaffolding down. Well done to everyone and the experts who have done such a good job. Despite the sometimes- atrocious weather, it has been worth the wait.

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21 March

All Quiet on the Christchurch Front

I am sure you are aware of yesterday’s Press Conference, where the Prime Minister announced that all pubs, cafes, etc., must close from today:

‘We are telling – telling – cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to close tonight, as soon as they reasonably can, and not open tomorrow.’

This is to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. So as this is the first day, I decided to have a look at Christchurch early this evening. Far from being the throbbing hub we all know and love, it was strangely quiet, though the take-away fish and chip shop was getting busy. There are six pictures in the gallery below, click any one to see a larger version.

The one of the printed notice is in the window of Kelly’s Kitchen. It is very public-spirited of them, and I, like they, wish everyone good health and a quick end to all this.

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22 March

Posh Seats for Highcliffe?

About ten days ago The Echo published an article about the smart shelters on the cliff-top. New seating is to be installed. Here is one paragraph from the article:

… timber slat seating, paid for by the Coastal Community Fund People and Places project, will be made from Iroko, a durable wood native to West Africa. Plans for the benches also include a metre-wide wheelchair space and a lowered section described as a ‘child seat’.

Do read the article: as usual, some of the comments are very revealing, if not always well-considered or restrained!

Click for a larger image

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23 March

There Are Market Places …

… what are they doing open?

So asked Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain on ITV this morning. Not normally a great fan of him, today he very strongly criticised the handling of the Coronavirus outbreak.

He showed some newspapers, with pictures of literally hundreds of people having a great day out yesterday, so many of them so closely mingling together. Click the image below to see the video in a new window. It is about twenty minutes long and becomes quite fiery – but then it is Piers Morgan!

Watch the video from this morning

Matt Hancock was asked why the Prime Minister has been so slow in enforcing instead of advising the restrictions. It was a tough interview, but credit to him: at least he appeared on TV. Towards the end he was asked if he supported a total ban, rather than just a request for careful behaviour. It was not answered, but Matt Hancock clearly does support such a ban.

Piers Morgan quoted from an excoriating editorial in The Times, normally a Conservative newspaper.

“Boris Johnson’s initial response to the Coronovirus crisis has been hesitant. That must change if he is to maintain public confidence … The country needs to know Mr Johnson has a coherent strategy, otherwise the Prime Minister who dreamt of being Churchill may find himself cast as Neville Chamberlain.”

I do not usually make any political comments on this site. However, it was worrying when pubs, restaurants, and so on, were asked to close. Total failure, so next day it had to be forced. How many people were infected that evening? How many more people will be infected before we are put into lockdown? I love exercising and walking, but needs must.

Christchurch Market at 9.30 this morning. They were mostly food stalls,, which is fine.

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25 March

Waiting at Waitrose

This morning it was impressive to see the efforts that Waitrose is taking during this Coronavirus crisis. Hoping to rush in to collect a parcel, I found a small queue of people, not close together, waiting to go in. It took about twenty minutes, but no-one seemed to mind: all understood the reason.

It was one out, one in, and a surprisingly cheerful guard from a security company controlled the opening and closing of the door to supervise it. So well done, and if other supermarkets already have a similar system, apologies for omitting them.

Allowing one customer out, one in. Well done, guard.
Very quiet inside
The A35 by Salisbury Road at 8.45 this morning – it is usually busy.

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26 March

And Now Sainsbury’s

Not a great fuss about this one, it seems to be a policy which is being adopted by supermarkets and shops all over the country. Well done to all of them, there are even lines on the paths, security personnel, and so on, to make sure the social distancing is properly observed. The picture below shows the scene at Sainsbury’s this morning. It was all very good-humoured, even joking and laughter at times.

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27 March

I’m Sure You Know

Click for a larger, perhaps informative, image

Playgrounds closed.

In this difficult time, everybody, keep safe, keep your distance, and keep washing your hands.

Bluebells on Bure Lane. A final bit of cheer, I hope, for March.

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28 March

Thank You, NHS!

This morning, on my only walk before I once more return to my solitude in this difficult time, I came across this sign, by a bus stop next to the Walkford public house. Click for a larger image.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before you can enjoy Skittle Alley once more!

Finally, on the way back I noticed that the tulips are looking superb, if now rather windswept, on Highcliffe Recreation Ground (see 27 March, above).

As a postscript, there have already been pieces about two supermarkets and their precautions against COVID-19. Well, Tesco Express in Highcliffe went one better. Queuing to get a bottle of milk, sensibly distanced from others in the line, a young man was supervising the sparse throng, allowing people in one at a time.

It was very impressive: When a basket was replaced he removed it, squirted some disinfectant spray and wiped the handles. The kitchen roll and cleanser were also available for customers to use. Thank you Tesco Express!

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