(0l) January 2020

January 1

The Dullest Update Ever!

I couldn’t resist. Crossing the footbridge by Ambury Lane at about 9am today I was shocked to see the A35 completely deserted. There was the rare car but it was possible to get several shots of the empty road over a few minutes, with very little waiting for the gaps.

Enjoy it while you can: a rare sight indeed!

To quote Stevenson, in a more poetic situation:
All I ask, the heaven above
And the road below me.

2 January

The Manor, Burton – The Bear, Burton

As reported previously, this is undergoing a massive refurbishment. There is a lot more information in The Echo today: Here is the headline:

The Manor in Burton to be replaced by The Bear of Burton in £2million refurbishment

Here is an excerpt from the article, to give you a taster(see what I did there?), taken from a statement form Fuller’s.

Some of the stand out features will be a Prix Fixe lunch menu, afternoon tea, private dining rooms for groups of up to 26 people, and a Coravin wine system, allowing guests to sample some amazing wines by the glass.

Taken in October 2019, before work started

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4 January

Is the Train Soon To Be Gone?

There is a very interesting article in The Echo about the Hengistbury Head Land Train. This unusual, not to say iconic, attraction has not been running for some time because of Health and Safety issues. You can read the article for yourselves, but here are four of the comments by the public at the end of the article. As always, opinions are strong.

  • I wish they would get rid of it altogether. Hengistbury is a sensitive site with internationally important nature conservation significance. Currently it’s treated as a dog toilet/exercise area. Visitor pressure needs reducing not facilitating.
  • Land trains are an anachronism from the era of donkey rides and kiss me quick hats. It’s time they were consigned to the dustbin of history. If you want to visit HH use your own two feet or pedal power. Please leave your dog at home as well. As someone else has pointed out this is an extremely sensitive area and doesn’t need dog fouling left all over the place.
  • Unless you cannot walk or cannot walk far and then what? Are you saying people with disabilities/ age restrictions should not be able to enjoy HH?
  • The old train does not comply with current regulations. That’s it, it cannot be used in this area any more. It’s not a conspiracy by the council, it’s just a fact.
The Land Train in March 2018. Click for a larger image.

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7 January

Trouble in Highcliffe!

OK, it’s not quite the seriousness of the Great Train Robbery, but I was surprised to read an article in yesterday’s Echo about damage to one of the nice shelters on Highcliffe clifftop.

A window has been broken! The headline in The Echo is very dramatic:

Vandals trash cliff top shelter (months after £80,000 refurbishment)

This is poetic licence. The money was for a number of coastal improvements. I quote:

The covered structure at the green off Wharncliffe Road in Highcliffe had been renovated in an £80,000 project in autumn last year as part of a wider coastal improvement scheme.

The pictures above (click to see the gallery) show the idyllic situation of the shelter, concluding with the broken glass. It is interesting to read the comments in the newspaper article, two sensible examples of which are below. As I write there are 35, sadly many of them abusive, as is common in much social media.

  • For millennia vandals have loved smashing glass, very stupid to fit glass in the first place. Leave the frames open as in Bournemouth
  • Reply to above: Have you ever been to this shelter? Weather can be vile and the glass the only protection from the sideways rain.

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12 January

Friars Cliff – The Beach Clean

This a very brief update today, more will be added tomorrow. The Beach Clean took place today, and there were a good number of people there with bin bags or green buckets collecting litter. Even tiny pieces of plastic were searched for and disposed of properly.

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13 January

Beach Clean – Episode 2

Yesterday it was good to see Cllr Paul Hilliard not only joining in with the Beach Clean, but actually doing good work before he even got there!

Unfortunately the photo is not quite sharp. The lens is wide angle, and has a strange way of turning off autofocus. I did this accidentally, so it looks sharp until it is on the computer. I will, hopefully, live and learn. However, he is still recognisable. Fortunately the two below, with a different lens, are sharp.

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15 January

A Sunny Afternoon!

Last night the weather was absolutely dreadful. My flat faces away from the prevailing wind, but even my windows rattled. This morning it was still pouring with rain, but at lunchtime it stopped and the afternoon was really sunny. So, having seen the picture in The Echo (click the image to go to the page), I decided to walk down to the Quay to look for myself. The Echo photographer was very good: the picture is far better than mine, as you can see below. Still, it was a great day and lots of people were out and about.

Not so big after all
Good to be outside

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16 January

Christchurch Prepared

Today in town the flood defences were down. There has been lot of rain in recent days, and more is forecast. So by the Council Offices I was surprised to see the barrier, below.

The view from the road is shown below. Click for a much larger image, so you can read the inscription on the right. It was opened in September 1998 by Baroness Diana Maddock.

Click for a much larger version, in a new window

She was the Liberal Democrat MP for Christchurch from 1993 until Sir Christopher Chope took the seat in 1997, when she was made a life peer as Baroness Maddock, of Christchurch in the County of Dorset. From 1998 to 2000, she was President of the Liberal Democrats

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17 January

Yesterday the heading below appeared in The Echo, concerning the hedges on Somerford Road:

Click the image to go to the article.

Council ‘hack down’ hedge
leaving furious resident with view of McDonald’s

It appears to have been acrimonious, with Suzanne Redwood ([pictured) even standing in the way of the tractor!

I am not publishing my opinion of it, you should make up your own minds. However, it did perturb me that the word compensation was used, and the comments below the Echo article are very interesting.

Ms Redwood won’t be happy: they were doing the rest next morning! Click for larger version

The view from the other side

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18 January

Change of Plan

You may remember the new Highcliffe Flats and the still-empty shop.

Ethos Care, plus empty shop

As I write, it is still empty, so a few days ago a letter from BCP Council arrived, telling of the application for planning permission for:

Alterations and conversion of retail unit into one self-contained apartment.

The planning application can be seen here. There is not much detail, nor a plan, but the current state is described as a Retail unit which has never been occupied since built.

Note that this is the second time for this application: it was refused in August last year. More details here.

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January 23

Annoyed, then Amused

This morning it was dull and dreary, but at least it was not raining. Some people were out and about, on foot or on bicycles and it was there I saw more fly-tipping. An old sofa had been dumped on Ambury Lane.

The sofa, and cyclist

Earlier, as I passed the ford, I had seen a lady returning to her car after walking her dog. I marched on, and was surprised to be overtaken by said hound which ignored me and rushed into a field. I kept looking back and the lady was calling her dog, but the intrepid four-legged explorer was oblivious, really enjoying its investigation, not a worry in the world.

I kept looking back, and the lady started driving slowly up the lane. searching for the elusive creature. I stopped and pointed to the field where the dog had gone, and eventually he was found and put into the car.

A few minutes later I saw the car parked near the junction. The dog was out of the car, and the lady was working really hard at cleaning him up. Finally, as I neared, she was trying to coax it, with many entreaties and shoves, into the back. I stopped and watched and smiled.

‘That looks like hard work.’
‘Yes, he has rolled in a load of fox poo and absolutely stinks.’

I’m afraid I laughed.
‘Is he worth it?’

‘Yes, she replied, gazing fondly at the slightly cleaner dog. The photograph below shows him still quite mucky, actually looking rather pleased with himself! Love conquers all …

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24 January

The Parlour is Started

It was good to see that, at last, the work on this restoration has begun. Click to see a page about it, with more photos, background and some history.

Click for a larger image

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26 January

Spring is Approaching

Once more it was a dull, cloudy morning, although to be fair to the weather there had been a very few minutes of sunshine. I had been tempted to photograph some snowdrops as I walked, but as they were in formal lines in a couple of gardens I resisted that temptation.

So on the way past The Priory, I was pleased to see some underneath the arch (!), perhaps more random, with the church in the background. Picture below, though sadly it was still a dull day!

Click for a larger image

The arch on a sunnier day, September 2017

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27 January

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today this annual event took place to commemorate those who died in the Nazi Holocaust, and those who have suffered, indeed are still suffering, in too many others.

The theme was Stand Together, and that was particularly poignant this year, as it was the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the most notorious of the extermination and concentration camps.

Now to an apology. I have a lot of information about this event, but it will take until tomorrow to organise it and produce the report. So for now, just a picture of the hall in the Captain’s Club during the lecture: it was filled almost to capacity, and it was good to see so many there.

Click for a larger image

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30 January

A Warning from The Echo

In today’s printed Christchurch Times there was an amusing article about how we may all be breaking the law, quite innocently. As this is only in the printed edition I have blurred the text and copied five of the sixteen in their list. I do recommend that you buy the paper to see the rest.

Remember – These are things you CANNOT do!

  • Do not appear without socks within a hundred yards of The Queen.
  • Do not vacuum between the hours of 6pm and 8pm on a weekday, or 1opm and 8am at the weekend.
  • Do not stick a postage stamp on upside down.
  • Do not use someone else’s WiFi without telling them.
  • Do not carry wooden planks across a pavement.

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