The thing about momentum is once lost, it’s very hard to get back. For the first two months of this trip, we rushed about madly for the most part, always ready to see something, to go somewhere, to pack and unpack and pack again. Once we got to Winchester, we stopped. We unpacked. We didn’t repack.
And then the inertia set in.
I mentioned this to a friend of mine, and said how we were even finding the thought of a train trip to the coast as just too much. He reminded me something I know, but it was to good to hear again – we won’t be back here for a while, and it would be a shame to miss out on seeing what we can.
Today when we woke up, the sun was struggling out from behind the clouds, but the metropolitan weather office informed us that the further West we headed, the better our chances of sunshine. Tony had been sad about missing out on seeing Bournemouth, and Toby and I were keen for a trip back. So we hopped on (well, narrowly missed one train, hung out at Winchester train station for half an hour and then hopped on) a train and headed to the seaside once again.
And when we got there we were very glad we did. Bournemouth put on a show on a glorious sunshine filled day.
Without the trappings of a summer day at the seaside – the bouncy castles and dodgem rides of our last visit were long gone – I was struck by the nostalgic glamour of Bournemouth. There is a fantastic hotel perched on the cliffs above the beach.
It’s currently a Marriot, but started it’s life in 1875 as ‘Highcliff Mansions’, attracting aristocratic visitors. It’s all too easy to imagine the ladies and gentleman of the day strolling along the promenade, taking in the sea air.
By 1908 the trip back up to the hotel was made easier by the addition of a furnicular – which is still in operation today.
Adding to the charm is the row of beach huts along the promenade. They’re available to hire, and although most are shut up out of summer, there were a few open today. Each is supplied with a little gas hob and a kettle. I can’t think of anything much more perfect than sitting reading, drinking tea, and watching the ocean from a little beach hut. Perhaps stopping at lunch time to fry up some sausages. (There is, in my mind, something quintessentially English about frying sausages in the open air. I suspect it’s a Famous Five/Harry Potter thing.)
As long as I could find someone to watch the kids.
The kids loved the beach today. Millie and Toby played together in the sand for the first time – a development that is making me very happy about our planned Christmas jaunt to Cottesloe.
Millie put her increasingly confident walking and running skills to the test, and made a break for it whenever she could.
Although most of the summer trappings had gone, there were a few left. Toby had a go on the trampolines.
The time limits were very generous (especially compared to ones we have done in Australia) so Toby had a great time. We couldn’t convince him to do a somersault, but he did get quite high by the end.
Meanwhile Millie stole my icecream. (Blackcurrants and clotted cream. It was delicious. Evidently she agreed).
We had a great day out, made perfect by making our train home with a minute to spare, after racing up and over the footbridge, Tony carrying the pram with him (it’s the little things….). I’ll leave the last picture to Toby, who commandeered the camera on the way home.
(The hat was meant for Millie, but I failed knitting 101 and didn’t check my gauge, and kept squashing down that inner voice that was saying ‘I know she has a big head, but do you really think it’s this big?’. No. It’s not. Luckily the hat fits Toby, and there is a matching one for Millie now on my needles.)