Silly Saturday – Transport Trials and Tribulations

Everyone is worrying about transport; panic buying at petrol stations because of a shortage of petrol tank drivers, what alternative transport would you use…

Panic about empty shelves because of a shortage of HGV drivers; turns out the food does not appear in shops by magic, perhaps other means of delivery should be considered…

But it is no fun being a delivery driver; nowhere to park and rest in big cities…

…and poor facilities at driver stopovers…

They can only dream of better.

Why not continue to escape reality with one of my short story collections…

Weird Wednesday

WHERE ARE WE?
THIS IS WHAT WE ARE PROMISED FOR BOURNEMOUTH SQUARE. THE DEMISE OF DEBENHAMS DEPARTMENT STORE HAS LEFT AN EMPTY BUILDING WHICH WILL BE REGENERATED AND RETURN AS THE PREVIOUS STORE WHICH LONG TERM RESIDENTS REMEMBER… IN THE MEANTIME…
LET’S GO THROUGH THIS RATHER UNPROMISING DOOR AND UP TWO FLOORS…

WHERE AN EMPTY FLOOR HAS BEEN TURNED INTO AN ART GALLERY.
LET SOME COLOUR INTO YOUR LIFE
DIZZY YET? YOU COULD TRY THIS AT HOME
A SELFIE
EVEN DIZZIER?

https://www.museumsassociation.org/museums-journal/news/2021/08/new-arts-hub-for-bournemouth/#

Silly Saturday – Censored Scenes

Films, television and the media are to come under strict scrutiny and indecent images are to be banned. People dealing with lockdowns, social distancing and Pandemic Pandemonium ae finding it very stressful when they turn their television on for escapism and relaxation only to be confronted with scenes of people shaking hands, hugging and even kissing. Seeing a crowd scene is liable to cause a total breakdown.

Here is your handy guide to what pictures you must NOT put on Facebook, Instagram or blogs.

Staycation

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 To some a Staycation means not going abroad for their holiday, for others it means staying at home in the garden. With our bathroom being ripped out and hopefully replaced, we took the bus into town with our wheelie cases.

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Friday evening we arrived in torrential rain, Saturday and Sunday saw heat waves and on our last night we watched the lightning from our balcony.

For writers and photographers, finding interesting places to stay is vital. We had five nights at an Art Deco hotel which I’m sure has seen better days, but makes a good Premiere Inn. We had a front balcony, only on the second floor, but still fun to look out at everything going on. Westover Road has also seen better days; now an interesting mix with art galleries, posh jewellers and pub at the other end, the lovely Pavilion across the road from abandoned Odeon cinemas and a YMCA hostel next to the hotel. Opposite us, coaches delivered endless day trippers.

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After breakfast on the first morning we went up to the ninth floor and found a writer and photographer’s delight, the rear view; a riot of fire escapes with a little old house surrounded by layers of building developments. A walk up the road took us to the official opening of a newly pedestrianised area, Darth Vader and friends turned up collecting money for charity.

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Down at the pier and the main beach, which you always see in newspaper pictures of seaside hot spots, was busy, busy, busy; beach parties with tables laden with food and very loud sound systems. A walk to the end of the pier brought a bit of peace and a good view of the zip wire which takes you back to the beach.

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What did I learn from pretending to be a visitor? The homeless group that always seems to be there when I go to Bournemouth and get off the bus, IS always there; a double bed arrangement which stretches halfway across the pavement with several occupants near to our busy hotel. Of course they are not the only homeless; in a town full of happy holiday makers and lively young language students they are the spectre at the feast and Darth Vader isn’t the only one ignoring them. In the gardens there are buskers and a young man doing fire juggling with a sign ‘Homeless but Trying’. At the shops there are Big Issue sellers. I bought a Big Issue.

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The Royal Bath Hotel nearby is a great place to stroll into. Sit and cool off inside the huge fascinating lounge or enjoy the sun in the gardens. You could stay all day, people watching, plug in your lap top etc. without anyone noticing.  This hotel has also seen better days, as we discovered when we went there for dinner one evening to try the ‘special three course meal’ – no wonder it was so reasonable; we needn’t have worried about being smartly dressed, there were some very strange guests.

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On our last day we went abroad on a cruise; bus to Poole Quay for a boat trip to the start of the Jurassic coast at Old Harry Rock and then to Swanage on The Isle of Purbeck, an hour’s trip. We disembarked at the restored Victorian Pier for five hours ashore. A short walk takes you through the pleasant seaside town to the station where you can see steam trains, take a ride to Corfe Castle or have a snack in the railway carriage cafe. A walk out to Peveril Point and we could stand on the cliffs and look back to Bournemouth.

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For more Staycation pictures visit my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

Have you been on a Staycation?

 

Liebster Award (Retro)

Friday Flash Fiction – Waterloo

I got off the train wearily, borne along the platform with the other commuters. It was only Wednesday but I was fed up already, who wouldn’t be, having to go to work on a sunny July day.

How had this happened to me, fourth generation of my family on the train to Waterloo every morning to a job I loathed. Was that what it had been like for Dad, Granddad, uncles and aunties, or did they just accept it as their position in life? Twenty three and still living at home so I could save up, save up for what?

I was working for a company everybody except me thought was exciting; Bright Designs was going places, but I wasn’t.

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I stopped on the busy concourse and stood still for the first time ever; I usually dashed straight for the escalator to the underground. Around me everyone was rushing, I thought of Tim my old school friend, in Thailand teaching English, travelling cheaply and posting beautiful pictures on Facebook. Voices intruded into my Land of Smiles fantasy and my eyes focussed on a couple at the barrier to platform 13.

You just don’t get it, do you Josh? A train to the seaside is not my idea of a surprise holiday, even if we were staying together.

I stared at Josh, smart looking bloke, but sounded like he was as successful as me with women.

I don’t understand Lizzie, I thought you wanted to get away for a few days and talk.

It’s too late for that.

Lizzie disappeared into throngs of commuters oblivious to her little drama, out of sight before Josh had even turned his head. He tore off his back pack and threw it on the ground and then, as if he could feel my curious stare, he looked up at me.

‘Hey mate, care to swap lives. Looks like you could do with a trip to the seaside, train leaves in ten minutes.’

He proffered his train ticket.

‘You wouldn’t want my dreary life Josh.’

‘So neither of us have anything to lose, go on, hand me your man bag and take my rucksack.’

 

What on earth possessed me? I slung the back pack on my shoulder and put the ticket in the slot at the barrier. Josh had already gone, taking my wallet, paperback and ID pass for Bright Designs with him. I patted my pocket, my phone was the only thing I still had of me.

Settling into a window seat I almost laughed out loud, runaway train. Nobody except Josh knew where I was going; I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t care.

As the train moved off I looked at the ticket, Bournemouth. Then I casually dipped into the rucksack as if I knew what was in it; a wallet with notes as well as several debit cards and a thick envelope, signed for delivery. I had no compunction about opening it, Josh wanted me to have his life. Afterwards I realised what an idiot I had been, it could have contained drugs or might even have exploded.

But all it contained were two sets of keys, detailed computer print out maps, a set of directions and two pictures, a row of beach huts and a smart white apartment block. What was Lizzie missing? My initial thoughts had been – arrive at seaside, get ice cream, go for a paddle. But now I was going to have a holiday.

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Just when we would have been having coffee at work I was standing on the cliff top. The sea and sky were unbelievably blue, the air balmy, this was a dream. I followed the instructions for the beach hut and descended a steep path with cliff on either side framing a view of sparkling sea with land on the horizon.

Ten minutes later I was in the little wooden hut divesting the rest of my work life and putting on swimming shorts out of the collection of beach gear handily provided. With the warm sand between my toes I was a child again. I plunged into the sea, not as cold as I was expecting. My freedom was complete as I struck out through the gentle waves then turned to look back at the cliffs, I was out of my depth and out of my life. I whooped like a teenager, how I wished everyone at work could see me; perhaps not. This was a holiday that would not be posted on Facebook.

Liebster Award (Retro)

For more tales of land and sea dip into…

 

 

 

Beachwriter’s Blog

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There is plenty to enjoy living by the sea, even if you never set a toe in the water. But there is so much to do involving seawater that it’s a shame if you don’t dip your toes or whole body in.

You need nothing if you have a naturist beach nearby or you can go to the other extreme and encase you body in a wet suit and acquire lots of equipment.

Paddling is the first introduction for most of us to the ocean and waves, warm and soothing at low tide on a sunny day, cold and daring at high tide on a windy day.

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But swimming is the ultimate, leaving the land to which you are bound, seeing the coast from a different view point. On a hot day with the sun sparkling on the ripples it is bliss, on colder days it’s invigorating with the initial shock turning to a burning glow. I have never worn a wet suit, assuming it would take away the feeling of freedom and more importantly I don’t think I could manage to pull one on, let alone peel it off again.

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A beach hut doesn’t involve water and many enjoy sitting outside their huts with the kettle boiling enjoying the view and watching the world go by. On a hot summer weekend the whole world does go past your beach hut if you are on the promenade, so a snooze in peace is unlikely. But for the swimmer a beach hut is a great luxury, even if it’s only a six foot wooden box – six foot square, not the six foot long other kind of wooden box. You don’t have to lug your towels, folding chairs, buckets and spades and wind breaks down to the beach each time and you have somewhere to get changed.

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Renting our little square of concrete from the council (we own the hut ) is not cheap, but probably cheaper than the many sea sports which involve getting all the gear. From paddle boarding on a calm day to owning your own sailing boat there are many ways to be on the ocean. For some, their boat is a part of family life just as a dog is for other families. I am a touch envious of people who can sail over and drop anchor just off Studland Beach, a lovely stretch of natural coast unspoiled by groynes or promenades, it also includes the nudist beach. The rest of us face a slow bus trip or drive across the conurbation of Bournemouth and Poole and a £4.50 trip on the chain ferry ( £1 for pedestrians and bikes ). But a boat owner told me the trouble with owning a boat is, you feel compelled to go out in it if the weather is good, so you never get to do other things on a sunny day.

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If you are adventurous you can go surfing – big board, kite surfing – little board or wind surfing. All of them involve falling in the sea a lot and being watched by other people and photographers. These sports also involve lugging around equipment and spending ages getting ready and deciding if the wind or waves are right.

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So I shall stick to swimming; after the days of torrential rain and changeable weather, I finally had my first swim of the year on Saturday. Sea temperature 16 degrees. It was lovely, but there is one piece of equipment I would like; a waterproof camera for a real sea view.

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Visit my website for more coastal views.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

Some of the stories in Times and Tides are set at the seaside.

 

 

The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour pine green, chosen by Jill Denison, whose favourite colour blue was already taken. I hope we can do justice to this shade of green. You can visit Jill’s blog here.

https://jilldennison.com/2019/05/14/%e2%99%ab-happy-birthday-%e2%99%ab/

Pine Green is surely the oldest shade of green. Pine trees are hardy and grow in many parts of the northern hemisphere. They were evolving during the early Jurassic period, old and dependable, not like flighty deciduous ( broadleaf ) trees with their fancy hues ranging from gold, through bright green to bronze. Pine green is a colour that stands out against the pure white of snow covered landscapes; pines the only trees hardy enough to survive long dark winters.

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Pine green will make you think of real Christmas trees with their delightful scent, or perhaps the aptly named Pinewood Studios next door to Black Park in Buckinghamshire, with its 500 acres of woodland. In Bournemouth the Victorians thought pine trees were good for your health and planted many in this seaside town so visitors coming to convalesce would benefit. Consequently there are over forty roads in the area that start with Pine and as many that start with Wood. Thank goodness for sat nav; imagine trying to remember if the friends you are going to visit live in Pinehurst, Pineholt, Pinevale, Pinecliff or Pinewood… Road, Avenue or Gardens… Pity the people who live in Woodland, Woodside, Woodstock… Drive, Close or Way and keep getting the wrong mail.

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For some of us pine woods immediately conjure up a bear with a red jumper and yellow trousers and scarf.  For nearly one hundred years Rupert Bear has lived in the pine woods.

http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/november-8-1920-rupert-bear-makes-his-debut-in-the-daily-express-11363942462439

But pine green is not always a popular colour in nature, the soft needle laden matting beneath the trees is barren compared with the rich diversity of plants and creatures found in ancient (not as ancient as pines ! ) English woodlands with their carpets of bluebells in spring. Pine trees waited billions of years to become the ubiquitous pine furniture; they grow quickly and smell delightful at the sawmill, but lovers and protectors of the sort of woodland that Robin Hood roamed around like to see green needles replaced by lacy summer green and golden autumn beech.

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On a banal note, pine green is the colour of disinfectant. When we moved to the coast I had the idea that it would be fun to only have disinfectants and cleaning materials that were blue and had names such as Aqua, Ocean and Seaspray with fresh sea air scent. I hate the smell of pine disinfectant or air fresheners. Only the real thing will do.

Pine Green in fashion? I don’t think so. Who says ‘I think I’ll wear my pine green dress tonight’ or ‘Darling, why don’t you wear your pine green tie with that shirt.’

Pine Green belongs in nature.

If you would like your favourite colour to feature, put it in the comments.

Yellow, peacock blue, purple and pine green have starred so far.

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