Between spending time in London after my venture in Leicester and then returning to London to catch the train to Belgium, I stayed about 10 days in Bournemouth. My friend Sarah, who I’d met years ago on my first visit to England, arranged for me to stay with her friend Helen, who had a spare room. Did I get a picture of Helen? Of course I didn’t. When you’re sitting at the kitchen table and having good conversations with an interesting, witty woman, you don’t think, “Wait, let me get your picture.” Well, I don’t, anyway. Suffice it to say Helen was a wonderful, gracious host and particularly kind for inviting into her home a complete stranger. Helen lives near the shore so I was able to walk to the beach quite often and I have the photos to prove it (I couldn’t believe how many I took!). Here’s a small sampling.
Sunset the first night I was there.
Above is the ‘Isle’ of Purbeck, though it’s actually a peninsula. I went there the first time I was in England. It’s positively lovely and, as my dear friend Dave said, like stepping back in time.
And looking east is the Isle of Wight, home to all those great rock festivals you’ve heard about over the years! I haven’t made it over there yet, but…. next time.
Back toward the west is the city of Bournemouth (where I was staying is more commonly called Southbourne – still part of Bournemouth, but not at city center).
There’s Purbeck again. Dave told me Purbeck and the Isle of Wight were once a long, connected headland of chalk cliffs that have eroded away over the millennia. It makes perfect sense when you look at the white chalk sides of both islands (though it hadn’t occurred to me ’til he mentioned it!).
I told you I took a lot of pictures at the beach. This isn’t the half of them. Below are pictures of groynes being repaired, refurbished and replaced. Groynes are small jetties extending from a shore to prevent beach erosion.
It was actually pretty interesting and fun to watch.
I took this picture from the room at Helen’s house in which I stayed. Seagulls would fly around in circles over this street every morning. They were beautiful to watch. Once again, Helen, thank you!
For a few days Sarah had the commitment of manning, rather womanning, the art gallery in which some of her and her friend, Jayne’s, gorgeous artwork was being exhibited in the town of Christchurch. On a couple of those days, I walked to the gallery to visit with her and yes, you guessed it, I didn’t get any pictures because I was chatting with Sarah!
However, she got this picture of me (with some of the artwork on the wall) admiring one of her sketchbooks.
You can see more of her and Jayne’s beautiful works on Instagram at:
To spell it out: Art of Staring Out to Sea.
They hold workshops in printmaking and lino-cutting and more and I’m SO jealous because I want to go to (at least) one of their workshops! They look so fun – creativity abounds!
After my visits with Sarah I then strolled around Christchurch and, of course, visited the priory. Because that’s what you must do when you’re in Christchurch. It’s incredibly beautiful.
I remember the first time I came to England, I didn’t feel I’d really ‘arrived’ until I saw Christchurch Priory. My friends and I flew in to Heathrow, took the M3 to Bournemouth and it felt like any other place. It could have been California for the look of it! Most airports look alike to one extent or another and most motorways are…. motorways. But when I saw this for the first time…
… I thought, “Ah. Yes. I’m in England now.”
I checked, just to be sure, to see if this plastic owl is still there and, indeed, it is. The first time I saw it I thought it was real! But a friend said it’s there to scare off other birds from building nests.
According to the priory website, there have been religious gatherings of one sort or another on this site for 1,300 years and in this priory particularly for over 900 years.
As I’ve said in this blog before, I’m not at all religious, but I can’t help but appreciate and admire the work, dedication and artistry that was put forth for a structure such as this. I mean, how could you not? It’s just jaw-dropping.
Another day I was able to visit with my friend, Paul, with whom we’d stayed during my last visit to England. At that time, he’d kindly invited four of us Americans (one Brit/American, actually!) into his home. What a sweet guy he is! He asked where I’d like to go and I said just out for tea and a chat sounded fine to me. But, Paul, being Paul, wanted to treat me to something special, so he took me out to the charming little town of Wimborne….
…where there is another gorgeous church, this one known as Wimborne Minster (a minster being a church originally connected with a monastic establishment – had to look that one up!). The minster is over 1300 years old, is Saxon, Norman and Gothic in design and is made primarily of New Forest stone and Dorset limestone. I loved the patchwork look of it. Very earthy and unique in my experience.
Below is a 14th century astronomical clock, thought to be one of the most ancient working clocks in Europe.
Notice that the clock face represents the geocentric model, the heliocentric model not having yet been figured out!
I found this list of parishioners, abbesses, deans and whatnot to be quite interesting.
Look at the dates!I’ve had a difficult time finding out anything about the room pictured below other than it’s called the crypt room (or variations around that theme). What was so fascinating about it is that the ceiling is so low.
I’m tall and I didn’t have to stoop to keep from hitting my head in most areas, but I did have to watch it!
It was a lovely day with a truly delightful, wonderful friend (and he remembered to take a picture!).
I have many more photos from Bournemouth and environs to share with you but then, this post is titled
Bournemouth, Part 1….