While going through photos for this post, I came across one that rightly should have gone in my last post about Bournemouth.
This panoramic shot obviously distorts the shape of the coastline, but in it you can see the Isle of Wight way out there to the left and the Purbecks over to the right. It’s easy to see how these two outposts of the southern English coast were once long ago connected. And, by the way, that’s Sarah to the left! Now, on with Part 2.
Sarah and I spent a delightful day at the Russell-Cotes museum in Bournemouth. It’s a beautiful Victorian home that was donated to the city in 1907 along with its vast art collection by Merton and Annie Russell-Cotes.
I wondered how they’d got their fortune and found that there was a bit of controversy about Mr. Russell-Cotes, once the mayor of Bournemouth.
There’s no easy answer to the question. In my research I found he’d been accused of being a social climber, of ‘working the system’ to his own benefit yet also given credit for putting Bournemouth on the map as a holiday destination. It’s also been claimed that he donated the house as a way of improving his reputation. The story of its original owner aside, it’s a beautiful house from a bygone era and the art collection is quite eclectic. It really is a gem in the heart of Bournemouth and, if you’re ever there, I heartily recommend a visit.
Apart from the collection pieces, the house itself is a work of art.
And one mustn’t forget the fancy modern (for Victorian times) toilet!
Now on to the art pieces. Being that this was built as a home, not a museum, lighting was an issue when it came to photographing the paintings (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). I was only able to get a few that I think are worth sharing with you.
S is for sled.
I am definitely not a fan of the frilly. This piece is waaay to frilly for my taste. But, I totally appreciate the skill and talent that went into creating such a delicate porcelain piece.
I would love to know who created these two pieces (above and below). Anyone out there know?
This is my favorite painting. It brings to mind paintings of California from the Arts and Crafts era. I just love it.
Two views from an upstairs balcony,
one of them being yet another picture of the Isle of Wight (along with the multitude I put in my last post) because, I don’t know, I think I’m obsessed with it….
Another day Sarah and I went for a hike around Hengistbury Head (from which you’ll see another photo of the Isle of Wight, I’m afraid).
Simon (Sarah’s husband and a very good man, indeed) dropped us off near the base of the head. On the way up we passed by these little beach huts which, Sarah told me, are amazingly expensive to own or rent.
I was sort of fascinated by them. I mean, I’ve seen them in the States, too, but not so many all together.
Sarah’s adorable dog, Freddie, went on our adventure that day.
It’s a beautiful, quiet walk up at Hengistbury Head. Sarah often comes here to do sketches for her wonderful prints and watercolors.
In my last post I gave you her Instagram address.
She and her partner, Jayne, also have a blog which I think is great and I really enjoy. It’s called The Art of Staring Out to Sea. Here’s that link:
Check it out!
Looking out to sea from the top (hi, Sarah!).
Yes, you guessed it.
Washed out by the sun, but I love this photo of the little bird.
Looking down from the top of the head toward Southbourne and beyond..
…and then back up once we’d walked down the path a way.
At the end of our walk we stopped at a café for, well, café and a snack. These adorable little starlings gobbled up our crumbs.
Another day Sarah, Simon and I went out to Durlston Country Park on the Isle of Purbeck. It was a wet, rainy English day and I loved it.
Here are Sarah, Simon and Freddie. Honestly, I can’t believe my camera has put up with so much water! It got drenched when I visited Iguazú and it’s still plugging away!
I thought the striations of rock in the hillside were beautiful. They’re a time capsule, really. You’re looking back into geologic history here.
Speaking of history (nice segue, eh?!) here are some ramparts left from World War 2. These were put in place to keep German tanks from coming ashore at the coast. These photos don’t really convey the size of these things. They’re fairly massive.
And just your random, leftover German mine.
After a cuppa nice hot tea and some cake served from the back of their van (a rather nicer version of tail-gating in my view!) we went in search of a hidden sign post (forgive me if I’ve got this wrong, Simon, and feel free to correct me!) from days gone by. We never did find it but it was a wonderful walk.
We crossed through this field and I had a hard time keeping up due to stopping every two seconds to take a picture.
I couldn’t stop taking in the beauty.
Continuing our tour (this really felt like a personal tour for me with very knowledgeable guides – quite a treat!) we passed by Corfe Castle which I’d visited last time I was in England.
I’m considering posting pictures from my first trip to England once I’ve got all the photos from this, my recent European adventure, put up on this blog.
But, that’s a bit further on down the road. Anyhoo….
Here’s a photo Simon took of us at the table.
Durlston Country Park is a nature reserve on the coast of the Isle of Purbeck. It’s part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site and contains rock formations from the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods spanning about 185 million years of geologic history.
That’s the Anvil Point Lighthouse, built from local stone in 1881.
I love these two pictures of Sarah and Simon (and, of course, Freddie) but I can’t decide which I like better. Which is your favorite?
Purbeck stone comes from limestone beds found in the Upper Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous ‘Purbeck Group.’ The stone has been quarried since Roman times and used as a building material for many of the homes, churches and cathedrals throughout England. By the way, I got some of this info from Wikipedia because when I did a search for Purbeck Stone, I came up with places I could either buy it directly or buy a paint color called Purbeck Stone! Not exactly what I was looking for!
These were built by students in a school that teaches the building of stone walls. Purbeck stone, that is. They can come practice in my yard any time.
I really like these two pictures of Simon walking toward the coast.
They happen to be the last two I was able to take with my camera here. The battery died! The next few were taken with my phone.
Not so clear, but I still like it.
I really like this one, too, because it’s a bit of an optical illusion (click on it and you’ll see what I mean). I’m looking down over a cliff, but with the scrub seeming to stand upright, it almost looks as if it’s the sky and not the churning ocean beyond.
At least, that’s how it strikes me.
These two photos are of Tilly Whim Caves, another quarry. They used to be open to the public but were closed in 1976 due to rock fall and deemed too dangerous. My friends used to go there and do teenager-ly things!
Standing above Tilly Whim Caves looking down at the path we’d just walked and beyond to the sea. Ah, England.
This is the last photo from my phone.
From here on, all but the very last photo were taken by Sarah and Simon.
A really nice shot looking back at Anvil Point Lighthouse.
Sarah and I contemplating….
….and smiling for the camera.
A nice shot of Simon and Fred.
Here am I trying to grow roots from my feet into the earth so I could stay in England. Oh, how I would love to. At the time of this photo I was seeing the end of my stay in England looming and it was, as with my first visit, a difficult pill to swallow.
A gorgeous shot taken by Simon. Oh, could that be the Isle of Wight off in the distance?
I had a great time with Sarah and Simon and I fell absolutely in love with Freddie! Sarah checked in on me every day making sure I was all right and had something to do when she was busy. Just walking along the coast was fine with me, but she made sure I got out and saw some of these wondrous sights, too. Some days I went over to Dave’s house and chatted with him and Max and Jack and I even got to see Em. I know, you don’t know who they are, but they’re wonderful friends and I’m so happy I got to see them. My last night there I had dinner at Sarah and Simon’s house and Dave was there, too.
I had such a good time with Dave. Great conversations, great laughs. I miss him like crazy. I miss all my friends in Bournemouth. I miss Bournemouth. I miss England. I would love to go back and just stay put. I guess we’ll see how that goes.
So long, Bournemouth, for now….