We are off to Hayling Island today. First we take the train to Havant and then the bus to Hayling Island itself. Two buses carried us to Waterloo station where we were to buy tickets and breakfast. I have never seen Waterloo so crowded. There were long queues at the ticket office and at the ticket machines. While Tigger went for tickets, I sought baguettes at Upper Crust only to find that both outlets had practically sold out. This has never happened before.
I don’t know the reason why the station was so busy but perhaps it had something to do with Goodwood as I did notice that a few people were dressed and binoculared for the races.
Once we had the tickets, we bought cheese bagels and coffee. The train to Havant was ready for boarding so we could eat in comfort. I was worried that with the crush at the station our train would be packed but it wasn’t. There were no more passengers than on an average Saturday.
So far it’s a good day for an outing, sunny without being overbearingly hot, but there are also large clouds so rain is not entirely impossible. Having breakfasted, I can now look out of the window and enjoy the scenery, bathed in summery radiance.
At Havant we took a brief look around and had an omelette lunch at Nino’s cafe before going to the bus station to take the number 30 to Hayling Island. We liked Nino’s cafe and have bookmarked it for possible future visits.
We have come now because this is the time of year when the Scarecrow Festival takes place in Hayling and we wanted to see what wonderful creations people have come up with this year. The figures and tableaux are all numbered and a jury awards prizes but the fun for the visitor is just in looking at the “scarecrows” which are sited all over the town. You need to clock up a few miles just to get an idea of what’s on offer.
There was some a raft racing event on with the result that traffic to the seashore was so heavy that for about half an hour we crawled at less than walking speed. Past the scene of the event, traffic flow became normal and we reached our goal at last.
We took some photos of this decaying terrace, once grand but now neglected. A young man approached, asking to look at my camera. He barely looked at it before enquiring what it was worth. I was relieved when, remarking what a big fellow I was, he jogged off back to the houses and his companions.
The west side of Hayling is the less popular and, depending on your tastes, nicer. We walked there and had a cream tea at a beach cafe.
Then we sat on the beach between two beach huts as this sheltered us from the gusty wind.
The sunlight, slanting down through the sea water made it shine like green glass. I knelt on the shingle and tried to catch the effect.
After this pleasant interlude, we walked along the beach, photographing the plants and the birds, until we reached the bus terminus.
I went to the loo in case the journey back turned out as long as the journey to get here, and when I emerged found that the bus was literally waiting for me. “He’s in the loo!” said Tigger and the driver kindly waited.
Did we see any scarecrows? Compared with last year, we saw relatively few. This was rather disappointing. Of those that I was able to photograph, this was the best, the Drunken Fisherman.
At Havant we took some more photos and at the White Hart, Tigger was accosted by some rather boozed up pub customers, one of whom claimed she had photographed him and who made a grab for her camera. I didn’t see this having gone a little ahead and by the time I returned, Tigger had talked him down.
We later went into the beautiful Perseverance (known as “The Percy” to the locals) for a drink before going for our train. Three young men, one of whom was very drunk, tried to buy drinks but the barmaid refused to serve them and sent them packing.
We walked up the road from the Perseverance and were soon at the station. Within quarter of an hour we were able to board a train for Waterloo.
With or without scarecrows and drunks, we had a good day out because, apart from anything else, being both of us children of the seaside, we always enjoy a return to the coast to see and hear the sea and the endless rhythm of the waves.