Today’s courier run takes Tigger to Dorchester. As her ticket allows her to break her journey along the way, we have decided to pay a visit Bournemouth. I am joining Tigger later, travelling on my cheap ticket, and so I will miss out Dorchester and meet up with Tigger in Bournemouth.
The Southwest Trains service to Weymouth, which calls at Bournemouth along the way, departs from Waterloo, where we came to buy our tickets yesterday evening.
I could take the bus from Angel but as I will be travelling between 8:30 and 9:00, I don’t want to risk slow traffic. I know too that the tube going south from Angel is packed at this period and you cannot always board. I have decided to try a slightly indirect route, first taking the Northern Line north two stops to Euston and changing there to the southbound Charing Cross branch. This goes direct to Waterloo and I speculate that it will be less crowded. Am I right?
I think I was right. It was easy getting to Euston and changing platforms. As I arrived on the southbound platform, there was a train about to depart and it was so full that some people failed to board. However, as you enter at one end of the platform, I speculated that conditions would be easier at the other end. People are often too lazy to walk a few yards. Right again: I boarded the next train easily and reached Waterloo with 23 minutes to spare.
As we speed along towards “Bomo”, I am happy to see that it is a bright sunny day with a clear blue sky. Let’s hope it stays that way. Tigger lets me know she has already passed through our destination on her way to Dorchester. The deadline for delivery is a comfortable 2 pm, but the sooner she completes the drop and returns to Bomo, the more time we will have there. Knowing Tigger, I would not be surprised if she got there first.
In fact, I was the first to arrive. I reckoned I had a little time before Tigger’s train, so I went for a walk and took a few photos.
Several of those photos were of this building, occupied by McCarthy & Stone. I know nothing of the origins of this structure – who designed it and when it was built – but I rather like it. It at least has character and stands out from the herd.
After the joyous reunion, we went for an early lunch. Near the station we found the continental-sounding Cafe Central. It isn’t at all continental inside but it served us a straightforward lunch at a reasonable price.
The citizens of Bournemouth seem to have quite colourful ideas when it comes to tarting up older houses as the above pictures suggest.
A little further along the street, we found we were being spied on through a window by a cat with startling yellow eyes.
Today must have been the hottest day of the year so far. So the obvious thing to do was to head for the beach.
We set out on foot in what we thought was the right direction, relying of Tigger’s “inner pigeon”, and eventually found a pleasant path that led between the houses to the sea.
The path leads to Overcliff which, as its name suggests, affords magnificent views along the coast, especially on a bright day like today.
Another path leads down to the beach where the slope of the cliff is planted with wild grasses and flowers and I was happy to see bumblebees busily gathering pollen.
We spread a rug on the immense beach. It was not at all crowded perhaps because of the heat. Despite Tigger’s sheltering umbrella, it was almost unbearably hot and the little breeze blew sand into everything.
We soon decided to move on and headed towards the town, making a couple of stops in beach shelters along the way to cool off in the shade.
We took the East Cliff Lift to the top. These two lifts – the East Cliff and the West Cliff – were built in 1908 (though the carriages have been rebuilt) and are classed as light railways. In this heat, it was going to be better than climbing up on foot!
While we were there, we thought we would visit the Russell-Coates Art Gallery and Museum. I will only say here that it was once a magnificent home and is today a museum full of the most exquisite art works. Words cannot express it: you have to see it for yourself. Photography is not allowed inside, so I have to make do with a picture of the gardens.
If we had been staying in Bournemouth, we would have spent more time here, enjoying the sunny weather, but we had to think about getting back to London. We did not want to be very late as tomorrow is a work day.
We returned once more to the station and soon had a train for Waterloo.
We spent a week in Bournemouth last September (see Bournemouth 2009) and explored the town and the region but we did not exhaust its pleasures by any means and it is always worth a visit. Even though we stayed for only a few hours this time, we managed to pack in a fair amount. Even so, we look forward to future visits to this elegant seaside town set in the beautiful Dorset countryside.