Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Looking Through Rose Coloured Spectacles

On Tuesday we went to Christchurch to sort out our new glasses - I have been slightly more daring in my choice of frames this time. Looking at the map as we were about to come home, I suddenly said "Can we drive back via Southbourne?" I explained to Bob that about 55 years ago, before my brother was born, we had a couple of holidays there. We stayed in a Guest House run by two very sweet ladies, near the sea front and the Cliff Lift. "And we would go to Fisherman's Walk, which was lovely."
Poor Bob had to listen to my reminiscences [punctuated by 'no, turn left here, now!'] about the man from the bank, who came at lunchtime in his suit and bowler hat, carrying brolly and briefcase. He would sit on a seat and get out his sandwiches, and the squirrels [red ones] would gather round and run up and down the handle of the umbrella, placed against the bench, and nibble at bits of sandwich. I used to love sirtting on the bench and watching their antucs.
Bob found a parking place and we got out and walked through Fisherman's Walk - which is still there. About 1000 years ago, men from Holdenhurst, a few miles inland, would walk this path down to the sea, to go out fishing - and smuggling. This continued for centuries- but 100 years ago, the final part of the route became this little park. Ten years ago, a group "Friends Of Fisherman's Walk" got together to ensure this lovely area full of wildlife and trees, would be preserved for future generations.
As you enter, there are informative signs, and birds [cormorants?] atop the pillars
There are lovely wooden sculptures, with the native plants and creatures carved on them.
No squirrels and bankers to entertain us this year - but just a couple of guys who had slung a tightrope between two trees. They were very good.
And we saw a three year old with a very fancy remote controlled child-sized model BMW car.
The family were enjoying steering it along the paths - but he was refusing point blank to climb into the vehicle!
There was a pond, with a fountain and water lilies - and then you crossed the road to the cliff top.  
We looked down at the blue waters and golden sands [somewhere in 1961, I lost my favourite bucket whilst playing on the beach!] We decided not to go down in the Cliff Lift.
Bob took my photograph as I peered through the fat-lady-in-a-bikini cutout. That wasn't there in my childhood - and even if it had been, my Mum would never have countenanced such vulgarity!!
We did used to play crazy golf [that's still there] but I couldn't see The Shell House. When I got home, I researched it, and found that sadly it was demolished 15 years ago due to excessive vandalism.
As Bob pointed out, it is possibly a little unreasonable of me to expect things to remain unchanged over the course of half a century! I must stop looking through rose coloured spectacles


  1. Hi Angela

    I have been back to a couple of places that meant a lot when I was younger too. Even though its near enough the same its not and I don't think anyone can take that snapshot of what it was actually alike away from you. Its your snapshot and your memory but in a different time and place. But for that one moment in time you and your heart remembers it for ever. Lovely post. Tricia x

    1. Thanks Patricia. The hardest part is that nobody else is around now who shared that memory with me then. But it WAS good to take Bob there and tell him about it!

  2. I often reminisce to CBC about places, times and people who are not around anymore and I'm often sad when things aren't the same although I'm lucky my sister shares a lot of the same memories!

    It does sound a wonderful place and the story of the squirrels is fab!


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