July 2021 - Dorset - Day 3 - Boscombe
Another warm night but better than a cold one. Breakfast was empty again today and our table by the window is starting to feel like home. All the staff here are so friendly and helpful especially as they are getting to know us.
Today’s plan was to walk the short distance to the cliff top, but this time to turn right and head the 1.5 miles to Boscombe Pier. The challenge we had though was Karen’s poorly blistered foot. She put a double layer of plasters, two socks and took paracetamol to dull the pain before setting out.
Fortunately, she was feeling very stoic today and only mentioned the discomfort every other step as we set out.
Boy it hot as we slowly made our way along the clifftop for a while. We had brief rest in the shade before making our way down a zig zag to complete the walk along the beach level promenade. There was no respite from the sun at all at that level and the Pier looked along way away in the distance. The beach was busy in places, and it would have been easy to have taken a picture that made it looked crowded with no social distancing. However, in reality there was probably about 20m between people.
There were long lines of Beach Huts that we passed as walked. In places there were two layers of them with the ones behind set slightly higher on the cliff so they too fully overlooked the sea. Some of the ones at the back seemed to be newer with perhaps a mezzanine level. The only thing that struck us was for a glorious week in July, very few (less than 5%) were occupied.
Eventually we reached Boscombe and the welcome sight of some cafes. We found a table in the shade at Urban Reef. I had a pint of fresh orange juice, whilst Karen had a latte although with a bottle of tap water. We sat in the shade for 45 minutes before venturing onto the Pier.
The heat was now fully getting to Karen, and she was definitely not feeling the Pier. I quite liked it though. Running along either side of it, there was a crazy golf course. Not a great one, but on the 18th hole, the ball falls down the hole into the sea. The golf balls being used were apparently ones that disintegrate in the water and release lots of fish food. Quite ingenious I thought. Sadly no one was playing for me to witness it happening.
The water off the Pier was amazingly clear and even off the end you could see the bottom of the sea. The people fishing were able to know where to cast by actually seeing where the fish were.
Karen was then keen to start the long walk back. We considered taking the Funicular railway (the shortest in the world) up the cliff. But despite being pain, as there were some people waiting Karen did not want to be in an ‘enclosed’ carriage with others and so we walked up a long incline instead.
At the top we decided to walk through a shaded tree lined narrow park that led us straight to the Southbourne High Street to get a drink and some lunch. Karen was set on going into the large Costa, so that is where we ended up. The tables outside were in the full sun and so we sat inside with the cooler air con on. As we then passed Sainsburys on the way to the Hotel we bought a couple of meal deals and some fruit to eat back in the Hotel.
We munched our food in our room before spending a relaxing couple of hours sitting in the garden in the shade reading and catching up on things.
The rest had helped Karen’s foot and so we decided to venture back to the High Street for dinner. We finally chose one of the local places we had seen on our first night. We soon realised our mistake in not going to the Ludo Lounge sooner. It was really good. We got a table outside on the small terrace which was a prime spot for people watching and there was a good show of people taking place.
Firstly though, our food was really good, although Karen was not really certain what Buttermilk Fried Chicken looked like and so when it turned up almost sent it back. There was nothing left on her plate at the end though. My burger was equally as good. In the US, supposedly the home of the burger I can do an entire 3-week holiday and not have one. Here though I have had two in one week – strange.
The food was so good that Karen even ordered some dessert of homemade carrot cake afterwards (labelled as nut free) and this got the thumbs up as well.
The highlight of the evening people watching was a very smartly dressed man who sadly was clearly not fully with it. He was harmless enough and was obviously capable of living independent. But he had clearly just been watching a local weather bulletin. I can imagne the presenter saying something like ‘This is a weather warning for very heavy rain tomorrow, please warn everyone you know not to plan to eat outside’. He had taken it literally and was stopping everyone telling them to be careful tomorrow and to plan to be inside. He did it to every table and all people going past. Everyone took it good naturedly which was good to see.
We sat and made-up stories about many of the people we saw using any clues from what they were carrying or wearing. We decided one family definitely looked liked they were ‘plant based’, which led me to wonder why Cows and Pigs were made so tasty to eat if we were all meant to be ‘plant based’. And when exactly did ‘plant based’ become a thing? I have no problem if it means there are more Steaks and Bacon for me.
You can only have so much of a good thing, and we were back in the room not long after 9pm. We watched a bit of one of my favourites (Dick Strawbridge) before turning the lights out on another day.