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Bournemouth Bound

Before I managed to distract myself on Tuesday with musings about roads, I was going to write about a visit to Bournemouth on a recent Bank Holiday weekend.

This was a trip that had been in the works for a few months—not to visit the beach but to attend a concert.  But with a perfect blue sky, bright sun, and a few hours to kill before show time, we couldn’t resist heading down to the sea.

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The first thing we spotted was Bournemouth’s famous pier, with the beach stretching for miles on either side of it.  We weren’t the only ones attracted by the good weather: thousands of people had descended upon the shore.  [They are not in the photo above because it was taken at 7:00am the next morning.]

As we approached the beach, we passed the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, which stars in the photo I posted on Tuesday.  We didn’t have the opportunity to visit it on this trip, but it is a beautiful building with a commanding view of the coastline.

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Across from the gallery, the railings that keep people from damaging the cliffs or themselves were festooned with artwork depicting seaside sights.  It was a fun treat to see what they chose to include, from this lovely starfish to an itsy bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot bikini (apologies in advance for the earworm).

Having grown up near the coast, I must confess that most beaches are quite alike.  There is usually sand, maybe some shells and/or rocks, and of course the water.  Bournemouth distinguishes itself by having the first set of municipal beach huts in the UK, built in 1909.  Today, they provide a place to change, store beach gear, and generally recharge while deciding what to do next.  A number of newer huts have also been built along the coast and take their inspiration from a Pantone catalogue.

A bit further down the beach, a recent landslip was still evident.  In April, this part of the cliff gave way, crushing the toilet blocks, café, and the quick way up the cliff.  We returned to the hotel by a slower route, the Zig Zag, which makes this pattern as it climbs the cliff face.

That evening we attended a concert by Hans Zimmer.  You may not know the name, but you probably know the music—he has been involved with a number of blockbusters over the past 20 years or so, from Lion King to Gladiator to Inception.  He and an incredibly talented group of musicians lit up the stage with sounds from the films.

As he could not conduct the orchestra and play the keyboard, they used a video system to communicate changes in the music.  Due to the angle of our seats, I had a decent view of this and I found myself obsessed with trying to learn the secrets.  A green line seemed to indicate “play faster/louder”, a red line “slower/softer”, but I never worked out the blue.

We got up early the next morning to go for final seaside stroll before anyone but a few metal detectorists had arrived.  As I snapped a few more shots of the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery, a woodpigeon startled me by landing practically on my shoulder. I felt a bit like Snow White for a moment, but I realised it was likely looking for a breakfast handout.

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Once back on the beach, I could also combine two interests: wildlife photography and litter collection.  A little robin kept me company while disposing of items, and I am currently working on how these images could potentially be used in an anti-litter campaign for Off the Ground.

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Although we left Bournemouth by 9:00am that morning, our weekend wasn’t quite done. Come back on Tuesday to read about our discovery of a hidden Wiltshire gem.

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Elaine Massung Off the Beaten Track
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MissElaineous Blog: Escape & Explore & Discover & Enjoy