Things didn’t go entirely to plan!
The weather has been so good lately and I suddenly realised that I had no commitments this Wednesday and so it would be the ideal day for an outing before the weather broke. I fancied going to the beach. So I got things together and set off.
I had put my beach mat in a carrier bag but I hardly got down the road when the bag started to disintegrate and I had to try and manage with it sticking out of my rucksack.
I arrived at the station in plenty of time to catch the 0951 train that, mistakenly, I thought would get me to Hinton Admiral without having to change.
When I had bought my ticket I saw that there was an 0930 train to Hinton Admiral and I asked the guy at the barrier if that would get me to Hinton Admiral sooner than the 1051. (this was the one I should have aimed for.) He ummed and ahhed and obviously didn’t have a clue! but it delayed me enough that I missed this earlier through train by seconds. 😦
Luckily the other railway employee who asked me for my ticket on platform 3 was much more clued up and he told me I would have to change at Brockenhurst when I got the 1051 from platform 4.
So I went to platform 4 and got out my crochet. I had thought how pleasant it would be to sit on the beach and crochet and I could do some on the train as well.
But where was my crochet hook? Had I left it at home or had I dropped it. I looked round me and emptied out my bag – but no! – no hook.
I was aiming to go to the beach near Highcliffe castle where I had taken my children for many happy summer days in the eighties. So I got out my phone and tried to do an internet search for a wool shop in the area and found one in Christchurch.
I wasn’t sure if Christchurch would be walking distance. The conductor on the train told me it was 7 minutes by train from Hinton Admiral so I decided to look for a bus. (I have since discovered that it was about 3.5 miles so I could have got there as quickly if I had walked).
I found a bus stop and a friendly women who I chatted to for about half an hour till the bus came and who told me when to get off to find the wool shop.
It was quite an amazing wool shop and I bought myself the 3.5mm hook that I needed and the 5.5mm knitting needles that I haven’t got as the prices were very good – better than John Lewis!
I could have spent hours browsing their wools but this was a day on the beach wasn’t it? so I tore myself away to go and find a bus to get to the beach. Only 3 miles as the crow flies but almost 30 mins on the bus.
Well I found Highcliffe castle and was surprised to find how much things had changed.
Years ago when I came with my children Highcliffe castle was a charming ruin. That’s my younger daughter standing there.
Now it is restored
with guided tours on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sundays. ( I don’t know the cost – this was a day on the beach, remember and I had wasted enough time already.)
I did stop for a much needed cup of coffee in their fancy tea rooms.
Then at last down to the beach for a picnic lunch.
I was surprised to find their fancy new path.
All so much more civilised than when we used to come. I am not sure I really prefer ‘civilised’. The whole point of Highcliffe was that it was away from the crowds at Bournemouth.
But if the tea rooms were bustling the beach was not.
In the past we had favoured this sheltered nook back from the beach
but it had obviously now got overgrown.
I settled down after lunch to do some crochet.
Then later went down to the sea for a paddle.
Back on my mat getting my feet dry while I did some more crochet, I gazed around at the yachts in the distance and the Isle of Wight.
(These next two photographs were taken at a crazy magnification and needed a bit of TLC to look their best) but I was happy to see
this boat with red sails.
and The Needles.
I will leave you with this close-up of an urn of flowers back at the castle.
I thought it looked so bright and happy. And I was happy as I licked my blueberry ice cream while making my way back to the station.