Before we talk about Bournemouth I have to tell you about Postman Pat, our little red van. Postman Pat came with the house, and we are so lucky to have access to him. He is a wheel-chair accessible van, used to transport my dad’s late cousin until her death last year. Along with a cheerful exterior, Postman Pat boasts large windows, one rear seat for Leo’s car seat and ample room for a wheelchair.
With a visit from my sister on the horizon and Postman Pat sitting all eager to please in the driveway, we decided to research the possibility of using a wheelchair as our second rear seat, making Postman Pat capable of transporting four passengers comfortably. A few youtube instruction videos later and we were eager to go for it. It was going to be safe, cheap and perfect for individual guests. Finding a great wheelchair secondhand for thirty pounds was all we needed to seal the deal.
Two thumbs up for creative travel!
This bring us to last Thursday when we decided to head for the ocean, and my extended family’s flat in Bournemouth.
Bournemouth is a seaside resort town in Dorset, a quick two hour drive south from London. It excels at the whole windswept-bluffs-overlooking-sandy-beaches thing that the south of England is so famous for. Something about the salty wind and the glacier coloured sea makes me confident that the cliff top walk in Bournemouth has experienced its fair share of tormented souls, trudging to lonely spots on the bluffs and staring out over the water thinking tortured thoughts. Then again, when the sun comes out everyone is all shiny happy people squinting into the sun thinking things like, “I will buy those flashy shoes” and “I do need an ice cream cone at 10:00 am.” Bournemouth is a bit manic that way. And its perfect.
In Bournemouth Leo officially started saying the words “outside” (ow sigh) and “water” (vaff vaff) as we spent most of our waking hours walking along the seaside path that connects Bournemouth with various seaside towns in Dorset. Highlights for us included colorful beachside huts, the official wild (!) goats of Bournemouth (kept to keep the cliff bluff vegetation in check), and the ever changing views of the English Channel stretching out before us.
To Leo’s great delight, Bournemouth Borough Council is in the process of replacing the groynes* (breakwaters) along the beach. Massive front-end loaders were hauling machinery and digging grand holes in the sand each and every single day. It was heaven.
You know how in British movies old people are always being told by their doctors to take a little seaside holiday to convalesce in the sea air? I have this theory that heading for the ocean is always a good idea no matter what your age. Do you need time to mull over looming professional hurdles while bundled in your coziest things? The seaside has a bluff for that. Do you need to remember that you are small and the world is big? The ocean is there for you. Do you need to be reminded that sometimes the only logical thing is to buy ice cream at 10 o’clock in the morning? Tilt your face into the sun at the beach. Heading for the ocean is always a good idea in my books. It is comfort and joy all in one.
*Full disclosure – Because I am my father’s daughter I must confess that when I spied the signs reading “Caution Keep Clear of Groynes” I did my very best to convince either James or Emma to stand beside one for a crude but hilarious photo. It didn’t happen, and I will always regret that.