For a change, we left the beach and drove 20 minutes to take our exercise in the beautiful New Forest.
New life abounds in this national park with foals, calves, goslings, and baby donkeys. This new foal tested his hoofs in the water of the pond and then rushed to his mother for a little nourishment.
My granddaughter is not quite 3 and was mesmerised by activity of the newborn animals.
Located inland from the south coast beaches of Bournemouth, The New Forest was land covered in woodland until greedy kings of the past decided to harvest the wood to build their ships. Some wood remains alongside open land, all protected by law.
Famous for the New Forest Ponies that roam freely to graze on the land, it is a draw for families, campers, walkers, cyclists, tourists and locals who come together to enjoy its beauty.
The media report overcrowded beaches and poor social distancing in Bournemouth and Poole but my experience contradicts this observation.
There is the odd group of youngsters who clearly are not part of the same household and they gathered on the beach in their small groups but, in the main, they keep their distance from others.
The promenade is a busy roadway for bikes and pedestrians but it is possible to step down on to the sand and find plenty of space to observe the 2 m rule. I love to ride my bike along the promenade however I do not agree that bikes should be free to dominate the path and to play dodgems with pedestrians. Many times, I have wished the authorities would ban all wheeled vehicles, be they bikes, skateboards, cars, etc and avoid the risk of collision with the children, dogs, elderly etc.
These moss covered rocks gave the appearance of green hills erupting from the sand. One step up could be a dangerous decision as the moss acts like ice on a ski slope and I have witnessed the fall of a few unsuspecting victims.
Last night’s announcement of the plan for coming out of the UK lockdown has left some of the population confused but hopeful that we will soon be able to have time with our families. For us, that has been the hardest thing about the situation. Zoom meetings are fun but they don’t replace the real pleasure of being with our loved ones.
Today the weather has changed and the winds are ablowin. We were attacked by swirls of sand as we took our daily exercise today and the waves crashed along the shore. It was very different to the calm weather of the weekend when not a ripple disturbed the harbour waters.
The celebration of my husband’s birthday culminated in the delivery of fish and chips from one of the best chippies in the Bournemouth area, Chez Fred’s.
This venue is famous for its products and over the years, has been visited by the many entertainers who perform at the Bournemouth Pavillion and Bournemouth International Centre. Several years ago, the restaurant was extended and there is always a queue to eat inside in addition to queues to take away food wrapped in vinegar soaked paper. The walls inside the restaurant used to be covered with photos of famed entertainers and although many of those photos have been removed as the shady pasts of their sitters were revealed, Chez Fred’s remains an iconic place to obtain delicious fresh fish and chips.
Their response to the Lockdown was to start offering delivery this week and we were fortunate enough to receive some of their yummy fare on the first day of that new service, organised by our children as a treat for the birthday boy. Scampi for me and cod for my husband, mushy peas, onion rings and chips.
Our first meal not cooked at home since Lockdown began. Well done to them for finding ways to keep their business going.
Today in Spain, residents have been allowed out for their first period of exercise and it makes me realise how lucky we are in the UK that we have been allowed outdoor exercise throughout our lockdown. The beautiful south coast beaches are nearby and it is a decent walk to the closest one. Adding a mile or so along the sands equals a walk guaranteed to maintain fitness.
And to my great delight, this afternoon, one of the beach cafes opened a new take away hatch so it was possible to enjoy a decent cappuccino and an ice cream as I walked. Small pleasures but important for bringing a smile to my face.
I hope you find something to raise a smile.
PS The cup was recycled so no environmental implications here.
It’s the last day of April and I hope the new month will bring some positive steps towards our future. Baby steps are fine, just something to give the UK people the will to shake off the gloom of April and anticipate better things. The restriction of our lockdown is not as severe as some countries, although more so than others, but the reality of separation from loved ones, an evaporating economic security and fear of the unknown challenge even the ‘glass half full’ personality at times.
Nature has eased the trauma for the British people with glorious weather and the daily allowed exercise enabled us to soak up sunlight and to breathe the fresh unpolluted air.
Then April showers arrived on the 28th. However, the daily exercise is a treat one cannot ignore and so, out came the mackintosh and the wellington boots, and we braved the elements. I sang Happy Birthday to my husband in the pouring rain and presented him with a soggy cake. Our family party took place on zoom and I was surprised how intimate it felt.
I can’t pretend to like this new normality but as a ‘glass half full’ person, I will do my best to treasure the special moments.
Tomorrow is the 1st birthday of our little granddaughter and we will be celebrating with her on one of the online platforms. At her age, she doesn’t know that she should be wearing a fancy hat and eating cake but it’s a shame for her parents as they had been planning a huge party in her honour. They are one family of the many we know who have had to cancel celebrations, weddings, and other happy events but there will be other occasions in the future.
For one of my dear friends whose son died today, there won’t be a chance for that future celebration and my heart bleeds for her in her isolation and grief.
So, while I am isolated from my loved ones, I must be thankful that they are healthy, happy and safe within their family homes.