Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Bournemouth and Southampton

On Friday 10th June we said goodbye to Rei and James and headed off to visit Ade, Meg and Freya in Chandler's Ford (near Southampton) for the weekend before heading off to Birmingham.

We got up early and drove accross South London towards Barnes (where Elaine worked before Christmas last year). The traffic was TERRIBLE! I hate driving in London! 90 minutes to travel 14 miles! That's why I always use the train/tube when I'm there normally.

Eventually we hit the M4 and headed off on a slight detour to the South African shop in Maidenhead! Only off the plane for 48 hours and Elaine was already craving koeksisters and Fanta Grape!

As Ade and Meg were working all day I decided to show Elaine the delights of the English seaside at Bournemouth, especially as it was so warm and sunny in London. We got ourselves down to the M3 and a little over an hour later we arrived on the English Riviera!

Predictably the wind was blowing at somewhere near galeforce and the sun was obscured from view by large dark clouds. Nevertheless we were at the seaside and we British are brought up from a young age to tolerate such beach conditions! We set off for a walk along a mile or so of beach from the cliffs to the pier. Bracing! It brought back many happy memories of childhood summer holidays to see small children shivering with cold as they ran into the sea, watched by far more sensible adults sitting on deck chairs wearing hats and jumpers, not to protect themselves from the sun but from hypothermia!

The hardest task though was trying to explain to Elaine exactly what beach huts are used for! There were hundreds lining the beach and some were being used, giving us the opportunity to peek inside. As far as I can tell they are for storing chairs, making tea, getting changed and sitting around in! If anybody knows better please let us know as Elaine is still intrigued and somewhat sceptical as to why anyone would want to pay £30,000 for a garden shed next to a beach!

We returned to the car after an hour of good excercise and decided to drive along the coast towards Poole and visit the exclusive area of Sandbanks, apparently the fourth most expensive real estate on the planet! Poole Harbour seem to be a very popular place for kite surfing, though it looks a little colder than it did when we saw our last example in SA!

After a nice afternoon looking at properties that we couldn't afford it was time to head off to meet up with Ade, Meg and Freya at their home in Chandler's Ford.

It is always great to catch up with the Marks family and this weekend was no exception as usual great food, wine and company were enjoyed by all and it was fantastic to hold full conversations with little Freya who is now very grown up!

Ade and I did our usual trick of staying up late talking rubbish and drinking red wine. We always pay for this the following day!

Saturday saw us visit the Romsey Beggar's Fair and despite the rain we all had a thouroughly enjoyable day, especially Freya who enjoyed splashing in the puddles in her pink polka dot wellies!

Another first for Elaine was the sight of a side (apparently this is the correct collective noun) of Morris Men. If you don't know what they do just follow the link, I can't even begin to explain!!!!!!

Ade and I cooked a gourmet meal once we got home and a slightly earlier night meant that we could take full advantage of the fine weather to go picking berries the folowing day, yet another first for Elaine! Armed with punnets of raspberries, tayberries, loganberries and red currants we headed off for some lunch before Elaine and I had to say goodbye and make our way back to Birmingham.

Thanks for another fabulous weekend Meg and Ade!

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