Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Mad for Dorset

Bournemouth sits on Dorset’s coast with what seems like an unjustified reputation for being a city only to retire to. By the end of our week’s holiday there we’ve started planning the same – although retirement is still decades away. I can see it now: a flat with a sea view and a balcony close to the seven miles of sandy beach, and a gentle stroll along the promenade each morning past the thousands of beach huts. Too soon! Too soon!
The glimpse of the sea from our hotel room also reveals construction cranes working close to the new artificial surf reef – Europe’s first being built near to Boscombe pier. It’s nearing completion, and has already helped to generate eight-foot waves earlier in the year. There’s no reason why surfing shouldn’t be a retirement pastime, but it will probably have the effect of lowering the average age of Bournemouth’s inhabitants still further.
Along the coast to the west, Brownsea Island sits at the mouth of Poole harbour, the world’s second largest natural harbour after Sydney. It belongs to the National Trust now and is all peacocks and cream teas, as well being undeniably beautiful and relaxing.
The island looks out on to Sandbanks, a sandy spit of some of the country’s most expensive properties that looks sure to disappear one stormy night when rising sea levels have taken grip. John Lennon bought his Aunt Mimi a bungalow here in the 1960s, now demolished and replaced by a glassy residence with a swimming pool on the ground floor. I can’t quite imagine Aunt Mimi going for that. David Beckham, the story goes, sold his house there almost as soon as he’d bought it because photographers took up residence on the public beach at the bottom of his garden. Poor old Dave.


lunardancer said...

I can just imagine how beautiful the place is. It is the kind of place most, if not all of us, want to visit for vacation and not just for retirement. Or if possible, take permanent residence in. I pity Dave, for he was forced to sell his house just because of those paparazzi.

MD said...

Absolutely love your drawings and musings!

Olga Mackness said...

Hi James
you will be surprised to know that I have moved to Bournemouth! - please note that I am stil having my own place in London, so it will be life in turns in both cities...
anyway, do you know any contacts in Bournemouth, who may possibly be interested in Urban Sketchers?

James Hobbs said...

Hi Olga. That sounds like an excellent move. We've gone back to Bournemouth quite a few times since I wrote this post. I can't immediately think of anyone I know in Bournemouth who may be interested in USk, but I know Arts University Bournemouth has a great reputation (it runs a BA in drawing, for instance) and it would be good to attract people attending there, if possible. I'll have a think and let you know. Will still see you at London USk events though!