Last week I had the good fortune to spend all of those days mooching around the beaches of the south coast, with my delightful sidekick Josey, the entertaining always-with-a-song-in-his-head Jimmy and his sidekick Seal. There was joy. There was fun. There were exceptionally beautiful days in the sun.
To be honest, I had never really rated Bournemouth. I’d never considered it so when we did rock up to that fine coast, I was very pleased to see that there is quite a lot kicking about down there. Standing on the beach, right in the middle, you can see the coast sweep up around you on both sides, looking like a rather wonderful big ole hug from the sky and the sea. On one evening, the moon loomed large over the water, moon looking large and orange and glowing. It looked like a ‘Harvest Moon.’
As we had the dogs in tow for this adventure, we did spend a lot of time entertaining them. Trust me, it was equally entertaining for us to take the two Labradors on outings to the coast, to the beaches of Sandbanks on one side and to walk to the farthest point on the other side. Sorry. The name of it escapes me. We walked them through small parks perched on top of high cliffs. We walked them through parks and played fetch for hours. Oh to be so entertained as they with their activity of running, catch the ball, run back, drop the ball (or pry it from Josey’s death-grip jaw clench). Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Ball throw #2385 was just as enthusiastically chased after as Ball throw #1.
Jimmy and I did spend some time chasing down the trail of Robert Louis Stevenson. As he was a son of Edinburgh, with links to Bournemouth and the states, it was interesting to track down his life through reading ‘Across the Plains’, finding plaques in a gorgeous valley (or chine) in Bournemouth as well as ask a local bookseller about RLS and his dealings with the Shelly family in Boscombe.
Incidentally, I love the first lines of the chapter ‘The Plains of Nebraska’ in Stevenson’s book:-
It had thundered on the Friday night, but the sun rose on Saturday without a cloud. We were at sea – there is no other adequate expression – on the plains of Nebraska…It was a world almost without feature; an empty sky, an empty earth; front and back, the line of railway stretched from horizon to horizon, like a cue across a billiard board; on either hand, the green plain ran till it touched the skirts of heaven.
Apparently, Stevenson had visited Boscombe to convaslesce. He eventually found his way to the states, through the states, in pursuit of love. For his short 44 years, the man sure did get around.
Anyway, I found my own little excursion necessary. It was good to leave town, leave all manner of work, and explore a new space that was unfamiliar. The days slipped by lazily enough, entertaining enough, well-fed enough and all with excellent company. Recently I have heard that to survive living a long time in Edinburgh, you need to go on plenty of trips. I completely agree especially on days like today because my God, the weather here is shit. (Not always. I’m just getting annoyed that it’s May and it’s cold and has been raining for days).