Staycation

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 To some a Staycation means not going abroad for their holiday, for others it means staying at home in the garden. With our bathroom being ripped out and hopefully replaced, we took the bus into town with our wheelie cases.

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Friday evening we arrived in torrential rain, Saturday and Sunday saw heat waves and on our last night we watched the lightning from our balcony.

For writers and photographers, finding interesting places to stay is vital. We had five nights at an Art Deco hotel which I’m sure has seen better days, but makes a good Premiere Inn. We had a front balcony, only on the second floor, but still fun to look out at everything going on. Westover Road has also seen better days; now an interesting mix with art galleries, posh jewellers and pub at the other end, the lovely Pavilion across the road from abandoned Odeon cinemas and a YMCA hostel next to the hotel. Opposite us, coaches delivered endless day trippers.

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After breakfast on the first morning we went up to the ninth floor and found a writer and photographer’s delight, the rear view; a riot of fire escapes with a little old house surrounded by layers of building developments. A walk up the road took us to the official opening of a newly pedestrianised area, Darth Vader and friends turned up collecting money for charity.

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Down at the pier and the main beach, which you always see in newspaper pictures of seaside hot spots, was busy, busy, busy; beach parties with tables laden with food and very loud sound systems. A walk to the end of the pier brought a bit of peace and a good view of the zip wire which takes you back to the beach.

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What did I learn from pretending to be a visitor? The homeless group that always seems to be there when I go to Bournemouth and get off the bus, IS always there; a double bed arrangement which stretches halfway across the pavement with several occupants near to our busy hotel. Of course they are not the only homeless; in a town full of happy holiday makers and lively young language students they are the spectre at the feast and Darth Vader isn’t the only one ignoring them. In the gardens there are buskers and a young man doing fire juggling with a sign ‘Homeless but Trying’. At the shops there are Big Issue sellers. I bought a Big Issue.

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The Royal Bath Hotel nearby is a great place to stroll into. Sit and cool off inside the huge fascinating lounge or enjoy the sun in the gardens. You could stay all day, people watching, plug in your lap top etc. without anyone noticing.  This hotel has also seen better days, as we discovered when we went there for dinner one evening to try the ‘special three course meal’ – no wonder it was so reasonable; we needn’t have worried about being smartly dressed, there were some very strange guests.

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On our last day we went abroad on a cruise; bus to Poole Quay for a boat trip to the start of the Jurassic coast at Old Harry Rock and then to Swanage on The Isle of Purbeck, an hour’s trip. We disembarked at the restored Victorian Pier for five hours ashore. A short walk takes you through the pleasant seaside town to the station where you can see steam trains, take a ride to Corfe Castle or have a snack in the railway carriage cafe. A walk out to Peveril Point and we could stand on the cliffs and look back to Bournemouth.

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For more Staycation pictures visit my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

Have you been on a Staycation?

 

Liebster Award (Retro)

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Friday Flash Fiction – Reaching The Moon

For a moment he couldn’t remember where he was, not unusual as he was increasingly losing touch with reality. The long June days and sudden spell of sunshine had made the short nights warm and dry and he had been sleeping better. If an alcohol and drug induced coma could be called sleep.

Churchyard, graveyard, still above the ground; that’s where he was, for weeks, or months perhaps. He turned his head with difficulty, had the other two already gone? It wasn’t always easy to tell. His dreams were hard to recall, staring up at the full moon in the clear sky, that could be real, but there was a little girl who loved the moon. He read her favourite moon stories; bears who couldn’t sleep looking up at the moon, daughters who asked their daddies to give them the moon. Jono hadn’t given her the moon, or much at all. His daughter, that’s right, he had a daughter once. Moon stories was all he could remember; when did he leave or was it they who left? Such a long time ago.

Christmas, he gave her a moon book. Christmas was for children. Christmas was for shelter, how many. One year they found his sister, the last person he wanted to see, he left before she could come and fetch him, left before he had even had his feet seen to. After that he just made up his name and now he didn’t even recall what his real name was.

Jono did not even recall what his daughter’s name had been. Grown up now, did she go to the moon, had anyone been back to the moon since that first time on his tenth birthday? A ladder to the moon, he told the little girl daughter he would find the longest ladder in the world and they would climb to the moon, not tell anybody, be back by morning.

People, so many people going in the church, but not Jono, he never went in there in case they wanted to help him. Most people ignored him, but do-gooders wouldn’t leave you alone. He struggled to stand, good thing about gravestones, they helped you up… one day they would push him down.

Jono found his feet taking him up the stone steps, with the people, excitement, chatter, something was happening; happening to the church, to the people going in or to him. Mostly he looked at the ground, but today something made him look up and there it was, the Moon, hanging there motionless, hanging above them all. How could it be inside the church instead of up in the sky?

At last he had fetched his daughter the Moon, but how could he show her? There she was, a little girl, but there was another child and another, how could he tell which one was his. Looking up made him dizzy, he sat in a pew and drifted into a moon dream.

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‘A moon in the church?’ said Chris.

‘Yes, I saw it on Facebook, we must go and look, some kind of art installation, but it’s accurate, NASA and all that scientific stuff. I used to love the moon when I was little, that’s the only thing I can remember about my father, reading to me at bedtime. He said if he couldn’t find a ladder long enough to reach the moon I would have to wait till I was grown up and become an astronaut.’

Chris laughed. ‘My mother thought we would be living on the moon in the Twenty First Century.’

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The church was humming, everyone looking up; a real moon suspended above the nave, huge, still and silent except for the Apollo voices and moon music. She was surprised how affected she was and hoped Chris wouldn’t rush her. They took pictures, posted them on Instagram and Facebook.

Chris was ready to go, they were meeting friends for lunch, she paused halfway down the aisle, whispered to him.

‘That old tramp, do you think he’s alright, he looks like he might be dead.’

‘Come on, we’ll be late for the others, he’s probably out of his head on drugs. Always a few homeless sleeping in the churchyard. One of their street team can sort him out.

 

Inspired by Museum Of The Moon

https://my-moon.org/about/

Read more about my visit to the moon here.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beachwriter’s Blog

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There is plenty to enjoy living by the sea, even if you never set a toe in the water. But there is so much to do involving seawater that it’s a shame if you don’t dip your toes or whole body in.

You need nothing if you have a naturist beach nearby or you can go to the other extreme and encase you body in a wet suit and acquire lots of equipment.

Paddling is the first introduction for most of us to the ocean and waves, warm and soothing at low tide on a sunny day, cold and daring at high tide on a windy day.

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But swimming is the ultimate, leaving the land to which you are bound, seeing the coast from a different view point. On a hot day with the sun sparkling on the ripples it is bliss, on colder days it’s invigorating with the initial shock turning to a burning glow. I have never worn a wet suit, assuming it would take away the feeling of freedom and more importantly I don’t think I could manage to pull one on, let alone peel it off again.

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A beach hut doesn’t involve water and many enjoy sitting outside their huts with the kettle boiling enjoying the view and watching the world go by. On a hot summer weekend the whole world does go past your beach hut if you are on the promenade, so a snooze in peace is unlikely. But for the swimmer a beach hut is a great luxury, even if it’s only a six foot wooden box – six foot square, not the six foot long other kind of wooden box. You don’t have to lug your towels, folding chairs, buckets and spades and wind breaks down to the beach each time and you have somewhere to get changed.

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Renting our little square of concrete from the council (we own the hut ) is not cheap, but probably cheaper than the many sea sports which involve getting all the gear. From paddle boarding on a calm day to owning your own sailing boat there are many ways to be on the ocean. For some, their boat is a part of family life just as a dog is for other families. I am a touch envious of people who can sail over and drop anchor just off Studland Beach, a lovely stretch of natural coast unspoiled by groynes or promenades, it also includes the nudist beach. The rest of us face a slow bus trip or drive across the conurbation of Bournemouth and Poole and a £4.50 trip on the chain ferry ( £1 for pedestrians and bikes ). But a boat owner told me the trouble with owning a boat is, you feel compelled to go out in it if the weather is good, so you never get to do other things on a sunny day.

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If you are adventurous you can go surfing – big board, kite surfing – little board or wind surfing. All of them involve falling in the sea a lot and being watched by other people and photographers. These sports also involve lugging around equipment and spending ages getting ready and deciding if the wind or waves are right.

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So I shall stick to swimming; after the days of torrential rain and changeable weather, I finally had my first swim of the year on Saturday. Sea temperature 16 degrees. It was lovely, but there is one piece of equipment I would like; a waterproof camera for a real sea view.

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Visit my website for more coastal views.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

Some of the stories in Times and Tides are set at the seaside.

 

 

The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour orange. We round off the last blog of many colours with a round colour. Which came first, the colour or the fruit? The fruit.

It wasn’t until these citrus fruits were introduced to the west in the late 15th century, by Portuguese merchants coming from Asia, that the Sanskrit word nāraṅga was coined. It eventually made its way through the romance languages and became orange in English.

Thanks to Brigid of Watching the Daisies for suggesting Coral. You can enjoy her lovely colourful garden here.

https://watchingthedaisies.com/

Coral is a reddish or pinkish shade of orange. The colour is named after the sea animal coral. Under the sea, or in a fish tank, orange is a popular colour, from the exotic to common goldfish. Every now and then I feel like dyeing ( no not dying ) and one day decided to dye some throws orange; the colour was called gold fish orange. If it’s a very dreek day, watching bright orange dye go round and round in your front loader washing machine is recommended to cheer you up.

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In the garden orange is one of my favourite colours; gazanias and cape daisies open up only in sunlight, but nasturtiums add zing to the dullest days. In winter pansies brighten tubs and window boxes and there is always an orange option.

 

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Orange is popular for making a brand statement, but in fashion and interior design I think orange comes and goes. My father brought little of interest home from the plastics factory where he was manager, in the days when plastic was fantastic. There was the Velcro strip he was excited about, but more fun for me was a piece of plastic fabric in psychedelic orange from which I made a mini skirt. Fortunately no picture exists.

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Orange is the second colour of the rainbow, the colour of alpha and omega; the beginning and the end, sunrise and sunset. A good colour to end the blogs of many colours.

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The Blog of Many Colours

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Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour red, chosen by Rowena who was very happy to pick up a red Alpha Romeo at auction. You can visit her blog here.

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/ma-ma-friday-fictioneers

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Red is bold, certainly not modest, it adorns the flags of many countries. We obey it at traffic lights and the only time it hides is when it is safely inside our bodies; blood red is ready to gush out of us at any opportunity.

Red is iconic; double decker buses, the Red Arrows of the Royal Air Force and the Forth Bridge. It tells you where to post your letters, where to find a fire extinguisher and still occasionally where to make a phone call. Red tells us when it is Christmas.

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Photographers love a splash of red; a boat in the harbour, a red coat walking in the snow. A red front door looks distinguished.

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Red is one of the three primary colours and one of the four colours humans like to use for organising people. At school I was in the red team, Saint George. Saint Patrick was green, Saint Andrew blue and Saint David yellow.

We are not urged to eat our reds, as we are with greens, but tomatoes and red peppers are healthy and brighten the plate up.

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Long before Christmas existed mid winter was hailed by red berries. In spring it feels a little subdued, except for tulips, but summer brings Mediterranean scarlet with geraniums ( pelargoniums ) and romance with deep red roses. In autumn red reaches for the skies as the leaves turn.

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Much of the earth is red. When I was a child my mother told me Devon had red soil, I could not imagine such a thing, but white chalk cliffs turn to red as you go west along the Jurassic Coast. Northern parts of Australia are red, such as the Pilbara, known for its ancient red landscapes and vast mineral deposits; red also means rich in iron ore. Other continents all have their unique red landscapes.

https://www.australiasnorthwest.com/

Alas red, through no fault of its own, is a political colour. Who decided communism should be red? Nature used red first.

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Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at the Chelsea Flower Show

I have never actually been to the Chelsea Flower Show so I am in the perfect position to tell you how to cheat.

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First of all, if you are lucky enough to have access to BBC television, just watch it on TV. Only the Royal Family, television presenters and of course the judges get to wander around without crowds and actually set foot in the show gardens.

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You can wander round your own garden pretending you are at Chelsea, and you could even take photos to put on Instagram

#chelseafs #gold medal #gardengold So excited, I got my first gold.

Who on Instagram could prove you hadn’t really been there. Even if your washing line, the neighbour’s fence and your mop bucket accidentally get in the picture you can  pretend it is part of the design

( See designing your own garden, below )

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But the best way to cheat is to go there. Perhaps there is a hole in the fence you could slip through, find a little spot of ground at the back of the refreshment tent by the bins and be a guerilla gardener. There is no need to spend a whole year planning a garden. Everything you need can be found at home, the local garden centre, builders’ skips and the rubbish tip. Anything goes; whatever your makeshift garden looks like you can claim to be encouraging recycling, wild flowers and insects. A few rocks, some old wood and a bucket or children’s paddling pool for a water feature. Then fill in the gaps with lots of plants from the garden center.

 

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To complete the cheat wear something smart, but not too smart, stand confidently in front of your floral plot and talk to the crowds passing by, or an imaginary camera about themes and your artisan garden. Everyone will assume you are a television presenter or garden expert talking about a wonderfully original show garden.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/may/22/chelsea-flower-show-2019-top-garden-trends

 

The Blog of Many Colours

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Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by Pink and Grey, suggested by Lyndsey at The Happy Book Blog. You can visit her blog here

https://thehappybookblog.home.blog/2019/04/27/353/

When Lyndsey suggested that colour combination my first thought was of galahs, Australian pink and grey cockatoos, their plumage a soft grey and rosy pink. They are found in most parts of Australia and have apparently adapted very well to the change in habitat brought by European settlers.

What other birds feature that colour combination? Wood pigeons are clumsy birds that splash all the water out of the bird bath and nearly break tree branches during their clumsy mating, but their plumage comes in delicate shades of pink and grey, blending imperceptibly.

Carnations have foliage that is almost grey.

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Out in the wilds or in the city,  grey rocks and buildings can turn a rosy hue at sunrise and sunset and if there are clouds in the sky at sunset there will be changing patterns of pink and grey. If I’m on the beach at low tide I try to capture the setting sun reflected in  in water that barely covers the flat grey sand.

For humans the two colours in their delicate shades make elegant outfits, or if you like to wear dark grey suits, splashes of bright pink look good. For the men? At a wedding the best man and ushers can look very smart in pale grey suits and pink ties.

So pink and grey, two hues created by mixing other colours, look good in nature and fashion.

Next week it is a bold primary colour that features, RED.

If you would like your favourite colour mentioned, put it in the comments.

… and here’s a book cover that has the shades of sunset…

The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour pine green, chosen by Jill Denison, whose favourite colour blue was already taken. I hope we can do justice to this shade of green. You can visit Jill’s blog here.

https://jilldennison.com/2019/05/14/%e2%99%ab-happy-birthday-%e2%99%ab/

Pine Green is surely the oldest shade of green. Pine trees are hardy and grow in many parts of the northern hemisphere. They were evolving during the early Jurassic period, old and dependable, not like flighty deciduous ( broadleaf ) trees with their fancy hues ranging from gold, through bright green to bronze. Pine green is a colour that stands out against the pure white of snow covered landscapes; pines the only trees hardy enough to survive long dark winters.

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Pine green will make you think of real Christmas trees with their delightful scent, or perhaps the aptly named Pinewood Studios next door to Black Park in Buckinghamshire, with its 500 acres of woodland. In Bournemouth the Victorians thought pine trees were good for your health and planted many in this seaside town so visitors coming to convalesce would benefit. Consequently there are over forty roads in the area that start with Pine and as many that start with Wood. Thank goodness for sat nav; imagine trying to remember if the friends you are going to visit live in Pinehurst, Pineholt, Pinevale, Pinecliff or Pinewood… Road, Avenue or Gardens… Pity the people who live in Woodland, Woodside, Woodstock… Drive, Close or Way and keep getting the wrong mail.

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For some of us pine woods immediately conjure up a bear with a red jumper and yellow trousers and scarf.  For nearly one hundred years Rupert Bear has lived in the pine woods.

http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/november-8-1920-rupert-bear-makes-his-debut-in-the-daily-express-11363942462439

But pine green is not always a popular colour in nature, the soft needle laden matting beneath the trees is barren compared with the rich diversity of plants and creatures found in ancient (not as ancient as pines ! ) English woodlands with their carpets of bluebells in spring. Pine trees waited billions of years to become the ubiquitous pine furniture; they grow quickly and smell delightful at the sawmill, but lovers and protectors of the sort of woodland that Robin Hood roamed around like to see green needles replaced by lacy summer green and golden autumn beech.

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On a banal note, pine green is the colour of disinfectant. When we moved to the coast I had the idea that it would be fun to only have disinfectants and cleaning materials that were blue and had names such as Aqua, Ocean and Seaspray with fresh sea air scent. I hate the smell of pine disinfectant or air fresheners. Only the real thing will do.

Pine Green in fashion? I don’t think so. Who says ‘I think I’ll wear my pine green dress tonight’ or ‘Darling, why don’t you wear your pine green tie with that shirt.’

Pine Green belongs in nature.

If you would like your favourite colour to feature, put it in the comments.

Yellow, peacock blue, purple and pine green have starred so far.

sunshine-blogger

The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour purple, chosen by Sandra. You can visit Sandra’s blog here.

https://acornerofcornwall.com/

Purple is no ordinary colour, too frivolous to appear on nations’ flags, but too important for ordinary folk; it has long been a colour of royalty and the church. Red, yellow and blue are the primary colours, but in practice red, yellow, green and blue are the main colours. Were you in a house or team at school? Four teams in those four colours I expect. If you wore school uniform it was probably navy, grey or green with red or yellow… I think purple is less favoured for school.

But colours bring different images to all of us. When Sandra suggested purple my first thought was Cadbury’s milk chocolate, that purple paper wrapper, then the opulent shiny purple foil with the promise of pure pleasure waiting to be unwrapped.

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My next thought was flowers, purple is the only colour that makes petals look like velvet. Purple pansies are my favourite. Irises have just come out this week in my garden, decadent in purple and yellow. Cyberspouse plucked one to take into his ‘studio’ and this is the result of a little digital manipulation.

 

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You can visit his Facebook page here.

https://www.facebook.com/photogog/

Colours are also trademarks. The first time we took three weeks off to journey up and around Scotland we stayed in a cottage for the middle week, but the rest of our trip was an assortment of bed and breakfast and Premiere Inns. Along the way we bought a few new clothes and my purchases included a mauve blouse and a purple fleece. When we arrived at our first Premiere Inn I realised that not only did I look like a member of staff, but I matched the whole place. Yes, Premiere Inns are purple; from the large sign that guides you to the building to the interior decor; purple carpets, purple spreads and cushions on the bed and purple information leaflets.

Though I may love yellow and dusky pink, purple seems to feature in my life rather a lot. Cyberspouse designs my book covers and the personal favourite of my novels has a cover that matches my glasses…