BOURNEMOUTH

JOY UNCONFINED

STILL ON HOLIDAY - WEBSITE UPDATED 10.11.12
First reflections on the anniversary of the first year - DEEP JOY. A plea to my close friends:
move here without further consideration

THE BEST PLACE EVER - (CORRECTION) - BETTER THAN THAT

And it came to pass, that in the time of 2011, on the tenth day, I did leave the land of Hampshire and did travel through the day on a Kia, and did arrive in the land of Bournemouth, in the kingdom of Dorset.

And yea, I did call upon a house and did knock thrice upon the door.

And behold, a woman did come to the door and I did speak unto her saying, “Woman. I have travelled far, and did suffer hunger and thirst, and I am come upon this land to dwell unto this house for long years, and I seek shelter and hospitality.”

And the woman spoke unto me saying – “Ian, son of Mary and Douglas, you are welcome to share our food and hospitality in the land of Bournemouth, and verily I say unto you, we can offer shelter to you and your Kia.” They did bring gifts unto me and I did break bread and feast and did partake of wine and I did see that it was good. Other lands do smite their enemies with great wrath and savagery, but in the land of Bournemouth they do welcome strangers from distant lands, rich and poor, yea, even unto the Grockles.

And lo. I have travelled the valleys and rivers in the kingdom of Dorset and have feasted much upon the bread and the fishes, and the chips, and the kebabs, and the curries, and the pizzas from bountiful lands near and far in the town of Bournemouth and it is good. And they have great festivities, where hordes of Grockles do descend upon this land, and machines of the air do show their prowess to great multitudes of travellers who have made journeys of distances vast to see this promised land. And I did travel to the land of Purbeck, and to the lands of heath, and seas, and gardens, and shrubs that do adorn, and verily it was fruitful. The rich man in his mansion and the poor man in his squat do dwell together in great harmony, and different tribes from lands afar are unified, and blessed with happiness, even the Grockles, and it was good. And I did see sights of strange creatures; squirrels that were not grey, birds of the air that were in multitudes, rocks going back to when all was darkness, yea even to the dawn of creation 4,000 years ago. Verily I do beseech unto you, my followers and my peoples, to move here forthwith, and be good and multiply, for it is good. A land that doth overflow with milk and fruits and honey and nectar where even the beasts of the fields are filled with joy and there is no sorrow in this land, for the sun doth shine as day follows day.


First of all let’s get over the bad points – there are probably some and I’ll let you know when I discover them. No exaggeration, my friends, my neighbours will confirm, I love my flat, my location, Bournemouth and Dorset. I cannot stop enthusing about the vibrancy of the town, and the beauty and wildlife of the county.

I write this celebrating my first anniversary, having moved here on 10th November 2011. I am still on holiday. I am still on honeymoon. Move here immediately, there is no reason not to. I can see myself staying here for a minimum of the next 40 years or so, and will then consider my options. My intention this summer was to explore Dorset, but there is so much here in the east of the county, that I have scarcely brushed the surface of the immediate surrounds.

Bournemouth has a wonderful shopping centre, has everything here, even an Ann Summers. It has everything that a big city has and more. The only difference from London is the absence of an underground system – and we have the sea. It is full of theatres (including the BIC), cinemas, music, concert halls, and throughout the year, there are events, and these cater for all age groups. Obviously, events peak in the summer months, as the town is probably second only to Blackpool as a seaside resort.

It has undeniably the best seaside beach in Britain, 7 miles of sand, 2 piers, and everything that you would expect from such a resort. There are no less than 3 funicular lifts to the imposing cliff tops. The Pleasure Gardens are 2 miles in length!

These gardens stretch from the pier and the mouth of the Bourne stream (hence Bournemouth) to and beyond Coy Pond in Poole. There is a railway station, a bus depot. The bus service is superb, and you can travel throughout the Isle of Purbeck, or Salisbury, and there is even an international airport. Why on earth would anyone ever, under any circumstance, travel anywhere else, or seek to live anywhere else?

I found property prices for apartments to be very reasonable, cheaper than Hayling Island, which surprises many. The reason for this must be the vast supply, many avenues full of large blocks of flats, and unless you have a USP, the only way to sell is price. I think Sandbanks comes to mind when thinking of property prices, but that is a one-off anomaly, parts of which are rated the third most expensive land in the world, a mutant amongst much cheaper locations. Check out apartments in Bournemouth and Poole, now, and move here.

WHY EVER GO ABROAD OR GO ANYWHERE ELSE – EVER?

The main reasons we go abroad are for reasons of a change of scenery, climate, good cuisine, good hotels, experience different cultures and languages, enjoy new vistas.

So, stay here forever. If you live in Bournemouth and want a change of scenery, and wonderful vistas, then just go to the west of the county, Lyme Regis or Abbotsbury or north to Hardy Country. But if we include the built-up area, greater Bournemouth so to speak, which includes Poole, Winton, Charminster, Boscombe and Southbourne there can be few places, if any, taking into consideration the size of the area, with a greater choice of food. If we include hotels, restaurants, pubs, cafes, kiosks, take-aways and all eateries, there must be in excess of 1,500 and from every nationality. Never will we go hungry here. The latest is a Chinese buffet restaurant, seats 440, with a mere choice of 250 dishes! So, whether you are into fine dining, or prefer good old junk food, move to this town. Why ever go abroad for cuisine?

Bournemouth usually comes top as having the best rated hotels in the UK and also for having the best value for money. This must be due to the sheer number and hence the worth of competition. To fill these sometimes cosy, sometimes huge, buildings throughout the summer, and have sufficient guests for the rest of the year to cover costs, must present a challenge. But the consensus is, they are in great condition, refurbishment is commonplace and they offer comfort and exciting places to stay in this town. We have art deco hotels, small intimate B&Bs, huge edifices, spectacular cliff top locations, and many offer their own entertainment, which just adds to the town’s tapestry and social life.

Bournemouth is actually quite a new town. Seaside resorts took off in Britain, and the rest of the world followed, thanks to the railway, and here the first was Christchurch in 1862, and then Bournemouth in 1870. For the first time, the working class could have a week off from the drudgery, squalor, filth, danger, noise and long hours of their working life during the Industrial Revolution, to enjoy a holiday with clean air by the sea. Weymouth, made popular by George 111 and his bathing machine, was one of the world’s first seaside resorts. Bournemouth was only founded in 1810, but it too prospered thanks to the railway.

A major aspect associated with Bournemouth are the giant trees, particularly its Scots and Maritime Pines (and also Monterey and Corsican Pines), but the entire area was actually pure flat heathland, and 3 million pine trees were planted for health, timber, and later for their aesthetic beauty. Richmond has the most species of trees in Britain at 247, but Bournemouth is right up there with 210. Then there are the 'Chines', a word only ever used by on the Isle of Wight and in Dorset. These are the gorges, small valleys of flora and rock, hewn out by time and water, and running down to the coast.

It even has its own micro climate, is warmer than the surrounding areas, but as it is already located in the sunny South, it is just about the warmest place in the UK. So this has always been a feature in the town’s growth, when in earlier days, the pleasing climate together with the smell of pines was associated with good health.

Bournemouth is associated with old people, cups of warm cocoa, early to bed and moaning about ‘The youngsters today,’ but anyone who now visits the town will see the reverse – it is actually a very ‘young town’. I am amongst the oldest here, hopefully regarded as a miserable old git. In Hayling Island, I was considered a youngster, patted on the head with affection and addressed as ‘Sonny boy.’ Here, it is full of language students, more language colleges than the rest of Britain combined, plus the University, together with Bournemouth & Poole College. So, if you want foreign culture, if you want foreign languages, foreign food, come to Bournemouth. There is no point in going anywhere else for any reason.

There are so many events that it is hard to keep pace at times. A million people will visit and watch the annual Air Festival from along the seafront, which is held over 4 days. Twice a week throughout the summer there is a firework display, every Sunday classic cars are displayed by the pier – but we could go on and on. Just outside of the boundary, both Christchurch and Poole Quays are renowned for their arts and crafts, food fairs etc. The 'grockles' are a pleasure, the seaside-type holiday appeals to those nicer sort of people. The pleasure of children playing in the sand, bathing in the sea, surely surpasses being in front of a computer. We cherish our own memories from our youth, and it is always unbridled pleasure, never sand in the sandwiches, or cloudy days. Be happy forever and move here.

(Okay - there are in truth two things I do not like and firstly is the noise pollution. A large respected hardware shop, greets you with blaring music, all day every day. Are we really incapable of going without noise for 5 minutes whilst buying some light bulbs, and more particularly, how is this for the staff who may not appreciate it for 40 hours a week? Furthermore, everyone is on the phone, all the time (or so it seems), and many make sure we hear their conversations. “I’m at the beans,” rings out loud and clear at the supermarkets, as if we have the slightest interest. I did say earlier that there were no disadvantages to living in Bournemouth and I will modify this. Noise pollution is endemic to all towns and cities and not just here, and is going to present a major problem in the future. But, I digress.

Secondly The one aspect which I and my friends have experienced is the hostility shown to drivers, particularly car owners, and beware of parking. Extortionate fines are imposed by private companies if you do not observe the signs. I presently owe one company £400 for a single parking fine, which obviously, will never be paid. Secondly, the Police have cameras seemingly everywhere, and I am now on 9 points, and driving like a snail. We have never seen as many cameras anywhere else, and tourists are trapped by exceeding the limit by the smallest amount. The main dual-carriageway, the Wessex Way, will suddenly reduce its speed limit to 40 MPH. Why? There should be huge signs warning motorists about this, so is this simply to achieve targets and get money? This seems to be the common perception here, but one wonders if these targets, and the parking fines, will mean that some tourists will never visit again. So, if visiting Bournemouth, do look out for the speed limits, and where you park.)

The town centre is not great for wildlife, although Peregrine Falcons nest annually at the Lansdowne Tower.

I reside by Horseshoe Common and get an over-abundance of Carrion Crows, Magpies, a regular pair of Jays, Herring Gulls, and am overrun by Grey Squirrels, so small birds would stand no chance of raising chicks. Horseshoe Common has a good wildlife pond, but unfortunately is often full of cans and bottles. A map of Bournemouth shows a large green space, Meyrick Park, which is okay, but not great for wildlife, again loads of squirrels (as is the Pleasure Gardens), and largely taken up by the golf course.

However, it is surrounded by green spaces, nature reserves and parks; Turbary Common, Iford Meadows, Millham Meads, Slades Farm, it has more green space than virtually any other town in Britain for its size. But best of all are the Cliffs – Bournemouth, Canford, Boscombe, Southbourne and Branksome. These not only stretch for 7 miles and are huge, but are undisturbed and fenced off, and face south so a real suntrap. Ideal for butterflies. They have vast quantities of Wall Lizards and also home to the large exotic Green Lizards, seen here and nowhere else in the UK. The theory is these both of these species are probably descended from escapes from boats at Southampton or Poole, then discovered these suntraps which turned out to be absolutely perfect, with plenty of cover, insects and sun.

There are said to be rougher areas, parts of Southbourne and Boscombe, but these locations are on the whole, still beautiful. There is of course a drug problem but considering how many young people abide here, it seems to be less in comparison to similar sized college towns. Bournemouth alone has 14 nightclubs, more than anywhere else for its size, but again, seems to incur fewer problems than this statistic might suggest. Traffic in Bournemouth itself seems not to be a problem, even in the height of summer, and keeps moving, primarily because of the dual-carriageway that bisects the town (although in fairness the outskirts, and roads into town do experience problems).

The seafront is spectacular, with views to the Isle of Purbeck to the west, and Hengistbury Head, the Isle of Wight and the Needles to the east. Like most seaviews around Britain, indeed around the world, it is devoid of shipping, unlike my last home at Hayling Island with the ever-busy Solent. But that aside, it affords one of the great vistas of Britain.

So, if anyone of you still waver or decide not to move to Bournemouth, then perhaps it is time to consult a specialist. Tourists come here for pleasure, so why not indulge yourself and enjoy these pleasures 365 days a year? Do move here today. Step just outside of the town and you have the most scenic, and the best wildlife county in the UK, in my not-so-humble opinion. Check out the Dorset Article on this website.

To reiterate: Bournemouth is the best place I have ever lived in, and I can honestly say there is nothing (apart from the war on the car) that I do not like about my apartment, the county and this beautiful vibrant town.

Move here without further ado.

 

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