Today I had my pre-chemo check-up for my second round which begins tomorrow. I am six weeks out from surgery and everything is going well. The side effects were tolerable - a little constipation, a little diarrhea, a little cold-induced pins and needles, some small mouth ulcers. If it gets no worse than that I shall consider myself blessed. Of course, I was not ill before all this started and I am not quite as well as before the operation, but I am back to 95%.
I have been able to drive, to mow the lawn and do a little weeding and today I went for a walk. Living on the coast as we do we have always enjoyed trips to the beach (10 minutes away) though, in truth, we have not taken as much advantage of our proximity as we might have. Work has always seemed too demanding. Today we decided to explore somewhere we have never been.
Bournemouth occupies the eastern side of south-facing Poole Bay. Today we decided to explore the far-western edge of the bay. The bay extends for seven miles and the beach is sandy all the way (unlike that of our rival, Brighton, which is stony). At the far eastern end is Hengistbury Head, a Roman hill fort, which is wonderfully windy and great for flying kites. As one moves westward the sandstone cliffs climb to about 70 feet above the beach. The beach can be reached by a series of zig-zag footpaths or by the cliff lifts, for those who can't manage the climb.
There are also a series of chines. These are small streams that have carved steep-sided valleys that also form walks down to the beach. The largest of these is the Bourne stream itself which is only about five feet wide and inches deep. It runs through the center of Bournemouth through a series of beautiful gardens, beginning at Coy Pond, about a mile or two inland.
About halfway round the bay, Bournemouth merges into Poole. There is great rivalry between the two. Bournemouth is relatively recently established in 1812 (even younger than America) whereas Poole has been a settlement for 2500 years. Poole is also the home of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the main campus of Bournemouth University. However, Poole has a population of 138,000 and Bournemouth is larger with 168,000. The whole conurbation is just short of half a million and is known as the Bournemouth urban area.
Anyway, we explored the Poole end for a change, something we haven't done in the 37 years we have lived in this area. The beach is wider down there and the sand finer so that walking on the beach for an hour tested the healing of my abdominal wound. The houses that abut the beach are among the most expensive in the world. You could easily pay £8 million for one, even in the recession. Finally we reached the end of the beach and the mouth of Poole harbor. A chain ferry operates across the mouth of the harbor, taking cars and passengers across to Shell Bay, but we turned back to walk alongside the harbor, a vast expanse of a playground for sailing dinghies, windsurfers and gin palaces.
Immediately ahead of us was Brownsea Island, one of the last habitats for the native red squirrel, but we must leave a trip there for when I have more energy. It was a balmy day with hazy sunshine and by the time we returned to the car I was quite warm. Back home I found an interesting TV program available on the net. It was called The Narnia Code and dealt with a new CS Lewis discovery. Watch it if you can.
I re-start treatment at 2pm tomorrow.