Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Middle Gardens

After the fourth course I felt very tired and had to take a 30 minute nap. Of course I still have the 46 hour infusion of 5-FU to get through. Yesterday, in pursuit of the positive attitude, we decided to go for a walk in the middle gardens in Bournemouth. I had better explain that. The Bourne brook runs into the sea at Bournemouth (that's how it gets its name). Bourne is an old English word meaning stream or brook, so it is a bit redundant to talk about the Bourne brook. Anyway the Bourne is never more than 5 feet wide, and where it enters the sea they have built the Lower Pleasure Gardens. This has the usual seaside attractions, like crazy golf, a ride in a balloon, an aviary with budgerigars and canaries, a bandstand, an area for sunning yourself on the grass, the Pavillion Theatre, and seawards is the pier with an end of pier theater and an amusement arcade. The Lower Pleasure Gardens are sandwiched between the sea and the Square which is the largest shopping center in Bournemouth. If you like the bustle of a large city you will find it there, but we came seeking peace and quiet.

Bournemouth is famous for the chines, valleys that cut through the cliffs at regular intervals. Usually they are planted with pines and provide sheltered walks in the hot summer. In one of them, Alum Chine, there is a short suspension bridge spanning the chine. It is famous because Winston Churchill fell from it when a boy and was unconscious for several days.

The longest chine is Bournemouth Chine, which is much wider than the others and extends a couple of miles in land. The gardens, now known as the Middle Gardens and the Upper Gardens are the extension of the Lower Pleasure Gardens, and of course the Bourne runs through them until you reach Coy Pond, which I have written about before. Deserted, except for a few old fogies like ourselves, these gardens are a delight. Planted with trees and shrubs on either side of the brook, this is a wonderful time to view them. The Rhododendrons and Azaleas are in full bloom with many different bright colors, but a slow walk reveals many other blooms to identify. You almost need a guidebook there are so many different species. The viewing is accompanied by the songs of blackbirds and thrushes and a rest on the seats allows the identification of many other species of bird. We watched a couple of jackdaws pecking away at the grass.

It was warmish in the sun, perhaps mid-sixties, but then the wind blew I got the cold-induced pins and needles on my face. This was an unpleasant reminder of my circumstances, but a signal that it was time to get into a warmed car and drive on.

Once home it was back to the TV for the latest episode of 24 and then an old movie "Support Your Local Sheriff". Sad to see how James Garner has aged now, in his prime he had a laconic, laid back attitude that suited perfectly this spoof Western.

In December, we took a trip to San Francisco. In retrospect Bournemouth is a better destination for holidaymakers like us.

No comments: