If Bournemouth, with it’s brilliant sunshine, golden sands, faded grandeur, beach huts and chips, was a day snatched from a slightly cool May, the next day March rolled back in to assert herself in damp fog, and a biting wind if you ventured beyond the shelter of the villages and towns clustered along the south coast.
We pottered for the most part, swimming at the hotel and then venturing into Lymington for a stroll and a picnic pasty lunch watching the ferry load up for the Isle of Wight, and then we set off for a little explore.
There is a spit of shingle that extends from the bottom of Milford-on-Sea and curves out and round, marking the gateway to the Solent. Booted and covered with woolies (no paddling today), we walked down to the spit from Keyhaven, along paths carved from the tops of retaining mud banks, while around us, mud squelched and oozed.
Only glimpses of the tops of very swish houses across the marshes convinced us that we weren’t re-enacting The Riddle of the Sands.
You don’t see the sea until you get to the very top of the shingle bank, and then suddenly there it is, choppy steel waves reaching across to the Needles and Old Harry.
And cold, oh so cold. I would have loved to walked down to Hurst Castle and back, but even muffled up in layer upon layer, woolly hat and mittens and a fluffy pink coat, and sleeping peacefully snuggling up to Mama, Kitty was starting to get chillier than we like; it wasn’t the day for a long walk out of the shelter of the shingle.
We’ve an unwritten tradition that the worse the weather on our holidays, the greater the chance of us going for ice-cream, so we drove a little further along the coast to Barton on Sea where we found an ice-cream parlour that was both open and surprisingly empty. H choose Raspberry Pavlova and Kitty and I shared a cornet with Honey and Ginger, and Blackcurrants and Clotted Cream as we strolled along the more sheltered cliff top.
Ice-cream and mittens; it’s by this that without meeting me, hearing my accent, or even knowing anything else about me you can know that I am incontrovertibly and entirely eccentrically English.