Pigs might fly but do cows walk over motorway footbridges? Well yes apparently they do in England!
We were on our way from Dorset to visit one of my sisters in South London when we saw this very unusual (to an Australian anyway) sight.
Our stay in London was short but sweet but we went on some beautiful walks in the lovely local Kelsey Park which until 1909 had been part of the grounds of a Manor House.
I had spent many a happy hour in the park as a child feeding the ducks and spotting squirrels so our present day walks brought back many happy memories.
More happy memories were brought back at the Mary Quant exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Mini skirts and hot pants, PVC bags and dresses, lacy tights and affordable, trendy make-up (think pale lips and dark eyeliner with drawn-on lower lashes!)
The exhibition was full of ladies in their 60s and 70s in their sensible shoes and modest skirt lengths nudging each other and exclaiming “remember I had boots like that”, “ooh I had that dress/skirt/hot pants/makeup”.
With our matronly figures and lived-in faces it felt rather melancholy remembering how our generation was at the vanguard of a vibrant and exciting movement that changed fashion from haute couture for the very wealthy to fun, hip and colourful clothes aimed specifically for the young and definitely not rich.
Also at the V and A, after lunch in the marvellously decorated and stained-windowed cafe, we were able to see fashion at the other end of the fashion spectrum – the Dior exhibition.
The Dior gowns were fantasical fairy tale garments made for princesses and the extremely wealthy. Each and every one of the garments was made from the most gorgeous fabrics and with Dior”s genius and imagination. Just breathtaking!
From London we headed to Dorset once again to spend the weekend with dear friends who live in Bournemouth.
One of our favourite things to do in Bournemouth is go on a blustery walk at Hengistbury Head. This imposing sandstone headland juts out into the English Channel and is an important archeological site with findings dating back to the Stone Age as well as being a wonderful and significant nature reserve.
The northern slope of the hill tails off towards the sea and forms Mudeford spit on which stands more than 300 privately owned beach huts – some of the most expensive in the whole of the UK.
In 2015 five of the huts were put on the market for a combined asking price of £1 million (Aus$1.8). On average, the huts measure around five by three metres, have no running water, and the occupants may stay overnight only from March to October.
Despite the relative lack of amenities, the area has become one of the UK’s most desirable summer locations and unbelievably huts are rented out for more than £1,000 a week (Aus$1,800).
If you visit Hengistbury Head be sure to go to the visitor centre to view the excellent archaeology, ecology and geology exhibits there and learn more about the fascinating flora and fauna to be found in the area.
There is also a beautiful wild flower garden at the visitor centre and several stunning hand carved timber benches by sculptor Tom Harvey – other examples of which can be found around the headland.
More examples of Tom Harvey’s carving
From Bournemouth we drove to Burnham-on-Crouch a tiny town on the Dengie Peninsula on the lonely East Coast of England.
The main reason for our visit was to buy a Rainman portable water maker from the English agent for this excellent Australian product (we are in the process of purchasing a Lagoon Catamaran and are completing the sale in October 2019) but it was also great to discover this rarely visited part of England.
When we planned our visit we hadn’t realised what a delightful spot Burnham-on-Crouch is. Apart from being one of Britain’s top yachting spots, (there are four sailing clubs) the town has 22 licensed drinking establishments including many lovely old English pubs (yachting and alcohol always seems to go hand in hand!).
We also went on some lovely walks along the dykes that reminded us of the Netherlands only a few hundred kilometres across the North Sea.
Having ordered our water maker we moved up the coast to Norfolk to stay in the grounds of the curiously named Caistor pub “Never Turn Back”.
It turns out that this Art Deco building was built as a memorial to the nine lifeboatmen who died in the 1901 Caister-on-Sea lifeboat disaster. One of the surviving lifeboat men said at the inquest “Going back is against the rules when we see distress signals like that.” The press interpreted this as “Caister men never turn back” and “Never Turn Back” was later to become a motto of the Royal Nation Lifeboat Institution.
We went for a long walk along the beach and back through the sand dunes and spent a little time at the Lifeboat shed reading about its history and the bravery of the volunteer lifeboatmen.
Towards the end of the walk a big storm had gathered and the clouds were threatening to break so we had to make a dash for cover to the sounds of rumbling thunder. Thankfully we made it back to the Never Turn Back just in time!
4 thoughts on “Cows on high and Never Turn Back”
It seems the best places to visit as a tourist are the ones least visited by tourists, a bit ironic.
That’s so true Catherine! Sometimes they just take a bit more effort to get there. Definitely worth the effort though.
Hello from Phuket, Truly, I have been enjoying all your posts. Thank you for sharing. I have written before, but not sure you received. Just so you know a bit of who I am – I am Canadian, retired, live on my Jeanneau 36i moored north of Phuket Yacht Haven. Also have a condo near Ao Po. Worked at my own business for 15 years, and been in Phuket for 23 years. My British husband passed away 8 years ago. My plan with a girlfriend from Nova Scotia, is to travel EU as you are – in a camper van or similar starting in April 2020 for a few months, then again in the following Spring. Are you selling your campervan by chance? Or have a reccemendation for getting one. We would need two separate sleeping beds/sofa. Have also thought of just a car with tents.
We are researching Germany and Nederlands for purchasing a used one, as well. Looking forward to hearing from you. Enjoy your journey. Thank you so much. Lori Ashton Cell: +66898663064 E: email@example.com
On Saturday, August 31, 2019, Salty tales from Bali Hai wrote:
> Salty tales from Bali Hai posted: “Pigs might fly but do cows walk over > motorway footbridges? Well yes apparently they do in England! We were on > our way from Dorset to visit one of my sisters in South London when we saw > this very unusual (to an Australian anyway) sight. Our stay in L” >
Hi Lori I hope you receive this and apologies for not replying sooner – we are in our last few days of being in Australia for our son’s wedding so have been very busy catching up with family and friends! I was so sorry to hear your husband passed away eight years ago. I can’t imagine how that would have been for you but can only imagine how sad, lost and lonely you have felt. However, you are obviously an amazing person who lives life to the full despite your loss. Love your choice of boat – we also had a Jeanneau (a 44i) but if you read my blogs you probably know that already. Thanks for reading them by the way – knowing someone out there is enjoying them makes the effort involved worthwhile! We aren’t planning to sell ours at this stage as we want to use it in the winter months but I can give you the email address if Phill and Hannah Spurge, an English couple in France who sell second hand motor homes and who can help you get the correct French documentation to allow you to have French registration, giving you the ability to take one around Europe without any dramas. Also means resale is easy. French vehicles also don’t have to pay separate road tax but you would have to pay to set up a French company through Phill. It’s incredibly difficult to buy a vehicle in Europe but Phill is a great contact. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can Google his website too. Good luck!