I used to come down here many times when I lived in England, to hunt around the old antique shops, have a cream tea, finally find a print of my then favorite Pre-Raphaelite picture, and stop for a beer on my many motorbike rides here. On this day I wanted to photograph the old boats, the likeness of which isn't seen in the USA, and have a fish lunch. I had planned on leaving Mum to have a break at home while I came up here on my own but she was having none of it, so once again she fed me sweets on the drive. We were pretty hungry when we arrived as we'd not had breakfast, in preparation for the much looked forward to fish and chips.
We also found out where the house that featured in Foyle's War was situated, so climbed the hill to visit that.
We wandered back towards the beach and the fishing fleet. It was getting pretty chilly and the wind showed no signs of abating so I suggested Mum sit in the car and wait for me, which she said she'd do after looking into the Lifeboat Museum. I ran down to the beach. I'd been looking forward to this moment for months, jumping off the bank to crash land down on to the pebbles and then hearing that sound of the waves hurling the stones further up the beach, and sucking them back out again. Even the blustering wind didn't bother me, it was wonderful just to savor that sea air, the smell of the seaweed and the taste of the salt. As the camera pans to the left on the video, the fishing fleet is hidden behind the stone jetty sticking out into the sea.
fishing boat registration codes here
"The old town’s Net Shops - approximately 50 black wooden sheds standing in neat rows on a shingle beach are unique. They were built to provide weather-proof stores for fishing gear made of natural materials which rotted if wet for a long time. Today’s materials are artificial and can be left in the open. Most net shops stand on a piece of beach that appeared suddenly after the first of the town’s groynes were erected in 1834. The new beach area was small and close to the sea, so each shop could only have about eight or nine feet square to build on. But all boats had more nets than could be stored in such limited space, so the sheds had to grow upwards. Some have cellars. Many originally stood on posts to let the sea go underneath. Fishermen keep spare gear in the shops. One is a museum."
This fleet has been here for so long that they can fish from The Stade at no charge, a medieval right. The Stade means 'landing place' in Saxon and there are over 25 boats that fish from here.
I was quite content to head back home after our day but Mum decided that a little diversion on the way wouldn't be amiss so it wasn't too long before we were driving into a sleepy little village called Bosham, pronounced Bossum. A series I love, Midsomer Murders, filmed an episode here, "Written in Blood" in 1998. But the village is known more for its flooding at high spring tides. And the lower parts of the village are well prepared.
Mum suggested we have a drink and watch the tide come in for a while. We went upstairs in the pub, finding a window seat and had no choice but to listen as a rather loud gentleman with a plum or three in his throat held his friends' rapt attention as he commented on the tides of Bosham.
"I could never understand how the moon only appears once a day when there are two high tides. I looked it up and found some discrepancies which I noted down, and I like to give a talk on it occasionally!" As he finished booming, Mum and I had to lower our heads to stifle giggles, and with a sideways glance at the next table I caught the smirk of a lady doing the same as us.
The M3 was empty as the coach sped me up the M3 in the early morning towards Heathrow, driving through The New Forest with its golden gorse flowering profusely and a gentle mist rolling over the heathland. The fields were trimmed with neat hedges and a pale yellow hazy sky on the horizon was announcing the start of a warm and sunny day. I didn't want to leave, I wanted to stay here, at home. I remembered the lovely places Mum and I had enjoyed snacks at, The Sticky Bun Tearoom in Alderholt with the crumbling scones, The Orange Teapot in Ferndown playing, 'There'll Always be an England', Pamphill, with the butchers, whose amazing pork pie I was enjoying now for breakfast. There were still my bluebells blooming in the woods, I'd been greeted by my favorite flower every day that I'd been here, seeing them peeking from under street signs and hedges, clumps on the verges and lanes, and even a couple in Mum's back garden. And now huge blankets of deep blue covered the grounds of woodlands as the coach flew past, almost as though they were giving me a last sighting, a parting gift.
Earlier this morning I had sat in the sun room as I had done every morning, putting on my makeup and enjoying the warm sun through the glass.I'd enjoyed each day listening to the beautiful birdsong that I had been treated to from the thrushes, the blackbirds and the wood pigeons, but I'd never seen a single sparrow or smaller bird until this morning. As I'd looked out, a little blue tit and a bullfinch with his rosy pink chest both landed just outside the sun room at the same time and both looked in at me. And I just knew it was Dad.