England Vacation 2009 -- August 22

Today, we went to Alum Bay and then home to Karen’s flat. We left our suitcases in the office and came back for them after seeing Alum Bay.

Alum Bay opens at 10 so we got the 9:20 bus (the buses run hourly from Freshwater Bay) and arrived about 9:45. Some of the shops were open but the chair lift down to the beach didn't start until after 10. It is possible to walk down but involves over 200 steps. Karen's toe didn't think that was a good idea. They sold a book of twelve tickets that could be shared. With the chair lift, and two demos there was enough tickets in one book for both of us. We got one of the first chairs down and discovered a short boat trip out to the Needles at the base of the chair. So we got the first boat tour out. Good one to get as it wasn't very full and the tide was still low enough that our feet didn't get too wet going across to the dock. The next few groups of passengers we saw going to and from the boat were getting wet feet. Apparently, there had been some heavy waves and it had washed some of the beach stones away and the ramp was lower then normal.

Alum Bay has 21 different colours of sand -- white, black, yellow, brown, rose and some greenish with different shades of each. We wandered around the beach and admired the cliffs (the beach is actually all stones and the colours are in the cliffs). You use to be able to collect the sand from the cliffs and falls but now you aren't. They do the collecting and processing and you can buy some sand up in the shop and fill an ornament if you want to. We looked but didn't get any sand. We had elevenses on the beach then looked at the other part of the beach and headed back up the chair. We used one of our left over tickets to watch them make chocolate candy (hard sugar candy with chocolate flavoring). At the end we got a sample. It was fun watching the sugar change colours on the puller.

Then some lunch and over to watch the glass blowing demo. They were making very pretty black glass with gold leaf vases. It was really warm outside and even hotter in the demo. Karen was taking some photos then her camera decided it was too hot and she had to wait a bit to finish getting the last few pictures she wanted.

We got the 14:09 bus back to Freshwater Bay to collect our luggage. Then we waited for the next bus (at 15:20) to Yarmouth. We took advantage of the wait for one last look at the bay. Over the coastal path, the parasails were out. Sometimes it looks like they are about to land on the cars. Once we got to Yarmouth, we went to a coffee shop and had a nice tea (the scones weren't hot so Karen says they don't get full marks).

On the ferry, we got the same corner looking out a window and Karen made like a pussy cat and basked in the sunshine. Helen Anne went up to the top deck for a bit and admired the view then came to sit with her. The train back to Brockenhurst was the same old style, slam the door behind you train. The guard took a picture of us beside it.

The train at Brockenhurst was very full and we had to stand. At Southampton lots of rowdy fans got on despite the guard saying the train was full and they were not to board. They wouldn't get off so the train got cancelled and we were told to get off this train, go over to platform two and get on a longer train. There was another London train expected shortly on the platform where we were so we waited for it instead. It was also full but eventually they made it a fast train to London. Karen had gotten the smaller suitcase and her pack up onto the shelf but there was no where for the bigger case. Once we were a fast train, I put the bigger case on its side and went into the main compartment were it was cooler. The nice man sitting beside Karen let me have that seat and went to stand. After the last stop before London, he got a seat as well.

We got dinner at Sloe's in Waterloo about 2130, missed the 2155 train so got the 2225 train to New Beckenham. It was shortly after 2300 when we finally got to Karen's and went to bed. (note from Helen Anne: She keeps keeping me out past my bed time.)

Except for the train getting cancelled and the confusion there, it was a very good day. Good thing we took time for tea in Yarmouth though.

Warning: Lots of pictures for this day. Still sifting. Pictures


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