I stopped going to the Wessex Hotel and Bournemouth because the nice receptionist said “You back then?”, harmless but I was affronted. I liked a room high up away from the hustle bustle and quantatively away from noise threats. The main clientele were lodge types from up north. You never meet anyone. And there are facilities. And a train I could get a bicycle on up to London on Mondays. How was it for them I did not return? Bournemouth fills a map but there is nothing here except a 12 mile beach which curves the way the Sun’s path does, is safe and continuous and it’s the warmest place in England. Bournemouth has no real type of resident and no tangible soul. The literal Bourne Mouth is colonised by clutter where modesty is a foreign word. Its an awkward town of hills. It was swish once. Hotels have disappeared. It has plenty of Chines. And there is Souhbourne. A cliff top path through there leads to the Saxon sounding Hengistbury. The local jewel is Mudeford, a sand spit of vernacular houses and chalets and a ferry to Christchurch.
In between Christchurch and Southampton is Barton-on-Sea on high cliffs of yellow pebbly sand slipping in huge regular slices into the English channel. Further on more squat cliffs is Milford-on-Sea and Keyhaven. Keyhaven is simply the greatest place to be in England. A lonely windswept sanctuary. An isolated elementary jetty with a faded sign: Beware of Quicksand.