Friars Cliff, Christchurch – The Perfect Seaside Location
I live in Friars Cliff, Christchurch – the perfect seaside location. It’s a cosy place, full of pensioners and dog walkers. Okay, it turns a little manic at Bank Holidays and hot spells, when parking is an issue. A warden slaps tickets on windscreens and reminds us that a world exists beyond. Seeing the young enjoying themselves on the beach is a joy, as is the silence when they all drive home. It is not the real world and so never appears in the news. That will change when a sea eagle carries off its first poodle!
Most days, Ann and I run along the coast. We stop at the cliff edge to assess the sea state; is it benign or threatening? Then we look out to Hengistbury Head and feel linked to the ancient people who have done the same for over 10,000 years. We jog through the nature reserve, the wind soughing through Holm Oaks as birds sing for us. We wonder what happened to our ducks. We know where we will see or hear, thrushes, robins, chiff-chaffs and even nuthatch. Further along, as soon as I see or even smell, the gorse, I think of my pagan ancestor Zuri. These flowers were her ‘sweeties’. The waves serenade us throughout. The run of four miles is a sensory experience and every view is picturesque. I will recall all this when I end my days in a nursing home.
I realise that I am lucky to live here. Visitors I talk to, who also love the place, tell me that the cost of housing is too expensive. It is a select place, not the real world, the one of urban stress, crime and traffic pollution. I previously lived in Wolverhampton and Croydon so I can speak with some authority.
Loved to Death
What I failed to appreciate when I moved here is that people have always loved this place; loved it to death! In prehistory, Zuri and her people destroyed the wildwood and probably hunted many of the animals and fish to extinction. At least a thousand years of sheep destroyed most of the flora of Dorset. People want to be here so house building constantly expands, which means more traffic. Abstraction of water from the rivers is ever increasing. Can taking a bath destroy the world? Despite all the existing beach huts, the previous council wanted to build even more at Highcliffe. Urbanisation has to stop if nature is not to be excluded.
Friars Cliff, Christchurch – the perfect seaside location
Most of us are ignorant of the damage we cause. Worse, we are now able to destroy other beautiful places in the world due to our wealth. The local news recently lauded an indulgent day trip from Bournemouth Airport to Venice. People from here destroying somebody else’s environment for a mere day out. Do they not realise that the Venetian authorities deplore day trippers, accusing them of destroying the city? Consequently, Venice, like Friars Cliff, is being loved to death.