Wednesday, August 14, 2002

What Watty did on his holidays:

I never did catch up, did I? Ah, well. What you missed was:

A trip to Whipsnade Zoo, which is just along the road. It was remarkable for the elephants: late on in the day, we were walking back to the exit when one of the boys yelled "look, elephants!" Two of the elephants were being taken for a walk; they passed within two or three feet of us, ambling along quite happily. Two things to note - elephants scuff their feet: each step produces a gentle hissing sound as the foot is not quite raised from the ground; and I was not-quite overawed by the experience: what I felt, I think, was a clear sense of the power and grace of these animals, but not an overpowering feeling of whatever it was I thought I might feel being up close and personal with an elephant. Interesting.

Then I went away for a couple of days - I drove to Brighton, got wet looking for second-hand bookshops (they seem to have diminished in number somewhat); I went to Shoreham and found a very good bookshop (Bookworms of Shoreham, it's right on the High Street); I went to Arundel because I knew about the Arundel Bookshop (it's on that page somewhere); I went to the Tangmere Museum which was mildly interesting; not as good as I had been led to believe; I went to Selsey Bill, and rather wished I hadn't; I gave up at this point and stopped for the day.

Next morning, I set off for Hengistbury Head, determined to do more walking and thinking during the day. I then trundled through Bournemouth and Poole, crossed the Sandbanks ferry, walked for a bit on Studland beach - it was actually sunny by this time - went up to Swanage, pillaged their bookshop, wandered cross country to Durdle Door and walked for miles on the pebbles; drove to Lyme Regis and surprisingly enough, visited their second hand bookshop. On the Monday, I pottered around Bristol (including a visit to Beware of the Leopard) and Bath, which is still full of tourists but much better in terms of shopping and facilities than when last I visited. Yes, there were bookshops. I was also accosted by Jane Austen...

After that, I went home. There's more, but it will have to wait.

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