I have planned a short walk today in order to be back to meet Damian this afternoon. He is coming to see the cruise liners and join me for a walk tomorrow – I’m told the best place to see the ships is Hythe Marina.
The electric train which rattles along the wooden boards to Hythe is the oldest pier train in the world dating back to the early twentieth century. I took it yesterday but today I decide to walk the length of the pier.
Hanging at regular intervals on the handrails are information boards and one of them catches my eye – the Flying Boat Cafe I took refuge in yesterday is no longer a mystery.
A more gentile era in the world of aviation but I’m still not sure I would like to spend 8 days in one.
Walking off the end of the pier I turn right and am lucky enough to catch a bus to Calshot. I ask the driver how I will know when to get off and he rather cheekily and without a smile, says it will be when he turns the engine off………hmmmmm. As it happens when we get to Calshot beach he is very helpful with instructions as to how to find the path inland, directing me through a housing estate, so he must have been feeling a little guilty.
Following the path through a stretch of worn woodland, I come to a minor road and turn left onto it. I know from reading blogs of other coast walkers that it is impossible to follow the coast along this stretch as private estates abound – disappointing. However, there is very little traffic on this road which winds through beautiful woodland and it is quiet enough for me to hear an unusual two toned bird call – a long fairly high whistle followed by a lower short one………I have tried.
At one point I pass a lovely little sandy coloured gatehouse with a battered 2 CV in the garden, setting me off on a train of thought about my year as a student teacher in Perpignan. I must squeeze in a short trip to France soon, it’s just across the water.
Soon I can see the cypresses of Lepe Country Park. Families are picnicking on the grass behind the beach, windsurfers flounder in the waves and sea kayaks slide sleekly through the water – I am in need of a cup of tea.
It has been an uneventful but pleasant walk despite the roads and I’m soon going to be bouncing along in the wonderful beach bus to meet Damian.
The three liners moving out of Southampton today are the Marina, The Independence of the Seas and the Queen Elisabeth. The row of wooden benches looking out to sea at Hythe Marina are not too crowded and we get a good view of the huge ships as they slowly but steadily slip by – a young child weeps inconsolably for the loss of her grandmother, a passenger on the Queen Elisabeth bound for Stavanger in Norway.