My buddy Lydie turned the grand old age of 24 recently and to celebrate the occasion some pals and I rambled on down to the south coast for a weekend of beach, bikes and boozing in Bournemouth.
I’ve been down to Bournemouth a few times over the last few years, its a real traditional British seaside town complete with beach, pier, arcades and fish and chips.
On our first day we wondered down through the lower parks on our way to the seafront. Although the parks are pretty the sun didn’t have his hat on and we hurried through as it started to rain.
It is apparently unanimously agreed upon that rain is not appropriate weather for mini golf.
We took shelter in the arcades. After an enthusiastic start we began trying to lose at the 2p machines. Apparently winning consistently becomes a lot easier when that is not actually your goal! J then put on his concentrating face to play some sort of shooting game and I got nostalgic and had a go on the dance mat. We also had a game of air hockey and although warning James that I was absolutely appalling at this game managed a not too devastating defeat.
Then we got back to our British roots and rain or no rain, took a stroll along the beach.
Beach huts do baffle me. It’s so British to hire a little shed near the sea just to keep your deckchairs in all year round! Its a English-ism that is pointless and quirky and because of this rather endearing if you ask me.
Even though the weather was not its best I was tempted to run down the beach and dip my toe in the water but didn’t relish the idea of walking round with sandy feet for the rest of the day. I did vow however that I would feel the waves on my toes before the end of the weekend.
The next day we all headed back down into town because Lydie had booked us in for a bike ride.
Now, a little back story. When I was eleven I had a really nasty bike accident. The short version being I embedded a flint in my knee, it was all painful and unpleasant and needless to say put me off the whole bike thing.
Not because I have a deathly fear or anything, more because I’ve not had a reason to since that day, I had not actually ridden a bike for eleven years. This coupled with the fact that I’m possibly the world’s clumsiest human meant that getting back in the saddle was a pretty nerve racking thing to tell you the truth.
Thankfully the old cliché does still ring true and I had not forgotten how it all worked. I started off shaky and slow, concentrating hard on not knocking other seaside visitors. It didn’t take long until it felt completely natural again and I was speeding around with the others.
We travelled a fair distance. We rode down to Sandbanks and got the chain ferry across to Studland. It’s got some cracking views down that way and some swanky houses to boot.
Our ride lasted around four hours and resulted in many aching thighs and soar butts so we gratefully retired to Sharkey’s Pool and Sports bar. Here we played Mario Kart on a projector screen, had few rounds of beer pong and played some pool. If you’ve ever got a bit of time to kill in Bournemouth Town Centre and the weather is not great I’d definitely recommend it, especially as you can book a private area, although beware it is stag party central in there at this time of year!
We were pooped and ready for a good night in – but NO; we had a birthday to celebrate and celebrate it we would! After a combination of naps and pro plus we got ourselves dolled up for a night out and I reacquainted myself with my good friend Amaretto.
A lethal game of arrogance ensued – for those of you unfamiliar with this game you poor some of your alcoholic drink into a glass, the amount depending on how “arrogant” you’re feeling. Someone flips a coin and you have to guess heads or tails. If you guess correctly you pass the glass to the next player for them to add to the drink and try their luck but it you get it wrong you down whatever is currently in the glass.
Needless to say, the next day we all felt a little worse for wear but we had a plan, a plan for a damn good hangover cure.
It goes by the name of Day’s. It’s Bournemouth’s answer to Jimmy’s World Bar and Grill. It is, in its simplest form a buffet but in reality it is so much more than that. Day’s is mainly chinese but it also offers pizza, indian, fresh sushi a BBQ the list goes on.
You can even select ingredients and watch the chef cook it fresh right in front of you.
Once you’ve had your fill and think you couldn’t possible eat another morsel, you spy the desserts.
Any place that offers pick’n’mix as a legitimate dessert choice is golden in my book.
After sitting and letting my stomach (which felt like lead at this point) settle, we made our way back down to the beach.
Thankfully the sky was a little more blue this time round!
Perfect conditions for a windy group selfie!
I even kept my promise, ran down the beach and dipped my feet in the water. Wiggling your toes in the sand is always a simple pleasure in life – even if you can’t get rid of it all for days!
After our ramblings, we packed up the car and I played chauffeur to a full car load back to London.
I do like Bournemouth. I could never live there as it does insist on staying stuck in the 1970s but for a weekend break from the big city it ticks all my boxes.