The sky is bluer on the other side

No words can describe what an amazing day I had on Tuesday. But I’ll try.

It’s just that, some things you have to experience yourself.

A friend was just telling me how beautiful and romantic and awesome Paris is and all I was capable of thinking was, “Aww, that’s nice.” But I’m sure my heart didn’t well up with awe the way his probably did when he was there experiencing it in person.

But I guess that’s life. We try to experience some and we imagine the rest.

Anyway, my companion for the day, my mystery date, was a Singaporean girl who’s studying in London now. Let’s call her Limin because, well, that’s her name! lol.


Limin and Sheylara


We’ve never met, online or offline, but she reads my blog and, last week, dropped me a note saying she wouldn’t mind making the two-hour trip to Bournemouth to meet up with me and catch the sights around here.

I’m so glad she did because she’s really sweet and I really enjoyed getting lost with her in a place neither of us are quite familiar with. We got along really well and seem to have a lot in common. That’s always nice, isn’t it?

It was very sunny on Tuesday, the sky a rich, deep blue so that everything in town sparkled. It was a great day for being outdoors.


Some park


I know what I had said about grey skies in England being perfect, and I still think that. But the blue sky here is another realm of amazing. I stopped being in the England of my imagination and got transported to a mysterious magical kingdom.

Okay it’s kind of like this. Gloomy, cloudy skies feed my artistic soul and inspire in me all kinds of emotions that make me feel in touch with my inner self and with nature. Sunny, blue skies make me feel like a bubble of sunshine wanting to burst out to share joy and cheer and communion with my fellow human beings.

So, either one is good for me.

(Well, there is also the fact that I usually try to avoid the sun because I hate getting a tan. The Singapore sun, especially, is brutal. So grey skies hold a special appeal for me in that regard.)


Our day started at 11 am when I met Limin at the train station. She had brought me a gift, fresh-baked cookies from London. What a sweetie-pie!


Sheylara and cookies!


Around her neck slung a Nikon which she had just acquired and was eager to practise on. NATURALLY, I BECAME HER GUINEA PIG.

She was enthusiastically going, “Oh, stand there!” the entire day. But when I offered to take over her camera so she could be in the photos, too, she kept declining. That explains why you’ll see many photos of me and few of her.

But thanks to her obsessive photo-taking, I have a lot more photos to fill this post with!

Our first stop of the day was Castlepoint Shopping Centre at the edge of Bournemouth, which we had to get to by bus from the train station. It’s not a mall like we’re used to, but more like a long row of giant shophouses surrounding a huge car park.


Castlepoint Shopping Centre


Castlepoint Shopping Centre


Castlepoint Shopping Centre


The weather was good. Cool, slightly windy. I was even able to remove my jacket after a bit of walking around. Perfect shopping weather.

I bought some stuff at H&M and Next and decided that we shouldn’t spend all of this nice day shopping, so we took a bus right back to Bournemouth Town Centre. Limin wanted to have lunch by the beach!

But before that, we walked back to the apartment to drop off our shopping. There’s a very small park between the town centre and Piers’ apartment. I find it really delightful walking through it, even during grey days.

The air here is so cool and refreshing, the birds chirp so delightfully in the trees and there’s just so much space and greenery (even though half the trees are bare and flowers aren’t in bloom during winter) it makes your spirit feel light.

But yesterday was nuts. The sun was out, the birds came out of hiding, and people were walking everywhere.


Little park


Little park


Little park


Little park


In the apartment, we took more photos. I think Limin is in love with her camera or something. Or else she’s, like, trying to document every single second of her life.

Or maybe because she was so delighted with Piers’ apartment. I think she likes it as much as I do!


Piers' apartment


Piers' apartment


After the quick stop home, we had to walk through another park, a much bigger one this time, to get to the beach.

So so lovely the sun was. We bumped into an elderly English couple who had come to Bournemouth for a few days to, I dunno, sightsee or something.

We helped each other take photos and had a nice chat about the weather and stuff like where we came from and what we were doing in Bournemouth. I really enjoyed that. I kind of miss this from when I was in Australia, the way strangers would just stop in the streets to have a chat.


Another park


Another park


Then, we came to the pier. Before we even hit sand and water, Limin and I were dazzled. The sun and sky were most amazing. I’ve never felt so buoyant about, well, the sun and sky, in my life. It was like stepping right into a photo postcard.


Another park


The beach was even more dazzling. Despite the chilly wind (it was actually painful to take my hands out of my pockets and expose them to the cold), I fell in love with the place instantly. Despite somewhat freezing, I wanted to stay there for as long as I could.

The sun was literally glaring into our eyes as we walked down the beach so I had to wear my sunnies. Limin didn’t bring hers. She was so funny, saying, “I NEVER EXPECTED THERE TO BE SUN!!”

Apparently, you will hardly ever see any sun in London during winter. (Or does that extend to other seasons, too? I don’t know.) She was ill-prepared.

It was just unbelievable, the sky a pretty shade of cerulean, the fluffy white clouds, the unbelievably soft, fine sand, gentle waves crashing at the shore, the sea almost blue and sparkling in the sun.

I asked Limin, “Do we ever get skies like this in Singapore?”

She said, “No.”

“Why not?” I demanded. “Why not?! Don’t we all share the same sky?”

“Well,” she said, “The sky is always bluer on the other side.”

Wise words.

Many people were out enjoying the weather, having picnics on the sand, or strolling along the coast or playing frisbee with dogs. You wonder why they don’t have to be at work. The mood was uplifting.

Okay, my words can’t do justice. So, photos!


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Well, that’s the lot!

We had a ridiculously expensive lunch at Aruba, the restaurant overlooking the beach.

Limin had ribs while I had fish and chips.

Piers had told me that he doesn’t really like fish and chips because the bones annoy him. And, I was like, “Fish and chips got bones meh?” (But in slightly different words since I try not to speak Singlish with ang mohs.)

Well, the fish and chips I had at Aruba was my first in England and YES THERE WERE BONES IN IT. I had to keep picking them out my mouth. I’m scared to try anymore now.

It wasn’t too tasty, either. It was beer-battered. I guess I prefer normal batter.

Okay, I’ll give the normal ones in town one more try before I come to a firm conclusion.

The ribs were awesome, though. So very tender and juicy with soft yummy fats around the cartilage. They were also gigantic, so Limin heaped a too-generous portion of her food onto my plate.


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Bournemouth Beach


Comparing my giant fries with Limin’s normal-sized ones, it was very funny.

Our bill came up to £31. Well, £34 (S$70) after adding the obligatory tip. Crazy, right! We only had two mains and two normal drinks!

Limin insisted on buying me lunch and wouldn’t hear of my protests. We argued a bit over who’s host. I claimed I was hosting and so should pay cos she came to Bournemouth to visit me. She claimed she was the host because I came to England where she’s been staying for almost three years.

Anyway, she won because I wasn’t assertive enough. I need to learn how to assert myself more in times like this. Seriously!

But, anyway, it was very nice of her, and I felt really bad after doing a conversion and realised how much our lunch cost in Singapore dollars.

After our lunch and stroll at the beach, we only had time left to take a quick walk to the famous St. Stephen’s Church, built in 1880.


St. Stephen's Church


St. Stephen's Church


So beautiful.

There wasn’t much we could do there except take a few photos. It was closed and no one was there, although the main gate was open so we could walk inside and admire the surroundings.

And then we had to get back.

Piers’ apartment is between the church and the train station, so we went back to the apartment to rest for a bit before walking to the train station for Limin to catch the 6 pm train home.



So, I’ve been thinking about it. It’s really inconceivable to me that people actually live in a place like Bournemouth. How do they deal with so much beauty in their lives?

Bournemouth is a resort, a place where people go for a holiday, leaving all worries at home. So, if you live here, where do you go for your holidays?? Boggles my mind.

But that’s an ironic question considering that I’m here only because Piers and his parents (born and bred in Bournemouth – okay I’m not sure about his parents but Piers was) are gone off elsewhere in the world on their separate holidays.

Goodness knows why they need to go away for holidays when they’ve already got a holiday at their doorstep.

Okay, guess I’m just being silly.

I’ll leave you now with the photos and be back with loads more in days to come.

19 thoughts on “The sky is bluer on the other side

  1. Avatar

    Excellent photos. Perhaps a trip to Bournemouth should be considered in the future. Hrm. I was at London for a tour before, and wasn’t too impressed.

  2. Avatar

    @abraxis: lol yes, indeed. :)

    @JayWalk: Haha… I guess that’s true. What a pity. :(

    @Mince Pye: Not all of them. Some are mine, taken with my Lumix. You can tell by the aspect ratio. :P The Nikon’s is more “wide-screen” while the Lumix’s is, well, 4:3. :P And, all the portrait orientation is the Nikon cos I don’t like taking portrait pictures so much. :P

    @Krusty: Yes, I’m expecting it to be really nice in Bournemouth nearer the summer. But then it gets awfully crowded since tons of people come here to holiday, so I don’t know if that would be a deterrent. Why didn’t you like London?

    @Rolando: Thanks! :)

  3. Avatar

    Really enjoyed this entry of yours.. Beautiful shots taken esp those from your camera. Makes me read over and over again hoping I could get teleported there.

    Nice to get acquainted with someone you just met and having so much fun together. A superb feeling you must have. Wonders of fate as to how different people cross your path :)

    Hopefully I would ever muster some courage like yours to travel alone to somewhere unfamiliar, realising there is a more beautiful world on the other side waiting for me. On a sad note, the world here seems to be on a dark side.

  4. Avatar

    @Mosoky: Thank you for your kind words! Very nice of you to say all that. :) You don’t have to muster the courage. It will never come. You just have to be impulsive and do it. Book the tickets, then it’ll be too late to back out and you have to go, lol. :P

  5. Avatar

    I used to live in Bournemouth before I moved to Singapore! I don’t see much blog entries for Bournemouth so when I came across yours I was ecstatic! I didn’t realise how much I missed the place until I read your posts!

    Castle point is great since its open til 8PM whilst most shops shuts at 5PM!

    Please visit Christchurch, it’s a little town next to Bournemouth. You can do crab fishing in Mudeford Quay or visit the Witch’s ducking stool (where they use to execute witches centuries ago!). Also, visit the church. Made in the 1100’s!

    Also worth a visit is Durdle Door & Lulworth Cove. It’s a short drive from Bournemouth.

    And of course, Sandbanks in Poole. The fourth highest property land value in the world! Just a short bus ride from Bournemouth Town Centre.

    I look forward to more of your posts about Dorset!


  6. Avatar

    @Karla: Wow, cool! I’m glad you found my blog! :) Are you working in Singapore now? :)

    I did visit Christchurch, but only for a couple of hours in the evening when everything was starting to close. Also went to Poole for a bit. (See this post.) So many lovely places to visit here, I’m afraid I won’t have enough time to visit all of them!

    @Krusty: Oh wow, I’m actually interested in London Dungeon for the history, but when I visited the website, it looks more like a halloween haunted house to me, where they throw you in a scary place and try to shock you silly with sudden appearing apparitions or the like. So is it like that? I don’t really like that kind of thing! lol.

  7. Avatar

    @Sheylara: Eh, I visited it in 1997, it was very much a museum of execution and torture (even had fake heads of the decapitated leaders from the French Revolution!). Might have changed now though.

  8. Avatar

    Nice Photos, yummy food :) ribs looks great :). Do u know English people add
    vinegar on top fish and chips o_O bleeeeee :-P

  9. Avatar

    @Sheylara: Just browsed through the website. Looks like it’s totally revamped, heh. Seems more like a haunted house kind of thing now.

  10. Avatar

    @Milosz: Yes, I know about the vinegar. I think it’s a bit weird! :D

    @isabell: Hey, wow, cool! It must have been so fun studying here! :) Where are you from?

    @Krusty: Hmm is it? Yeah, quite a pity right? I don’t like haunted houses. I think they’re cheap thrills. :(

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