I’m not quite yet living in London. My current residence is just outside of Bournemouth, a seaside town on the south coast, an hour and a half’s drive from London. Bournemouth is a pleasant enough place, which positively throngs with holiday makers and day trippers on warm days in summer. The beaches are amongst the finest in the country.
Bournemouth has a pier too. A Pleasure Pier, to be precise. I like old piers. A walk down one, along the timber planked platforms, is like a walk down through history. Unless you’re on a pier with its own train system. In which case, a ride down one, etc. They are quaint, as old English things tend to be. They are national icons. The Pleasure Pier was invented here, you see.
The first one went up in the early 1800’s, just a stones throw from Bournemouth, over on the Isle of Wight. It is still there, despite the best efforts of the notoriously harsh English Channel. Fire tends to be the most common destroyer of piers, not the millions of gallons of water that constantly lash them. A little ironic. But they built things to last in the old days. The world’s longest pier is in the UK too, stretching some 2 kilometres out into the sea.
But it’s still winter here. Cold, grey and windy. So Bournemouth Pier is quiet. A slumbering giant, with just a handful of hardy souls going for a stroll down the full length in the stiff sea breeze. Or venturing to the Fish and Chip restaurant, another icon of England, that sits at the end of the pier.