Gavin and I (and G's sister J) took a trip down to Bournemouth a few years back..2005 if I remember correctly(which of course ,I do).
We took a flight from Edinburgh to Southampton then a rail link to Bournemouth itself before finally reaching our traditional seaside B&B (not quite Fawlty Towers but not far off it!). The B&B saw fit to situate itself at a top of one of the towns steepest hills, okay if you were at the top but a nightmare to scale if you were at the bottom!
We browsed around Bournemouth taking a walk along the beachfront past the brightly coloured beach huts and kids playing in the sand. We strolled through the Lower Gardens where we stopped for an ice cream (it was July..there was sun!!) and a ride on the tethered hot air balloon 'The Bournemouth Eye'.
Now I'm a scared of heights but I didn't want to miss out on this opportunity..and after we were in the air I managed to chill out just long enough to enjoy the view.
(does that look like a happy face to you?)
The main reason for our trip was a visit to Monkeyworld after watching the TV series 'Monkey Business'(which is filmed there) for many years with great interest.
Monkey World is an ape and monkey santuary set up in 1987 by the late Jim Cronin.
It was originally intended to provide a home for abused chimpanzees used by Spanish beach photographers, but is now home to many different species of primates.
Gavin had bought me an adoption pack for my favourite chimp Charlie as I'd followed his particular story closely on the show and it was great to see him at the park. Charlie’s history was traumatic. Formally a photographers prop, when he first arrived he was a drug addict, had a broken jaw, cataracts, and only four teeth. Often described by one of the keepers as 'the mad uncle' of his group, he is clearly at ease in his present setting but obviously at times still emotionally scarred by his past.
While we were at the park I was lucky enough to bump into Jim Cronin himself and he was very chatty and stopped for a photo.
Sadly he died of liver cancer in March 2007 but his wife continues to carry on the work of Monkeyworld.