I decided, in my wisdom, it was about time I gave a tour of my little town....the aesthetically pleasing parts anyway and mainly just along the prom and back which is about a 6 mile round trip from my house...and worthy of the bowl of strawberries and ice cream I chowed down on yesterday evening.....So I present to you....Emma's virtual tour of (the pretty bits of) Bognor:
The reason Bognor has the suffix Regis attached is because it was a favourite of King George V for convalescing...notoriously (although largely legend) quoted as saying 'Bugger Bognor' upon his deathbed.....apparently, however, everyone's a critic.....
This is the Aldwick duck pond, positioned just a few yards across the road (where apparently all the ducks were hiding)
This little patch of greenery is called The Pound, a popular shortcut on the way to the beach and for dog walkers to foul up the path (their dogs that is not the walkers)
Marine Park Gardens run parallel to the beach just before the start of the prom....it's been around since about the 1930's and is a popular place for the cotton tops to take their afternoon snooze. It's also the place in which I met Mike Reid (a then moderately famous radio DJ) at a teddy bears picnic when I was a nipper.....I mainly remember having to be rescued by my dad from a crush of cotton tops who, obviously overdosing on their HRT, went completely loopy for the bespeckled, mulleted DJ.....*shudders*
The 18 hole pitch and putt where many summers of my youth were spent....although any type of golfing is not my forte.
Ahh, the beach...would be nicer if there were less shingle, kinder to the bare foot also cause holy crap does it pinch, alas, way back when, the groynes where placed wrongly and the sand was covered by the irritating little stones.
The Royal Norfolk Hotel...actually quite old....has been around for at least 150 years (so older than the popular entertainer Bruce Forsythe....just) and at one point was run by members of my family....should have paid attention more in class since my own mother recently wrote a book about the history of this place.
This here be the infamous Bognor pier.....any decent British seaside resort wouldn't be seen dead without a pier...in its day it was a hub of activity with amusement arcade, an entertainment pavilion, docking area for a paddle steamer and home to the world renowned Bognor Regis Birdman Rally (people in silly costumes hurling themselves into the freezing water in the name of charity....more likely insanity) .......these days however......
not so much...years of neglect and some heavy duty storms have serious dilapidated the town piers' ability to be....well.....a pier.
Even as a kid in the 80's the pier was much longer, though largely cordoned off due to it's collapsing into sea potential....
now at low tide you can walk right past the end of the dang thing....doesn't stop kids jumping off it at high tide...though the Birdman, for the first time in 29 years, was moved to a nearby town last year.
The view looking West
The view looking East
The crazy golf opposite the pier....one of the few family entertainment activities the town has to offer, along with.....
various ex-fairground tosh, a bouncy castle and....
The seafront train...ahh yes, because donkey's are so 1970's (concerns of PC-ness and the growing child obesity epidemic notwithstanding)....Eco the Engine is mainly used by the folk at Butlins who find the half mile walk along the prom into town too strenuous.
The bandstand...in which I don't think I've ever seen an actual band
This is progress....two brand spankin' new apartment blocks have been built...a snip at a £150,000+ (although I would love me one of the penthouse suites ta very much...expectin' that lotto win any day now)
As mentioned just now.....Butlins...formerly South Coast World...which was also known some years ago as....erm....Butlins....It's the main reason folk visit Bognor Regis. A chap by the name of Billy Butlin invented the holiday camp...the structured way to have a holiday (I refer you to the TV series Hi-De-Hi to get an idea) and figured Bognor and ideal location to stick one in 1960...and so it was, bringing with it chalets, Redcoats, swimming pools (indoor and outdoor), an oddly shaped pavilion, fun fair and thousands of tourists from up north with their spawn.....easily identified by men with beer guts in regional football shirts drinking Stella and gorging on Fish 'n' chips, women in ill fitting strappy tops with lobster red shoulders drinking Stella and gorging on fish 'n' chips and usually accompanied by half a dozen miniature versions of said adults, but with added snotty noses and ice cream smothered faces....going by the name on Tiffany, Britney, Courtney, Alfie, Harry and Jack
Below the oddly shaped pavilion where the Redcoats perform as well as the latest X-Factor rejects...oh yeah...Butlins is one classy place....There was once a Stargate convention here, but no advertising in the town itself meant I missed out, specifically on meeting Paul McGillion, Rachel Lutrell, Gary Jones and Dan Payne, amongst others...grrr, arrg
Anyhoo, next up Hotham Park...without which there would probably be no Bognor Regis...It's a humble park created way back in the 1780's by Sir Richard Hotham who hoped to create a space for folk to relax and visit whilst taking in the healthy sea air....It worked and thereafter Bognor became quite the tourist attraction.
Home to various scenic paths, a play area, miniature railway and boating lake (see above, though neither was in action yesterday), the park has seen some changes over the years...it was closed to the public for much of the 1940's, took a hit in the Great Storm of 1987 and at one point had a fun little theme park Rainbows End (of which I remember very little.....bar a Snow White and Seven Dwarfs singing model thing....like I said 'very little') and pets corner (my mothers generation) ...these stood disused and overgrown for many, many years until recently when a £2.2 million rejuvenation has once more opened up the park....though, it is still a work in progress, but a pleasant enough way to spend a summers afternoon.
This brings me to my toughest challenge of the day......
And fyi second row, far left...aka lemon/lime squeeze-up.....so there you go...my virtual tour of my humble abode of the past 29 years....and after all this pounding of the pavements the only thing left to do was head back to the beach for a very non-virtual paddle in the pleasantly warm sea.