Monday, 21 April 2014

Unfinished Business

east hayling light railway staion by funlands amusement parkThree days ago I cycled to "Funland" on Hayling Island seafront and bought an all-you-can-ride bracelet, good for 3 hours. While this is all very victorious, I didn't get to ride the little train along the seafront so today we abandoned Jof to her laundries and got on our bikes of freedom once again.
The Hayling Ferry saw us coming and came over to pick us up, same as last time. I didn't even know they had a timetable.
Parking the bikes against exactly the same bit of fence, I nipped around the corner to find the train was right there waiting for us, didn't even know it had a timetable, either. The Hayling Seaside Railway doesn't use steam any more, but the little carriages are very olde worlde and once everyone was on, it whistled, hooted, buzzed and tweeted and we were off!
It goes at jogging pace and is very rumbly and bumpy, and follows the corniche road but does wiggle about a bit, to avoid car parks, beach hut developments, clusters of obese locals with their oddly limited gene pool and the coastguard station. All the way, people were strangely compelled to wave at us, as we rattled along being chased by dogs.
Half way along is 'Mengham Road', a request stop. Nobody wanted to get on, and we trundled past.
The train terminates in 'Eastoke Corner', a motley collection of shops and chip outlets with a terracotta pot shop, house clearance, large toilets, off licence, ice cream parlours and a small village green with a set of pillories and stocks.
But the best thing for me was the sandpit park and exercise park right by the station. I swung and climbed and tried to push all the levers and even did some sit-ups. After sausage, egg'n'chips at JR's Diner we headed to the sea (40 yards) and found an abandoned sandcastle. For some reason I took to bombing it from the neighbouring groyne with the biggest rocks that my assistant could find.
eastoke corner hayling islandThen, the sea was trying to wash it away with its interfering waves and we piled up all the cast-down rocks to defend it. That's when I got hit by an unexpected wave and while I didn't actually fall in the sea, all of a sudden I was in it. I lost interest in the promised ice cream and we headed back to the train, placing an abandoned child in the sandpit for safe keeping.
On the return trundle, it started raining. I sheltered on the helter-skelter at Funland and it had stopped but I was wet and sandy anyway so we returned home. The ferry came when I called and it turned out Jof had been there to pick us up only an hour before (and had gone). I was tired and cold but sang in the shower for ages and caused even more laundry.

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