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As I say I envied them, but there was an alternative to envy, if you could not potter about in a small boat you could at least get afloat. A regular ferry runs across to Hayling Island and tempted by the view across the water of people tucking into lunch outside the Ferryboat Inn we made the trip and enjoyed dining in the sun. It would have made an excellent ending to our visit, but there was more, to come as on our return we found free rides being offered to Portsmouth on an ancient open top double decker bus. The round trip on the classic vehicle was stress free. Someone was else doing the driving and there were no worries about finding parking.

Allan Rogers finds

QUIRKY BOATS

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In spite of it being a bank holiday we had a clear drive down to Portsmouth and we arrived early with time to kill before our booked sailing with Brittany Ferries to Caen in France. However the city was hosting a massive concert, traffic crammed the streets and parking seemed impossible.  We went in search of a quiet place to stop and found it close to the Hayling Island Ferry on the Eastney peninsula. Just beyond the Southsea Marina with it's expensive gleaming yachts the road ends and there we parked amid a quirky collection of boats.

It could have been a natural setting for the old cartoon character ‘’Pop Eye the Sailor Man”.  I say boats, well I am sure most of them were once quite seaworthy and active but now they are propped up on the beach and have been transmogrified into colourful constructions that are half house, half boat. The imagination of the owners had run riot.  One had a wall of seashells, on another the holes in the hull that were patched with paintings. The collection of vessels was worthy of a Turner Prize for modern art.

From the grass patch beside the lifeboat station we were able to watch the yachts head out to sea and also appreciate the racing skills of the small boat sailors who tacked their craft so close to the shore that you could almost touch them.

 

Around us seagulls squawked and the water was bustling with boats. On a summer day it was the perfect place to linger.

I certainly envied the locals who unloaded fishing tackle from cars and attached ancient outboards to their dinghies.

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