Bemused at Bognor Regis England

It’s funny how a chance meeting can bring back memories from a long time ago.

My wife bumped into a friend that she hadn’t seen for quite a while, and it reminded me of the time we visited this friend when she was living in England and we’d had a very good day out with her at the seaside town of Bognor Regis in West Sussex.

Bognor Regis is only about 70 miles southwest of London and is proud to boast that it has more recorded hours of sunshine than anywhere else in Britain. Its proximity to London combined with its reputation for good weather is a powerful magnet, drawing tens of thousands of Brits to its shores each year to soak up its heat and to wallow in its waters.

Our trip to the town was a very enjoyable day, but perhaps for the wrong reasons.

You see, we three visitors to BR are Australians and we live in a state which has 12,000 kilometres of coastline with, literally, hundreds of gorgeous beaches and a climate that it as close to perfect as it is possible to be. Our first look at Bognor’s famous beach, which is covered with rocks rather than sand, set us off into a state of hysterics which had us guffawing for the rest of the day. To be honest, it was awful. All we saw were miles and miles of pebbles! I wasn’t expecting a tropical paradise, but I was anticipating a proper sandy beach. All the way down the rocky shoreline they’d erected wooden fences which protruded into the sea. I assume there were there to stabilise the rocks, but they do nothing to enhance the look of the place.

We also had a look at Butlins, which was then a holiday camp, but which is now a tented resort. I was intrigued at my first taste of a British holiday home for the hordes as it reminded me of a prison for partygoers. I concede that vacationers must have had fun there, but it looked far too regimented and rigid for me with the red-coated sergeants-at-arms goading their merry minions, urging them to have a good time, or else. Mind you, it does seem that the army barracks have gone to be replaced by decent-looking apartment buildings, but those first impressions were not good.

Bognor Regis used to be just Bognor, but the Regis, which means `of the King’, was added because King George V liked it there. I don’t know that the name `Bognor’ is a good marketing tool. Any name which contains the word `bog’ has connotations of a place that is unpleasant and foul.

Let me make it clear that Bognor Regis is not unpleasant, although I found it to be ridiculous, and it is certainly not foul. Nor it is particularly enticing.

Perhaps they should consider changing the name to Bondi Regis to give the place a bit of pizzazz?

Add a fair bit of Bondi’s sand and a touch more of its sun, and you’d have a seaside resort that may actually be worth visiting and staying for a while.

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