Daphne and I had planned a visit to Bournemouth for a couple of days away following the very busy and successful Stoke Lacy Fete and the art exhibition here at Stoke House.
The day dawned beautifully and with the promise of the good weather continuing we arrived at our hotel around 2pm.
Having booked in we took a walk along the seafront and noticed a lot of multicoloured banners outside a number of the hotels and a lot of LGBT signs around the place.
We woke the following morning to bright sunshine and a happy commotion in the street outside our hotel which ran along the seafront.
Literally dozens of floats with 'carnival' dressed young men and women were preparing a convoy that would drive along the seafront down to the Civic Centre and Bournemouth's recreational park. I was cheered by the very inclusive and happy attitude of all taking part. There was a man of Afro- Caribbean looks complete with dreadlocks who was helping his daughter with her costume.
I asked him if I could have a quiet word and with a big smile he came over, shook my hand and asked how he could help. I explained that I was a 'straight' guy and expressed my doubts that these lovely young people should be questioning their sexual identity and that it rested uneasily with me. He said that he was also a straight guy but the young people today believed that all people should be allowed to express a minority view without persecution and that this carnival was a way of supporting them. This extremely pleasant fellow put a very different view on things. He then shook my hand again and thanked me for my interest.
Now at 79 years of age I have been 'around the block' a bit. As lads growing up we knew about homosexuals or 'queers' and avoiding them. Don't think we knew anything about lesbians - not sure they were invented then! It has been difficult for me and maybe others in my age group to accept our changing attitudes. Indeed, whilst I was very taken by the attitude and ambience of the occasion I still found one or two guys whose backside would have fitted my right foot quite happily. However, having met and talked to a number of these people supporting the right of others to live the life they think is right for them.......should I think again.
p.s. Should any of my terminology have offended anyone I assure you that was not my intention. Have a safe and happy life. Nigel