SATURDAY 28th July
I had a chocolate pastry twist for breakfast today. It was very yummy. The Builder had a raisin pastry. He seemed to enjoy that too. We were waiting at the
It was not raining!
You could see the remnants of the flooding around
We saw two parachutists floating down to earth as we passed
We stopped in
And then we drove to Berwick St John, past the regimental badges cut into the chalk in a hillside, past Wotsit St Martin, down along a twisty road and into the village. The cottage is one of three in restored cow and calf sheds, a short walk from the village pub and really rather nice. Lindsey, The Builder and I went to find a way up onto the iron age hill fort which looks down upon us. Ian did not come, having buggered his back using a Parisian loo (dangerous folks, those Parisians; designing loos that sneakily attack you and render you hors de combat!) We eventually found the way up to the access stile, but decided that a clamber up it might be better done with plenty of time in hand and not at gin and tonic time in the evening! Perhaps on Thursday when Ian has to go to
Sausage and mash for dinner.
SUNDAY 29th July
Poor Ian is poorly sick. His back is still knackered and he was up all night with diarrhoea :-( After breakfast, Lindsey, The Builder and I made a mercy dash into
He came too.
All was going well until we were trundling through the New Forest and The Builder randomly turned off to
We have discovered that Ian gets car sick. He was a very fetching shade of green when we got out the car. I don’t think he enjoyed the twisty roads at all. Though we did see lots of
We parked up in the town centre car park and had a remarkably nice roast beef lunch in The Angel (Ian had chicken pie) then we drove down to the harbour car park, planted Ian on a bench overlooking the boats with the Sunday papers, and went off for a mooch about and to find ice cream. Then we drove to
Was a lovely day. The sun shone. It was pleasantly warm. We went to the seaside. Anyone would think it was summer!
I made a “pizza” for dinner, using sliced potatoes for the base. I rather liked it. I think the others did too. Certainly there was nothing left!
MONDAY 30th July
We were off to Lyme Regis to meet Farishta for lunch. The Builder and I had decided to go via Sherbourne and Yeovil. Katie, Ian’s GPS, was determined that we should go via
Actually, it’s quite fun having a GPS in the car. And it would have been mighty useful when I went to collect Lindsey from
We arrived in Lyme Regis in good time to meet Farishta. The sun was shining. It was a lovely afternoon. We ambled down to what Farishta says is the best fish and chip shop in Lyme (and where I have previously been, many years ago, with Simon and an infant Yvette) to acquire haddock, chips and fizzy drinks, then we went and sat in the churchyard, overlooking Lyme Bay in the sunshine to eat them – unmolested by marauding seagulls. And very nice they were too. Right. Time for a walk. We made our way through the crowds (although, it wasn’t really as crowded as I would have expected it to be, given that it was the seaside in the summer holidays and it wasn’t raining. You’d have expected ravaging hordes!) to the Cob where we went for a stroll along. We decided not to attempt the grannie’s teeth steps back down. I have been down them before and they’re OK once you get onto them. It’s the launch into space to get onto them that is a stumbling block (pun intended :-) ) We made our way up through the top of the
I found a little road running down to the beach at
The Cerne Giant, who could really do to have his chalk cleaned, for he is a bit grubby, has acquired a friend. Somebody has painted a large Homer Simpson in the field next to him. For some reason Mr Simpson is wearing a nappy and brandishing a sombrero. I assume this has something to do with the Simpsons film which has recently come out. However, since I am entirely unlikely ever to see this film, the significance of the sombrero and the nappy is likely to remain a mystery to me for ever!
We called into Shaftesbury for salad supplies to supplement the quiche and returned home to Berwick St John for a rather pleasant supper. It was a good day.
Ian doesn’t get quite as car sick if he sits in the middle seat in the back. He can see where we’re going if he does that. He can’t sit in the front. If Katie and The Builder are to continue their gargantuan route battle, The Builder needs his navigator (ie, me!) with him!!!
TUESDAY 31st July
It’s a miracle!! Katie and The Builder agreed which way to go this morning. Well, mostly they agreed. We’d been into Shaftesbury to see if there is an internet café (there isn’t, but there is always the library) and we were off to the
There are some fantastic views on the road between Shaftesbury and Sixpenny Handley. We stopped to admire Wiltshire and Dorset, laid out before us, glistening in the sunshine.
Lunch in the Red Shoot was very pleasant (though not the steak and stilton I was expecting – grilled rump, chips, mushrooms and salad. No need to book for the Talbot in BSJ for this evening, then!
We stopped at the deer watching platform. Just as the deer were being fed their lunch. Very clever of The Builder! Then on through The
I had told Lindsey that Lepe is a sandy beach. And it is. But not when the tide is right up high and all you can see is the top of the beach shingle. A chocolate milkshake before proceeding (Ian has been yearning for an iced coffee, which you can’t get at the beach side cafes. He has fixed this problem by buying a chocolate milkshake and a short black coffee and adding them together. Not quite iced mocha! Then we went for a meander along the beach. And a soft whipped ice cream with flake before Lepe-ing back in the car and heading back.
The Builder and Katie more or less agreed about the way back as well. IT has to be said that The Builder wouldn’t have headed back into the Forest from
So, it was a good day. Nice and sunny. Lots of animals. A pub. A beach. Lovely.
Or – it was a lovely day if you were Lindsey, Ian or me. The poor Builder didn’t have quite such a good time. We were sitting in the Vixen at Lepe beach, eating our ice creams when a small boy approached the car next to us and SCREAMED at the top of his voice for the rest of his people to hurry up. Yelled and screamed. “WHY CAN’T ANYONE HEAR ME?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?” The Builder retorted that he could hear him quite adequately. And the little boy turned round and told him to f*** off. I turned round to look at him – and found him looking quite abashed. A bit astonished that he’d actually said it. Then he looked around to see if his mum had heard. Fortunately for him, she hadn’t!
Then we took Ian to Waitrose. Lost him. Found him again. Lost him again. Eventually gathered him up and approached a checkout till. The Builder had put down his basket and was watching Ian make another escape attempt when a tall, elegant looking lady backed into him, towing her very full trolley backwards. Properly ran him over, she did. And rather than apologising, which is what normal people do, she shouted at him – because she had been intending to use that checkout. Now why she couldn’t wait is a mystery to me. WE only had a basket so weren’t going to be very long. But no. When The Builder (who had, after all ,been there first) refused to move she stormed off swearing at him. Never been sworn at in Waitrose before. And you don’t expect elegant, grey haired ladies to swear at you for getting to the checkout first! You’d think people would have better things to worry about!! After avoiding being run into by two other grey haired ladies who tried to drive into him while we were attempting to get out of the supermarket (we’d recaptured Ian) we headed directly home before anyone else could swear at or try to break The Builder. Plied him with vodka and wine and stir fired beef and he was happy!
Had a lovely walk this morning. Lindsey, The Builder and I went down to the pub to see what time it serves food in the evenings (we’ve decided to go on Thursday) and to see if there’s a bus (there is) and went for an amble down a little lane near the farm gate and found lots of lovely houses. It’s a beautiful village, is Berwick St John. Seems odd that there’s no shop, though. I’d have thought it was big enough to support a shop.
WEDNESDAY 1st August (How did that happen? What happened to June?)
I’ve been stroking cows!! Well, calves. Big calves. Ian was stood out on the steps to the barn this morning (only place you can reliably get mobile phone signals here). I took his coffee out to him. And a whole load of calves came over to the fence to see what we were doing. I stroked one on its nose and scratched it behind its ears and it licked me :-) I like cows!
We took ourselves off to Shaftesbury this morning with a view to visiting the library so we could reconnect Ian to the internet. Alas – the library is closed on Wednesdays!!! Ian is suffering technology withdrawal. We shall have to go to
But first, I want a mooch about Shaftesbury. There are many interesting shops. There are nooks and crannies. And there is a pub where, quite some time ago, while in there for a mid afternoon pint I saw people eating prawns out of pint pots. I want to eat prawns out of pint pots! So we did. We sat outside on one of the terraced deckings in the sunshine and Lindsey, The Builder and I had pint sized beer glasses (with handle) filled with prawns on trenchers with slabs of brown bread and seafood sauce, accompanied by salad, washed down with a glass each of dry white wine. Was fantastic. Ian was there but, no doubt influenced by his technology withdrawal, had a burger with chips instead of a pint of prawns. It must be said, it really was lovely. The view from the terrace wasn’t bad either.
When I was packing to come away, my hand hovered over my pair of shorts. Don’t be ridiculous, thought I. It hasn’t stopped raining for weeks. You won’t need shorts. Then we got here, the sun came out, it’s been warm and bright, and we’ve been visiting beaches. I now have two new pairs of shorts and a pair of three quarter length trousers.
So. A(nother) mercy dash to
We are now back in Berwick St John. My phone remains in Whiteley. I left it in the pocket of a cardie I borrowed from Jeanette as the temperature fell when the sun went down. Wednesday is my night for talking to Tony over the net. In the absence of a handy messenger, we rang him on my mobile phone. Then I automatically put it in the cardie pocket without particularly noticing. Poor phone. Abandoned in a cardie pocket :-(
I have a hippo. Jeanette, Matthew and Rebecca found it and bought it for me. It’s a large money box. Freyja’s hippo collection appears to be developing a colony in Tupton!
THURSDAY 2nd August
Ian disappeared off to
Back to the cottage. We are, actually, quite short of milk and perhaps wine. Look at map. It is quite a step to Ludwell. I wonder what time the little bus goes? Amble down to the bus shelter to find out. Eeeek. 7 minutes before it’s due. Rush up to the cottage, grab The Builder and Lindsey, run back to the bus shelter. Wait for bus. Even then we nearly missed it – a van pulled up and was asking where he was on the map and the bus stuck its nose around the corner to see if anyone wanted it. We abandoned the misplaced van driver and waved the bus down.
We didn’t go to Ludwell, in the end. We decided to go right into Shaftesbury where we had a couple of hours before the next bus back. We ambled around and looked at the shops and some of the town. We went into the little museum. Our ticket allowed us into the Abbey gardens as well so we went to investigate. It was created by King Alfred for women; it’s first abbess was his daughter. There’s not much left of the abbey, but there is a rather nice herb garden. Then we realised that our couple of hours was nearly up and we still hadn’t got the milk or the wine. Acquired both and wandered back to the bus stop.
And so back to the cottage. Sat about for a bit, then I decided that there was an iron age hill fort behind us (not that I decided that – there was an iron age hill fort behind us; Winklebury camp) and that we should go up it. Off we went. Up we went. Slowly. Doing a Margaret quite frequently (stopping to look at the view, take photos etc, so called because Margaret used to stop to take photos of flowers for her flower census but which also allowed her to catch her breath). Nearly at the top. Oh no – there’s more beyond that apparent brow. Up we went. Up and up. OH NO -- this hill never ends. Now there’s an earth rampart to scale. But we made it. Feeling very glad that we hadn’t been the people who had to build the ramparts and defences. Fantastic views from the top though.
And back down. Plenty of nice exercise. I even got a bit of stitching done in the morning. Ian came back before 8pm and we had little tiny steaks with boiled potatoes and salad to use up as much of the food we had left. For we are moving on on Friday and I don’t want to bwe carrying food with us unnecessarily. The Vixen is not absolutely elastic when it comes to luggage space.
FRIDAY 3rd August
And it was a lovely morning. We were up and moving around reasonably early. Although we can stay in the cottage until 10:00 on Saturday morning, we are off to
Ian found a cappuccino machine loitering in the car park on the way back to the car!
The intention had been then to do a drive by of Stonehenge with a quick dash into the shop to buy
The Builder dropped us at the Yew Tree pub in the next village along from his parents and went to collect them. We’ve never been in – and it’s really lovely. And the food is magnificent. Really magnificent. I had sausages!!!!!!!!!!! They were on the board as award winning, specialty sausages and there was a choice of flavours. I had lamb and mint, pork and leek, and old Charlie (I didn’t enquire who Charlie had been!) with an enormous mountain of mashed potatoes and onion gravy. Lindsey had lasagne. Everyone else had steak, kidney and guinness pies. And very yummy it was too. Then The Builder took his folks home and Lindsey, Ian and I walked back in the sunshine. We must go there again – I would be interested to know what their Sunday lunches are like.
So. Now we need to make a dash to
Have now spoken to Peter and Joan. We are visiting them tomorrow evening for dinner before heading home.
The most direct way to
Dinner in the Boathouse, sat outside overlooking the river. Another excellent pub experience. Lindsey, Tabitha and I had beef in Yorkshire wraps – flat
We’ve had lovely experiences in the pubs this week. Finger bowls when we’ve ordered seafood, apologies when things have gone slightly awry, chefs ambling around and seeing if we were happy. That chap in the Now Not Famous Red Lion could learn quite a lot from them. I wonder if he ever does go out and see what other pubs do?
Back to T and G’s place, where we found their pal Batch waiting for us. Inside for a nightcap or two, and so to bed. The poor Builder must have been knackered. He’s driven miles and miles and miles and miles today.
We noticed, as we were heading into
SATURDAY 4th August
We had a lovely day in
Happily, he hadn’t.
So we wandered into town and pottered in the market and inspected the outside of the colleges and pottered about and walked around the back of Clare’s and down onto the Backs and ambled along the river and played by the canals and had wine in the Anchor and watched the punts playing dodgems and ate souvlaki on Jesus Green and walked some more and chatted and pottered and played. And the sun shone on us cheerily.
Then we went back to Tabitha and Gareth’s and they went to the pub to meet a pal and we sat outside in the garden in the sunshine until it was time to remove to Girton, leaving Tabitha, Gareth, Batch and the pal behind for Taffa and Gaz were having a party.
We were off to meet Joan and Peter for dinner at the Old Crown. They were in good health and spirits and seemed quite chirpy. Also pleased to see Lindsey and Ian. I think they thought we might not go and visit them. Unlikely, but there you go. And Peter hadn’t picked up his emails so hadn’t read the one from me asking if they would be At Home for a visit today. At least, he didn’t read it until Wednesday. Dinner in the Old Crown was fantastic. Ian says that his was possibly the best duck he had ever tasted. I have to say that my salmon salad wasn’t at all bad, either.
Then we left Joan and Peter and made our way back through the twilight to Tupton, where we found Marlo seriously lamenting. Tammy had been feeding him until Thursday afternoon when she went on holiday with her parents. Daniel was supposed to be taking over – but I’m fairly certain he hadn’t. There were too many sachets of food left if he had been fed on Friday or Saturday morning. And he gobbled up what I put down for him in no time flat.
Then he purred a lot!!!