Running Hill was glorious this morning as I set off to walk a quirky Q linking the two fords with the Fleetwater phone box. This red phone box, incidentally, no longer takes coins. Bishops were in the process of moving people out of Barter’s, a rather large yet homely house which has just been sold.
The only humans I saw were in cars. Steaming exhalations emanating from ponies’ nostrils, snorted downwards, soared upwards and evaporated. Come to think of it, mine were doing the same. Poppy nutted Libby out of the way so she could get to the water bucket. Berry had said that this horse was the one in charge. She demonstrated this today. No resistance was offered by the wilder animal.
Sheep were strung out grazing in the sunlight.
We visited The Trusty Servant Inn, known locally as ‘The Trusty’, for lunch. This was a monthly village gathering attended by both familiar and new faces. The pub, in winter months, provides one course from a selection of four or five, for £6 a head. Jackie chose fish and chips; I had shepherds pie; and we drank Peroni and Doom Bar respectively. The village is proving to be most hospitable. At our end of the long row of linked tables one subject of conversation was the alleged Grinling Gibbons work over our entrance hall fireplace. No-one can yet verify the provenance of this. Nor has anyone come up with a definitive origin of the word Seamans. Oz thinks Richard Reeves in Lyndhurst might help with the latter. We also spoke about ancestry, names, and nicknames. Oz, actually Robert Osborne, has been Oz since he was a ten year old schoolboy. Friends of mine sometimes call me Del, and, when they want to be really amusing, Del Boy, with reference to David Jason’s classic television character Derrick Trotter. Oz would not answer to Ozzie, and Diane declines to be called Di. Diane and Bill; Oz and Polly (Pauline); Eileen and David; and Jackie and I got to know each other quite well in the time. At the far end of the table were Mary; and Jeanie and Nick, and a few others we didn’t meet. Mary had driven past us en route; Jeanie was the woman on whose door I had knocked in search of Seamans Lane information on 9th December last year; Nick is the husband who wasn’t in. We had a few words with them when we left. I list these names in full in the hope that this will help me remember them.
While I was walking in the morning Jackie went shopping in Totton’s Lidl. Among other purchases she came back with a child’s play-tent and a fan heater. The reason for the heater is that she is beginning to feel cold in the bedroom, whereas I don’t notice it. After lunch we decided to visit Aldi in Romsey where I had seen an electric blanket. Initially there was no sign of one. Searching under a pile of pillows like a terrier throwing up soil from a foxhole, we unearthed the one I had spotted, fortunately hidden from the view of anyone else who might have liked it. By the checkout there was a tub of ‘Hand Cooked Potato Chips’. This amused us. Like almost every display near a checkout, this one contained supplementary items dumped by people who had changed their minds. The woman on the till was very pleased when I told her that if there were an Olympic sport in checking out, she would be in the team. Her speed and friendliness were equally impressive.
Our evening meal was the same as yesterday.