Before rounding the morning off with a Totton Lidl shop, we had an almost fruitless search for a house in Romsey. We knew it was close behind the famous Abbey; we knew there was a river and a park nearby; we knew there was a ‘Greenfield View’. But negotiating the centre of this historic town is not particularly easy by car. And the map was all in Jackie’s head. She sought Little Meads, or The Meads. Round and round we went. Just before giving up, she drove us down Church Lane which didn’t look much of a road. This became The Abbey. Turning right, we found Little Meads. There was something of a blockage in Little Meads, caused by Highway Maintenance and Electricity company vehicles. With a screeching of bushes on the passenger side window, our driver managed to reach the end. Which didn’t go anywhere, and didn’t contain the missing house. Unfortunately the angles were all wrong for her to drive back out again. This could only be achieved with the cooperation of the Highway Maintenance driver who was loading his truck. He gave a thumbs up sign, but continued his task. A postman who had left his cart at the entrance to this cul-de-sac, gave Jackie an encouraging smile as he made his deliveries on foot.
We decided that the place we were looking for must be in The Meads. Leaving Little Meads, one could turn left or right into The Meads. My regular readers will not need to be told that I turned left and that it was the wrong way. To the right there was a bridge over the River Test, so I thought that was the end of the road. I walked back down Little Meads to the car. It wasn’t there. So, back to The Meads. Peering through the railings of the bridge, I spied a familiar number plate. Jackie was waiting there, from where she had established we would soon find Blackbridge House. We did.
The house was surprising. Although it is correctly described as an end of terrace property, the cunning photographer had displayed what seemed like a detached one. Its front porch and door is on the end of the row; something I have not seen before. Much of the back garden is given over to hard-standing for a car. Given the paucity of parking in the area, this is a necessity, and there is an adequate front garden facing fields and a green hill. We were pleased we had had one last attempt to find it.
Had I remembered that I had walked this area on 11th March, and even taken photographs in The Meads, it might have helped.
We are now into the season of soups and warming cauldrons. Lunch was Jackie’s compost, sausage, and chicken broth with lovely crusty bread from Sainsbury’s.
As always, whoever cooks makes enough for more than one meal. Tonight we enjoyed a reprise of Jackie’s superb sausage casserole (recipe). But not before it had suffered a minor mishap. In a magnanimous gesture designed to allow Jackie to take it easy this evening, I volunteered to heat up her magnificent concoction and take care of the vegetables. This turned out to be somewhat counterproductive.
Jackie told me afterwards that you don’t put metal on metal. I did just that when I placed the metal casserole pot on a metal trivet on the tea trolley we use to transport meals from the kitchen to the dining room at the far end of the flat. The result was that the casserole slid onto the floor. Not very gently, and with disastrous consequences. Happily, enough remained in the pot for our sustenance.
After the first course, my lady insisted on doing the clearing up, at which I have to confess she is the more competent. I believe there is a bit left for me to do, but I haven’t dared look at it yet. So we didn’t have our sweet of lemon drizzle cake and vanilla ice cream until some time later. She will deal with my trousers tomorrow.
Fortunately, the superb Chateau de Ballon bordeaux 2009, that John had brought yesterday, was on hand for me, whilst there was more Pedro Jimenez for Jackie.
P.S. In her Facebook comment Emily speaks of fond memories of The Gite From Hell, where another pair of trousers suffered a similar besmirching. The casserole-soaked pair are, after two washes the next day, as good as new.