The sinus pain that has been unrelentingly situated around my right eye for a fortnight showed some sign of shifting and lessening this morning. I have not taken Ibuprofen for 24 hours and the antibiotics have run their course.
We were struck by the quality of the produce and the preparation for winter. There is a link with Fairweather’s Garden Centre across the road, which had an extensive and unusual collection of Christmas items, some of which we purchased.
Cottages in the picturesque streets date back to at least the seventeenth century. Parked cars do, however, bring one sharply into consciousness of the twenty first.
One shop appears to sell nothing but Teddy Bears. Good quality gifts and groceries are in abundance. It was amusing to see, outside the Village Shop, a bucket and spade, hula hoops, and beach balls holding their own with a display of more seasonal logs.
The splendid plumage of the ‘locally shot pheasants’ hanging across the shop’s frontage could not be dimmed in death. A woman passing asked her male companion: ‘Are they real?’. ‘Of course’, he replied with a measure of disdain. I didn’t think it politic to mention that I had been wondering the same thing.
There is a mill pond at this end of the tidal Beaulieu River on which stands Buckler’s Hard which we visited with Sam and Malachi on 12th January. If you can avoid the trees and buildings you can get a good view of the thirteenth century Cistercian abbey.
Across the river someone was having a bonfire. A gull kept its distance from the smoke.
We drove back across the heathland, diverting to shop at the Old Milton Lidl. This took us past The Old Post House which, we were now delighted to see, advertises itself as with ‘Sale Agreed’.
Jackie stopped the car along the road through the heath, so we could again admire the effects of the lowering sun. As I stepped out onto the plain I came across a warning sign alerting me to the fact that this area had been designated for military training during the First World War, and that there was ongoing work to remove ‘unexploded ordnance’ which meant we should watch out.
Our evening meal was cottage pie followed by rice pudding, jam, and custard. The final touch was offered in jest, in recognition of my Lower Marsh lunches with Terry Taylor in the 1960s. I jumped at it. Jackie finished the sauvignon blanc. I began Ron’s Lussac Saint-Emilion 2011. Both these wines were very good.