Jackie’s Chequerboard fuchsia is not hardy, so she has brought it into the bedroom for the winter, and it has flowered again. It struck me this morning as being in perfect harmony with its surroundings. It was to seem even more an appropriate colour match for today’s later encounter.
By 9.00 a.m. we were in Ringwood to deliver the car to Wells Garage for its M.O.T. test. Leaving the vehicle for its once-over, Jackie set off to the town for some shopping whilst I embarked upon the Avon Valley Path from Hurst Road, that I had last walked on 4th March. The Avon Valley Path is often very narrow and bordered by very high wire fencing, keeping us away from fields, woods, and lakes on private land; or simply by garden fences. The wire fencing as described occupies the start of this particular route, and is actually rather claustrophobic. It soon has a meandering stream running along the left hand side although the right retains the uninviting barrier. On my previous visit I left the stream because I took the path indicated by a green arrow as the Avon Valley one. Today I chose to stay with the rivulet, following the yellow arrows indicating the Countryside Path. This was far more pleasant. It widened out in parts and had the added attractions of continuing running water.
As I had noted in March, the path was criss-crossed by tree roots of varying forms and sizes. Given that they were now covered by fallen leaves, knowing they were there probably saved me from twisting an ankle or two. Recently fallen trees formed primitive bridges straddling the stream or new arches across the footpath. The only other person I met was a man doing his best to keep up with two terriers whilst ensuring he didn’t become entangled in their extending leads. He was hard put to answer my greeting.
Back in March, on the Avon Valley Path, I had been unable to get near most of the lakes on the route. Today, on the Countryside Path I had an excellent view of Linwood Lake, although it too, as a nature reserve of some importance, was fenced off. Stately swans sailed upon it.
After forty minutes I came to a road beneath which, with the benefit of a ford, continued the stream. It was signposted to Ringwood. As a circular route would always be preferable to me, I decided to take the road, which was later signed as Gorley Road. Turning right at The White Hart and along Southampton Road took me through Poulner and back to the town.
As I passed Donna-Marie’s hair salon, she was standing in her doorway, and I stopped and spoke with her for a minute or two. When Jackie and I have tried to describe everything that is pink about this beautiful and bubbly young lady and her establishment, mere words have not been able to do justice to it. Donna was more than happy to help me put her, and consequently you, in the picture.
Upon reaching Ringwood I walked through Kings Arms Lane to the riverside, round the Bickerley, up to and under the A31, and arrived back at Wells Garage just as they had phoned Jackie to say the car was ready. I waited for her to return from Sainsbury’s and we took the pretty route through Bransgore back home, once again marvelling at the stunning array of varying colours of the autumn leaves that dazzled even on such a dull day.
After a dozy afternoon we dined on tender pork fillet marinaded in plum sauce; vegetables roasted with sweet chilli sauce; and egg fried rice, cooked by Jackie in a manner which would have pleased any Chinese cook. Dessert was vanilla ice cream with strawberry jam and evaporated milk. I finished the Gran Familia.