As the morning stretched out, so did the shadows cast on the lawn by the climbing sun whilst we pottered about inside prior to a trip to Christchurch.
After lunch we drove to Curry’s/PC World just outside Christchurch to investigate the possibilities of buying a new laptop and giving my old one a good clean up. Yesterday I had discovered that I can exchange my NatWest Your Points for vouchers to be used in this store. I have more than enough for a Windows laptop, but nowhere near sufficient for a Mac Book. The vouchers are in the post, so I have deliberation time. The old laptop has been left for the clean. The reason I want a new one is that the old Toshiba dates from the days before built-in card readers, and I’d like to be able to simply slip the card from my camera into the device when I am not near my iMac.
We then wandered around the town. On this fine springlike day crocuses brightened the Priory car park, where we must have secured the last available parking spot. As we left our car, the view of the Priory Church was blocked by a vehicle from which two women and a child were being decanted, so I waited until the man with them had driven off, no doubt in search of the advertised Mayors Mead, to photograph the people and the building.
On leaving the church precinct, my attention was drawn to an ancient ruin peering above the sloping red-tiled rooftops of the town. This Jackie knew to be the castle, so we walked round to have a look at it. Dazzling direct sunlight striated the sward covering the mound on which this small relic stood, so I walked further into the grounds to view the castle with the sun on its back. Whilst I was doing so, my lady appeared from behind the pile, waving her arms in delight at having ascended the steep steps to her goal. The red-legged little girl who shares the shot must have raced up and down the two sets of steps at least a dozen times before settling into the stocks to have her photograph taken in them.
From the top of the mound, through the vestigial castle arches, we enjoyed interesting views of the town, in particular a fascinating display of roofing through the ages.
The town centre juxtaposes the old and the new, with many buildings, such as The New Forest Perfumery, having changed their use, no doubt on numerous occasions over the years. The Perfumery, still bearing its original sign in old script looks to be a building from the sixteenth or seventeenth century. It now houses tea rooms, as indicated by the more modern board outside. Perhaps because our house in Sigoules was built in the eighteenth century and because Patrick Suskind’s 1985 novel entitled ‘Perfume: The story of a Murderer’, is set in the France of that era, I speculated that maybe Suskind’s perfumier worked in a similar setting. The novel focusses on the sense of smell and its relationship with the emotional meaning that scents may carry. Even if the tea rooms serve a vast array of teas and coffees, I doubt that their aromas are likely to match the variety of fragrances that once permeated the fabric of the building.
Jackie and I were immediately transported to our youth at the sight of the Regent Centre, this picture house from the brief heyday of the cinema, sandwiched between a Subway and a Poundshop. The old Regent still shows films, but is now a much broader entertainment centre. Originally opening in 1931 it operated as a cinema for just over forty years, after which it spent a decade housing Bingo. A partnership between volunteers and Christchurch Borough Council has turned it into a theatre, cinema, concert hall, studio and art gallery. This afternoon there were a number of stalls inside, displaying jewellery, models, CDs and DVDs among other articles for sale. Tables and chairs for takers of tea lined the entrance hall. The building is well maintained, and retains its Art Deco style.
This evening we dined on mushroom omelette also containing onions, garlic, and a dash of Worcester sauce; baked gammon; fried potatoes, and baked beans. Lemon and lime jelly floating in evaporated milk was a suitable dessert. I finished the Lidl Bordeaux and Jackie saw off the zinfandel rose.