Reflections On Main Street

Comments from American friends on my recent post, ‘An Historic High Street’, have led me to reflect on our different terms for the main shopping streets in towns. The U.S. ‘main street’ is the U.K. ‘high street’. That of New Milton is Station Road, which I visited with Ian this morning as he needed to have a discussion at the Santander Bank.

When we left the bank, Ian left me at Fagan’s mens’ outfitters where I bought a jacket whilst my future son-in-law walked up to Costa Coffee where I joined him later.

En route from Fagan’s I photographed elements of this high street which could be no more different from that of Brockenhurst, only a handful of miles away.

Station Road 1

This first image demonstrates that earlier architecture has made way for that of the modern era. Sandwiched between a toyshop and the Halifax Building Society is the British Heart Foundation, on of the many charity shops which are taking over from so many defunct small outlets in our towns.

Boutique Charity Shop

That particular shop is reflected in the window of the Charity Boutique across the road. The Alliance Healthcare van speeding through the window display is a reflection of the gradual privatisation of our Health and Social Services.

NatWest Bank

Further up towards the eponymous station the NatWest bank stands at the corner of Ashley Road.

Station Road 2Station Road 3

On the opposite corner stands Boots Pharmacy. On the other side of Station Road is to be found Charles Nobel, one of several jewellers.

New Milton Lighting Centre

The New Milton Lighting Centre gives us Christmas decorations all the year round.

Station Road 4

The Hearing and Mobility Centre reflects the demography of the town and its environs, although Naomi House, a children’s hospice is a sad exception. Pets are a necessary addition to the local households, especially now their children have flown the nests. PamPurred Pets is quite a chain.

Flower Vogue

Flower Vogue has one of the few original shop fronts, and another jeweller alongside.


Morrisons is one of the supermarkets that has a presence here.

Morrisons 2

Satisfied customers are often to be seen outside waiting for a lift or having a fag. I think the fag in this picture was probably something else gripped in the lady’s teeth.

Coral Betting Shop

No self-respecting English high street is without its Betting Shop. This one is next to a greetings cards outlet.

Station Road 6

Although there is a cycle rack outside Morrisons, mobility scooters, like this one outside Boots Opticians, are as plentiful in the town. Acupuncture & Herbs, off-licences and money lenders offer different curative measures.

Barclays Bank

Barclays Bank was also visited by someone with a disability.

Station Road 7

Opposite Costa Coffee can be seen Scope, another charity shop, Lloyd’s Pharmacy and further hearing centre.

Station Road 8

A little further along we find the Lloyd’s Bank building, a rare survivor from the early twentieth century.

This evening Jackie provided a superb sausage casserole, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli, carrots and Brussels sprouts, followed by apple crumble and cream. She drank Blanche de Namur, I drank more of the Sotillo, and Ian drank water.

Afternoon In The Forest

This morning Aaron made a start on decorating the stairs and landing.

Afterwards Becky drove me, Jackie, and Ian to Abbot’s Well at Frogham, where we lunched in The Foresters’ Arms.

This was another comparatively mild day of rather more sunshine than showers, making for constantly changing light. Our accommodating daughter complied with my various requests for photography stops.

Reflections in pools 1Reflections in pool 2

Roger Penny Way runs from Cadnam roundabout to Godshill and beyond. The first stop was to record arboreal reflections in recently formed forest pools.

Ponies reflected in pool 2

Ponies reflected in pool 1Pony reflected in field 1

At Godshill, ponies were reduced to grazing around the edges of more pools that now covered their grass patch.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Tree in landscape 1

Soon after Godshill we turned left and drove up to Abbots Well where we disembarked and wandered around for a while.

Walker in heathland

Other walkers soaked up the landscape.

Ian in landscape

Ian can be seen emerging from the bushes here,

Fungus on tree

where bright yellow fungus was to be found.

We lunched in The Foresters’ Arms, where the already excellent food has gone up several notches in quality since our last visit more than a year ago. My burger stack with quite the best onion rings I have ever tasted, superb chunky chips, coleslaw and salad was plentiful enough to suffice for the day’s sustenance. I drank Wadsworth’s 6X. Ian had the same opinion about the same choice of meal, and drank Kronenberg. Jackie also enjoyed her scampi and chips (small appetite size), and Becky her roast beef (kid’s portion). The two ladies shared coffee and coke.

Ponies in field

On our return, on the way down to the ford from the pub, we passed a field containing horses that are not wild. That they were not wearing rugs is a reflection on the mild weather.

Thatched house


On a corner of the road stands a typically thatched house.

Pony 1Pony 2Ponies 1Ponies

This time, when we passed Godshill the ponies were feeding in full sunshine.


If we ever get a winter this year, I wonder how our


iris Unguicularis,

Daffodils and pansies

daffodils and pansies,




and camellias will fare.

On an afternoon of steady rain, the mood was lifted by two elements.


First, the sky cleared enough to give us a reasonable sunset.


Becky tuned in to YouTube and blew our minds.


Follow the link.

Even if you have only ten minutes to spare. Follow. The link.

If it does not blow yours, you have no soul.

Wikipedia begins its pages on the duo with: ‘2Cellos (stylized 2CELLOS) is a Croatian[2][3] cello duo, consisting of classically trained Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser. Signed to Sony Masterworks since 2011, they released three albums and play mainly instrumental arrangements of well-known pop and rock songs.[4] The duo perform internationally and have been featured on several US TV shows including Glee and The Bachelor (Season 18/Sean and Catherine’s Wedding) [1]

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole, crisp carrots and Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes, followed by spicy apple crumble and cream. My beverage was more of the Sotillo, Jackie’s Hoegaarden. Ian’s San Miguel, and Becky’s rose wine.

Rosie Lea

This afternoon Jackie drove Becky and me on a recce through the waterlogged forest. On another reasonably warm day, we enjoyed a little sunshine and a lot of showers.

The first stop was near Wootton Bridge on the way to Brockenhurst.

Pool in forest 1Pool in forest 2Pool in forest 3

There we encountered expanding pools of water on the forest floor,

Pool in forest 4Trees and pool 1Trees and pool 2

Stream in forest 1

a swollen stream,

Forest trees 1Trees in forest 2

intermittent sunshine,


and moody clouds above.

Becky, red coat in forest

Becky’s red coat brightened the landscape a bit.

Pony 1

Soon after we continued our journey, I spotted a pony mother and child foraging by the roadside, and prevailed upon my driver to stop. As I emerged from the car, my potential subject, completely oblivious of oncoming traffic, stepped into the road and made a beeline for me. Wary of the ticks these creatures carry, I returned to the passenger seat.

Pony at back window

Becky photographed our friend through the back window.

Pony at passenger window

The beast then walked round to my door and I took over the camera.

Pony holding up traffic

Our continuing progress was then briefly impeded by another pony in the road.

Oak tree

Eventually we arrived at Brockenhurst where the sun now shone on oaks


and lichen alike.

Tea cups

It was time for Rosie. A cup of, that is.

For those readers unfamiliar with Cockney Rhyming slang, tea is Rosie Lea, truncated by omitting the second word.

Rosie Lea's

The proprietors of Rosie Lea’s have chosen the full version in naming their tea shop which won the 2014 Hampshire Food and Drink Awards best tea/coffee shop and customer service awards. Incidentally the Bakehouse, that had the queue across the road yesterday, was the best baker. This photograph also doubles as a selfie for Jackie and me.

Tea and cakes

The cups and saucers in the cabinet photographed above are those used to serve tea in this establishment which also plays ’50s pop music for the customers.

Sway Tower at sunset

Shortly before sunset we returned via Sway Tower, otherwise known as Peterson’s Folly.

Sway Tower trial at sunset

Before building his monument, Judge Peterson erected a trial model, which is shown to the right of this picture.


Sunset was in its prime above Christchurch Road when we arrived home.

We will be eating rather late this evening. This is because Becky and Ian went out earlier and have been held up in traffic. But, fear not. I know what we will be having so I am able to include it and submit this post in reasonable time. It is beef hotpot, carrots, green beans, and cabbage, followed by profiteroles. I will drink more El Sotillo, Jackie will imbibe Hoegaarden, and I expect Ian will have a beer and Becky rose wine. The food will, of course, be cooked to perfection.

An Historic High Street

Brookley Road 2

When thinking of High Street shops today, one imagines the chain store outlets that can be found in major cities across the globe. Not so in Brockenhurst. It is possible to drive through this village for years without coming across Brookley Road, which is the high street. Jackie, Ian, Becky lead this group of pedestrians on the way to the rows of small, local, shops.

Somehow the buildings in this thoroughfare, some dating from the nineteenth century, have escaped succumbing to corporate facades.


Reynolds entrance

The ladies and gentlemen’s outfitters, Reynolds, for example still sports its original entrance complete with adjustable front railings.

Day Lewis Pharmacy

Day Lewis Pharmacy still has its original windows.

Jackie and Becky outside Brock Ante 2Jackie and Becky outside Brock Ante 3

Jackie parked opposite Brock Ante and led our daughter inside the antiques shop where we had bought one of Becky’s Christmas presents. In view of what I was about to see, the name of the barber was rather fortuitous.

Knots Knits & Crafty Bits

A short while later, Knots, Knits & Crafty Bits opened their door to display enticing yarns.

Village VegVillage Butcher

Alongside Splish Splash stand Village Veg and Village Butcher.

Brookley Road (Ian)

As I reached this point, I encountered Ian, who had wandered further down the street. He alerted me to the ford.

Heavy overnight rain had converted much of the forest into a mini Lake District. Some roads we had driven through were awash, and ditches lining the route into this end of Brockenhurst had run into the stream that was forded at the end of the street.

Village Centre via Ford

This made the signpost ‘High Street via Ford’ even more descriptive.

Car travelling through ford 1Car travelling through ford 3Car travelling through ford 4Car travelling through ford 5Car travelling through ford 7

Although some vehicles made an about turn and did not venture into the rushing water, others, at varying speeds, carried on through. The faster the car, the more the spray.

Ian came back to join me and we walked together back to the shops.

Queue outside Bakehouse

A queue had now formed outside Bakehouse. The youth of those present suggests that the bakers are feeding the students of Brockenhurst College, which must contribute to the village’s prosperity.

Bakehouse and Best Sellers

My earlier photograph also shows Best Sellers which is being decorated. I do hope that does not mean that this bookshop has closed down. I will keep an eye on it.

Pharmacy etc

The Post Office, a survivor of an ever-reducing band, stands next to Reynolds and the delicatessen. Jackie’s Modus is parked outside the pharmacy. In how many high streets could this happen?

After our rendezvous we all drank cappuccinos in The Buttery.

Dynasty entrance

Possibly the most modern building in the street is the Dynasty Indian Restaurant, to which we returned this evening.


Dimly visible on the pavement, a couple of ponies lurked outside.

Becky, Ian, Jackie, Derrick

The food was excellent and the service friendly and efficient. The staff offered to photograph the group. A notice proclaimed that reading glasses were available for customers who had forgotten to bring theirs.

We shared onion bhajis, and an egg paratha. My main meal was ayre jalfrezi with special fried rice. Becky drank zinfandel rose and the rest of us drank Kingfisher.


In order to highlight Gordon Le Pard’s important comment I append it here:

‘I, Like my brother, know Brock and its watersplash well. But on another note, here is a game you can try to see how historic a high street is. You will soon notice that, however modern the shop fronts are, they are all about the same width. If you pace it out you will find that they are about five paces wide, or ten or fifteen. This is because when the street was laid out the Saxon or medieval surveyors used the measurement of a rod, 5½ yards to lay them out.
The measurements remain as one of the most difficult things to move is a boundary, unless you own the lands on both sides, which is the origin of the two and three rod (pole or perch) width shops.’


Becky, Ian and Jackie at Highcliffe Castle

This afternoon Jackie drove us all to Highcliffe Castle. The reason for the hilarity displayed in this picture is that, when debating whether we should pay for parking, I had said that we didn’t have to pay ‘from October until                          some other date’.

Well, I couldn’t remember exactly what.

Becky, Ian, Jackie and Scooby at Highcliffe Castle

Scooby did his best to get lost in the maze.

Highcliffe Castle (Ian)

Ian examined an entrance,

Highcliffe Castle Welcome

at the side of which is a display board telling the story of the building. As usual, clicking on the image for enlargement will make this clearer.

It was a mild enough day for my companions to sample the tea shop refreshments alfresco. As they settled themselves, we met Kate and Toby with their twin baby daughters carried in slings.

Mudeford Spit

I chose to investigate the grounds, from which, through trees, could be seen the sea and Mudeford Spit.

Zig-zag path to Beach

A lengthy zig-zag path led down to the beach.

Walkers (Kate, Toby and twins) on beach 1

On the way down I noticed a couple of walkers as I photographed the shore;

Walkers (Kate, Toby and twins) on beach 2

they seemed worthy of a picture in themselves. Only when I zoomed in on the second image did I recognise the twins and their happy parents. Naturally I parted with another of Becky’s blogging cards.

On my way back up the path I met Ian and Scooby coming down. At the top were the ladies.

Highcliffe Castle at dusk

By dusk the castle lights were lit.

This evening the four of us shared a bottle of Las Primas Gran Familia Airen sauvignon blanc 2014, with our Mr. Pink’s fish and chips.

Late Afternoon

Trees and shrubsClouds over Barton Common

This afternoon Jackie dropped me in the Barton Common car park as she drove off to the Beachcomber Cafe where I was to meet her, Becky, and Ian, after they had partaken of coffee and cakes whilst I floundered through the mud.


A bridge has now been placed over the stream running through the common,

Footpath waterlogged

where the footpaths are waterlogged,

Footpath muddy

or so muddy as to make me fear that my walking shoes were in danger of being sucked off.

Clouds, sea, puddle

At one point a pool reflected the sunlight over Christchurch Bay.

Bench in scrub

The more open areas are populated with numerous memorial benches.


Before threading my way through the kissing gate leading to the golf course, I encountered a rather soggy group of ponies chomping the grass,


or chewing lichen off the gnarled tree branches. This pony’s collar is reflective and a crucial aid to motorists at night. Although the common is securely fenced, you can never rule out the possibility of these animals finding their way on to the road.

Seascape 1

Once through the gate, I took the footpath alongside the course down to the clifftop.

Clifftop 2

Surfers walkingClifftop 1

More of the footpath has been eroded in the year since my last walk along this way.

Sea and clouds 1Sea and clouds 3Sea and clouds 4Sea and clouds 5

On the final stretch of my journey, I monitored the late afternoon sun peeking through the yellowing clouds.

This evening we dined on Becky’s brilliant beef burgers and weird wedges with garlic and herbs. These burgers are built with layers of salad, mayonnaise, cheese, and pickles. I drank more of the El Solitto, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Ian drank San Miguel beer, and Becky drank Lyme Bay strawberry wine.

Hatchet Pond

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Beaulieu and back. We began at Hatchet Pond, so named because of its shape.

Hatchet Pond 1

Skyscape 1

These first two photographs of and over Hatchet Pond have received no editing.

Skyscape 3

An about turn produced this one.


Pool 2

The recent, now ceased, rains have distributed various pools nearby.


Wandering donkeys did what donkeys do: chomped on thistles,

Donkeys being tempted

and prevented a driver from opening his boot to release his dappled collie. A certain amount of persuasion was required to allow the dog its freedom.

Hatchet Pond, Becky, Ian and Scooby

Becky and Ian took Scooby for a walk along the waterlogged track around the pond.

Becky and swan


On her return Becky’s bag of poop scoop attracted the attention of a pair of swans who lurched along to engage her in conversation. Or perhaps they were just having a hissy-fit.


Each of these birds was tagged.

Beech in landscape

This birch, stripped of it leaves, embellished one skycape.

Skyscape with geese

Others were enhanced by geese,

Skyscape with gull

or gulls.

Beaulieu Abbey

Beaulieu Abbey was nicely silhouetted.

Terraced housing

In the village’s main street are a number of interesting terraces with long chimneys;

Herringbone brickwork

one group of dwellings has fascinating herringbone brickwork.

We payed a visit Steff’s Kitchen in Fairweather’s Garden Centre, where the others enjoyed superb flapjacks and cappuccino’s. My salad lunch had rendered me incapable, but I kept them company.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie, mashed carrots and swede, crisp cauliflower, and green beans.

P.S. See my reply below to Timi at Lively Twist. She has pointed out a disgraceful omission 🙂

A Silver Lining

This morning Aaron started work on preparing the stairs and landing for redecoration.

Later, Jackie drove Becky, Ian and me to Molly’s Den.

Becky, who has been undertaking extensive and detailed market research since applying for places for a father and daughter team on ‘Bargain Hunt’, the TV antiques competition programme, had not yet visited our local emporium. We came to see this trip as a training exercise. Contestants have one hour in which to make three purchases which are then sold at auction.

Molly's Den wet floor 1Molly's Den wet floor 2

We have experienced enough rain in the last 72 hours to make parts of the Christchurch/Lymington Road resemble a lake. Molly’s Den suffered considerable leakage through the vast warehouse roof. The staff had spent two and a half hours mopping up the water.

Raindrops on table

Most of the items for sale had been rescued, although the odd raindrops lingered.

Jackie and Owl

Becky and brooch

We managed to cover all areas in our allotted hour, but did not make the required number of purchases. I bought Jackie an owl, and Ian bought Becky a brooch.

Jackie, Becky, and brunches

The presentations took place in Molly’s Pantry. When the two ladies received their brunches before Ian and me, they resolved my dilemma about being unable to photograph all the meals together by hamming up repetitions of their earlier delight.


Ian and I struggled through the plentiful all day brunches of excellent quality. The chef came to our table and apologised that he had run out of vine tomatoes. He needn’t have worried. The first-rate standard of the sausages, bacon, black pudding, baked beans, mushrooms, wedges of buttered toast, and perfectly fried eggs more than made up for it.


Jackie bought another two owls.

Cloud with silver lining

On our drive home we were reminded that every cloud has a silver lining. The rain had desisted and the sky was turning blue.

Close perusal of the pictures of Molly’s Pantry fare will render it unsurprising that neither Ian nor I required an evening meal, and a few samosas sufficed for the women.

Knighton Park Revisited

In my counselling practice I would sometimes continue working with people who could not afford my fee. This may have been because their circumstances had changed, and it seemed wrong to me to stop a course of help because of this. A token fee was then charged until their finances looked up again.

Quite a number of years ago it became clear that one person would never be able to pay. I waived the fee ‘until his circumstances changed’. What then happened was that he would bring me the occasional kind present.The Bicentennial Man001

I am not a fan of science fiction. He was. So I have a few unread paperbacks in my library. One of these is ‘The Bicentennial Man’, a collection of stories on robotics by Isaac Azimov. The most prolific Azimov has the reputation of an icon of the genre. Another recent cue has prompted me to open this 1978 Panther paperback. It is such prompts that help me select reading from my collection.

The first three tales have held my attention enough to think I might persevere. Watch this space.

Early this afternoon, Jackie drove Becky and me to Knighton Park for another look at the crazy Christmas lights.

Knighton Park garden 1

This time I focussed more on the gardens. Many exhibits, like the Santa in the box on the right, repeated recorded carols and other Christmas sounds.

Becky in Knighton Park garden 1

Some of the characters, like the snowman with whom Becky is conversing here, were set in motion, and in voice, at the press of a button which visitors were encouraged to administer.

Becky and others in Knighton Park garden 1Becky, Jackie and others in Knighton Park garden 1Knighton Park garden 4Little girl in Knighton Park garden 1

Along the side of the terrace, our daughter was in competition with a smaller young lady in the queue to activate other displays.

Little girl in Knighton Park garden 2

The child patiently awaited her turn to set the snowmen going.

Knighton Park garden 2

Perpetual snow fell on the snowman in this lamp,

Knighton Park garden 3

and various cribs were surrounded by other symbols of the season.

Knighton Park garden 5

Father Christmas sheltered a pair of carol singers whose voices were enhanced by a sonorous giant snowman.

Knighton Park garden 6

The magical scene was well worth the £5 I stuffed into the Charity Collection Box.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where we received the usual excellent food and friendly, efficient service, accompanied by Kingfisher beer. We were given excellent quality desk diaries and key rings containing bottle openers.