A Stag Party


Becky and Ian returned this morning to their home at Emsworth. This afternoon Jackie drove Flo, Dillon and me out for a drive in the forest.

On the way to Beaulieu, Flo spotted a row of antlers among the gorse on the moors. They belonged to a string of stags. Jackie turned the car round and returned to the spot, where the animals still congregated. As long as we stood still and kept our distance, cervine curiosity kept them interested. When I edged forward, slowly at first they turned tail and suddenly rushed back into the golden covert.

In the foreground of this landscape are some of the many pools springing all over the forest at the moment.

As we approached Beaulieu an obliging pony put on a display of disrupting the traffic for our family visitors.

We visited The Yachtsman’s Bar at Buckler’s Hard for refreshments.

A number of yachts and motorboats were moored in the harbour.

Helicopter over Isle of Wight

We made a small diversion down to the beach at Tanner’s Lane where Β we watched a helicopter flying across the Isle of Wight.

The next stop was at Lyndhurst where, in the churchyard of St Michael & All Angels, Flo and Dillon were shown the grave of Mrs Reginald Hargreaves, otherwise known to the world as Lewis Carroll’s Alice. Dillon produced these selfies, while I photographed the stone commemorating Anne Frances Cockerell which I suspect was that of a 23 year old who probably died in childbirth, leaving her husband to live on into the next century.

I also photographed roofs of the Crown Hotel and adjacent buildings,

while Flo crouched to focus on the street below, before she and I photographed each other.

The next grave to be visited was that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, complete with pipe. It was Flo who captured these images whilst I focussed on her and Dillon.

This was in the graveyard of

Minstead Parish Church. Only the first, vertical, picture of these last seven is mine. The others are Flo’s. The list of rectors, beginning in the thirteenth century, bears out the age of the shattered, regenerated, yew tree to the left of the last photograph, said to be at least 700 years old.

Back home, we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with mushy peas, pickled onions, and gherkins.


  1. It’s lovely to see Flo is following in her grand-pa’s footsteps! I’m also encouraged by the compliant ponies turning up as required to put on their show for visitors …….

  2. Today’s photographs constitute a feast. The stags look like ancient soldiers bunched up for action. I was delighted to have a glimpse of the resting places of all those dignitaries. I almost expected Mr Holmes lying in his final trance somewhere around there…

    1. Many thanks, Uma. Whoever left the pipe, which has been there for some years, clearly got Holmes confused with his creator who was first buried in a vertical position in Sussex. When his wife died his body was moved to be with her.

  3. I have never previously liked Alice in Wonderland particularly, but I recently bought an annotated edition which explained literally hundreds of things. It was a real eye opener, called “The Annotated Alice: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass”.

  4. What a wonderful day. I find graveyards loaded with history and architecture – plus – you knew I’d love the grand stags and the horses!!

  5. Finest kind of stag party. And, yes, a wonderful day and a fascinating cemetery.. Such a cute couple. Made me smile just to look at their pictures.

  6. Fascinating history. Old cemeteries are fascinating. I am always amazed to see horses roaming freely in your environs. Nice’

  7. The first time anyone suggested that we take a walk through a cemetery I was shocked! Go to a cemetery for pleasure? Unthinkable. But it turned out to be a remarkably interesting and lovely visit, and since that Boston visit, we have visited several other cemeteries and were impressed with each one. Your family look like they had a wonderful time too. I enjoyed seeing the tombstone of Arthur Conan Doyle, and the person who placed the pipe on it most have been a fan of Sherlock.

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