Today was another Sheila day. We drove to Sway to collect her and drive her around the unspoilt forest villages to the North of the A31. To some extent we followed in reverse the route along Roger Penny Way that we had taken yesterday evening.
Sheila had been fascinated by the animals loose in the forest, so it was pleasing that there were so many on display. The ponies in particular tended to be clustered under trees, gathering what shade they could on another blisteringly hot day. Cattle and donkeys were also in evidence.
The bloated corpse of a large cow, its softer elements covered in flies, still lay where it had been last night. A large label printed in red with the words AGISTER AWARE remained attached to it. As we are bound to report such a dead animal, the notice prevents us doing so when its removal is already in hand. It certainly needed to be shifted soon.
As usual, the road tended to be blocked by the living creatures, none for a longer time than the foal that stood gazing into our windscreen for what seemed an eternity until it was persuaded to move. I made Sheila a print of this young animal which she christened Millie.
In the vicinity of Frogham we revisited Roy to offer to prune his rose for him. Whilst he was most touched, he said he had a long handled cutter with which he would be able to do it himself. The donkeys hung about outside hoping for a taste of Camperdown elm (see yesterday’s post).
Roy directed me to what he said was the best view in the forest. When he named it I realised it was from the Abbot’s Well car park where Jackie waits for me when I walk across the heath from Roger Penny Way (see, for example ‘A Damsel In Distress’ posted on 25th April). She can see me approaching from quite some distance. We drove up there to show Sheila the scene.
We returned to Castle Malwood Lodge for lunch. Jackie’s garden pots now total 83. Those to the western side of the house, added a bit later, now rival the original collection. As reported in ‘Merton In Bloom’ on 9th July last year, Sheila, as Mayor of the Borough, had presented Jackie with one of her winner’s certificates. It was therefore most appropriate that our friend should see the current display.
After lunch and a short rest during which Sheila was entertained by an i-Mac slide-show, we visited All Saint’s Church, where we met another couple who were also taking friends on a tour of the area, in particular visiting the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife.
The next venue was Ringwood where we walked along the High Street until it was time to enter the Curry Garden restaurant where we enjoyed excellent meals, Kingfisher, and sparkling water. Following the failure of the car’s engine cooling system of 12th, we should not have been surprised at the failure of the restaurant’s air conditioning.
Finally, we took Sheila back to her hotel in Sway, drank coffee, and returned home.