Older Than We Had Thought

Our brother-in-law Ron Salinger sent me an e-mail yesterday alerting me to a mention of our house in the New Milton Advertiser. We therefore bought a copy from Ferndene Farm Shop, and continued into the forest on a much brighter, more sun-sparkly morning than the miserable looking afternoon featured more recently along Christchurch Road below.

This set of pictures, gathered on a gleaming Braggers Lane, exemplifies the glittering foliage we enjoyed throughout the lanes we traversed, and demonstrates that summer has no intention of yielding to autumn just yet.

The seasonal conflict is most apparent in ferns and bracken, some of which remain stubbornly verdant and others curl in submission.

Grasses show signs of age and of youth.

Trees are not yet prepared to shed their leaves, although

pannage pigs would enjoy rooting among the varied mast dropped beneath them.

After lunch I applied myself to the newspaper article.

Forming part of Reflections: The A337 – story of a road well-travelled (part two) by Nick Saunders on https://www.advertiserandtimes.co.uk, the article suggests that the core of our much periodically updated house is older than we had thought.

Of the A337 from Christchurch Mr Saunders writes: ‘When the road crossed over the Danestream it also crossed the boundary into Hordle Parish. Here, too, the road has been realigned. The 1841 map shows a dog-leg junction at the crossroads with the Royal Oak Inn. The hostelry, recorded on the tithe map, was an important staging post for the horse-drawn transport of the 1800s. It was here that the mail could be collected along with goods and supplies brought to the area by wagon, and horses could be changed or given a rest and water.

The cottages on the entrance to Downton beside the car sales premises have an 1897 date stone and, therefore, would not have been something the traveller from 1841 would recognise. Opposite the inn was the blacksmith’s forge and house. In 1958 the junction was straightened out by demolishing a cottage and taking a large slice of the blacksmith’s garden.

Just a little to the east is the old post office, possibly built in the 1850s or later. (my italics). The tithe map shows the post office of 1841 on the road to Hordle village.’

We have https://derrickjknight.com/2015/07/23/an-historic-view/ of the house from probably earlier than the 1930s.

The changes undergone since the 1960s are detailed in https://derrickjknight.com/2014/07/30/friths-postcards/

This evening we dined on moist roast lamb, boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower, tender green beans and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Knight’s Tale (Positive Postscript)

Having completed my story of my place in an era with the Sigoules disaster followed by: ‘Given that, since 9th May 2012, my WordPress blog has been a daily diary and we are now settled in comfortable twilight years in Hampshire’s New Forest, this seems an appropriate time to close the pages of “A Knight’s Tale”.’, following some readers’ responses I will expand a little on the advent of the ‘twilight years’.

For the years 2011/2012 when living in Morden Jackie and I spent weekends caring for Elizabeth’s garden at The Firs, West End, near Southampton.

Once we had decided to move to the New Forest, Danni found the ideal flat for us in Castle Malwood Lodge, Minstead.

There Jackie built her garden outside our apartment on the right hand ground floor corner of the building.


We have William Ewart Gladstone’s Chancellor of the Exchequer to thank for the beautiful place in which we lived while waiting for the proceeds of Jackie’s London home.  The lawyer and Liberal politician had the house built in 1880 and became Chancellor in 1886.  In this post Sir William Harcourt was responsible for the introduction of death duties as they are today.  At that time the Liberals, a different party than the one we recognise, were seeking measures to increase taxation in a more acceptable way than income tax.  The modern bereaved inheritors may have a view on that.

The great Victorian Prime Minister planted a sequoia in the garden during one of his visits there.  That tree now stands above the others which crowd the land beyond the rhododendron hedges, in an area that now merges with the forest.  It is so tall it has become a local landmark.

Eventually on the first of April 2014 we moved into Old Post House, where we began our “twilight years” which are chronicled on my Rambling blog started on 9th May 2012.

Contributing To The Flyer

I haven’t mentioned that O2 sent me an on-line bill for my service on 27th February. By mid-morning the problem continued, so I decided to tackle the issue in a manner that might stir them into action. I engaged in an on-line chat with the billing department. Although I kept my voice down, I did lapse into Upper Case at appropriate times. Somehow it seems more polite to shout in typing. Capitals were employed, for example, when, for the umpteenth time I was required to go through the security questions, beginning with ‘Are you the account holder’?

Possibly in order to refute my statement that this adviser would be no more able to beat the system than any other, a miracle was suddenly wrought. Just before noon I was back on my correct number. Or maybe it was brought about when I demanded that the bill was rubbed out and a new one, reflecting compensation, be presented. This resulted in a promise of a £10 credit on my next bill. We will see. On the other hand, I have to admit that it was probably no more than coincidence. Health warning: the internet transforms a somewhat naive gentleman into a hardened cynic.

I you need me to reinsert your own lost number you can at least now phone me.

This afternoon I set my mind to working on information and illustrations for the First Gallery exhibition flyer, and e-mailing the results to Paul.

Jackie in back drive – Version 8Back drive

Our friend had the excellent idea that a Black & White ‘before’ picture should be accompanied by an ‘after’ one in colour.

The Head Gardener and I have provided pen pictures of each other,

Derrick and Jackie

and I have offered this photograph of us during the time we were tending Elizabeth’s garden. Niece Danni made the picture on 6th May 2013.

Old Post House

Finally, this picture of the house taken by the Estate Agent three or four years ago will hopefully fit the bill.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury rice, Lidl’s pork ribs in barbecue sauce, and Tesco’s yellow ticket spring rolls. We have the daft system of sell-by dates in the UK. Anything unsold nearer the date is usually reduced to get rid of it. Tesco’s such offerings always have a yellow ticket stuck on them. Tess’s Village Shop, however, gives it away to family and friends. We therefore returned yesterday with a box of goodies.

After that little diversion, I can tell you that Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank more of the chianti opened four days ago. It was perfectly potable.

Then And Now

This morning Jackie drove me down to Milford on Sea to check out The Cave. We had intended to begin the evening there with Danni. Andy, and Elizabeth, before going on to Lal Quilla in Lymington. The wine bar was not taking bookings because they had a quick turnover and expected to be very full this evening because of a fete on the green opposite. What we decided about this will be revealed later.

I walked back by my usual route. Family on beachBoys on beach The beach was filling up with young families. Boys enjoyed what all boys do, throwing stones into the advancing waves. Down to the beachFrom the cliff topBeach scene with kayaksKayakers Others descended the steps, or, like me, stood on the clifftop watching those down below, including the two kayakers whose craft and blades glistening in the occasional rays of the sun. A number of readers of http://derrickjknight.com/2015/07/23/an-historic-view/ have requested an up to date picture of the house. I have taken one that replicates the original shot, and another which shows a later extension. Downton Post Office 1938

For ease of reference, here is the earlier postcard image.

Old Post House

The Post Office shop window now lights our entrance hall, wide enough to double as my study, in which I am sitting now. It is obscured by the crab apple tree in the left foreground. Also hidden is the alteration to the arched front entrance now forming, in part, a second window to our sitting room. The lower half is now an internal wall. What was then a gentle country lane is now the main thoroughfare between Christchurch and Lymington. Naturally the horse and cart has been replaced by a motor car. It would have been more difficult to take this photograph without a vehicle passing through than with several. Only one was not easy. Despite being a Post Office, the building didn’t have a telegraph pole outside in the early 1930s. The first of the two 1950s bungalows can just be glimpsed through the trees

Old Post House extension

The short pavement outside extends from our house to the corner of Downton Lane. There is nothing but a deep ditch on the other side, where I took my life in my hands to take these pictures. The earlier photographer could have set up his or her tripod in the middle of the dusty track. I wasn’t about to try that.

downton-the-cross-road-c1960_d197005_indexIn those early days there was a pronounced bend almost opposite the pub. On our side of the land once existed an old cottage which would have stood in the middle of what is the now straightened road.  The building must have been demolished, with its garden now lying under the tarmac. This tiny 1960 image is the best I can obtain from Frith’s Postcards site. The cottage is in the centre of the picture. Our house, in line with The Royal Oak, is the white speck to the right of it.

First Elizabeth, then Danni and Andy arrived on time for our evening out.. We decided that we would go to The Cave and have a look at the fete. Well, The Cave was filled to bursting and spilling out on the street, with hardly a yard for cars to drive between there and the green, on which it was standing room only, and not much of that. The fete turned out to be  a deafening music festival.Ship Inn

Lymington QuayWe fled to Lymington and began with a drink at Ship Inn opposite the quay. We then dined at Lal Quilla where we enjoyed the usual excellent meals, good service, and usual beverages.

Quay Street

As the night sky darkened to a deeper blue, shop windows glowed, and the street lamps replaced the sun, we walked back down the cobbled Quay Street and returned to our respective homes. Danni and Andy make this picture.