Cream Tea Crawl

On 15th September, Ron’s parents will have been married for 70 years. This morning, he brought me their wedding album, from which he has given me the honour of making some prints for a commemorative book he is compiling. So keen was I to show him how I would go about it that I scanned one to begin with.

In the process I managed to delete iPhoto and everything in it, including all the photographs I have worked on over the years. This threw me into something of a panic.

Fortunately Elizabeth managed to help me to open up a new iPhoto file, and learned from Google that it would be possible to recover what I have lost. This would require a phone call to Apple tomorrow, but it gave me peace of mind to enjoy the rest of the day and the facility to post today’s photographs.

Gravelled concrete

In the meantime, Aaron finished his work on paving and gravelling the garden, when he covered the concrete surface at the southern end with shingle.

Rose Flower Power

The exquisite, tiny, little rose, Flower Power, is living up to its name.

This was a perfectly splendid, sunny, day, so when the ladies fancied a cream tea we began with a trip to Gordleton Mill Hotel, where the catering is superb, and where we knew Elizabeth would enjoy the sculpture garden which has already featured in a few of my posts.

Unfortunately they no longer serve cream teas, but were happy to give us coffee on the lawn, within nostrils’ reach of the kitchen extractor emitting appetisingly tempting aromas of Sunday roast dinners, reminiscent of supermarkets wafting the smell of baking bread throughout the stores.

Gordleton Mill Hotel entranceRiver Avon

Sun played on the River Avon rippling beneath the white bridge over which it is necessary to walk to reach the hotel.


Ducks were in their element.

I have photographed most of the sculptures on previous occasions, but

Horse sculpture

this horse made from bicycle parts is new.

Elizabeth photographing horse

Elizabeth was intrigued by it too, especially as she thought nephew Adam would like it.

Dancing hares 1Dancing hares 2

I have not noticed the dancing hares before (I am indebted to our friend, Barrie Haynes, for pointing out that the hares are boxing, as is, of course, their wont.)

Elizabeth and Jackie in garden

The garden offers many different outlooks. Elizabeth and Jackie adorn this one.

Eucalyptus trunk

The eucalyptus is beginning to shed its leaves.

Elizabeth and Jackie on giant chairJackie and Elizabeth on giant chair

Taking a break on a chair, roomy enough for them to share, Jackie and Elizabeth found their feet could not reach the ground.


For those who may not be familiar with the term, a pub crawl is a trip from hostelry to hostelry in search of the perfect pint, or whatever else takes your fancy.

Wasp on plateWasp entering jampotWasp in jampot 1Wasp in jampot 2

The craving for cream teas remaining unsatisfied, we visited Braxton Gardens tea rooms where Elizabeth and Jackie enjoyed their searched-for treat, consisting of scones, clotted cream, jam, tea, and the attention of wasps who indulged in their own crawl into the unfinished jampots.

After this, we drove via Keyhaven and past the salt marsh and around Hurst Spit to Sturt Pond before returning home.


On the marsh at low tide, turnstones were demonstrating why they are so named.

Silhouettes on Hurst Spit 1

Silhouetted against the lowering sun, a photographer positioned his subjects

Silhouettes on Hurst Spit 2

then took the shot.

Before Elizabeth returned home to West End, we enjoyed a Hordle Chinese Take Away meal with which she and I drank Caviller del Diable reserva shiraz 2013. Unfortunately Jackie was out of Hoegaarden.

Why Did The Donkey Cross The Road?

After a noisy thunderstorm during the night, the day dawned bright and clear. I walked the circular route to Milford on Sea and back. Indicative of the brisk pace I was able to maintain in the cooler weather, this round trip took just over 90 minutes.

The pines along Sea Breeze Way cast lengthy shadows across the terrain, and the sun that caused this also enriched the colour of the

leaves now beginning to fall in the Nature Reserve, where the footpaths are becoming rather soggy.

On my way back along the cliff top, watching very choppy seas, I leant into a very forceful head wind which made me think I should have taken this route on the outward journey. Then I would have been blown along. Perhaps I should have emulated the crow which, flying low, may have gained some shelter from the land. Not being able to fly, except in my youthful dreams, I would have had to walk along the shingle, and today I didn’t have time for that.

Back at home, I joined Jackie, who had already made a start on the continued clearance of the back drive. We have almost finished the task.

Later this afternoon Jackie drove us to the Montague Arms Hotel at Beaulieu where we met Elizabeth for a cream tea.

As we arrived at the hotel two donkeys left the forecourt, wandered around the corner and across the road and came to catatonic rest outside someone’s house.

The Montague Arms is a splendid building with a beautifully maintained garden. Whilst waiting for my sister I wandered out and spoke to the gardener who was pleased with my appreciation of his work. He didn’t stop all the time we were enjoying our refreshment. We could have played croquet on the immaculate lawn, had we felt so inclined.

For refreshment, the ladies each chose cream teas, Elizabeth’s beverage being Earl Grey and Jackie’s English Breakfast. The scones looked delicious, but I, thinking we would be eating out later, originally declined. My lady and my sister, however, each persuaded me to have half of one of theirs. With these I drank a bottle of Ringwood’s Forty-niner.

After this, having all agreed to go on afterwards to The Family House in Totton for our evening meal, we took Elizabeth on a tour of Beaulieu, which, of course, doesn’t take very long. We introduced her to Patrick’s Patch which contained more seasonal produce than last time we visited in November last year.

Chard and dahlias were still in their beds, and an attractive arrangement of miniature pumpkins was on display.

I travelled with Elizabeth to the restaurant to be sure she would find the car park where we arrived at the same time as Jackie, and had our usual excellent meal in homely surroundings. We all drank T’singTao beer. Afterwards we parted company and Jackie drove me home.


The Traditional English Tea

We stayed in this morning for a visit from the owner of the flat upstairs and a technician sent by her insurance company.  On 2nd March I described a leak from number 9 that had dribbled through our ceiling.  Christine, in residence, is the tenant.  Sarah, the owner, had been told by the insurer that, in order fully to investigate the cause of the intermittent penetration of our ceiling, it was necessary to aim a device at our plasterwork from inside our flat; the electronic gadget, allegedly capable of its own painless penetration, would be able to diagnose what was wrong with the bath. Apparently looking directly under the bath was not an option.

This rather mystified us, but we had no objection.  It rather surprised the technician too.  He had no such instrument, and had no idea how he was supposed to diagnose the leak from a bath nestling on the floor of a room about twelve feet above the soles of his shoes, and through ceiling, joists, and floorboards.  After some quite lengthy and helpful discussion about the building, estate agents, and owners, Sarah and the young man repaired to number nine.  When he had left after completing his work, she kindly came to tell us that he had indeed taken off the side cover of the bath and found what was wrong;  apparently an overflow and something to do with damp plaster, possibly from showering.

We were thus delayed in partaking of our brunch which was to sustain us until the visit, for a traditional English tea, of Helen and Bill and their German friends Hilda and her great nephew Simon.  This meant that we did not have time for checking out two prospective properties for which we have been idly surfing the net.  Or is it browsing the web?

Actually, we would have had time for two had we not got lost.  Property-wise we have rather a dilemma.  We are very pleased with the wonderful flat in its idyllic setting that we occupy.  But we do have to pay rent, and by the end of the year, we may just have enough money to buy somewhere.  Not, unfortunately, in the rather expensive New Forest.  So, we have been having a look on the property websites, but not actually at any houses themselves.  Today we decided to at least reconnoitre the areas of a couple of places that could not be more different.  The first a pretty cottage in a pretty lane in a pretty village; the second a large ground floor flat in an Edwardian Manor pretty much like what we have at the moment, possibly even grander.

Fyfield Cottage

We found Fyfield Cottage in Everton with no trouble, and had a wander around.  Fyfield Cottage gardenIt is more extensive than it looks from the very narrow West Lane, and has a lovely garden with a new shed and parking space for three cars.  I have my doubts about whether the ceilings would be high enough. Honeysuckle and actinidia Every home in the lane was attractive, and I was particularly taken by the happy juxtaposition of honeysuckle and actinidia in the hedge opposite.  Just window shopping.

It was the second possibility that proved elusive.  This was Ossemsley Manor near Bashley.  We knew exactly where it was.  But how to get to it?  Had my driver not turned right too soon we may well have been congratulating ourselves.  But she did.  As the track began to peter out, we came alongside a teenage girl on a horse accompanied by an older woman on foot.  The girl claimed not to be any good at directions and left her companion to set us on our way.  The young lady had said we needed to go straight ahead, but wouldn’t be able to get through the gate in front of us.  We followed the other’s directions, and after we had detoured for a good mile or so, our paths crossed again.  Our informants had only travelled about a hundred yards, or metres.  This was after the car’s suspension had been sorely tested by invisible speed bumps set in a badly made up road.  I was convinced we were going in the wrong direction so we turned around, returned to a proper road, and set off back to Minstead to be in time for our German guests.  In the process we drove the reverse of a long stretch I had walked on 27th February.  I was then able to see where we should have gone.  Had I only realised where we were or remembered the name of the common where I had seen the chicken cross the road, we may have had better luck.  As it was, we had to put off that little recce.

Bill, Helen, Hilda & Simon

Our guests arrived on time and were treated to a traditional English tea.  The kind that no-one ever eats today, unless on holiday in the West Country.  Which I suppose they were.  A bit like the Full English breakfast only being consumed when staying at a B. & B.  And since everyone except Simon, who preferred sparkling water, drank coffee, it wasn’t quite authentic.  Nevertheless the excellent spread included the traditional cucumber sandwiches, scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam, strawberries, two different cakes, and even biscuits with an assortment of cheeses and pickles, and was consequently enjoyed.  It was a more than adequate evening meal for us.

After the repast we all watched an old sixteen millimetre film starring Helen, Jackie, and a little later, Shelly, taken by their Dad, Don Rivett, about sixty years ago.  The format, after several reincarnations over the years, is now DVD.  Guest appearances are by their paternal grandparents, mother and father, and cousins Adrian and Christopher Barlow.  Although the sisters have seen these films often, the memories came flooding back.  Since it was silent, it probably gave poor Simon a rest from listening to spoken English.