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Yesterday evening we dined with Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron at Tyrell’s Ford Country Inn and Hotel at Avon, near Christchurch. As the only group in the dining we enjoyed the attentions of a friendly waitress. My choice of meal was liver and bacon, mashed potato, carrots. swede, sugar snaps, green beans, and broccoli. My dessert was Dutch apple crumble and custard. Three of us shared a bottle of red, and three, white, wine.
Storm Doris, having vented all night, eased up enough for me to take a chance on keeping my lunch appointment at La Barca in Lower Marsh. To this end Jackie drove me to New Milton where the London Train arrived on time.
These gentlemen viewed from the waiting room awaiting their transport were no more disappointed than I was.
Soon after departure a tree was reported across the track outside Eastleigh. This afforded me the opportunity closely to examine the pastel shades of a line side block of flats.
After a while we were under way again, the train was only 35 minutes late, and I arrived at the restaurant before Norman had taken off his coat. We both chose artichoke soup for starters; my main course was swordfish steak in a piquant sauce served with sautéed potatoes, sugar snaps, green beans, and broccoli. We shared a bottle of the house Valpolicella. I needed no more sustenance in the evening.
The return journey was rather longer than the outward one. In addition to another tree on the track, there was a 50 m.p.h. speed limit ‘for health and safety reasons’.
Groups of assorted travellers stood on Waterloo Station, eyes glued to the departures board where they could read about delays and cancellations.
There had been many unfortunate travellers without seats on the outward journey. There were fewer of those on the way home, but they were even more discomforted when the food trolley or other passengers need to pass.
Once again I was able to study the trackside. There was graffiti between Waterloo and Vauxhall;
trees waving with the wind,
and an embankment somewhere near Basingstoke.
Jackie had been expecting to meet me at New Milton. This was not to be, because the railway company decided to decant passengers for intermediate stations at Brockenhurst, and send the train non-stop to Bournemouth. She therefore set off for the latter station. As I walked out into the car park I could see a very long traffic queue stretching a long way back in the direction from which I expected her to arrive. I decided to walk to the end of it in an effort to save her getting stuck in it. When I got there I phoned Jackie to let her know where I was. She was approaching from the opposite direction from which there was no tailback. This meant I had to walk on further in an effort to find a place where she could stop.
Sunset was now on its way. Thank goodness for mobile phones.
We chased the sunset to Milford on Sea,
where the spirited waves rushed towards the shingle.
I spent a very short time leaning into the wind. This family group who had come to watch the sea stayed out of their people carrier for an even shorter period.
Without Doris, I would not have enjoyed such line-side views, nor such moody sunsets. As they say, it’s an ill wind (that does nobody any good).