Road Rage

Forlorn pasty-faced skies wept for most of the day. After an early lunch Jackie and I drove to Southampton General Hospital to visit Mum. The good news is that she was looking much better and is to move tomorrow to a Rehabilitation Centre at Romsey. We will see what they can do to get her on her feet again. She has already been transferred to a less intense ward ‘for older people’. Joseph and Angela were with our mother when we arrived. They left soon afterwards, but I don’t think it was any thing personal.

Avoiding Millbrook roundabout which we knew to be closed from our direction, Jackie managed to negotiate the terrible Hampshire roads to bring us to the barrier of the one car park in the hospital that had some spaces. Peering through the rainswept windscreen we waited our turn for the barrier to rise for our admittance.

Having driven around for a while inside in search of one of the vacancies, we waded over the uneven paving that is de rigueur for any modern public development. We were directed to Mum’s new ward, which was helpful.

When paying for parking on departure, we considered that one out of three properly working machines was perhaps fortunate.

People, such as taxi drivers, not wishing to park, but delivering patients as near as possible to the front door, do rather tend to cause something of a blockage in visitors’ escape route.

In the direction of our return home, the Millbrook Roundabout was actually open, but we were advised to expect delays. Listening to the thud/squeak rhythm of the windscreen wipers; avoiding being mesmerised by the brake lights we were following; ignoring the temptations of fish and chips; and finding some amusement in ‘Elves Behavin (sic) Badly’ we settled down for the long haul along the A33. In one of those brilliant planning touches we find on Hampshire’s roads more roadworks came into focus further along the way. We were now reduced to one lane, the queue being supplemented by vehicles filtering in from the left.

Jackie took the first opportunity to strike out across the forest by turning into Deerleap Lane. Within very few minutes we were once again breathing fresh air on familiar winding lanes where the only road rage experienced was the alarm sounded by what must surely have been Roman geese guarding a soggy farmyard.

It being our first second wedding anniversary we dined at Fleur de Lys in Pilley. We both enjoyed truffles and celeriac soup with scrumptious fresh crispy bread. Jackie went on to mushroom risotto, while I enjoyed a succulent steak, French fries, and green beans. Mrs Knight drank Blue Moon and I drank an excellent Merlot.


Watching birds arriving at Jackie’s feeding station this morning, I was struck by the different approaches they exhibit.  The tits perform an undulating swoop across the sweeping lawns, reminiscent of Ducks and Drakes.  It is as if they bounce on thermals much as children’s flat stones do on still water surfaces during the game of that name. Robins pop up from anywhere.  Bright yellow-billed blackbirds, perhaps too large for the feeders, patrol the surface of the box hedge beneath the containers, picking up fallen scraps.  This is exactly what the pigeons do on the grass at The Firs.

After coffee I walked to Lyndhurst via Mill Lane and the A337; and back through Emery Down. Gorse Gorse, of course, flowers throughout the year, but the sunlight on a bright day such as this bestows a golden glow to the shrubs.

All around our new environment there are permanent road signs warning of queues ahead. Traffic queue A337 Easily outpacing vehicles headed for Lyndhurst as early in the year as 2nd April, I received an inkling of what we will experience in the high season.

My main purpose in visiting Lyndhurst was to collect the euros for my forthcoming trip to Sigoules.  The NatWest bank in the town is situated on a very dangerous corner bend. On emerging from the door of the building it is impossible to see what is coming round on the near side from your right.  There is a traffic island offering some refuge for people wanting to cross here and walk up the hill that is the main street.  The best approach is to wait for a gap in the stream of cars, walk to the kerb, lean forward, crane round, then nip across, hoping for the best.  I had reached the nipping across stage and made it halfway to the refuge when a cry of ‘wait!’ somewhat startled me.  Well, I was committed.  There was no turning back.  And something in the tone suggested that it was unlikely that the cry was addressed to me.  As I dived onto the secure area I came face to face with our neighbours Ari and Jackie.  Their little brown miniature dachshund seemed to have been rather to keen to go to the bank.  Replying to Ari’s question as to my well-being, I said ‘I’m fine now I’ve got across the road.  When I heard your ‘wait!’,  I thought ‘what? what?’.

Before Becky, Ian, and Scooby left for Mitcham, leaving Flo to spend more time with us, we all dined on Jackie’s chicken curry followed by apricot and rhubarb crumble.  I drank Kingfisher, Ian drank Peroni, and Flo drank milk.