This morning I popped out to check out the gypsy’s grave under the yew tree in St John’s churchyard. I found the massive old yew without any problem but there are LOTS of gravestones under it and most are unreadable. So, as Mirinda says, I have actually seen it…I’m just not sure which one it was!
On the local news this morning, there was a piece on a police raid on a house in Fordingbridge looking to bust a massive international drug ring. Fordingbridge doesn’t exactly conform to what most people would think of as a head of anything. When we visited the New Forest and stayed at Woodpecker Cottage, we weren’t far from Fordingbridge. In the words of Victor Meldrew, “I don’t believe it!”
Once Mirinda had had her usual soak, we set off for a short walk across the red clover in the Low Grounds. The original plan had been to take a short walk back but owing to a mass of nettles blocking the path, we ended up taking the loooooong way. Not that it wasn’t pleasant…to start with. We had a delightful wander between fields, beside insect rich hedgerows, swooping birds around us. We were lost for a bit – mainly due to the cloak of invisibility around Mud Farm – but managed to discover we were on the track to Larkwhistle Farm, clearly marked on the map and a long way out of our way. Rather than backtrack, Mirinda decided we’d walk via Chapel Lane into Easton then via the woods back to Avington Park.
As a walker, there are few sights more appreciated after a few hours walking than a pub, and this is what awaited us as we entered Easton. The Cricketers had just opened and I fortunately had just enough change in my pocket for a pint of Strongarm and a diet coke. We sat and drank for a spell then stepped back out into the street. That is when the weather changed.
A few weekends ago, watching Countryfile, we saw an item about the weather forecasting that the BBC use. We were told that the five day forecast is good but the daily stuff was generally pretty spot on. This morning I watched the weather, as usual on the BBC, and was reliably informed that there would be rain in Brighton, rain in Andover but nothing on us.
So we left the road and started across fields as the rain started spitting, then falling then deluging. I wasn’t prepared for a serious walk so realised a few things pretty quickly. I had no raincoat, I wasn’t wearing my boots, I’d forgotten my hat, I had no waterproof bag and I wasn’t wearing my normal quick dry walking shorts. My glasses quickly became useless, my t-shirt was drenched, my runners started squelching and the camera was starting to get wet. It was pretty soon that I realised that my light shorts had a serious drawback – they get see-through when wet. Naturally Mirinda just gloried in the inclemency and walked slower.
As a short break we stopped off in the little Saxon church of St Swithin’s in Martyr Worthy. Unfortunately they are having more guide books printed so I can’t bore anyone with any details. It has a very unusual rounded altar, as if it’s been tacked onto the end of a strictly rectangular building. It has a square, wooden bell tower. It was quite cute. The stained glass was very nice so I snapped a shot of St John, just for your edification! But we had to leave and get a bit more drenched.
In England, in our experience anyway, the rain is generally pretty light and, if you’re in it for a long time, it rarely gets you more than damp. We have never seen rain like we have in Sydney. The type that drenches you in a couple of minutes with massive drops that eventually give you a headache if you stand beneath them too long. Well, we can no longer say that. The rain today was tropical. The last stretch to Avington Park was of truly waterfallic proportions. By the time we reached the entrance hall there was no longer anything dry about us.
Interestingly there was some sort of function on at the house today and we dripped right through the middle of it. Oh, how Australian!
The hot shower and dry clothes were very welcome and I think the camera is going to pull through.