A Week in the New Forest…….October 2019….Part 2

20191016_112119 copy.jpgAnother day, another nice thing to do. This time a gentle 2 or 3 mile walk along the river from our house to Bucklers Hard.  Board walks in some places to avoid getting wet.20191016_112522 copy.jpgAnd brilliant views of what is a very scenic river indeed.20191016_114824 copy.jpg20191016_115154 copy.jpgAt Bucklers Hard itself we enjoyed the Georgian village, once a thriving shipbuilding village where ships for Nelson’s fleet at Trafalgar were built……now, as the blurb says,  ‘a tranquil haven’. At the river end of the Buckler’s Hard high street was The Master Builder’s House Hotel where we enjoyed a refreshing drink in the gardens…….20191016_123701 copy.jpgWe hadn’t been to the seaside yet on this holiday, so off we went in the afternoon to Milford on Sea, a very pleasant location with a good, noisy, shingly beach and a distant view of The Needles. 20191016_154905 copy.jpgI’m sure all these colourful beach huts will be open on a sunny day……..20191016_155431 copy.jpgBut we enjoyed ourselves ……….skimming stones amongst other things….20191016_165329-copy.jpg20191016_155113 copy.jpgand the children’s play area had some unusually good activities…20191016_162850 copy.jpgand what nicer at the seaside than to have fish and chips on the promenade?20191016_174631 copy.jpegOur cottage being in Beaulieu it would have been ridiculous to have gone home without visiting Palace House and its world-famous car museum. But a stately home, gardens and a car museum for a 5 year old? As it happens, we need not have worried. Aiisha enjoyed the visit as much as anybody, as everywhere there had been a huge attempt made to keep things family-friendly.20191017_113031 copy.jpgWe went in the car museum first, and not only was it very nostalgic for people who had themselves owned an Austin Healey, a Zephyr, and a Zodiac, and an Austin A35, but it was all incredibly interesting , and there was always something to capture our attention.20191017_120713 copy.jpg20191017_120728 copy.jpg20191017_121503 copy.jpg20191017_121454 copy.jpg20191017_121623 copy.jpgand didn’t my family look absolutely splendid in Edwardian motoring gear………20191017_121953 copy.jpgalthough the wind can play havoc with the driver’s hat!20191017_122046 copy.jpgOver 16 million Model T Fords were manufactured before production ceased in 1927 and interestingly British cars came in blue and green before black became standard in 1914. In the 1920’s grey, red and grey were offered. The first British factory had opened in my home town of Manchester in 1911. The model on show here cost £135 and did 40mph……..20191017_122750 copy.jpgAiisha loved the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car (amongst many other things aimed at children)….20191017_122907 copy.jpgand would really have loved to have had a go in this Atco junior trainer designed in the 1930’s to give children basic experience of road craft. Everything is as in a full size car but miniaturised with the exception of there being just 2 gears forward and back.20191017_123459 copy.jpgMind you we did find the interactive driving games exciting….20191017_130632-copy-2.jpgand we got to sit on an old bus…………20191017_124831 copy 2.jpgand then after a great lunch have a trip around the grounds in a replica 1912 London bus. It stopped at the house…….. 20191017_132532 copy 2.jpgso we decided to get off and have a look around the historic home of the Montagu family, and later at the ruins of the Abbey………..I can’t stress too highly how accessible everything was and how involving. The house, although stuffed with the usual expensive objets and pictures and furniture and so on, was different from any other I have been in, in that not only was photography allowed, but you could touch or get close to virtually everything. Amazing.20191017_135019 copy 2.jpg desktop-attraction_Day-Visits-Abbey_w870px_h475px.jpgOne surviving building from the Abbey – the Domus – was once the living quarters of the lay brothers………..20191017_163328.jpgAnd in here were displayed a whole series of embroideries designed by Belinda, Lady Montagu which depict the history of the Abbey. They were exquisite.20191017_163550-copy-2.jpg20191017_163511-copy-2.jpgWhat else did we do? Visit the Top Gear museum where all the old episodes were showing (of the proper Top Gear with Jeremy et al) alongside the actual vehicles featured………good fun.20191017_153256 copy 2.jpg20191017_153928 copy 2.jpg20191017_154316 copy 2.jpgThis was followed by a go for all of us on the full-scale simulator – racing round the Dunsfold Park test track in a Caterham and a Bugatti Veyron. Exciting.20191017_160527-copy-2.jpgWe then went for a trip on the mile-long monorail, the oldest in England on a sedate tour of the attraction from above, with sweeping views of the grounds and gardens before passing right through the roof of the National Motor Museum to give another take on things.20191017_155246 copy 2.jpg20191017_155652 copy 2.jpgWe just had time then to stroll round the gardens, which were lovely…..20191017_161639 copy 2.jpeg20191017_162515 copy 2.jpgA really really good time was had by all, and I can’t recommend this place enough. A fantastic week in a lovely house in a lovely part of the country.

On our way home F. and I diverted a short distance to visit the museum of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Always interesting to see how the downtrodden were able to secure basic rights due to the bravery and persistence of a few heroes. Small but worth visit.Martyrs colour_0.jpg

A Week in the New Forest…October 2019

20191016_110618 copy.jpgA week in the New Forest in October in a house in the trees with rain forecast every day didn’t seem to augur too well. In the event the rain held off at critical times and at other times we didn’t mind getting wet. After all, being British, we accept bad weather with the equanimity it deserves for what it is. Getting wet is not something you seek, but when you are wet, well you’re wet and that’s sort of ok.20191013_155135 copy.jpgWe were all converging on the house from different directions. F and me in our car from Cornwall, Katherine and Aiisha from Southampton airport, and David and Jennifer from London. On our way we called into Forde Abbey as it was on our route and free to HHA members. A good call for lunch. Forde Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery dating back to the early 12th century. One of the richest abbeys in England it was of course quickly dissolved by Henry VIII. It then had a rich and varied history as a private home. Its first lay owner entertained the Duke of Monmouth as he planned his rebellion and ended up in the Tower of London, and Jeremy Bentham also rented the house for a period during the 19th century, and did much of his writing here.

It was in fact converted into quite a palatial family home during the mid 17th century. The house has exquisitely ornate plaster ceilings throughout the state rooms, together with a collection of very impressive Mortlake tapestries woven from cartoons drawn by Raphael for the Sistine Chapel. It is indeed a unique family house.

Throughout the 20th century the 30 acres of gardens that surround the  house have been transformed by the present owners. The gardens are now a diverse and breathtaking landscape fit for the house that they surround, from the productive Kitchen Garden, to the Arboretum, Rock Garden, Herbaceous Borders, Bog Garden, and Woodland Garden.

20191011_135552 copy.jpg20191011_122337 copy.jpgAnd with it being near to Halloween they had lavish displays everywhere of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes…20191011_135300 copy.jpg20191011_122314 copy.jpgA fleeting but fascinating visit. Now, the clans having gathered and made ourselves at home, we set out on the first full day for Lymington as I knew the market was there on Saturdays….the journey there gave us some inkling of just how many ponies we would see in the following days…..they are everywhere, and I do mean everywhere, (and very friendly).20191012_104618 copy.jpgWe loved Lymington, who wouldn’t, and the busy and engaging market stretched in two rows a long long way down the main shopping street, and was great. We also found amazing bargains in a charity shop where we purchased 5 or 6 games suitable for children and adults (bearing in mind the weather).20191012_115926 copy.jpgAt the end of the main run a couple of very pretty cobbled streets took us down to the harbour….where we availed ourselves of some refreshments and lunch.20191012_120315 copy.jpg20191012_120639 copy.jpg20191012_125220 copy.jpgA great place all round. A bit later in the day we walked along country paths to Beaulieu where we encountered rather a lot of donkeys (also friendly).20191012_170023 copy.jpgNow why didn’t the others follow the example of this one sheltering under a large archway? Mind you, they do always seem to look sad….20191012_165927-copy.jpgBack ‘home’ it was time for a belated birthday cake for Katherine and Aiisha which went down well, and after it some of the games we had bought.20191012_193433 copy.jpgThe ‘Load the Camel’ game was hilarious and we played with it lots of times. When overloaded it kind of jumped into life shocking me more than anyone every single time, and scaring poor Aiisha!20191012_200713.jpegSunday was to be our adventure day. We walked to the Outdoor Activities Centre at Beaulieu….20191013_092431 copy.jpgand prepared for our bike rides. Very very enjoyable if a little scary (as one of the main cycle routes was closed for pony counting!!) leaving us no option but to travel on busy main roads. 20191013_100400 copy.jpg20191013_110905 copy.jpg20191013_110942 copy.jpgHaving completed our rides we prepared for canoeing. As you can see the rain was not putting anyone off.20191013_122835 copy.jpg20191013_123134 copy.jpgWe travelled upstream to the weir at Beaulieu where we called into a little inlet for cups of hot chocolate provided by our instructor Chris. He was a terrific guide pointing out lots of rivery things, and always aware of which birds and features we were seeing…20191013_130959 copy.jpg20191013_132324 copy.jpgA great day all round, and highly recommended.20191013_135751 copy.jpgAlways nice to have a pint or whatever in the local Beaulieu pub after our exertions……20191013_172705 copy.jpg20191013_173736 copy.jpgAnd a nice sky on our walk home.20191013_182531-EFFECTS copy.jpgAnother day took us to Portsmouth where we were to see the Mary Rose (something I have always wanted to do). The dockland surroundings were very impressive and we glimpsed some very famous ships before entering a very active repair and building shed……..20191014_134238 copy.jpg20191014_134906 copy.jpgwhere we had a very decent lunch ( and did a bit of colouring)…..20191014_135313 copy.jpg20191014_144536 copy.jpgGetting closer to the Mary Rose museum we were intrigued and impressed by Nelson’s very own HMS Victory…20191014_152029 copy.jpg20191014_152051_001 copy.jpg20191014_152134 copy.jpgand in between it and the Mary Rose was the iconic 25ft statue ‘Embracing Peace’, also known as Unconditional Surrender. This European replica of the US based original has been touring Europe, the original statue famously depicting an embrace in Times Square, New York, at the end of the World War II, between a returning serviceman and a local girl. Very impressive indeed.20191014_152331 copy.jpgAt last the Museum. We didn’t really know what to expect and whether it would be suitable for a 5 year-old. We were not to be disappointed. The ship itself at the centre, of course, of the museum is encircled by a “Hot Box” chamber that houses it whilst a highly technical drying out process takes place. Spotlit in different places at different times it is magical to see, and surrounding it on several floors equivalent to the decks are many of the items recovered from the ship which tell us so much about the England of Henry VIII and those who worked in its navy.20191014_154808 copy.jpgItems which show the essence of a very powerful warship of its day, and a warship which moreover had already had a successful career of 34 years (news to me).20191014_154911 copy.jpgAnd items which show us how its crew lived – and died.20191014_154036 copy.jpg20191014_155734-copy.jpgThese are items from the carpenters store….20191014_155012 copy.jpgand in their midst something which to me was the most astonishing thing of all…..20191014_155639 copy.jpg….this multi-purpose tool. How incredible, a Swiss Army knife of the sixteenth century.20191014_155644 copy.jpegThere was so much to see that we only were able to have a good look at a tiny fraction…..20191014_163011 copy.jpg20191014_161553 copy.jpgWho could not be impressed by the galley with its two large, brick built ovens each with a huge copper cauldron on the top. Meat and fish were boiled in these to feed the 400 or 500 men on board. No chimneys – the smoke was trapped in a box-like area above the ovens, where it could be used to flavour fish and meat.20191014_162851.jpgThe adults were entranced. And as for Aiisha, there were interactive games..20191014_160048 copy.jpgskeletons to rebuild…..20191014_162509 copy.jpg20191014_161419 copy.jpgclothes to dress up in….20191014_154113 copy.jpgfood casks to see what people eat….20191014_163216.jpgand a kind of treasure hunt where successfully spotting various things all around the museum was rewarded with a certificate and badge. What a successful day. And we can return any time in the next year – we will!20191014_164047 copy.jpgYet another day found us at Poultons Park a theme park like no other and the #1 UK theme park as voted for by TripAdvisor, Mumsnet and Which readers, and most definitely by the Smith family. It was quite exceptional. Our first job on entering was to get ourselves fed and watered. And I can honestly say that the curry I had was one of the very best (and cheapest) curries I have ever had. Terrific to find such quality in a theme park.20191015_105619 copy 2.jpegAnd what then struck us before anything else was the beauty of the surroundings with Japanese gardens, dinosaur jungles, 20191015_110406 2 copy.jpg20191015_111746 2 copy.jpg20191015_114611.jpgand lots of birds………20191015_114258 copy 2.jpgBut of course some of us had come for the rides, and they were great. Naturally neither F. nor I  ventured  onto the more extreme, adrenelin-inducing rides but we did try some of the more moderate ones which gave us ample flavour of what theme park rides are about…..20191015_125745-copy.jpg20191015_110951 copy.jpg20191015_112839 copy.jpg20191015_112908 2 copy.jpgAnd what I found fascinating was the way that Aiisha not only got super enjoyment from the big rides, but also from the gentler ones too……20191015_113209 copy.jpg20191015_121901 copy.jpg20191015_121526 copy.jpeg20191015_123521 copy.jpg20191015_125501 copy.jpg20191015_130720-2-copy.jpg20191015_131025 copy.jpgAnd at the end, to cap it all off there was Peppa Pig’s World, and who couldn’t like that?20191015_144105-2-copy-1.jpg20191015_150527 2 copy.jpeg20191015_150725_001 copy.jpg20191015_154154 copy.jpg20191015_160811 copy.jpg20191015_104409 2.jpg20191015_143953.jpegA really, really really successful day…..well done to Paulton Park!

Our own beach hut…for 10 minutes anyway….

20181024_114629.jpegAfter a quick trip to the doctors, warmth and blue skies beckoned us to the seaside, so off we went on our local 73 bus to Talland Bay for a walk to Looe. The start was downhill from the bus stop through a tunnel of green and brown to the shore. 20181024_113341.jpg20181024_113556.jpgWhen we arrived at the beach we saw that the cafe there, which we have never seen open before, was indeed doing business. After ordering our coffee and tea we decided to make use of their wonderful little beach huts. What a great idea of theirs and how sympathetic to the setting. A pleasant 10 minutes was spent admiring the view.20181024_114514.jpeg20181024_115107.jpeg20181024_115940.jpegThat set us up nicely for the very steep climb up coronary hill…20181024_121848.jpeg20181024_122107.jpegand luckily someone who had obviously enjoyed this walk in the past had dedicated a seat just before the top…20181024_122851.jpegFrom now on a walk along how the Coastal Path should be – with stunning views and scenery….20181024_125020.jpeg20181024_125255.jpegand again some lovely turquoise colours in the sea…..maybe a result of the china clay residue which has filled this Bay for hundreds of years!20181024_130136.jpegYou know when Polperro is just round the corner when you see that some people are using other means of transport than feet…..20181024_130946.jpeg20181024_131244.jpegThe beach was fairly busy, as was the town (half-term). But in truth it is not a particularly nice beach (sorry Polperro). 20181024_131808.jpgWe saw one house that had four substantial flying buttresses holding it up – a feature which you only normally see on cathedrals, and here was the so-called ‘house-on-props’.20181024_132325.jpegReally good there is a decent pub just by where you wait for the bus….20181024_134050.jpgAnd, as we had to change buses in Looe, we walked up to Looe beach which is very nice…20181024_142622.jpegOn the way home I took some moving shots just to show how green is my valley….virtually the whole way home you go along the river and are surrounded by trees…..20181024_151204.jpg20181024_150614.jpg20181024_150936.jpgand you have races sometimes (in my head anyway) with the train on the adjoining line which stops at Sandplace station only a handful of times ….. approx 30 passengers per week. We’ve never seen anyone waiting here…..20181024_151049.jpg

Autumn in our Cornish lanes…..

20181023_121823.jpegWhen we don’t go anywhere else we nearly always have a daily walk downhill to St Keyne’s Well and back….about an hour. On a nice Autumn day pretty idyllic.20181021_130747.jpg20181021_130753.jpg20181021_131038.jpgPlus it is not without its wildlife interest. Here a red admiral butterfly. Interesting this one. A survey of experts earlier in the summer warned of a serious decline. However what they didn’t say was that the count may have been at the wrong time. The weather has not followed exactly normal patterns this year, and what I am finding is that with the mild Autumn there are a tremendous number of red admirals about. I counted 8 on my walk the other day. I really think all ‘experts’ have got to be more humble. The common- sense explanation was always that early cold just delayed normal events.20181021_132146 2.jpegOn today’s walk I very nearly trod on this delightful little creature. He was just sitting in the sun by the side of the lane nibbling on something which obviously tasted good to him. A bank vole. I hate mice and rats and all such, but this one seemed to have stepped right out of the pages of Wind in The Willows…….20181023_115504.jpegTuesday 23rd October….