Three perfectly sunny Spring days for the May Day long weekend here in the south of England. We are staying with our beautiful friends who have taken us to see and experience the sights and sounds of Hampshire and Dorset.
Recent storms have removed great chunks from the coastline and looking over at the Isle of Wight there are not as many rocky outcrops to see as one has completely disappeared in recent years.
We saw photos of the devastation to the beach huts at Mudeford after the storm but the quaint little cottages that have no running water or toilets but cost a fortune have been rebuilt and look as though they have been here forever.
The ancient church at Christchurch which contains graves dating back to the 1400s was amazing. It has the tall gothic arches, beautiful stained glass windows and we experienced its wonderful acoustics as a group of musicians were there practising for a performance that night.
Also in Christchurch we had a real Devonshire tea. The scones contained sultanas and we each received a ‘scone’ that was the size of a quarter of a loaf of bread. None of us could finish our portion though the clotted cream and strawberry jam helped it go down quite well.
Yesterday we went to the New Forest and the villages and towns within it. After all the recent rain there is water lying on the ground but everything is beautifully green. The new leaves on the trees and bushes are soft and bright green and the wild Forest ponies are looking fat and happy. You are not allowed to touch or feed the ponies and they are everywhere! They range from small Shetlands through to quite large horses. They are looking a bit ruffled at the moment as they are losing their winter coats. We also saw wild donkeys. There were two little baby ones lying contentedly in the sun. One group of cattle was lying down. Apparently this means rain is coming. All the other cattle were standing up. Maybe there will be just a little bit of rain.
After an amazing pub lunch at the ‘Hare and Hounds’ where all the portions could have fed two or even three people we went on to Lymington. This is a town with a harbour at the mouth of the river but still in the New Forest area. The houses around here are very expensive and old. The shops are very quaint and full of beautiful things for sale. On the water, there are large yachts as far as the eye can see and the ferries for the Isle of Wight leave from here.
While we were down on the harbour a siren went off and there was great excitement as the Royal National Lifeguard rolled out their orange rubber dinghy and sped off at night speed in front of the nose of the Ferry as it was departing.
Royal Coast Guard off to an emergency in front of Isle of Wight ferry.
We have woken up to yet another sunny day. In the garden of the house where we are staying there are two nesting boxes. One is the home of a family of newly hatched blue tits and the other contains robin red breasts. A grey squirrel is happily cavorting across fences and branches and a magpie is wondering how to raid the nests of the little birds. Fortunately they are safe in their little wooden homes.