He spotted deal for a mid week three night break, booked our hotel and off we went. The weather was about as good as it can get for this time of the year. On the way we stopped at Shaftesbury, and after a walk around, including up and down the famous 'Hovis Hill' and a coffee, we started on the last leg of our journey. The hairpin bends up to Cranborne Chase were magnificent and we shall certainly be returning to explore that area soon.
The New Forest was just perfect. The low sun highlighted the warm golden colours of the oak tree leaves, and dotted around were some lovely pine trees. As usual the ponies ambled along, grazing patches of bright green tightly cropped grass on parts of the moorland.
Our hotel was just across the estuary from Lymington, and had had quite a varied history...for now it is a hotel. We had a spacious room in the grounds in modern two story blocks. You can guess...our cheapest rooms were up the wooden stairs which lead to pairs of rooms. The room however was large, neat, clean and quite satisfactory, and importantly had a sofa and TV. We have been without sofa and TV for what seems like ages. The Spa: swimming and whirl pools, steam room and sauna were enjoyable and not at all busy...but I could just manage it just once, as on the other days I didn't feel well enough.
The grounds were wonderful and each morning we would walk down the large lawn bordered by well clipped hedges to admire the views across the sea. We ended up taking our binoculars as there were so many birds on our side away from the busy little marinas on the other shore. We even saw a little egret within twenty yards!
The trees were bent over maybe growing away from the salt air.
We enjoyed a day browsing around Lymington, which has some handsome old houses, and an interesting High Street. Not surprising we headed for the St Barbe's: the Museum and Art Gallery. There was a special Exhibition on Wood-block Prints by Allen W Seaby and John E Platt. I recognised the style and also many of the Seaby woodcuts of animals and birds from early Ladybird Books.
The adjacent Museum was well put together and these are some of the displays which caught my eye:
So we thought flash cards were something new? My mother loved to quote the rhyme about the months of the year, and I loved to listen and imagine what snow and ice and changing seasons would be like. Its quite probable that she would have learnt using aids like these strips of fine wood with poetry lines on them:
January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.
February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.
March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.
April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.
May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.
June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children’s hands with posies.
Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots, and gillyflowers.
August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.
Warm September brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.
Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.
Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.
Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.
I wanted to be reminded of the whole poem and have found that it was written by Sara Coleridge.
The Boldre Hoard
This display reminded me of the series we enjoyed watching: The Detectorists.
We knew we wanted a rest so stopped for lunch in the Cafe, best meal we had all holiday!!!! We went for the Vegetarian Option of dahl and rice. It was a brown lentil dish with balanced spicy flavour with added sweet potato on top of a spicy rice. I complimented the staff thinking it was pretty good for a 'boil in the bag', as I had not seen any cooking. It was explained that the owner makes these dishes fresh off site, and brings in the dishes each day for the varying menu. Its not surprising that the cafe filled up to capacity as local people came in for lunch.
Our lunch at the Museum and Art Gallery cafe trumped the highly rated Pebble Beach Restaurant at Barton on Sea, which we had booked for the following day.. This was to have been my early Birthday Lunch. However we were disappointed: parts were good, such as the bread, scallop starter, but the mains were a let down, as was my dessert.
On our way home we spent the morning at Buckler's Hard where some of Nelson's ships were built.
The little Chapel dedicated to St Mary is set in the row of Georgian Cottages, and has a beautifully embroidered Alter Cloth.
Ever since I worked for my tying knots badge at Bluebirds...that is what Brownies were called in some parts of the Commonwealth, I have been intrigued by them. As no children were watching, I worked at tying a bowline. Have you ever tied a bowline?
There was a wonderful little glass display with many different types of knots....
I didn't feel at all well for part of the break, so could not really take everything or even much in. We could have spent a whole day here. I wondered what was up...it must have been a virus, as last week once we were home, Mr S felt many of the same symptoms.