This morning I walked back to Lyndhurst, and in the process discovered where I had gone wrong yesterday. In the gloom of evening I had not seen a road sign. Jackie and I rendezvoused in the car park and completed the mail redirection process in the Post Office. We then had a wander around the town, making a few purchases, including a fine pair of leather gloves in the Age UK shop.
Ponies and cattle possessed the road, as nonchalently chomping away and wandering down the street through Minstead, as usual. At one point I helped out the driver of a small white van patiently waiting for a gap to open between a cow and calf so that he could squeeze through. It just wasn’t going to happen until I walked towards the pair prompting the calf to set off down the road. The adult, its head in a hedge, took no notice.
By the time we returned to Castle Malwood, what had begun as a rather murky day had metamorphosed into a gloriously clear, bright, seasonal one. We have learned that the two drives off the forest roads leading to our building are called ‘upper’ and ‘lower’. As we straddled the bars of the cattle grid at the ‘upper’ entrance we were both entranced by the leaf-carpeted bank beside it. I reflected, as I have done many times this week, that we are so fortunate to be arriving, in the autumn of our years, at such a picturesque area in such a spectacular season.
After another afternoon sorting out our new home we dined on a fabulous beef stew Jackie made. I was a little disappointed because I had seen her buy a blackberry and apple pie in Lyndhurst and thought that would be for our pud. It wasn’t, because we had no custard or cream. This was not really a problem. I just had another helping of stew. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed Marques de Montino rioja reserva 2007.