Via Facebook last night I was treated to a fitting finale to The Firs Open Studio. On 17th, the first day, I reported to search for the mislaid sold stickers. (see post) Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy went off to a pub last night to celebrate the ending of what has been a successful venture. Opening her handbag, no doubt to pay for a round, my delightful little sister discovered the stickers. This could, of course, have happened to anyone.
This morning I walked down to the village shop, returning via the footpath to London Minstead. I met a woman in Seamans Lane, with a much larger dog on a lead, who confirmed Becky’s identification of the wanderers loose on 24th (see post). They were Jack Russells. My informant said they were ‘always out’.
At Seamans Corner I watched a thistle seed resisting the efforts of a breeze too gentle to dislodge it from its stem to whisk it away to its germination site.
We took a trip to Ringwood to do some banking this afternoon. On the way we saw a For Sale notice outside Rufuston, featured on 25th July. The board was Austin & Wyatt’s. I went into their Ringwood office to ask if they were the correct branch and to enquire about the house. There ensued a ridiculous conversation between me and the agent. Jackie, who accompanied me but sat well back, could see we were at cross purposes, but wasn’t feeling up to intervention. I explained we had driven from Minstead and passed the house on our left. I described it. He said that was not the house for sale, which was the one next door. He produced a brochure. That was nothing like the one I knew to be next door. I had walked past it often enough. I mentioned the Little Chef and the garage. He said he’d been there the day before and knew what he was talking about.
I will be the first to admit that I slightly muddied the water by getting East and West muddled, until Jackie put me right. But I maintain this confusion of orientation does not extend to left and right. I most certainly do know with which hand I write.
Ever ready to admit I may be slightly in error, I was prepared to take the brochure and check out the house. This was not a task easily undertaken. Leaving Ringwood in the direction of Rufuston, one is on the wrong side of the A31. To come to a halt outside the house by using this major road, it is necessary to drive all the way to Cadnam roundabout in an Easterly direction, well past Rufuston, turn round there and travel Westwards. To avoid this we had therefore to cross the A31. This meant going via Burley and the A35, which is a considerable diversion. Leaving Burley there was a considerable traffic jam caused by a string of ponies planted in the road who wouldn’t budge. Eventually a man in a T-shirt with an unreadable logo sped on foot down the hill and gesticulated to the animals in order to shift them. He had to use a bit of brute force as well. He was distinctly underwhelmed by the well-earned applause he received. Perhaps he was in more of a hurry than most of us.
Have I mentioned that you can’t actually drive up to the house from the A35? No, I thought not. You can walk to it, but there comes a point where it is safer on the vehicle to abandon the car and continue on foot. I knew this, of course. As we parked the car outside what is clearly a residential facility for people with learning difficulties, we were greeted by a very friendly group. David, not a staff member, greeted us warmly and asked if we had come to look at the house. Shaking his hand and introducing myself by name, I had to explain that it wasn’t his house we had come to see. Having the brochure in my hand wasn’t a great deal of help, and possibly confused the situation. When we finally reached Rufuston, just a few yards away, my impressions were confirmed and endorsed by Jackie. I checked the phone number on the Austin & Wyatt board. It was not the Ringwood number. Now I had distinctly asked the agent whether it could have been another branch involved. He had said not. I felt exonerated yet rather annoyed, feeling that just because I had got East and West momentarily muddled, this had all gone pearshaped.
We made our way back to the car, and the comparatively easy route home. Jackie chose the return journey to be the moment to remember that there was another Little Chef with a garage alongside it on the other side of the A31, much nearer to Ringwood. She also knew that the St. Leonards on the brochure indicated this area and later confirmed that on the internet. Well, how was I to know? I had, after all, expressed some misgivings that the A31 was termed Ringwood Road.
After this it was very comforting to partake of Jackie’s choice chilli con carne (recipe) with wonderful wild rice and to finish the Cahors opened some time last week. Jackie also partook of the food, but drank Hoegaarden.