Today didn’t quite go according to plan. Even the steady rain, predicted to set in from 11.00 a.m., came early. We spent much of our time in the car. It was so dark that headlights were required. Even when the illuminations are dipped, undulations in the road mean that approaching ones temporarily blind drivers.
Our first call was to the framer’s in Old Milton. It was closed. All day on Mondays, one of which this was. Never mind, we were in good time to engage in some Christmas shopping in Lyndhurst and Hedge End on the way to visiting Margery and Paul.
That is until every lane on the crowded M27 came to a standstill. The bulbs in the overhead signage spelled out ANIMALS ON ROAD SLOW. Well they would hardly have room to get up any sort of speed if they were paying any attention at all to the traffic. Which is, in itself, highly unlikely.
In the New Forest, wandering miscreants could be ponies, deer, donkeys, pigs, or cattle; or any combination from all these. Since there are strong barriers bordering the major roads, my money would be on the deer, who are the best jumpers. But you never can tell.
A police car, siren blaring, and blue light flashing, tore along the hard shoulder, and soon the obstacle was cleared. We never did discover what caused it. It might be worth buying the Advertiser and Times newspaper for the area. If there isn’t much else to report, the event could find its way into its columns.
But, unless it was Santa’s reindeer, it probably doesn’t really matter.
We had an enjoyable conversation with Margery and Paul, who gave us welcome coffee.
Our next visit was to Elizabeth to deliver Jacqueline’s Christmas present. There we learned that Jacqueline would be unlikely to spend Christmas day with her sister and family after all. Never mind, we left it there anyway.
Elizabeth was due to collect Mum’s Christmas cards for posting, before herself keeping an appointment with her hairdresser. We said we were visiting Mum and would post the cards. While we were at it we took the cards that my sister was in the process of writing out.
On the way to Mum’s, I realised I had left my coat at Margery and Paul’s.
Entry to Mum’s house is obtained by means of a Key Safe. When the correct code is entered into a box on the wall outside, a lever is pressed and the door key released. Had I remembered a particular birth-date correctly the first couple of times, I may have found admission easier.
Mum, whose sight is failing, had not yet written the addresses on her cards, so I did it for her. The one exception was one for Jackie and me. That saved Mum a stamp and gave us a pristine envelope which might come in handy one day.
From my mother’s in West End, having remembered to post the envelopes, we returned to Margery and Paul’s home in Bitterne, and collected my coat. Even though this is the shortest day of the year, we should have been able to expect a little more daylight when we returned home.
On the evening of such a day, there is only one thing to do. We did it. It was Spice of India that had the honour of serving our curry dinner.
In keeping with the performance of the day, I had begun eating my prawn puri starter before I remembered to photograph it. It was followed by the Sylhet special fish dish, and my share of special rice and paratha. Jackie had the same starter and the Spice of India special meal. The service and the food was very good. We both drank Cobra.