The New Forest

Friday is the day of Bargate Market in Southampton, so after breakfast, Kathy, Tris, and I walked through the market, yielding to the temptation to buy raspberries, cherries, and currants. Tristan hadn't had breakfast, so he also downed a Cornish pasty and half a dozen stuffed grape leaves.

New Forest heatherAfter a rendezvous with David at the conference coffee break (to hand off some things he'd forgotten to take with him that morning), Kathy, Tris, and I, still licking our fingers, caught the 56A bus to Lyndhurst, "capital" of the New Forest. The New Forest (actually a mix of woodland and open heath) was new in 1079, when it became William the Conquerer's private hunting preserve. (If it had been the hunting preserve of anyone less than a king, it would have been a "chase" rather than a "forest.") I describe the New Forest and its free-range donkeys, ponies, and cattle in the "Southampton" entry of my 2005 sabbatical diary. After a stroll through the bracken and heather, we settled on the Fox and Hounds for lunch and ate in the garden behind the pub. Tristan and Kathy both orderd salads, and I had the fish and chips.

After lunch we set out on another open-top bus tour, this one lasting two hours, through Brockenhurst, Lymington, Exbury, and Beaulieu. Unlike the tour on the Isle of Wight, which proceeded at a dignified pace and provided narration, this one zoomed along at the maximum legal speed (only 40 mph in most of the forest, because of the danger of livestock on the roads) and announced only the names of the stops. I had to take off my hat and hold onto it with both hands the whole time, and we were pretty wind-burned by the end!

Lyndhurst AliceWe got back to Lyndhurst in time to visit the rose-covered grave, in the local churchyard, of Mrs. Reginald Hargreaves, née Alice Liddell, the Alice who, as a little girl, inspired Alice in Wonderland. We caught the express 56 bus back to Southampton in plenty of time to meet David and Buz at Kimber Hall for the walk to P.O.S.H. ("Southampton's Most Exclusive Indian Restaurant") for the last-day-of-the-meeting "survivors' dinner." The numbers were down from almost 300 for the Wednesday banquet to a mere 60 or so. The restaurant laid on a wonderful buffet of all the standards, and we all ate too much (and enjoyed every bit of it). I'm definitely going to have to look more deeply into these "kormas," "bhunas," and "tikka massalas."

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