Yesterday’s weather didn’t quite resemble the forecast, so we cut our losses and skipped the next leg of the Dorset Coast Path.
So what to do?
Join the M25, and get stuck in a jam?
A trip across country to meet a friend?
I suggested Winchester, but he suggested Alresford.
A good choice.
This settlement is over 800 years old, and is now stuck in a 1950’s time warp.
The River Arle winds its way around the north of the town, and somehow this has been distorted to give the town it’s name.
I’m guessing that they (like Shakespeare) were a little inconsistent when it came to spelling.
As this second shot shows the town had its fair share of mills. The water which rushes alongside these ancient buildings are known as a “race”.
Before the advent of electricity flour mills were exclusively water powered.
Here’s an abandoned watercress farm (and presumably another old mill) just 100 yards from my last shot.
It’s a shame this area has been left to rack and ruin, especially as the water is still so clear and the cress still tastes good.
Having gone “off piste” we strolled to the north of the town, hearing birds singing, and watching large billowing clouds building above the fields.
I believe these exquisite blooms are Snake’s Head Fritillary, and the yellow one? Cowslip. It seems a good year for the latter, we saw thousands last week on the North Downs.
These flowers were nestling alongside a freshwater stream, and beneath the surface were lush green weeds that reminded me of the foliage I once kept in my goldfish bowl.
A little further on we came across this amazing residence, which straddles a fast flowing stream and is built right on the convergence of two water courses.
I noticed it had just been sold, presumably it has stood the test of time, although I’d struggle to sleep if it was mine? Goodness knows how much the insurance must cost!
Out to the other side a “No Cycling” sign had been peppered by air rifle pellets, not that it seems to have bothered the local mallards and Chiffchaff that were present in abundance.
Oh how I wish we’d seen a Water Vole. This once common species is now virtually extinct throughout most of Britain, but they still survive down here in Hampshire.
Leaving the babbling brooks behind us, and carefully stepping over a duck egg on the tarmac path we were soon back on The Avenue.
Looking out for the Public Conveniences we soon found ourselves just yards from “The Watercress Line” as a train rattled into the station.
Ah, those were the days. how we all miss choking on soot!
The platform attendants were helpful, and the Station Staff answered my questions on the dining car availability.
£59 a head, and booked until October. Oh well, i’d better start saving.
After my curiosity was sated we made our way back to the cars.
Here I was reminded of that there window tax we heard about in Canterbury. You’ll recall how the government 320
years ago levied a tax based upon the number of windows in a dwelling.
I wonder what new taxes we’ll be paying shortly after 7th May 2015! All those promises will need to be funded somehow.
I’m pretty scared of the “Mansion Tax”. According to the Lib Dems, and labour we’ll be safe, as we are way under the threshold.
But I don’t trust ’em.
Once it’s on the statute book and the coffers re running dry the middle classes will be hammered.
Ooops, I didn’t mean to get political.
Well that’s the end of our little tour, I wish you could join me in the Tiffin Tea Rooms for a Russian Caravan.
Maybe next time?