Our last day in the New Forest and it was a wonderful start: yet more clear blue skies and little in the way of wind. Our legs had recuperated and our bike wheels were hopefully now protected against any further deflating experiences, so Francine searched our maps for a suitable ride. It’s the weekend again so everywhere would be busy but harbours are usually interesting so we headed for Christchurch Harbour.
On another mixed outbound route of forest tracks and quiet country roads, we came across what I thought was a particularly tasteful memorial to all the second world war airfields in the New Forest. Naturally, being on the south coast, this area was in the thick of it.
Our eventual target turned out to be something of a trip down Memory Lane for Franco ‘cos we ended up at Mudeford Quay. In fact, the “memory” part of Memory Lane was sadly lacking ‘cos it was far too far back in mists of time that, as a child, I had been brought here by my parents. I can remember their telling me but, when I arrived I had no recollections of the place at all. I did remember from the stories that it was a hotbed of recreational crabbing for children. Nothing had changed, clearly; the quayside was lined with people hopefully dangling hand lines to yank out the poor, unsuspecting crabs.
Much more interesting was a display of the unhurried launching of the local life boat. I was looking forward to it sliding down the slipway and crashing into the water with an accompanying dramatic splash. In fact it was a very gentle, measured affair controlled by an odd-looking tractor device with the life boat still in some form of launching/recovery cage. Steering the whole outfit down the not-much-leeway-for-error launching ramp looked like a challenge requiring keen concentration.
Apart from Franco missing a turn and noticing only because Francine never caught up, the return trip was blissfully uneventful – no nasty flint punctures (but it’s early days). The promised cloud later in the day arrived and the temperature dropped acccordingly for our packing in preparation for tomorrow’s departure. What a very welcome stunning week and a half this trip has been; we could not have asked for anything better.
Now, what next?