Definitely worth booking an overnight stay near the wake yesterday. I woke up rested in a very practical farmhouse mourning the fact that breakfast was no later than 9.30pm as I was properly hanging.
The lady of the house where I stayed was a very familiar type to me. Small but busy and forward, Hunter wellies and a Barbour jacket. No mess. Super practical. She had been up since 4 mucking out the horses and feeding everything and raising three children and building an orphanage before serving me my excellent late morning bacon and sausages that she had likely made herself. She handed me a cafetiere of real coffee though. This was unexpected as these deep England farmhouses tend to be stuck in the 1980’s. Have we finally graduated from Nescafé?
I fuelled up and shot myself down south to Corfe Castle. It’s a strong ruin. You can walk all the way round the bottom of it for free. It’s only a tenner to get into the ruins if you’re not a free National Trust member, but by the time I got to the turnstile I was feeling perfectly well castled and didn’t feel motivated to pay in order to join the throng. I had a good fix of medieval castle up at Acquafreddo about a month ago. Today I had a reasonable amount of ground to cover and I’m sure I’ll renew my Trust membership but not today.
Down the coast a while, looking for potential spots of interest and I pulled off the road to track a sign of a stooping owl. It led me to a raptor collection that I immediately knew I didn’t want to pay for, but which in turn led me past Crow and into The New Forest. Horses in the road. Calves in the road. Donkeys in the road. Americans in the road. I stopped for a ham and cheese toasty in a traditional English tea room in a tourist village where mules trot up and down the pavement. There definitely was some cheese in the toasty somewhere because I could smell it. £8.95 for hot damp bread with a sliver of pink. The coffee, again, was good. Have we actually started to catch up in this part of it country?
More aimless pottering. Looking out, looking in. I like to drive through beautiful places. Stopping occasionally to admire something or look for fuel, which incrementally got more and more expensive the further east I drove. An article played on Radio 4 about which luxuries we were keeping in this coming recession and there we are. That’s the narrative. We are going back into recession yay thanks guys good old Brexit eh? I’m keeping the car if I can. Even though Bergman is a heavy old boy and likes his drink, we have good adventures. My return journey from the wake was in my own time and on my own terms and I got to stop in unusual places and look at old things and natural things and very very British things.
I eventually wound up at Glyndebourne grabbing Lou at the end of her shift. We had a quick stroll and then went to Bill’s in Lewes. It’s thoughtful there and easy. And after all the driving and wandering and looking, and the disappointing toasty, I wanted a bit of food in my belly. Another luxury, this eating out habit. I love to do it. Two courses at Bill’s was about the same as my ham and um toasty and the flat white.
And now this familiar room in Brighton, the sea to my left, the scrutiny of an extremely fluffy cat to my right. I won’t go rushing off tomorrow.