Friday, 22 August 2008

The first Kola Cube for 40 years!

This is my dear forum friend Ann of the Forest, with one of the New Forest youngsters she saved last year after his mother had died. He was going to be shot, because he was still far too young to leave his mum, but Ann hand-raised him and he is a leggy yearling now and growing like a weed. I called in to visit after dropping my daughter off at her camp site for the Dig (and spending an hour trying to put her new-to-us tent up!)

Ann showed me some wonderful needlework her late mother-in-law had made - wonderful crocheted tablecloths and Hardanger work too, and she passed on to me an embroidery dictionary which had been her m-in-law's stitching bible, and two Hardanger embroidery books. I have decided I will give this a try in the long winter evenings. What lovely friends I have!

I stayed overnight with a friend from school days (we have been friends since Infant School), who lives on the edge of the New Forest. We decided to spent the morning in nearby Lyndhurst yesterday, before I started the long trek back home. The sun came out and we had a very leisurely stroll round, checking out a table top sale where I bought some cottage-design china - a little jug and cruet set from Wareham - and a vintage necklace for my middle daughter. We checked out the other Antiques shops too (always one of my favourite pastimes), and the stables in the High Street where there used to be a riding stables back in the 1960s. Now they have built a bar area across the old entrance to the stables, but we waltzed in and asked if we could look around and take photos. I think they thought we were a bit touched! Stirred up some memories of riding out of the big double doors onto the High Street, and holding up the traffic as we rode down the street towards Bolton's Bench.

Here is one of the antiques shops at Lyndhurst, where we had a leisurely wander - it was full of Winstanley Cats for some reason!

On the wall of the pub was a plaque to a former landlord . . .

We used to ride out through these doors onto the High Street. Now they've built an extension to the pub bar there . . .

There was a marvellous sweety shop selling all the sweets we remembered from our childhood (and more besides!) There were Sweet Peanuts; half a dozen types of bon-bons including strawberry ones, lemon ones, soft toffee; there were pineapple chunks, pineapple rock, aniseed balls, blackberries and raspberries, winter mixture, eucalyptus drops, cinnamon drops, and my favourite, Kola Cubes, which probably gave me more fillings than the rest of them put together. Of course, I couldn't resist, just for old time's sake, you understand. In a moment I shall have the first Kola Cube to pass my lips for 40 years . . .

We were let loose in HERE!

This was just a fraction of the stock. We even found Chewing Nuts. We'd forgotten all about Chewing Nuts - they were little blobs of toffee covered in chocolate. Divine . . . but I thought of my fillings being extracted by them and got the Kola Cubes instead . . .

Behind the High Street shops was this little Forest stable and barn, with living accommodation over.

We spent some while in the Visitor Centre too, which although aimed mainly at younger visitors to the Forest, also held another trip down memory lane for us, as there was a lovely old chap called George, who was sat in a little reconstruction of a parlour in an old cob cottage, with a tilly lamp in the corner, and an old valve radio, and a wonderful chair which had been made in memory of Brusher Mills, the New Forest snakecatcher. We chatted for ages and swopped memories of childhood. I could remember my mum telling me how all the New Forest gypsies would bring buckets of blackberries to sell at the jam factory in Romsey.

This was George, in his parlour, bless him. As one child solemnly declared on her visitor's sheet of questions, George was "living history" !

This was another New Forest character, Harry Burt, with his cider press, and his goose, and his tools - a turf cutter, a hay cutter (for when hay was stacked in ricks still), a scythe etc. They obviously thought so much of him, they had him stuffed and put on display!

These are the brands (used to mark the "wild" ponies of the Forest, who actually all belong to various Forest dwellers). There is a similar set on hides in a pub called The Green Dragon at Brooke.

This lady was the inspiration for Lewis Caroll's "Alice", and she is buried in the little church in the clump of trees near Bolton's Bench.

Upstairs was the most fabulous mixed-skill embroidery of the New Forest - a rival for the Bayeaux Tapestry. On it were all sorts of animals, birds, reptiles, forest people, and such a lot of work and skill and imagination had gone into it. We spent ages looking at that.

Here are some photos of the beautiful embroidery of the New Forest by local embroiderers. There is applique, stumpwork, tapestry - all sorts of skills were used to tell the tales of the New Forest.

Here is Alice again . . .

William Rufus being killed by an arrow (there is the Rufus Stone which commemorates this Medieval murder).

A White Hart stands alone (there are many pubs called the White Hart in the Forest), and below right is Brusher Mills, famous for catching snakes.


Greentwinsmummy said...

BB what a lovely visit :o) I would have gone nuts in the sweeties shop :o)

Kim said...

Oooh, that embroidery is just sooo delightful. What incredible skill. It sounds like you had a good time, and that little black pony is gorgeous, I could never have enough Foresters!(why didn't I get a forester stallion???)

Kim x

Mam said...

Now, this is an incredible post. I enjoyed all the photos, enlarged, and pondered over all the details. I do love Dorset and the New Forest. Although I thought the ponies, being wild, didn't belong to anyone. I suppose that really doesn't make sense now that I think of it! Thank you for sharing so much of your visit!

Arlene Grimm said... interesting! I especially loved the needlework, being an enthusiast. I always learn something from your blogs.

Bovey Belle said...

It was a lovely morning out. I only wish I could have stayed longer, as there were several places I wanted to revisit, and walks to do. Once you are away from the honey-pot areas, you can get the real feel of the Forest, and see its wildlife.

I'm back down next month, and for longer this time, so there will be more postings of this nature.