September 13 – Newport to Lymington
You know it’s a brilliant day when Steve admits that it’s warm. Steve has never bonded with the UK, due mainly to the ongoing disagreement he’s had with British weather. Today though…well, even he had to mellow and call a temporary truce in his feud with the British elements. It was a superb day.
Our pedal out of Newport was a frantic and furious one. We were in the traffic and out on busy roads. The drivers were great, but the trucks, cars and buses were whizzing past. Through roundabouts we went, arms sticking out to the left, arms sticking out to the right, powering on through intersections, left arm, right arm…pedal…pedal…pedal. Finally we could make a turn, get off the main road and we were on quiet country roads, between hedgerows and through forests. We drew breath, the blood pressure came down a few notches and we could pedal on with some welcome country calm.
We pedalled through villages, passed a few people out on their horses, clopping along the road in front of us, up hills and down we went, with a brilliant blue sky and the sun doing its disco ball act overhead.
“Even you have to like this weather,” I called to Steve.
“Yep,” came the affirmative, but not yet terribly effusive reply.
We came into Yarmouth, with a view across the water, with ships moored or sailing past and then into the streets of another lovely Isle of Wight town. We pedalled down narrow little streets, with gorgeous half timbered buildings, stone houses and small, independent shops. You have to love a town where you pass by the local jeweller and it doesn’t have a doorman waiting to greet you, but a door pooch instead.
We were in Yarmouth to catch the ferry back to the English mainland, but we were cutting it a bit fine to make the 11:00, so we decided to stop for elevenses and wait for the 12 o’clock sailing. We sat ourselves down at an outside table of a 17th century tea room and enjoyed a cuppa in the sun. While we were there, another couple arrived and what followed gave us a real smile for the day. Now, I will say right here, we weren’t eavesdropping! We don’t do that. This was a case of there being nothing else to hear but the voices, as sometimes happens, and it was a voice that most definitely carried, so we were just a nearby, unintended audience. The lady and man walked into the outside area of the tea room and the woman wanted to stop. The following conversation was happening behind me.
“It’s my feet, Peter, I just have to sit down somewhere, so let’s stop and get a drink. Oh yes, you always take the seat in the sun. You always have to sit there.”
“Would you like to sit there, I’ll move the chair, you can sit…”
“Oh, stop fussing Peter and get the drinks.”
Peter must have disappeared into the tea room and returned as his wife was perusing the menu.
“Ooh, a bacon sandwich sounds nice. You know me and bacon, the poor pigs don’t stand a chance.”
The woman from the tea room came to take their order and the woman customer, asked, in the best Hyacinth Bucket style.
“Now. What sort of bacon is it? Is it back bacon?”
“Weeeell,” replied the server, obviously not quite sure, “well, I can say it’s not streaky bacon.”
“So, it’s back bacon then.”
“Yes, I’d say it’s back bacon.”
“I’d like a bacon sandwich please, but can you cut the crusts off, that will save me pulling them off and tossing them and I’ll have four slices of bacon.”
“White or brown bread?”
“Is it brown or granary?”
“I’ll have brown.”
“So, you’d like a bacon sandwich with two slices of brown bread and four slices of bacon and the crusts cut off?”
“Yes, that would be lovely.”
Peter had sat quietly though all this, until he said, “I’ll have a ham salad sandwich.”
“Actually,” his wife chipped in again, “you can put a bit of salad on mine, that’ll save putting it on the plate. Just a few leaves.”
“Just some lettuce?” enquired the server.
“Yes, just a few leaves. Put it on the sandwich instead of on the plate.”
“So,” said the server to clarify things, “it’s a bacon sandwich with one round of brown bread, four slices of bacon, with some lettuce and the crusts cut off and a ham salad sandwich.”
“Yes, that’s lovely,” replied the woman.
In what I can only describe as a deadpan tone, the server’s voice finished the conversation, addressing Peter, “Do you want the crusts cut off too?”
That did make me smile. I don’t know if it was a genuine enquiry or a little dig. It was pure comedy whatever it was.
I will also say, Steve and I were having our own conversation while this was going on, we weren’t simply sitting and listening to our table neighbours! It was at such a volume though, that those were the bits I heard and they were pearlers!
We hopped back on the bikes, pedalled down the little Yarmouth streets to the harbour. Tickets purchased, we put ourselves in line to board and then the signal came and we were directed up the ramp and into the bowels of yet another ship. The bikes were parked way up front again, ready to be first off and we took ourselves upstairs where we found a spot by the window.
A very slow, leisurely cruise across the estuary and we came into Lymington harbour, The sun shone on the water, the masts from the boats in the marina glimmered and we gently nudged into the dock. First off we were and we wheeled the bikes down the ramp before hopping on and pedalling our way from the harbour to our accommodation. We are basing ourselves here for a few days so we can explore the New Forest, which was a favourite place we came to on our last visit here, but there are still places we haven’t seen, so we decided to take the time to do some New Forest exploration.
We found our cottage by the marina, had a cuppa and then set off to walk into Lymington to gather supplies. Lymington is a lovely town and we visited it once before on our last trip, very briefly on a day outing on the train. It was a rainy day though and we didn’t see much of it, so today as we strolled through the neighbourhood, beside the marina and up to the town centre, it really was a picture.
“It’s like a summer’s day,” I said. The sun really did have some heat in it.
“It could be Germany,” was Steve’s reply. Now, that is high praise indeed! We had scorchers of days in Germany and here was Steve comparing little Lymington in merry England, the country that usually gives him the glums, to a country where he was totally stoked with the heat waves we had. Well, bring out the marching band, here comes the ticker tape parade, it’s peace in our time! A truce was called in the weather wars! It may be a tentative truce, it may not last, the Big Fella is very touchy about anything that doesn’t include full blown sun and heat, so tomorrow may see a resumption of hostilities, but today, peace reigned!
Supplies were gathered and we called it a day. It was another ripper day. We had a lovely final ride on the Isle of Wight, after we got through the traffic, with villages and country roads, then a stop in a pretty little town, complete with some comedy moments, before hopping on the ferry and arriving in another pretty little town, all on a beautiful, hot, sunny day. Simply delightful. Now we explore the New Forest, where we hope to pedal about, visit some villages, see the wild New Forest ponies and continue to milk our final weeks for every golden moment they can deliver. Places to go, people to meet, pedalling to be done…the smile lines are multiplying!
Distance ridden: 21.1 km
Time in the saddle: 1 hour 25 minutes
Weather: Sunny! I would go so far as to say hot, which the temperature may not indicate, but where we were felt HOT! Fabulous! 21C