Monday, 14 June 2010

June Weekend In The New Forest

Mark and I went down to the caravan at Sandy Balls on Friday, arriving at lunchtime so headed straight to the pub (which was like a retirement home, we must have been the youngest in there by a good thirty years) before dropping off our bags at the caravan and heading out to the nearby woods to test our respective strobist kit.  Mark is far more experienced at this than me, and my crapness at maths meant that using the flash in manual had my brain reeling, but after several not-very-good-attemps I managed to start to get it right.  Mark meanwhile set up his two flashes, one with a softbox, and after test shots donned his father's vintage Crimplene suit and got posing!

Getting set up

The Wardrobe Department

Model at work

Crimplene Man

For more of Mark's self-portraits, see the Portraiture section of his website

My final (and best) attempts at using
off-camera flash with a diffuser umbrella

Saturday: a lovely twenty mile pub crawl - ahem, I mean - a lovely twenty mile CYCLE ride, with a few pubs thrown in for good measure.  Mark loaned me a pair of cycling shorts with a padded bum (absolutely essential kit if one is planning to walk anywhere the following day) which I wore underneath my Italian denim shorts, we hired bikes for the day and set off mid-morning.

The woods were all wonderfully verdant,
but this is very hard to capture well on camera.
However, I had to have a go!

First pub stop, The Royal Oak at Fritham
(bit wonky but had to prop up camera to adjacent table)

Me trying to make friends with a random cow.
It didn't want to know.

Cute baby horsey and her mummy

Long road ahead

Mark reflected

Aeroplane in the clouds

More green woodland

Lost dog (hope they found him)

Second pub, The High Corner Inn

Mark found this grubby tenner at the roadside - result!

Third pub, the Red Shoot Inn

The route we cycled


Motorbikes at the Red Shoot Inn

Fourth pub stop (and lunch, thank God)
The Alice Lisle

Enjoying the sun?  Being theatrical?  Who knows!


My lunch (the BEST sausage and mash ever,
in the Entire History of the World)

Mark's lunch (he gave it 8/10)

Some of the many varied bovines we encountered along the way

The end is in sight!

Mark's Mum Linda drove up from Cornwall on Saturday afternoon to meet us at the caravan, and we had a nice evening catching up as we hadn't seen her since Easter, and then had supper at the Fighting Cocks (the only pub within reasonable walking distance).  Having only had lunch at around 3.30pm, I had almost no appetite and struggled with my modest plate of scampi - however, Mark (my dustbin) was able to help me out!

On Sunday we had a leisurely start over breakfast and the papers, then headed off to nearby Fordingbridge to see the "Floral Carpet" in the church there.  After parking the car, stopped by the river to feed the ducks, before having a coffee at The George pub, and then wandered up to the church.

Mark testing out his brand new 60mm macro lens

Linda and Mark with a hoarde of greedy ducks
at Fordingbridge


"Feed us!  We're starving!!"

Baby ducklings of varying ages.
The building in the BG is the pub where we had coffee.

Because (a) the water was so shallow, (b) the sun was shining and (c) I can never resist a paddle, I soon removed my sandals and waded ankle deep into the river to cool off my feet and get some differently-angled photos of the ducks.  Mark and Linda watched me from the safety and comfort of the bench!

The photo Mark was taking of me as I was paddling

No idea who they are, but it made a nice photo


Mark, Linda, my handbag, my sandals

Statue of Augustus John

Coffee time at The George

Floral decorations in the church at Fordingbridge

Linda and Mark

Yes, these were in the church too - not sure why, 
but nice to see nonetheless.  I loved those baby wings!

Brushy Squirrel 

Mark's car outside the caravan

Mark juggling fir cones

Linda was having supper out on Sunday evening and needed to drive back to Cornwall at lunchtime, so after we had said our goodbyes Mark and I got in his car and headed off for a pub lunch before taking a walk.  Or so we thought.  About ten minutes into the drive Mark tried to wipe the windscreen and found it wouldn't work, and then suddenly the speedometer and other dials started going crazy (much in the manner of the precursor to an alien invasion) and the air blower wouldn't work either.  Hmmmmm.  A short while after this, we heard a strange noise from the engine and smelled electrical burning - bugger.  Mark pulled over immediately, switched off the engine and had a look under the bonnet.  Nothing obvious to see, but then the car wouldn't start again.  At all.

Luckily I had my phone on me (had nearly left it behind) and even better I was able to get a signal, so phoned the RAC and was relieved to find that my membership covered me regardless of whether or not I was driving my own vehicle at the time, and they said they would be on their way.  Not sure how long we waited as I wasn't wearing a watch, but when the RAC van turned up I think we were both quite relieved.  Turned out the starter motor was knackered, so after me and the RAC man bump started the car as Mark steered, he said we couldn't switch it off again if we wanted to get home.  Either that or park on a hill, which is what we managed to do, as there was no way we were going to drive back to London without lunch, but sadly in the end we had to forego our final walk as the breakdown had eaten up too much of the afternoon.  Still had a very nice lunch in the sun in a local pub garden, before heading back to the caravan to pack up our stuff and head home.  Luckily got back in one piece, and car is now booked in at the garage for repairs - not quite the end we wanted to our weekend, but it was all quite entertaining even so!

Mark waiting for the RAC

Bad Car 1

Bad Car 2 (and my feet)

Dinky VW camper van

Bad Car 3

Rescue is at hand!  Yay!

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  1. super summary of our weekend.

    Mr RAC was a hero for getting us started too.

  2. How lovely it is to nose into peoples lives, I see Mark has added to his overdraft with the gorgeous 60mm. I would like to thank you for your inspiration with our photographic diaries, I have really enjoyed doing the same, something very pleasing about it, much more satisfying than flickr for me. Keep up the good work V, look forward to your next trip. xx

  3. Lovely atmosphere in your photos!