Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Pedalling Around The New Forest, Part 1

Mark hired bikes from the cycle centre at Sandy Balls, and on Saturday we set off on a longer than usual jaunt down to Christchurch on the coast, totalling 36 miles.  Much the Mark's chagrin, the centre was out of mountain bikes, so we had to have what they called "comfort bikes", but whilst Mark might have felt a bit emasculated I was in my element on this magnificent steed with a big squishy, non-bum-numbing saddle and comfortable wide-grip handlebars!  Oh yes, I'm all for comfort :)

This was a new route for us both, all on-road as opposed to the usual off-road tracks through the New Forest, and far less hills, so although it was longer than our regular 20 mile ride, it didn't kill me quite as much as I thought it might (although I was Totally Cream Crackered by the end!)

Mark on his "comfort bike"

First pub stop, The Lamb (very  posh, there were
carpets and pot pourri in the bogs)

A carpark full of silver cars
(and Mr B, ready to pedal off into the unknown)

The (posh) Lamb

Second pub in Mudeford Quay, Christchurch, can't remember what it was called, but unbeknownst to Mark at the time the key to the padlock of our bikes was falling out of his pocket as he sat here, and nestling itself in the back of the seat.  We had lunch here and then wandered around the harbour with our cameras, and it was only when Mark came to look for the key that he realised it had gone.  There followed a few nasty moments as we re-traced our steps and asked in various places if the keys had been handed in, and we were about to resign ourselves to having to call Sandy Balls and get them to come and rescue us, when I decided to go and check where we'd sat in the pub (even though Mark had already asked at the bar).  There were two people sitting in our place, but I politely asked them if they'd seen the key, and both stood up and we looked on the floor but no sign of it - then the man peered down the back of the seat and discovered the key - hooray!  Was probably over grateful, but such a relief that we could continue with our cycle as planned, and not have to sit around for ages waiting to be rescued :)

Crabbing was an extremely popular pastime at Mudeford Quay, people of all ages were doing it.  I spoke to a boy about it and asked him what he used for bait, and he said raw bacon, but a lot of people apparently use fish too.  One of the shops nearby sold buckets and little mesh bags on lines, so that anyone could have a go, and the promenade was lined with families catching crabs, keeping them in their buckets of water for a bit, and then letting them go.  Was good to see such a simple pleasure being enjoyed by so many, some obviously out for the day with picnics and rugs, basking in the sun and hauling in little green crabs with their bait bags.

Abandoned glass in fishing nets

Mr B gazing manfully out to sea ;)

Watching the boats

Mark's feet (don't ask why, I just liked this shot)

The lovely lady from whom I purchased two mouse
finger puppets, in pale pink and grey.  Have no use for
them but she was sweet and so were her mice :)

Promenade Life

Dodging the crabs as they made a break for freedom


We stopped for an icecream in the cafe before 
heading back

Mark on the over-road pedestrian bridge

Don't know what this was all about but worth a photo

What is an "unadopted" lane?  Anyone??

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