Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hampshire – 9 June 2012

After the wet Jubilee celebrations, with the Duke of Edinburgh ending up in hospital, no doubt due to the cold wet day for the River Pageant, Saturday was offering sunny skies. We set out for a circular drive starting in Bassingstoke.

We have never visited before, and would now see no reason to visit again, but did find their town museum really excellent, and a credit to the town. Normally we avoid such places, but were glad we visited.

From here, the drive took us through rural Hampshire, with several lovely towns. First of these was East Oakley. The village demanded a photo stop, and while photographing a lovely thatched cottage with a super garden, the owner came by and it was fascinating to hear how her husband was born in one of the rooms under the thatch. Then 20 years ago, they found it for sale in a derelict state, but now it is the picture of English perfection.

There were a number of lovely old churches on the route. One at Pamber was part of a Priory, at Wolverton, the church is a perfectly untouched original Georgian building, but our favourite was the church at Kingsclere, where King John paid for a weather vane in the shape of a bedbug, because he had suffered from bedbug bites when staying at a nearby monastery.

The town of Kingsclere is also lovely, with an interesting mix of old buildings. We enjoyed lunch at a cafe looking directly at the weather-vane. We were reminded of an article in the Metro recently, regarding a girl who has a dog trained to sniff out bed-bugs, and has been employed to go around London hotels this summer, as they are afraid the huge number of visitors from all around the world, may bring bedbugs with them.

The final stop was the lovely town of Aldermaston, where we had a bite to eat at the Hind's Head pub, From our table we could look along the High Street toward the handsome brick gate-lodge at the top of the High Street.

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