We headed east for 2 days of checking out old car and motorcycle parts (for the boys) and estates for the girls. The New Forest is very unique in that once you cross over the 'cattle grids', cows, ponies and horses roam free. The speed limit is kept low and is it not uncommon to find four legged friends wandering on the roads and in the villages.
After depositing the boys at Netley Marsh, one of the biggest motorcycle flea markets in Britain, we headed off to Mottisfont, a mediaeval county priory with gardens, orchards and a grand house. A meandering man-made stream was fed by the clearest spring I had every seen.
The original buildings date back to the 13th century, with many owners 'updating' it to reflect their tastes and the times. The Russell family were the last owners and during their 'update' they incorporated parts of the original buildings in the walls to show the ancient stonework.
If you remember my post 'the 2 Lawrences', I mention Laurence Whistler's brother Rex. He was well known for his 'trompe-l'oeil' art ('trick the eye)' which is a form of optical illusion. He painted the main drawing room to give the illusion of curtains on all the walls.
The house is now a museum, rich with art and unusual gardens. I came across a fabulous magnolia that had the scent of lemon. I even had tea with Pooh, Tiger and Piglet, as there was space at their party.
We spent the night at the Mortimer Arms and enjoyed many delights that the chef had on offer.
Tomorrow: our last day - a visit to Kingston Lacey.