Sunday, 8 April 2012

Day in Romsey with my old Mum

Every day this week I have been expecting the weather to take a terrible turn for the worst and every day I've been pleasantly surprised that it's never been as bad as we expected.  I know there have been snow blizzards in the Midlands with road closures and all that, but here the worst we've had is a faint drizzle.

Thursday was the day I took my old Mum out to Romsey.  An old-fashioned market town - it's a pleasure to shop in Romsey if you like charity shops.  There are at least seven in the small town centre and we went in each and every one of them!  Shopping in charity shops can be a great pleasure especially when they stock designer recycled clothes at a reasonable price.  I usually buy at least a couple of items - sometimes for myself and sometimes for the costume store at the theatre.  This time it was mainly books.  I scour the shelves for any Anita Shreve or Douglas Kennedy - my latest passions - or any new-to-me authors if the covers look interesting.  This time I've picked up two books by Nicholas Evans (author of The Horse Whisperer) - The Divide and The Brave.  I haven't a clue what they're about or like but am looking forward to reading them.  There's nothing like a novel to keep life interesting.

King John's house in Romsey is a place not to be missed if you're ever in that part of the country.  It was originally a hunting lodge for King John (the bad one I think) back in medieval times.  Now it's a small museum with a cafe and beautiful herb garden.  As the weather was slightly colder than expected no one wanted to eat in the garden.  The small cafe room only holds about seven tables together with the counter and cake display.  Two women were dashing about serving coffee and tea as well as taking orders for lunch.  The tables are all laden with an assortment of fine china cups and saucers - none of them matching - and the tea is served in china tea-pots.  The menu is limited to jacket potatoes, omelettes, sandwiches and items such as beans on toast, sardines on toast or cheese on toast.  They also serve soup of the day with a huge hunk of granary bread and lashings of butter as well as a range of proper puddings - apple crumble, syrup sponge, bread and butter pudding, all served with custard of course.  I ordered an omelette and noticed a short while later that there was a commotion in the kitchen as they were about to run out of eggs.  'Oh dear, we've had a rush on omelettes today,' I heard one of the women say.  'What about Mr. Jones?' the other one asked.  'Oh don't worry, we've made sure to save enough for him,' was the reply.  I'm sure Mr. Jones would have been very relieved had he known.  I was lucky enough just to scrape into the omelette party before they ran out!
We didn't visit the museum this time although have done in the past.  It's well worth the visit - my favourite part is the reconstructed shop at the front of the building where you can rummage through the drawers full of stock.  You could be in the early twentieth century.  Also check out the part of the museum dedicated to Florence Nightingale.  She lived nearby and one of the items is an early recording of Florence Nightingale's voice.  Mum and I had a spooky moment there on one of our visits.  Mum said it was because we were both nurses and Florence was trying to connect with us!

Now it's been a busy couple of days since then - more of the weekend later I think...

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