I Went to a Garden Party

18 Jun

This morning I wake and look out the window grateful for the partly cloudy weather (Or is it partly sunny? I always get those mixed up) as everyone from the weatherman to the local shop owner have assured me that it will definitely be raining today. Perhaps the shop owner was just trying to sell me a rain poncho (he was successful). Garden Party here I come. I am excited but my backside is voicing its objections. This comes as a surprise to me as I’m sure I have enough natural cushioning to have prevented any pain in that area.

I head down for breakfast and pick up the key to the shed where my bike is being stored. Yes, this is a small English village where the hotel has shed out back to store various supplies including guests’ bicycles (the hotel down the road has stables to store your horse). I return the key and hop on my bike. YEEEOOOWWW!! If I thought my rear hurt before well, it has voiced new objections. Loudly! I decide that it’s mind over matter and I will not allow the pain in my, uh, backside to ruin my plan. I suck it up and ride to the bicycle shop to discuss possible routes for the day. We decide that The Old Railway Trail, a simple 5 mile trail along an old, disused rail line (no tracks, just a dirt road) would be perfect. Once finished with this I will ride over to the Three Tun Inn for the garden party. I mention to Sam (my ginger haired friend) that my backside is a bit sore and he pulls out a bicycle seat cushion to place on top of the torture device known as my bicycle seat. My hero! Sam, taking care of women one rear end at a time.

I hop on my bike (still a bit painful but much better) and head for another day of adventure.

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Less Traveled

I ride down the beautiful dirt trail past more wild horses, lush trees, beautiful views and bridges over small streams. I come across a group of crazy cyclists who regale me with stories of their biking adventures. One of them looks at the iPhone attached to me by a cute, pink armband and asks what it is. I explain that it keeps my music handy for my ride and he is awestruck and declares it a fantastic idea (did I just ride my bike back to the 70’s?). I also run across a mother and son who are playing a game of go fetch with their dog. Actually, the dog is playing go fetch with himself. The dog seems to be having a great time nudging the rock over the side of the bridge and running down to the stream to fetch it (this is because dogs don’t have thumbs to play Xbox). I end up at a tea house where, you guessed it, I order a cream tea (really, what is this clotted cream stuff?). I sit in a covered area with lots of other bikers (it has begun to rain), drink my tea and write. When the rain slows, I head out to my bike to pedal over to the Three Tuns Inn.

The lady at the tea house has given me directions that don’t appear on my map. I must admit I am skeptical as she goes into a long, confusing explanation. Still, the theme of this trip being “say yes to everything’ leads me to attempt to follow her directions. I ride down the road, all the while wondering if I’ve passed the turn she mentioned or, if the turn even exists. Oh, me of little faith. I find the road and continue to a roundabout (oh, don’t get me started) that she didn’t mention I would come to. I have enough trouble with roundabouts when I know where I’m going. Which way to go? I flag down a passing car. The driver backs up and I ask him if he knows where the Inn is. He tells me to follow the direction they are going as that’s where they’re headed (I love small village living). Within 10 minutes I’m at my first garden party.

Upon entering, and humming the Ricky Nelson Garden Party song in my head, I encounter the first two tents. One is for ale tasting and the other is for Pimms. Hhhmmmm, I’ve definitely tried ales but have yet to have tried Pimms. I ask what it is and it’s explained that, when mixed with a variety of fruit, cucumber and lemonade (this is what they call Sprite), it is a favorite summer drink. I still have no idea what this stuff is. I order one up and fish my camera out of my backpack so I can get a photo with my first ever Pimms. I promptly drop my drink through the uneven slats of the picnic table. I head back to the tent and tell my sad story and they make me a complimentary drink and tell me to hold on tight. I then get a photo with my second ever Pimms.


My second ever Pimms

I take in the sights which include kids racing through an obstacle course, a duck herding demonstration and Queen Elizabeth. Okay, perhaps it wasn’t actually her unless the Queen enjoys duck racing as, minutes later she takes off her pumps and pulls out a cane and, along with her team, herds those ducks through tunnels, around pylons and down a slide. I stand in line for my pork sandwich and stop at the bar to pick up a lager, all the while watching the local Brownie troupe dance around the Maypole. I sit down to eat and speak with a lady who gives me great advice on where to stay in London.

Queenie and Me

I find out that there will be a second duck race of the day and that you can bet on these races. I whip out my pounds and confidently bet on the red team coming in at 2 minutes, 10 seconds. Alas, I will never know if I won as the demonstration before the race begins late and I have to leave to bike up the hill and return my bike to the bike shop by 5:00pm.

I have dinner at the hotel dining room and attempt to  finish my bottle of wine (shame to let it go to waste). Tomorrow, an early taxi to Lymington to go “A Little to the Wight”


One Response to “I Went to a Garden Party”


  1. Over the River and To the Pub | My Own Adventure - October 30, 2013

    […] After a nice bowl of hot soup and glass of room temperature ale (this is beginning to grow on me) I head back up the path to my hotel to rest before another day of riding and my first garden party. Read about the adventure in “I Went to a Garden Party” […]

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