I'm guilty of not exploring my backyard. I've been to Paris 3 times last year yet I've barely scratched the surface of the surrounding countryside. Thanks to our busy schedule, Sara, a fellow expat from the US and I haven't had the chance to catch for months. After a flurry of text messages, we happily ditched our kids (yeah, that includes the big boys aka husbands) for a lovely day out. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. The same rule applies to England.
We decided to check out a pub in Hursley, a small village which is also an important IBM center. Despite its modest size with a population of 800 (in 2005), it was once the country seat for the ruler of England albeit a rather short-lived period when Richard Cromwell, the third son of Oliver Cromwell (the dude who overthrew the Stuart monarchy) succeeded his father.
Right. Back to the pub. King's Head is suitably named as such seeing that King Charles I was beheaded thanks to Oliver Cromwell who later was put to death in a similar manner. Ouch. King's Head is a Georgian coaching inn built in 1810 on a busy route with many trade and passenger coaches passing through on their way to Salisbury, Winchester, Southampton, London and West Country. I used to think pubs are old, dark and dingy places with low ceilings and probably come with a couple of ghosts attached. Okay, so I've been to a few haunted pubs and will now avoid like the plague. The King's Head couldn't be more different. Beautifully decorated with wooden interior, it's a cosy place for the family to get together for a meal.
My traditional roast beef served with horseradish, buttered cabbage greens and parsnips was scrumptious. I was even more impressed with the sticky toffee pudding which was the best I've ever had. Forgive my shaky hands. I've come to the realization that one should never ever attempt to photograph on an empty stomach.
We did a mini trek up Farley Mount to catch a glimpse of fields laid out like patchwork. We could only gaze in silence and marveled at the picturesque scenery that's stretched out as far as the eye can see. There's even a memorial dedicated to a horse. Get this. The horse is called Beware Chalk Pit. Yup, for jumping into a chalk pit. How appropriate.
P.S. I'm often asked about my camera equipment. This was one of the rare occasions that I did not have my DSLR handy. I managed to dig out hubby's Panasonic Lumix LX3 compact camera and was astounded with the clarity and color of the photos (the countryside). It's no longer available but there's an upgraded version - LX5.