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Planning new trips always makes me review past trips to make sure we don’t forget old favorite destinations.  One of my most memorable adventures was a very special trip to England with My Beloved Brit.

After weeks of meeting MBB’s friends and family on our first trip across the pond together, I was thrilled but also a bit overwhelmed.  Having experienced the same in my home country, MBB was understanding and decided what we needed was a very special few nights in a quiet part of England. He’d fix it. His brilliant idea was a visit for the two of us to The New Forest, the perfect retreat.

photo from New Forest Official Visitors Site

This is a very special area south of London in south-west Hampshire that is filled with quaint, quintessential English villages, expansive views of heather and woods, and wild ponies and donkeys which often come over to say hello.

New Forest Ponies (wikimedia commons)

We stayed in a unique place, called Master Builder’s, located next to the historic English village called Buckler’s Hard on the Beaulieu River. This tiny row of 18th century Georgian cottages brings you back through time. The Inn itself was almost modern by comparison.

Buckler's Hard (image copyright is owned by Peter Barr, Wikimedia Creative Commons)

After a wonderful night in this enchanting place, we got up early for breakfast (only spoiled by the smell of kippers being enjoyed by a guest at the next table) and went out to explore the forest surrounds and villages.

Nearby is the town of Beaulieu which is famous for its motor car museum ( which will feature a James Bond Car exhibit in 2012 that I am told we will most likely see).  But it also has a charming village center, and we went by the inn for lunch.  On our way out we noticed an unexpected guest.  Reservation for one?

My photo

I fell in love with New Forest. We return whenever we can, and on one of these visits I took a long walkabout and found such diverse scenes. I followed a path along the river and found some areas pruned to perfection…

my photo of the most perfect entry

and some areas where nature had taken over and gone wild.

my photo of apples along the path that follows the River

I loved both, but wanted an image that expressed the wild, untamed nature of the area. It was so unique, but I didn’t quite find it on my walk.

Then, driving across the vast landscape after dinner with My Beloved Brit I saw it.  But there was absolutely no place to park.  He let me off at the side of the road and drove about a quarter mile to a parking area and waited patiently while I explored every angle of a lone tree against a moody sky.  It was dramatic. You could see the wind in it’s branches.

I signaled MBB to turn around and come back to pick me up.  He is always so patient with these art adventures.  I love him for that.

And I loved this little painting.  It was everything I remembered of that day.

The New Forest. private collection

I always like to share my paintings.  If you want to see more visit my website at www.patwhitehead.com.