The ancient system established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners – literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest.
Planes, trains and Vegan Fayres
Hey there! Did you miss me? Seems like I've been away forever. I have oodles of exciting things to tell you.
Firstly, I went to the UK to celebrate my mother-in-laws 80th birthday There she is, boogieing the night away - she didn't stop dancing for 2 hours! If I have half her energy when I'm 80 I'll be happy - she really put us younguns to shame! My stay in England also coincided with the Brighton Vegan Fayre, and seeing that Brighton is only 77 miles from Bournemouth, it would have been rude not to go. Even though Brighton is only 77 miles away, unbelievably - there is no direct way to get there by public transport. By car it would take less than an hour and a half to drive - by coach it takes over 5 hours and by train it took 3 hours 20 mins and involved two trains and a bus. Crazy huh! I had arranged to meet Susan of Kittens Gone Lentil fame there but alack and alas I don't think she was getting my calls and messages on her phone because she never replied to them so unfortunately we didn't get to meet up. It would have been quite funny if we actually passed eachother without realising it. Fortunately for me I had arranged to meet another internet friend there so I wasn't walking around like Billy no mates for the entire day. I'd never been to a Vegan Fayre before so I wasn't really sure what to expect; but let me tell you - the entire experience blew me away. It was awesome. So many amazing vegan products and causes and of course FOOD! I filled up on all the free samples that were on offer and in so doing avoided paying the ridiculous prices that were being charged by the Brighton Centre to have the privilege of eating in their restaurant (which was doing a vegan only menu for the day). Of course I bought myself some bits and bobs - Redwoods were doing an offer where if you spent 10 quid you got a free bag - well, I can and did spend 10 quid easily, could have spent more but I reminded myself I had to travel the 3 hour 20 minute journey back home so I resisted the urge to over indulge. Sheese were doing an offer (in fact - every stall was doing an offer) and I bought three selections of vegan cheese for 6 quid. Six quid!! I also bought two tins of Affinity organic stuffed Vine Leaves as they came highly recommended by my companion. I'm glad I bought two because they are delicious! All in all a wonderful day, the sun shone down on Brighton and the day was finished with a drink. Every time I go back home I always manage a few visits to the New Forest. The forest is one of the few things I miss about the UK. There is something about it's ancient woodland that runs deep in my veins and I always feel like I'm home whenever I am there. There are few places in the world where the ancient landscape has remained so unchanged, and this most English of forests continues to be a living and working community where ponies and cattle still have right of way as they freely graze the land. Deeper in the forest wild deer browse beneath canopies of mighty oak and beech - natural scenes unchanged by the modern world. In 1079 when William The Conqueror named the area his ‘new hunting forest’, little could he imagine that nearly 1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta’ would still retain its mystery and romance.
The New Forest is one of the most vast natural areas of eastern Europe and it's beauty is just breathtaking - even still, to me, who has walked it's many pathways a garzillion times. This time I visited what has to be my most favourite place IN THE WORLD! The Giant Sequoias that dominate the depths of the forest where they definitely rule this part of England and basically kick Oak tree ass! This is the tallest of the two that stands at an impressive 51 feet! It is the tallest tree in England, Ireland and Wales. The energy in this place is just so awesome - it resonates with my primal heathen instincts and makes me want to shake off conformity and build a house in it's highest branches and hide away from the world forever. I would be happy. Click here for more info on this fascinatingly beautiful part of the world. That just about concludes my five day trip back to the homelands. Of course even more shopping was done and a haul of vegan goodies bought back with me but you don't want to see photos of that, do you? Can you spot the Sosmix? Read the packet and weep vegan tears of joy and happiness. It seems after all those months of petition signing and emailing - Haldane Foods listened and finally saw sense. So you can all give yourselves a congratulatory pat on the back. And whilst it's not on a par with banning Seal clubbing - cyber activism DOES work, so don't give up. And I know you're all dying to know how come my blog is adorned with so many wonderful photos - well this particular heathen vegan is cameraless no more. HURRAH! Be prepared for lots of food porn over the next few weeks as I have some serious catching up to do. GO VEGAN!