White Mountains, New Hampshire

27th August - 2nd September 2005

The road trip from Muscongus, where we left Anju and Kindred Spirit rafted together on a mooring, to Pan and Lowri's house, near Lancaster in New Hampshire, took about four hours.   Naturally we had to make a couple of stops to pick up refreshments on the way.   First we called at a fishmonger to pick up "steamers", a local shellfish delicacy which we planned to sample later for dinner.   We took a short break for lunch at a local bakery where we enjoyed sampling the pies, before a final stop to "provision" at the supermarket for our week's visit at the house.  Living in the mountains is just like living on a boat, where you have to plan ahead!


We finally arrived at our beautiful holiday home in the White Mountains and Phil was brave enough to cool off in the "swimming pool" with Pan, Lowri and a multitude of tadpoles! (Christine chickened out).   The "swimming pool" was a beautiful natural pond they had created in their garden for just such eventualities, using fresh stream water - no nasty chlorine here!

All the "exercise" worked up an appetite and after a relaxing yet challenging pre-dinner drink (two people in a hammock is always a challenge!), we tucked into the steamers, small mussel-type shellfish which had been cooked by steaming.   This was a first for the team from Anju and the steamers went down very well.   (Unfortunately in Phil's case they also came back up well later too!).


Ollie wonders who the crazy guy behind him is....

Precarious Drinks Party ...

Dissecting the Steamers....

While Phil recovered, we decided to take it easy next day, after all it was supposed to be a holiday.   Meanwhile our hosts put us to shame by striking out on a serious bike ride.   Some time later they returned, unfortunately looking like drowned rats as the heavens had decided to open.    

Pan and Lowri grew many of their own vegetables and herbs in their garden and we had lessons in self-sufficiency.   On our first day, in the blazing sun, Phil was taught the intricacies of harvesting sweetcorn, which never tasted as good as it did straight from Pan's vegetable garden.   Christine wasn't so lucky the day she was sent a-harvesting and the harvest, Christine and Ilsa, the dog, all returned pre-washed!

Phil Harvesting Sweetcorn with Pan

Whose wellies are these anyway?

We found plenty to amuse ourselves just around the house.   The novelty of living in a house was wonderful and we particularly enjoyed taking as many hot showers as we liked for as long as we liked, being able to do the laundry right at home, surf the internet, watch cable TV.   There was the serious scrabble tournament which took place during our stay, after the first two games the scores were Kindred Spirit 1 - Anju 1 (the scandal involving the blanks which had letters on the back will not be further mentioned!).   Finally Phil won the decider with his annoying tendency to find seven letter words...

Once the weather improved we were taken for walks by Ilsa, as we needed our exercise.   It was perfectly obvious that she was used to walking much faster than we were meandering and could find her way home much better.

Ilsa waiting impatiently for us on the walk and we hadn't even made it out of the garden yet!

Pan proudly gave us a tour of his pride and joy, the treehouse.   The treehouse was so luxurious that it would have been tempting to sleep there if it hadn't been for the draw of the hot showers, flush toilets and cable TV in the main house!

The treehouse.....

....somewhere for the big kids to play!

While our hosts had to go to work, they kindly lent us a car to take a couple of road trips.    First we went over the border into Vermont and ticked off another state.   The drive was very scenic through wooded and unspoilt countryside and we were even back in time to cook dinner for the tired workers.

Another trip took us through the White Mountains Park, past Mount Washington among other mountains named after Presidents. We took a walk recommended by Pan and Lowri, up to visit a waterfall in the woods.    It was during this walk that we ran into our first "squirrel-phobe" (there must be a scientific word for that).   We encountered a family taking the same walk and their daughter was being terrorised by cheeky squirrel, which was obviously well used to tourists and their picnics.   The squirrel was admittedly persistent in his hunt for snacks and not in the least deterred by the hysterics of the squirrel-phobe, who everyone tried desperately to calm.

The marauding terror-squirrel and his waterfall

We spotted more interesting local wildlife as we headed on another drive to check out one of the area's famous covered river bridges.  This time it was Lowri out on a training bike ride during her lunch hour and we struggled to keep up with her in the car!

Before we had to return to Anju, Lowri managed to find time to give us a fascinating tour of her friends' traditional water powered wood mill that provided timber for their  house building business.

Soon it was time to leave, before we became too accustomed to the luxuries of living in a house.   

With sad hearts we had to say goodbye to the beautiful house which had become our temporary home and to our kind hosts, Pan and Lowri, who were by now good friends.   Hopefully one day we'll find a way to offer them the generosity and hospitality they'd shown us.   

We'd been a little concerned about the safety of our boats as the remnants of hurricane Katrina passed up the east coast after reeking havoc on the Gulf Coast.   Pan's local contact kindly checked on the two boats during the bad weather but luckily the wind wasn't very strong by the time the storm reached Maine.   It was still a relief to see Anju safely waiting for us on the mooring buoy when we got back.

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