-. We left at 7:30am for Bournemouth, with maps, compasses, carrier pigeons, &c.
Bill was navigating and I snoozed in the back of Garry's car. My red suitcase was behind at the Hollywood because it wouldn't fit in the car, and Neil had orders to bring it along in his car when they followed on.
Down past the Midlands I was in new, unexplored territory and the delights of Wiltshire unfolded before my eyes. At lunchtime we stopped off at a village pub where all the regulars resembled characters from 'The Archers'. They all addressed each other as "Mr A" and "Mrs B", just using initials. Then, when Neil and the other lads had caught up with us, we left them and moved on into further unchartered stretches of the vast unknown. Near Devizes we had further refreshment and then motored onward to Bournemouth, arriving at 5pm.
My first action was to phone Ally in Winchester and she promised to join us tomorrow lunchtime for a few drinks. The hotel proprietor, whom we called Arthur for some reason, was typical of those of his profession. He tried to tell me that the hotel - the Gainsborough - had been built for Prince Rupert, the gay Cavalier, who was a nephew of King Charles I. Given that the hotel dated from the Edwardian period I sneered at this tale. Prince Rupert died in the 1680s! Silly, old, lying Arthur.
The bar on the premises was barred and shuttered in a very ominous fashion. The seven of us visited several hostelries in the town and returned to the Gainsborough at 11:30 ~ pissed up.