Second half of August
The sun was shining when we left Leigh-on-sea to travel
Our friend Christine met us when we arrived at
Christine has just sold her house in Hartley Wintney,
which she had let when she moved to
It was still raining when we left Christine’s apartment
later in the afternoon. The rain didn’t stop as we walked to get our car, nor
did it relent as we made our way to
The inn is owned by four chaps who can often be found undertaking the general maintenance, while the staff is kept busy providing meals, serving drinks and keeping the place clean. There is a large lawn opposite where one can relax and idle away the day or if preferred, can sit at a table on the decking or the lawn, overlooking the river.
Next morning, we met with Dick’s adopted brother who
lives in a retirement home in
After lunch, we drove to
Next stop, St Michaels in
We waved goodbye after a hearty breakfast and drove through the lanes to Tunbridge Wells and on to Silchester where Roger and Mal had already set the table for lunch. This truly is a gourmet holiday.
During the afternoon, we walked around the Roman walls of
Calleva Atrebatum, still 4metres high in places. The town was abandoned in the
5th century AD. This year is the 15th season that
Next morning we drove to
On one of our excursions to Brockenhurst, through Beaulieu, a motor cycle rally passed us consisting mainly of Triumphs. The highest number spotted was 129. The participant who had been allotted number 121 had fixed his on his bike, upside down. A couple of bikes, circa 2nd World War, had parked at the side of a lane while repairs were being affected.
Ponies and donkeys wander along the river bank, across heath land resplendent with a blanket of purple heather, into the roads as well as those gardens not protected by a fence or cattle grid.
Cars, packed with luggage both inside and on the roof, with bikes fixed to the trunk, make their way into the campsites, already brimming with tents, caravans and RV’s.
In many places, the branches from the trees form an arch across the road. We cross a bridge and look into the forest, over the river. The scenery is stunning.
We detour to Lymington to pick up a batten box for the sails on the boat and to Hamble, to collect a water pump as well as spares for the generator.
Having left my fleece in the boot of Stewart’s car while
we were staying with him and Margaret in Kesgrave, I attempted to buy a sweater
at M&S but without success, not finding any to be suitable. Instead I
accidentally bought a dress, a long sleeved lightweight top and a pair of
shortie boots. As the cases are already at the limit, I am not quite sure how I
am going to bring them back with me to
We spent a week with Jan and Henry, playing bridge most evenings and visiting my Mother during the day. Squirrels discovered the cob nut trees a couple of years ago and we watched delightedly, as a squirrel harvested nuts and hid them in plant pots, in the lawn and close to the garage. Tiny as is was, it could jump several feet high, in order to obtain a bunch of nuts.
Bank holiday Saturday we picked up one of our bags from Ed and Naomi’s house at Westbourne and went out to lunch with Ed and the boys. Naomi’s mother, who had been in a hospice since late July, had died the precious day so Naomi was quite naturally otherwise occupied.
After lunch we visited the local church fete, where a wizard twisted balloons into all sorts of shapes and gave them to each of the children. Then, as a special treat, we went up into the bell tower and watched the bell ringers as they pulled the ropes and made the bells ring, before climbing further up the spiral staircase to see the huge bells and watch as the wheels went round, when the ropes were pulled from below, making the huge bells ring out.
At Stoneleigh we met with Dick’s cousin John before calling John and Pip in Carshalton. Unfortunately we were not able to meet on this occasion as Pip was recuperating at home in bed, having had an operation for breast cancer only a few days earlier.
We drove to Horley where Alex and Gwen were busy
decorating their house from top to bottom. Alex took us to
Back again to John’s house in Ifield, where we repacked the cases and weighed them. They were both on the limit. Dick and John popped round to Halfords so that Dick could pick up a tom-tom which he had ordered on-line, thus saving 10pounds by simply reserving it. We have been so impressed with the tom-tom which John had lent us.
After lunch, managing somehow to get the two large bags
into the boot of the hire car, we drove to