Our weekend in Winchester sadly over we were on our way down to Brockenhurst in the New Forest to meet our new housesitting host Annabelle. We were looking after her house and pets for almost three weeks and both really looking forward to the comparative rest after five months of hardcore Helpx work.
Winchester to Brockenhurst
We often try to fit in a couple of days sightseeing in between housesits and Helpx’s, attempting to experience and explore as many new places as we possibly can. That is what our short trip to Winchester was all about (Whistlestop Tour of Winchester) but now we were on the train south west to the New Forest. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the things that we love about our lifestyle is the feelings we have just before we begin these new experiences. It’s a mixture of trepidation, excitement, and anticipation.
Last off the train as usual and last out the station, as usual, we were greeted by a small blonde lady waving and shouting “I thought I’d missed you“. Our fault for being so laid back about it all I suppose. After a brief hello and getting the bags in the car we headed off towards her house in Lymington. On arrival we met her daughters, had a brief tour of the house, and most importantly met Ronnie the chocolate labrador and Lily the black cat. Much much more about them later.
Overnight in the East End
Annabelle and her family were off on holiday the next morning and due to a lack of space we were booked into the East End Arms a few miles away for the night. Part-owned by John Ilsley, bass player with Dire Straits, it is an award-winning pub in the quaint village of East End.
Lovely pub, comfy room, great evening meal and an even better breakfast. What a start!
Return to Housesitting
Once the family had left we headed straight out with young Ronnie for our first walk. He’s only 2 years old but so unbelievably well behaved and relaxed. We expected a 2 year old to be a bit bouncy and excitable but Ronnie was just so good. Annabelle had showed us the local walk on the previous day so we headed the same way and Ronnie was a dream to look after.
Apologies if I go on too much about the pets but this is a housesitting stay after all. Over the next day or two we found Ronnie to be affectionate and friendly and, unlike every other labrador we’ve ever met, he didn’t beg for food ever. Lily on the other hand wasn’t quite so friendly. She came and went quietly and slept a lot of the time but just wasn’t really into cuddling or being stroked yet. We are trying though and hopefully as she gets used to us being around she will get a bit closer.
Walking in the New Forest
One of the delights about housesitting here in Lymington is its proximity to the New Forest National Park. It’s literally a mile from our new front door so we are planning to take Ronnie walking there as much as possible weather depending. Talking of weather, unfortunately our first day here coincided with the heatwave finishing and arrival of cooler rainy days. To be honest it was quite a refreshing change and we’ve enjoyed a couple of rainy walks already.
Just a couple of miles up the road and we can choose from Hatchett Pond, Rans Wood, Norley Wood and Crockford Enclosure but our favourite so far is Hawkhill just outside Beaulieu. Fabulous paths and gorgeous woodland all around plus Ronnie seems to love the place.
Lymington Seafood Festival
We managed to give Ronnie a long early walk on Saturday before hiking into Lymington to have a look at the Saturday market and more importantly the annual Lymington Seafood Festival. Held down in Bath Road Park alongside the marina it only started last year but they had over 300 stalls selling everything from Crab Fritters to Oysters to Lobster Burgers. Sponsored by Ringwood Brewery they had live bands all day alongside beer tents and the mega-popular gin bars that you now see everywhere. It was the food that was amazing though. So much of it.
As much as we would love to have chilled out with a few beers, some Pimms, and a gin we wandered back into town and around the saturday market before heading back home to see our friendly chocolate lab.
Hopefully in the coming days we will be able to get out and explore a few more walks around the forest and also manage to get back to the beach. We did make it to Tanners Lane Beach the other day but with the change in the weather it wasn’t quite as picturesque and welcoming as it probably was mid-heatwave.
So far so good in this new housesit and we are loving the relaxing, restful days that it has brought us. Looking forward to the next two weeks bigtime.
07/08 – 13/08/2018