What could have been a sad farewell in Lymington was softened by a confirmed new booking to housesit early next year. So our hearts weren’t quite so heavy leaving Ronnie, the chocolate lab, and Lily the elusive cat. We will be back! Just hope they are as pleased about it as we are.
Hot Footing It
On our day of departure we had a lovely morning walk in the sunshine to the platform on the harbour that is Lymington Pier Station. I don’t see how anyone can commute from here with a heavy heart – having said that it was a beautiful sunny day. The first leg of our journey was up to Brockenhurst on the main Bournemouth to London line. That all went well. At Brockenhurst there was a half an hour delay to our train which made our transfer from London Waterloo to St Pancras a bit of a tight deadline for our booked train. After some nifty high speed walking and maneuvering around tourists, commuters and lost passengers we got our train with a couple of minutes to spare. It was packed but once again our team work paid off and Jon stashed the bags while I found us what must have been the last two seats in the carriage. It was on one of those tables for four people and the two guys we were sharing with were travelling up to Nottingham to watch Nottingham Forrest play. We struck up a conversation and it was great for Jonno to be able to get some decent football chat for an hour. I do my best but my current knowledge is fairly limited so I just nodded in all the right places and tried not to say anything stupid.
Our first stop on this Midlands pitstop was to a school friend of mine, Alison, who lives just outside Nottingham in Woodborough. We have know each other since we were five so it is coming up for thirty years now (I wish! More like over fifty). By some miracle we have managed to keep in touch which is no mean feat because although we went to primary school together we went to different secondary schools so since 11 have kept in touch other ways rather than via school. It was great to catch up with Alison, her husband, Andrew and their children Abigail (16) and Luke (9). Brilliant GCSE results were hot off the press for Abigail and she had started her first Saturday job so a glass or two of something bubbly was required and duly consumed.
We didn’t get up to too much, just enjoying each other’s company, although I did manage to go with Alison to one of her gymnastic’s classes. She coaches at a local leisure centre and it was great to watch her guide these young tots through their forward rolls, vaulting and beam work. She has a great way with the children and they obviously love the class and the praise they receive.
All too soon it was time to leave but, although we never know when we will catch up again, we know that we will and whenever we do it will feel like yesterday, as it always does.
Thank Heavens for the Evans!
Our next short journey was south to Leicester and a little village called Great Glen. Jon and I lived here in the late 80s and it was at ante-natal, or as they called it Parentcraft, classes that I met Jackie and subsequently her husband Trevor. Our “babies”, our Shaun and their Matthew, will be thirty next year and Sarah, Jackie’s youngest, has a daughter of her own, the wonderful Lottie. Matthew and his girlfriend Beth were away in Rome for the holiday weekend but we did manage to catch up with them for dinner
Thank heavens they have the patience of saints because we chopped and changed our arrival time on and off about 4 times but thankfully they forgave us for the timing issues and were there to meet us at the station. It wasn’t long before we got to see Sarah and Lottie and the plastic tea set came out to play. My type of Sunday afternoon.
An outing had been arranged for the Bank Holiday Monday. A walk to Wistow via Newton Harcourt. Wistow is a little village 2 miles from Great Glen. We chose to walk along the lanes because the fields were potentially wet from the the previous day and a few suspect looking bullocks. Along the route we met the fattest sheep we had ever seen.
Newton Harcourt is just small collection of houses with a lovely little church. We met a man who claimed to be the “Lord of the Manor” in a very well ventilated sweater who told us that his daughter was getting married in the church the following weekend. The church’s is know for the small stone replica of the church in the graveyard. It was carved as a headstone for a boy of 8 who died in the 1920s of diphtheria by his stone mason father. It is said that the inspiration for the headstone came from when the boy moved to Newton Harcourt as a young child with his family he loved the church and one day wanted to live in a church somewhere.
The NHS Maize Maze
We walked onto Wistow and the highlight of the trip. The Maize Maze. This is a field of 8 acres of living maize and sunflowers that come up to shoulder height that have had footpaths cut through them to create a maze. The maze has a different theme each year and this year to celebrate 70 years of the NHS the maze was laid out as an ambulance. You can only get this overview from well above the maze so I have copied a photo from their website
Their are a number of clues on boards throughout the maze and the idea is that you collect them and break a code to answer a question. Some joker decided that we would do the harder version which meant that we had no idea where these boards were in the maze. With a lot of cunning and even more walking we managed to find most of them and had fun weaving in and out of the maize and climbing the occasional bridge or look out to see where we should be or should have gone. We escaped after about 2 hours and about 3 miles to an area full of activities and puzzles. It was a really good day out, not expensive and you can return into the maze as many times as you like.
Wistow Rural Centre
It was definitely time for a coffee so we headed to the cafe over the road. Everyone had the same idea but we managed to secure a coffee and bun each and sit outside to enjoy them before a family of wasps took a liking to my jam scone. There were a whole bunch of shops there. A deli, a garden centre, a gallery, model village, furniture and gift shops are just a few of the concessions at this lively centre.
A walk back via our old house in Great Glen made the day complete. According to the fitbits we were at around 21,000 steps. All of which helps to work off the Wistow Cafe buns.
Goodbye for now
It had only been about 72 hours since we had left our housesit in Hampshire and we had had the pleasure of meeting up with two sets of very dear friends. We may not see them as often as we would like but whenever we get together it always seems like only yesterday that we said goodbye the last time. How lucky are we to have such good friends who embrace us and our weird lifestyle with open arms. We keep saying that one day we will have our own home again and will return the compliment. I think we owe a good few dinners and overnight stays. Thank you to Alison, Andrew, Abigail, Luke, Jackie, Trevor, Kiernan, Sarah, Lottie, Matthew and Beth for making us so welcome and putting up with our tails of JWalking and Sitting.
25/08 – 29/08/2018