On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

Newbury with the Hansfords – 17 to 19 Aug

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Another exciting trip as it was the Hansford’s (Paul, Kate & Holly) first weekend camping. We set off about 4 pm and arrived at Bishop’s Green campsite after just over an hour. Paul S set up the caravan whilst I helped the H’s erect the tent. All told, it took around an hour, which we thought was pretty good.

It was a beautiful warm evening so we broke out the nibbles and ploughed our way through a couple of jugs of Pimms Turbo (includes added Gin!) and were soon at one with the world. Paul H had made a large pot of chilli and this went down a storm, too, after which we chatted and eventually went to bed.

The H’s had a good first night and Saturday dawned sunny and warm again. After a hearty fry-up, we set off exploring. We had a quick visit to nearby Greenham Common, which has been completely redeveloped since its famous time with the women peace campaigners in the 80s. Pretty boring really! We then made our way to Kintbury, which has a fantastic artisan bakery who sell the most amazing (looking) lardy cakes. We went for a walk past the church and then along the canal to the Dundas Arms. The last time we had visited, it was pretty lacklustre but has recently been taken over, given an overhaul and a new menu. We didn’t eat on this occasion, but it all looked much more enticing. The drinks were very welcome – ice cold cider. Mmm.

Next was a trip to Hungerford, ad a quick flick round the shops and Cornish pasties and ice-creams for some.

Our final stop was Newbury. More shopping, including some meat for our planned BBQ from the butchers, just near the canal bridge. We have bought meat there every time we have come to Newbury and never been disappointed. We were all hot and tired after shopping and required iced coffee from Starbucks to restore ourselves. As it was late afternoon by now, we made our way back to the site.

After refreshments and a game of badminton (very sweaty!) we started prep for the BBQ. Paul cooked and we all ate our fill. We spent the remainder of the evening chatting and looking for shooting stars and satellites, of which there were, gratifyingly, quite a few.

Next day was again sunny and the owner had told us there was no hurry to get off, so we had a leisurely breakfast (the usual eggs and toast) and then began the process of drying out the condensation from the tent. The sun was hot and strong and the tent was soon dry. We showed the H’’s how to pack up and it was good to hear that they were now affected by the camping bug, so hopefully, this was the first of many trips. The weather gave them a perfect introduction – although we felt that we had to explain that it wasn’t always like this!

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