On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

Autumn weekend in the New Forest – 5 to 7 October 2012

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Great idea to start this blog towards the end of the season, eh? So – it’s been a while but we decided a weekend away was what we needed. The weather was set fair and we set off for the short trip in eager anticipation. Our chosen site was Setthorns, where we have been a couple of times before. Set in the New Forest a short distance from Brockenhurst it is a peaceful and fairly Spartan site (“own san essential”  is the caravanner’s term!) but it does have the all-essential hook-up facilities. Can’t miss Strictly after all!

It was showery start but we arrived in a break between them and swiftly got hooked up, heater & kettle on and were soon cosily ensconced with the dinner cooking, too.

It was a noisy night – almost constant rain and we did wonder if we might float away. I love the feeling of being cosy and warm while the weather does its worst. Very comforting. Shortly before dawn it seemed to stop and then we had a couple of noisy owls – clearly chatting about how wet their plumage was!

Saturday dawned bright with a blue sky and, after breaking our fast, we set off for the charming town of Lymington and its Saturday morning market. We parked in the station car-park,  very handy and you can pay for your parking by phone.

Cows of the new Forest

New Forest ponies

It was very pleasant, with an almost continental feel, strolling around the stalls. My one purchase? Some pimenton ahumado (the dolce or sweet variety) from a very nice Spanish stallholder, who was selling other Spanish delicacies, such as jamon iberico – mmm. This very brand of paprika, actually! It’s like essence of chorizo. Heavenly.

Lymington is a foodies paradise – every other shop seems to be a cookshop. I visited every one! Window shopping only, sadly, as this was supposed to be a budget trip.

Views of Lymington

Johnny Onions!

We strolled down to the harbour,  where everyone was taking advantage of the sunshine and lunching on fish and chips, which smelt amazing. Resist. Resist. The smell reminded us that our lunch beckoned and we popped to Waitrose for picnic food. Sushi was at the top of the list, along with stuffed vine leaves and  a few other essentials (giant butter beans in spicy tomato with Manchego in particular). We drove to the Royal Lymington Yacht Club and sat on the sea wall, watching the boats (not the Dock of the Bay, in this case!) coming in and out. Food and fresh air had made us a bit drowsy, so we made our way back to the van for an afternoon nap. Nothing finer!

Harbour 1

Harbour 2

After our siesta, we took the dog out for a walk in the late afternoon sun. There are plenty of options from the site, which has a disused (by trains) railway line running through it and is very popular with both walkers and cyclists. There were squirrels and rabbits in abundance  – although, without exception, we ALWAYS saw them before Archie. He maintained a very high state of excitement, though!

A relaxing evening’s viewing and dinner followed by a much more peaceful night’s sleep ensued. We went off to sleep to the sound of owls. I woke up once in the night and it was absolutely silent. No intrusions from our modern life, which seems to be permanently fractured by the sound of cars. Bliss.

We had our usual leisurely breakfast (eggs of course) and packed up and left site just after midday. Home by 1.30 and straight back into routine. Lawn-mowing, trip to the tip, Sunday roast and so on. I love our late-season/winter weekends away. A brief pause from the daily grind makes all the difference to one’s ability to carry on! Roll on the next one.

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