On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Holmbury Hill, Surrey

Back in business – Steep 1 to 3 February 2013

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Finally back in our home from home! Paul’s back operation was a success and whilst still not 100% it was good enough for a getaway. We chose somewhere close to home because it was a part of Hampshire that we usually drive through and we wanted to have a bit of a mooch round. The camp-site, Ridge Farm was a CL and thus had only very basic facilities. It wasn’t that easy to find  – given that our SatNav has a nasty habit of taking us down narrow lanes –  but we made it after one false start and quick call to the very helpful owner. To be honest, when we arrived we nearly drove straight past, mistaking it for a car park, but it was actually a very level site with amazing views. It was also very quiet indeed aside from one or two very vocal owls, which I love. The first picture below is when we arrived and the next is the next morning, a beautiful crisp sunny day. Perfect. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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First came the obligatory trip to Waitrose (after we had set up)  which was very handy for this site, being in Petersfield, which was no more than a mile and a half away.  It was a chilly night but we were warm as toast.

The next morning revealed a flock of very pregnant-looking sheep in the adjacent field and we had splendid views across to Butser Hill.

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See what I mean about the car park?

We had our usual slow start and discussion about exactly where we were going to go and eventually set off at around 11-ish. Our first stop was Selborne – famous for being the location of  naturalist Gilbert White’s home – The Wakes. It is also home to the Oates Collection, which is all about Captain (I am just going outside and may be some time) Oates and his brother. Sadly, they do not welcome visitors with dogs so we pressed on. The countryside was beautiful , with signs of spring starting to emerge everywhere.

Or next stop was Alton, a historic market town in North East Hampshire. We had a stroll round the town, which has a nice collection of upmarket charity shops (no purchases!). We stopped for a very nice cup of non-chain coffee at Bottega dei Sapori. Nice to see somewhere like this thriving against the onslaught of Costa et al.

Our final visit of the day was to Chawton – home to another very famous resident, Jane Austen. We had a tasty lunch at the pub opposite her house, the Greyfriar, which was dog friendly. Unlike the Jane Austen museum.

JANE AUSTEN

After lunch we went for a walk down by the river. Very squelchy underfoot but Archie had a great time. We had a quick look at Chawton House, which belonged to Jane’s brother. It’s beautiful as you can see below.

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It was very busy in Chawton – partly because it was a nice day and partly because 2013 is the 200th anniversary of the writing of Pride and Prejudice.  “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife” Nothing changes then, eh?

We made our way home to Steep and read and snoozed until tea-time. We walked the dog up to the top of the drive to drop in the money for our stay, and then spent the evening watching a couple of episodes of the first series of  “Being Human”, which we’ve decide we like.

On the way home:

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After another peaceful and chilly night, we made the most of the fact that the owner was very relaxed about departure time and read and relaxed until mid- afternoon. Bliss. Roll on the next trip, which is to Bransgore in the New Forest in March.

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