On tour at home and abroad with the Sumpners

The view below is Toad Rock, Tunbridge Wells

A lovely weekend with Lenny and Evie – 15th – 18th August

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We have been taking our niece Evie (7 1/2) away for the weekend in our caravan for a few years now and this year it was time to add our nephew Lenny (3 1/2) into the mix. It was with some trepidation that we embarked upon this trip as he is still such a baby – in the nicest possible way. They live in London and so I left work early on Thursday afternoon to meet them at their Aunt’s house in Guildford. The transfer went well – no tears –  and we had a fun journey home. They particularly enjoyed shouting their way through the tunnel at Hindhead in case I got lost! Who doesn’t love a good shout?

Home and tea followed by bath and bedtime – which is where the fun began. Lenny had suddenly fully realised that Mummy and Daddy were just not going to be around. He was very tearful – perfectly natural. Luckily George was there and went in to have a chat with him. He explained that little boys need sleep and that if Lenny wanted to have fun the next day he’d better get some. Lenny clearly saw the logic behind this and swiftly applied to himself to the task – with some success! Well done George. Phew!

Evie, too, was a little tearful – she is such a worrier bless her but I was able to allay her fears (that we might go out and leave her. As if! Bless) and she soon went off to sleep too.

Both slept until a very reasonable 7.30ish and we pottered around until it was time to pop to Sainsburys for some baking ingredients. We spent the rest of the morning baking some fairy cakes. After lunch, Paul took us over to our campsite – Rookesbury Park – in Wickham – chosen for its proximity to home in case it all went horribly wrong. They enjoyed helping Uncle Paul set up.

Hard work!

Hard work!

WIth Archie

WIth Archie

Working for her supper

Working for her supper

Actually I'll just watch!

Actually I’ll just watch!

It was then back to the van for tea (spaghetti and meatballs- a big favourite which I had prepared earlier) and then Uncle Paul arrived back. More fun and games at the play park and then it was bedtime for Lenny. We had done our job! Exhausted and well fed , he went straight off to sleep as good as gold. They were sharing the fixed double bed and we played with Evie – quietly until we were sure he was fully asleep and then it was her turn for bed. A few anxious moments for her again about us going out and leaving her, but she, too, was tired and was soon sleeping peacefully.Evie HorseLenny horse



We lasted about an hour before we also tumbled into bed exhausted. The night was punctuated only by Lenny needing the toilet, but that was swiftly dealt with and we all slept soundly until 7.30 again.  So far so good.

We had planned to go to Marwell but the weather forecast was pretty rotten so we decided to save that for another year and instead take them take them down to Southsea and “wing” the day, letting it pan out as it would.

We set off for Southsea late morning and, as luck would have it, there was something going on on the Common – mainly child orientated and we had a good time – Evie on a bouncy run, attached to an elastic band thingy (you had to be there) Lenny on a fire engine and both of them on the Playbus.



Lenny fire engine

Cheeky Monkeys

Cheeky Monkeys

After that we went and watched the Hovercraft (always a bit of thrill even after all these years) come in and out and then it was off in search of lunch, with a quick detour on the “hot walls” at Old Portsmouth. Click here for a lovely picture of them at night.

Walking along the sea wall

Walking along the sea wall

We found a great little cafe called Manna – aptly named – just opposite the Cathedral in Old Portsmouth..  Lovely fresh sandwiches with unusual fillings – such as fish finger (Evie),  Smoky Pulled Pork and Coleslaw (Paul and me) and (boring!) ham for Lenny. We watched a wedding going into the Cathedral. Noisy bells!

Hot Walls

Rain was still threatening so we decided the cinema was our best bet for the afternoon. We saw “Planes” at the cinema in Fareham and I must admit to having a quick and sneaky snooze whilst it was on! But the kids seemed to enjoy it…….

Back to the caravan and walk with Archie and then it was off to Wickham for fish and chips for tea. Sadly not the best – in fact pretty dire! But once again, the kids seemed to enjoy it, which led me to remember how easily kids are pleased. More fun  at the playground after tea and then the rain that had been promised finally arrived.  I wondered how they would sleep as the rain was hammering quite heavily on the caravan roof. Luckily though, once again, we had fulfilled our objective (keep them full and wear them out) and they went to bed with no protest and slept soundly – shortly followed by us, again! 

The next morning dawned fairish and after breakfast there were scooters to play on (them) and packing up to do (us) and we were off on the long trip back home. All of 15 minutes! Perfect.  Lunch and a trip to Guildford to deliver then safely back to their parents and that was that. Gone in a flash and no television all weekend.  Same again next year? I think so. 

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