We are always looking for good sites within an hour of home and goodness knows why we have never spotted this site before, but it looked like a nice site in a good location (the beautiful Test Valley) so we booked. No particular reason for this weekend – just fancied a get away before the rigours of that annual curse – the Southampton Boat Show – hit home.
We set off around 2.30 and had a pleasant drive to Sherfield English – on the A27 just north-west of Romsey. The site is secure and check-in was swift and friendly. The shop is well-stocked and there is also – among other facilities – an on site cafe, which we may use for Sunday brekker. Good 3G too and also optional wifi (paid but reasonable).
We had booked a premium (or full-serviced pitch) and were soon set up, with the kettle on. And then – disaster struck. NO COFFEE! Miffed. But no problem as we are quite near the Romsey branch of Waitrose and so off we went in search of coffee (and a few other bits and pieces). Traffic was heavy into Romsey, it being rush hour, but we soon reached our destination. My favourite coffee was on offer and we saw (and bought) various other must-have delicacies – including some fresh, green Kentish cobnuts for Paul. Result.
We returned home with our purchases and cooked dinner and then settled down to watch a bit of television (good signal) before having an early night.
It was a quiet night until the early hours of the morning, when the bullocks in the field adjacent to the site started hollering. I wear earplugs and only noticed because I got up to go to the loo. But they were pretty loud! Thank goodness for earplugs.
We got up about 9-ish and started our breakfast. Paul received a text from his boss (at the Boat Show) asking him to call. This struck a chill in my heart! The upshot was that Paul had to go all the way back to Portchester, pick up a bit of kit and take it to the Boat Show, before returning to Hill Farm. That pretty much wrote off the morning, which Archie and I passed reading (me) and snoozing (Arch). I also prepared lunch (Chicken Caesar Wraps) to take with us and we eventually set off on our planned trip to Andover at around 12.30.
We chose a scenic route rather than bashing down an A road, which took us through Stockbridge – a favourite of mine. I thus had to have a very quick stop to look round a cookware shop. Lovely lady, so I felt obliged to buy something. A lemon saver. Perfect!
Eventually, we arrived in Andover and I needed a quick pop to Boots (for some cosmetic essentials) – one shop led to another and I ended up with a new pair of sandals at a bargain sale price. They will do for next year – if not for our forthcoming trip to Sicily (28 days and counting). Very nice chartreuse suede flats. Pleased.
Finally, we made our way to the car park for our intended bike ride around Andover Lakes cycle path. This a lovely and well-used resource, with a great surface for an off-road cycle ride. Perfect for our boy Archie who, at 14, likes nothing better than a good run alongside a bike. He learnt to run by the bike on towpaths as a puppy and it is obvious that he really enjoys it, and it keeps him – and us – fit. We got lost a few times (signposting could be better – it assumes some local knowledge) and, as we were later than planned, we did not do the full 11k ride, but we will be back. We had a great time and so did Arch.
We came home the fast way – with a quick detour to look at the picturesque village of Wherwell, which I remember from my childhood. Time for a quick cuppa and a beepy – although some of our fellow campers (in tents) seemed to think that everybody was going to enjoy their rather loud music. We didn’t! Luckily, they turned off around 6, so we had a rather more quiet evening. We cooked dinner (salmon) and watched a bit of telly and then played cards until bedtime (Cribbage). I must mention that there were quite a few kids here, which is fine as long as they are properly supervised. My beef was 3 lads playing football very near our van. Their ball hit our car once and had to be retrieved from under the van another time. Van are made of aluminium and it doesn’t take much to dent them. I’m surprised their parents weren’t worried about their own van, let alone everyone elses! A bit of an irritant, especially as there is a large field on site, where they could have played to their heart’s’ content and with no risk of damage or irritation.
There was a fair bit of noise from our camper friends, still, at bedtime. Just chatting and laughing, but noise carries so at night. It didn’t really bother me with my ear-plugs in, though, so all good. And I don’t begrudge them a bit of fun. Much……
I’m sounding a bit curmudgeonly, but I really didn’t want to come home on Sunday morning. We had such a nice time and will definitely return – if only to have that breakfast at the cafe! But leave we had to and we were soon packed up and on our way. And we were even back home in time to do a few jobs round the house – lawn-mowing, kitchen-floor-washing and so on. And there was time to cook a roast for all the fam (George & Uncle D) too. A weekend utilised to the max, I feel? Not long until the next one, either, when we are meeting friends for a spot of boating. Hurrah!