Sunday, 23 August 2015

Our Sneaky Break!

Wednesday 19th August

Our Sneaky Break

Hello again!  

The Tardis has very sneakily re materialised on the Isle of Wight - ‘sneaky’ for 2 reasons.  Firstly, this was a little holiday planned at short notice for us, and secondly, we landed on the lovely Golf Course Certified Location (near Freshwater) unannounced and as a ‘SURPRISE’  for our friends Sharon, Paul and their children, who are holidaying there for most of August.  We arrived about 4.30 while they were still out, but we hid in our van until they returned, and then crept up and peered in at their caravan window.  Thomas saw me first and shouted ‘that’s Lin’, and then there was much hugging and excitement, along with a few tears as we all enjoyed our long awaited reunion.

Since then we've been very busy enjoying each others company, along with the odd glass of wine and an occasional slice of cake!!

Thursday 20th August 2015

Today we went cycling, uphill and down dale, and mostly in the pouring rain.  As we were setting off we could see cloud and mist charging in over Tennyson Down, and it wasn't long before it caught us up.   

Eleanor, Sharon, Paul, Benjamin and John
As we rode up and over the off road Golf Course track the rain started to sprinkle, but it soon became a deluge, which fairly well set the scene for the next couple of hours.  Unfortunately, the track, particularly at the bottom of Brook Down, became very slippery on the chalky surface, and it was here that poor Benjamin (Sharon’s youngest son)  came to grief with a spectacular skid that left him lying in the bushes in a heap.  Luckily he got away with only minor scrapes and it was only really his dignity that took a battering.  

After his Dad had patched his scrapes we carried on up over Mottistone Down, but as the rain was still teeming we decided to cut our planned 40 odd mile route short.  We turned down Strawberry Lane and into Mottistone  village where we found a bus shelter that doubled as our dining room for a late lunch and more cake, and it was while we were sitting there that I tried my ‘crystal ball 🔮’ out and told everybody  that the rain would clear and evaporate from the roads, leaving glorious sunshine for the rest of the day!  I think my fortune telling skills must be a bit rusty because although the rain stopped for a while, the sunshine didn’t materialise and every now and again we continued to get well doused!  

From Mottistone we continued along the country roads into Shalcombe, then Thorley and on to Yarmouth where we felt ice cream was in order.  

We toddled along the pier and then backtracked into the town to find ‘The Causeway’ which is a converted disused railway track that led us back towards our camp site,  so our shortened journey was finished off over little lumpy bumpy  unmade roads, and in the end we'd only managed about 16 miles, but the pleasure of all being together again more than made up for lack of distance.

On our return to camp we shared the cooking and most of us feasted on fresh Mackerel that Thomas (Sharon’s older son) had caught earlier in the day, and it was quite amazing how much different ‘fresh’ fish tastes to the usual several day old variety that is usually available in supermarkets.

Friday 22nd August 2015

Today we were destined to be alone.  Sharon and Paul had already booked a ferry back to the mainland to visit Beaulieu Motor Museum and to collect Madaline (their oldest daughter), from Southampton train station.  She had stayed at home in Tibshelf to receive her GCSE results and she had done fantastically well achieving mostly ‘A’s ! (congratulations and well done Madaline xxx)

As we were feeling in need of more exercise John and I decided we would cycle again today and had planned to go across the Island to Chale Green, and then over to Cowes.   However, we hadn't really banked on the hot sunshine, and that, along with the hilly terrain proved a little too much for me, so once again, we had to shorten our route.  We diverted and followed a more inland road that went through Mottistone, Brighstone and Shorewell passing numerous little chocolate box thatched cottages on the way. 

However, although the route was very pretty, it proved to be a bit of a mistake because the road was busy with fast moving traffic and we were mostly forced to ride in single file, thus making the ride a bit lonely, because for most of the time communication was almost impossible! Also the hills just kept coming and some of them were long and arduous, and to add to our disgruntlement, there were very few places to stop.  This more or less forced us to continue  for about 18 miles without a break, which to say the least made me a little grumpy!  

We finally turned  off the nasty fast Calbourne Road onto a much quieter lane that led us uphill all the way back to Mottistone Down where we located a lovely picnic spot for our lunch. The rest, and the meal, restored our energy and repaired my sense of humour allowing us to enjoy this very scenic part of our journey as  we continued over the Down.   The terrain was still hilly but we didn’t have to give in and walk until we got to the bottom of ‘Chalk Hill’. Past experience from a previous visit had informed us that we were very unlikely to be able to ride up because of its steepness (16% gradient), it’s slipperiness and it’s rough uneven surface - it was even hard work pushing up the hill!  Therefore, once we'd gained the top we needed no excuse to stop again to catch our breath and treat ourselves to another cup of coffee while we watched the numerous buzzards hovering, swooping and generally putting on an aerial display for our entertainment.

However, there is a more grisly side to their activities.  Apparently they are attacking and eating the red squirrels! thus putting the Islands population of this cute mammal at risk!

After our little break we made our way back over the golf course towards our base camp site, but not before a little detour into Freshwater to pick up some nice cool cider to refresh us after our exertions. We ended up doing about 25 miles - maybe we have to practice a little more to make our target of 40.

By the time we arrived back at the camp site it was about 5pm, the sun was shining and it really felt like Summer, so out came our chairs and we had a lazy peaceful afternoon while we waited for our friends to return.  They turned up at about 9.30, and as it was still warm, they nipped in to put their kids to bed and then joined us for a final night cap and natter under a beautiful starry sky.  While chattering, and because the forecast for the next day was so good, we decided we might stop another day, depending on if we could change our ferry booking and if there was room for us on the site. Both were easy to sort, so hey presto our little holiday had been extended.

Saturday the 23rd August 2015.

We really should have been going home today because we are quite likely to be moving out of our bungalow on Friday and there is still lots to do. However, it was an absolutely beautiful  day and we felt we couldn't possibly miss the opportunity to spend a little more time with Sharon and Paul. We were all a bit undecided what to do with this extra time but in the end we decided on the beach.  We packed our picnics and set off up the road, but we only had to travel a very short distance before we reached The National Trust Car Park at Compton Bay.


From here we had to climb down 95 steep steps and scramble over hard packed sand to reach the beach, but it  was well worth it.  The tide was quite high but we couldn't quite decide if it was coming or going, however, it soon declared itself! We'd set our chairs up very near the water’s edge and eventually it forced us to move back a few feet as it washed up into our encampment  eliciting squeals and scurries as we grabbed our belongings!  

We had a lovely day, mostly being quite lazy as we whiled away the time watching Sharon’s children frolicking in the water and playing in the sand.  Our time quickly passed amidst chatter, picnicking, sunbathing and generally relaxing but around 4ish our little sojourn came to a fairly abrupt end when big splatters of rain made us think it was time to pack up and re climb the ‘mountain’ back to the car.

We were hopeful that the weather would clear again so we could eat outside and enjoy another evening under the stars, but it wasn't to be.  It hammered down through most of the late afternoon and well into the night, but it didn’t stop us from sharing another lovely meal with fantastic company in the cosy confines of Sharon and Paul’s caravan, and later when the kids got sleepy they went to bed and we adjourned to our van to finish off our evening.

Sunday 24th August 2015

Today we can no longer delay our departure, we must go back to our Bungalow in Heanor to make final the preparations for it’s sale, hopefully on Friday, but as our sailing wasn't until 12.20 we weren't really in any hurry so we didn’t get up until about 8am.  And it was then that John got a very unexpected cold shower!  It had rained for most of the night, and inadvertently, we had left the kitchen skylight a little ajar.  As he opened the blind a quantity of cold water splashed down over his head causing him to gasp and then turn the air blue, and causing me to roll about laughing. Luckily  he quickly saw the funny side, and no harm was done!  

As I am writing this we are well on our way back home, but it should only be for the next 4 days. Then, as long as everything goes according to plan, The Tardis will become our main residence and our wanderings can begin.  I say hopefully because we're still not certain that the ‘completion of sale’ will actually happen on that day, but both ourselves and our buyers have everything crossed that nothing goes wrong.   Us because our removal firm is booked for Thursday, and them because their builder is booked for the following week.

After we move out we plan to stay on a local Caravan Park over the weekend while we visit all our family and friends to say 'cheerio for now', and then we will be heading for Stranraer in Scotland to catch a ferry over to Ireland for our trip along the The North Atlantic Way.  We should have about  6 or 7 weeks to complete this and then we will be returning to base as our son Ben, and his Partner Louise will very nearly be a Mummy and Daddy! and we definitely need to be back in time to greet our 3rd Grandbaby - I can’t wait and my knitting needles are clicking very quickly in preparation.  

Anyway, I'm going to sign off for now, but I will post again soon to let you know how we have got on with the sale of our house and our move into the Tardis x

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