To mark the upcoming Significant Birthday, P arranged for us to have a weekend away in the New Forest. We stayed at a beautiful hotel called The Pig. Looking back at my photos, I’m surprised I didn’t take any of the room we stayed in but it was a lovely example of shabby chic, with wooden floorboards, an enormous bed, a great big painted armoire and a massive bathroom with a huge freestanding bath and double size shower.
We spent Saturday morning at Mottisfont, a National Trust property, and enjoyed the exhibition of Lichfield portraits that was being held there. A surprised me by actively wanting to visit the exhibition and actually looking at the photos properly rather than just rushing around.
We went back to the New Forest after lunch and, on the way back to the hotel, dropped in on Minstead just because we had plenty of time and A had commented that the name, Minstead, was interesting. On the football green in Minstead we came across a few New Forest ponies and pulled over to have a proper look, at which point a few of the ponies came right up to the car for a uncomfortably close look at us. The pony in the picture above stayed with us for a good 10 minutes, I think in the hope that we would have a treat for her. Or perhaps she wanted us to take her home. A, being so familiar with ponies now, took great delight in talking to our new friend and patting her.
After a bit of chillout time in our room at the hotel, we went for a walk in the forest around the hotel. We eschewed the 7.5 mile route suggested, partly because we wouldn’t have made it all the way round before we lost the light but mainly because we thought A would be (rightly) complaining about the length of the walk even before we’d have reached halfway round. As it turns out, the walk we did was still around 4 miles long (we think) and there was hardly any complaint from A until right at the end. Just have puddles, horse poo and being in the middle of nature, away from it all, was enough to keep her engaged and going down the tracks without the need for bribery. I love that about A, how she just loves a puddle to splash in or a hill to run down, despite the attractions of her iPad.
Today we met an old friend and her two children for lunch at the Alice Lisle pub at the south-western edge of the New Forest. The food was great, the kids had fun playing in the pub playground and the adults got to have a good chat. Can’t ask for more than that, really.
And so, after lunch, it was back home. You know what’s great about being home? The fact that it’s great being home. When your home is a place you love coming back to, you know it’s a great one. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a break and some time away but when the only feeling you get when you think of home is a happy one, you’re doing pretty well in life.