Despite some very enjoyable sightseeing around the the East Coast of England, the Norfolk Broads and the Fens, we were very much looking forward to spending some more precious time with family and friends.
Our socialising began with a birthday celebration for my nephew who was also visiting England from his home in Japan.
Then we were off the the depths of the New Forest in Hampshire, to meet with sailing friends Pim and Tim and Meryon who we had first met on the Sail Indonesia Yacht Rally; and Meryon’s lovely wife Suzy.
We met at The Red Shoot Inn in the heart of the New Forest which is one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture, heathland and forest in England and famous for its 5,000 plus ponies that roam freely throughout the Forest
From there we headed to the adjacent county, West Sussex, to meet up with four friends from school days and their respective partners.
But first we spent the night in yet another pub carpark (thanks to our previously mentioned Brit Stops book) in a pretty little village called Singleton. England has so many gorgeous villages off the tourist trail!
After a wonderful reunion we spent the night parked in our van in the grounds of our friends’ beautifully restored property. Originally two ancient and rundown farm cottages, the buildings were very ramshackle when they were first purchased but after much hard work, attention to detail and imagination they became one fantastic home with an enchanting garden.
From there we travelled to East Sussex via Arundel where we stopped for lunch, to meet one of the newest members of our ever increasing extended family – my youngest great niece. We also met another great niece for the very first time, over from Vietnam with her family, and celebrated my nephews’s (her Dad) birthday.
From there we slogged the 550 km drive to Jonathan’s beloved St Just in Cornwall where his grandmother and uncles and aunts used to live and where growing up, he spent long summer holidays, year after year.
Walking in the valley where his Aunty and Uncle used to live was a walk down memory lane and for me, the opportunity to share in his happy memories of this beautiful part of the world.