Birthdays, buddies, babies and being back in beautiful Cornwall

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.

We had done some fabulous sight seeing

Our socialising began with a birthday celebration for my nephew who was also visiting England from his home in Japan.

…. now it was time for birthday.celebrations
Eating cake on the lawn

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.

The oh-so-green Hampshire countryside
A lovely lunch in the New Forest

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

Some New Forest ponies
We met a vintage car rally in the New Forest

From there we headed to the adjacent county, West Sussex, to meet up with four friends from school days and their respective partners.

So good to see these lovely people again

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!

The Partridge in the sweet village of Singleton
We loved the cottage gardens
The old Church,
…and the thatched cottages.
Modelled on a typical country signpost but this one, pointing the way to all the local pubs, was in someone’s garden!
The fireplace in The Partridge.

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.

The fabulous kitchen in our friends’ renovated home
They even have (modern day) standing stones in their garden
A lovely spot for contemplation
There is also a pretty duck pond!
Our parking place for the night
Still friends after all these years

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.

Arundel Castle

Liquid lunch
Ruins of the friary walls built by Dominican friars in the mid 13th Century.
Meeting one of the new members of our extended family, my great niece
Another nephew, another great niece and another birthday celebration!

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.

Driving past Stonehenge on the way to Cornwall
Off to the Cornish pasty shop!
Cornish cottages
A stone stile
A public footpath cuts through a field full of cows!

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.

A sparkling stream in the Tregeseal Valley
Many a happy school holiday took place here

A stunning view from the cliffs
Happy cows

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

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