Apologies dear followers for the lack of posts recently. As some of you know, our family have lost their alpha leader. Mark’s Dad passed away after a short but difficult battle with Cancer last week. He held on bravely until he had said his goodbyes to his family and then slipped away peacefully and pain free in his sleep. For that we are grateful to God.
The end of an era. RIP dear Jack.
So we are back in the Forest after too many journeys up and down the M40 to and from Derbyshire. We did get a bit of a downpour back home but no sign of rain here in Hampshire. The grass is scorched. Ancient oaks are starting to come down as the roots anchoring them turn brittle and snap. We have already had one serious fire in the area. The prospect of further fires, particularly in the woodlands is too close for comfort. Some thoughtless Campers still insist on burning wood despite the total ban. They turn out the glowing hot contents of their barbecues onto the peaty ground and drop cigarette ends. It’s mind blowing. Not only could a spark ignite the forest, it’s also very dangerous to the ponies and other wildlife. We stress the risks to absolutely everyone we check in but night after night we have to trawl around the 200 acres of site late on, asking people nicely to douse their fires (when you really feel like punching them 😡😡😡). Luckily the twisted fire starters ARE in a minority. Most of our guests are keen to preserve our lovely forest and have the common sense to adhere to the rules. Why make the effort to visit a beautiful place if you are hell bent on spoiling it?
Kate and Rob kindly put on another staff barbecue on Sunday. Always good to socialise with your workmates after a busy week. Mark wasn’t up to it so I was chaperoned by Chris. I’m sure he drank all my wine, it went down very quick, although my head told a different story the next day!!
The kids have visited us again this week. Matt is really feeling the loss of his first grandparent and needed to be with his Dad. It’s been a tonic to see them and I always like to get my hands on his car for a bit!! Mark and I had a drive out to the village of Sway to pick up some meat for the barbecue. The Butchers there came very highly recommended. The filet steak was excellent as were the Greek style lamb kebabs. It was a very scenic route there, saw loads of different ponies and even a mule! Made a nice change. In the afternoon we visited Bucklers Hard. The 18th Century ship building village sits on the Beaulieu River. It’s where Nelson’s fleet was built. It looked fab but unfortunately we had left it a bit late and the Carpark was about to close. We went to the Turf Cutters pub in East Boldre instead for a pint of delicious cold cider! Always time for a bit of silliness!
The next day was a hot one so we all decided on a trip to the seaside. It’s only about 8 miles away. Highcliffe Castle is just over the border into Dorset. It sits on the cliffs over a gorgeous sandy, doggie friendly, beach. It also has a smashing tea room. The carrot cake and millionaires slice were to die for!!
Dylan was very excited about
his sea bath! Little monkey managed to lose yet another frisbee to the tides!
It wasn’t quite so hot on the coast, the breeze made quite a refreshing change. Back at base, the kids took the Bromptons out for a spin. There are dozens of great cycle paths around these parts.
Just had to stick a cute donkey pic in for good measure!!
We got the cadac out and enjoyed a hearty feast of smoked sausages, pork steaks and the lamb kebabs from Sway. Yummy! I would rather feed my Son for a week than a fortnight, that boy can eat for England!!
And so our two days off were made much brighter at this sad time by the young uns. We chatted about the old times and raised a glass, several actually, to a much loved Father, Grandpa and Great Grandad. Dear Jack, you will be sadly missed.
I shall sign off now folks. Not sure who will be reading this but I would very much like to thank all our friends and work colleagues for their many kind words and thoughts and understanding over the past couple of months. It has meant a lot to us all.
Cheerio for now chums. Peace and love!!