Thursday, 12 September 2013

Holidays: Part the Second......

After our visit to the Mary Rose exhibition we made our way to the village of West Marden on the Hants/West Sussex border.

We were booked in to stay at West Marden Farmhouse B&B, which Jackie had found through Alastair Sawday's 'Places To Stay In Great Britain'.

I have to say I think it was absolutely the best B&B we have ever stayed in.

We were greeted on arrival by our host, Carole, who immediately offered us a glass of wine........

Then gave us a lift down to the pub she'd recommended we go to for dinner.

Proper job!

You know what, I'm going to copy and paste what Sawday's has to say of the place as it sums it up really well.

"Bowl down a gentle valley in the South Downs to this 16th-century farmhouse with beautiful Sussex granaries and barn; the Edney family has farmed the land for generations. Your delightful, helpful hosts, who are committed to the environment, give guests a sitting/dining room with a huge old fireplace, comfortable sofas, flowers, oak floor and French windows to the garden. Find beamed bedrooms with a luxurious feel and thoughtful touches; fabulous bathrooms (freestanding baths, swish showers) burst with gorgeous Ren toiletries. Breakfasts are delicious, the walking is great and Goodwood is a 20-minute drive."

When Jackie's around, I'll get her to do a link for me. This'll do for now.

The meal at the pub recommended by Carole was very good indeed. Anna, who looked after us, was especially efficient at chasing up the cab from Emsworth ( you are really straying into P.G Wodehouse and 'Blandings' territory in this part of the world..... :-), so we were returned to the farm with no problem.

The following morning's breakfast was not 'delicious'.

It was an epicurean delight.

Fresh fruit, honeycomb, milk, home made muesli, kippers, full English.......

It was all there to be had.

Well, I had most of it.......

It would have been very rude not to.......

(I was thinking as I partook of my superb cereal and fresh fruit garnished with milk and honey, that our friend Rhoda should visit....... perhaps with a suitor with the unlikely but apt name of Michael Bowter-Shaw. So long as his best friend and potential best man is called Ally Lewyer........

But I digress.

 - and perhaps should get out more - ....... :-)

Anyway, I opted for the kippers, which were sublime. (I'd ingested enough pig at The Pig to last me quite some time, thank you very much......)

Thus fortified, we drove back to The Royal Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth to tour HMS Victory and HMS Warrior (1867).

Jackie had had the foresight to purchase the 'All-you-can-visit-for-one-year-come-as-often-as-you-like-access-all-areas' ticket. So, when we made our way through the gates to see a boat trip round the harbour was departing that instant, we hopped on.

I haven't been on a trip round Pompey harbour since I was about seven! (Stand up at the back whoever said I must have seen HMS Dreadnought when she was new!)

What fun in the sunshine!

HMS Victory was very interesting, especially as Jackie has become as enthralled by Patrick O'Brian's books as I am. Decks were pooped, mizzen halyards were taken in athwartships and the dog watch was, as ever, the shortest, for being 'cur-tailed.....'  (If you like ships, boats, stories of the sea and fantastically well-researched historical novels and haven't read this series featuring Jack Aubrey RN and his friend Stephen Maturin yet, then I envy you the joy of discovering their world!)

HMS Warrior was something else again.


It was the most powerful and utterly invincible warship afloat in 1867. I could wibble on about it for hours. Just go and see it, okay?

No pictures though....... (Unless Jackie's got some on her phone which I can add later).........

From Portsmouth, we travelled via East Meon to visit our friends Ann Marie and Jules and their children. They entertained us to dinner royally.

You know how it is when you have been amongst true friends. It isn't effortful. You just pick up where ever it was you left off...........

(Incidentally, East Meon is a very significant place, but is a digression too far, even for me. It will have it's own blogpost one day, when we re-visit it once more....... in the Alvis.)

The following morning, we had a lovely walk around West Marden Farm, looked round Carole's daughter Gaynor's lovely design emporium (Link to follow when Jackie gets back from London!), then, with regret, left this lovely place and headed offf toward Eastbourne.

That's enough for tonight!

'Hols: Part the Third' to follow (With some pictures...... promise!)


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