Uk grand tour #2 - heading south west

Trip Start Jun 14, 2012
Trip End Jun 27, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Saturday, July 14, 2012

So once again we hired a car to continue our journey around England. This time we drove west. First stop Swindon to drop Pol and Ols off (sorry to see them go), then Bath followed by the New Forest, Brighton, Surrey and then back to Suffolk.

We will just give you a few highlights of the trip as all of this socialising, while exciting for us, is also exhausting and so we can imagine it would be even more exhausting for you to read about!!!

Bath - amazing to finally have a walk around Bath. Such a beautiful city; the architecture with the Bath stone used in the buildings; the canal; the baths; the royal circle and the crescent. All very spectacular and we loved strolling along the streets.

It was great to see and spend time with Guy's cousins while in the Bath district 8this was our main reason for visiting this area).
Ian and Leanne put on an amazing spread with plenty of booze and food. Jammed with the kids on guitar, and I tried (in vain) to teach Ian a song on the guitar whilst we we both dribbling drunk!
Kerry, Philip, Mary and Jack were in fine form. Kerry took Ashari on a run that she felt for a week after! Mary had the best birthday party ever with a giant blow-up assault course in a pool - awesome!

On our way to our next destination we stopped at Stonehenge. This was something I missed doing when I lived in London and I was very much looking forward to it. As we approached the stones I was overcome with a feeling I can't explain. It was more amazing than I had expected. If we could have made all of the other tourists disappear then I think it would have been perfect. It is a very spiritual and awe inspiring place. Really baffling to even begin to imagine how and why these stones where moved here in the first place. They are so big.

The next highlight of this trip was our visit to the New Forest. This place was unlike anywhere else I have been in England. It is a beautiful green lush forest/National Park... but wait for it... amongst the luscious greenery there were thousands of wild (but owned?!?) horses and cows. They were basically free range animals. Even in the towns there would be cows and horses meandering along the road and on peoples front lawns. I could not get over this sight. There was something very humbling about having to share the roads and the land with animals.

We stayed with Richard, Emily, Felix and Where we had a lovely time. Went canoeing on the Harbor and then the ocean with Felix which was great fun. Took the VW combi van for a spin, and played cards into the night. Was a lovely time spent with them all. Thanks you guys.

The forest was established in 1079 by William The Conqueror as his 'new hunting forest'. It is amazing to see this forest almost 1000 years on. We highly recommend this as a place to visit and we hope to one day have more time to explore this mystical and magical place. We did stumble across a spectacular old building called Rinefield House (it is now a hotel). It was in the middle of nowhere. We stopped to have tea and imagine we were in a Jane Austin novel. (Well I did anyway... Not sure Guy is really into the whole imagining another life sort of thing!!!)

From the New Forest we traveled over to the Brighton part of the UK. Guy took great pleasure in taking me on a tour of his old secondary school, Brighton College, (which is an enormous and very grand place I have to say), followed by an excursion to Brighton Pier. We reconnected to our inner child and played on the "shuffle penny" machines for awhile (this is where you feed pennies into a shoot, wait for the shuffle thingy to push the pennies forward and hope it is enough movement to push the pennies stacked up on the edge over and into your pocket!!!). We won a few pennies but our greed got the better of us and we put the pennies back in in the hope to win more... but to no avail!

Had a lovely 3 days in Bexhill and Brighton with Dave (brilliant cocktails!), Kel, Scarlet (we saw and heard her fist belly laugh!), then with Tic, Vicky (amazing food), Rupert (a nutter but brilliant value) and Annabel. Then to my second home, the farm with Victor and Vicky and Dan. Was great to see you all.

The finale of the trip was a fab "Brighton College Gang" renuion at Tedsy and Jess' place in Surrey. This consisted of 5 or the 8 boys in Guy's core group from school plus their partners and kids. The sun was shining, the BBQ was firing and the drinks were flowing. Such a great day/night and so wonderful to see the crew one last time before leaving the mother land.

Then it was back to Eyke once more to drop off the car and spend a couple of nights with Mike and Annette before heading down to London.

A huge thank you to the following people for putting us up during this trip:
The Lloyd-Edwards
The Kelleys
The Tutts
The Williams
All of the Heals
and The Littlewoods
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