Some trips are planned months in advance. Some trips are agonized over in excruciating details. Some trips taken entirely, blissfully out of your hands and you’re asked to simply pick a date and book a few train tickets. Out autumnal visit to Hampshire last year is one such delight.
Co-coordinated by a lovely Kiwi friend who has escaped the London rat-race for the glorious rolling fields of Southhampton, we met at the achingly early hour of 8am on a Saturday and fuelled by a glug or two of caffeine we trooped into the countryside.
Caught up in the grey skyscraper (and medieval churches) that typify the London rat-race, we visited just as autumn had laid her fingers over the countryside. Our first stop was the beautiful Whitchurch Silk Mill – one of the oldest remaining silk mills in England.
I was only tempted to push Jess into the peaceful river once, whilst Jacintha, Alana and Sam snapchatted instagrammed looked on with bemusement horror.
Parched, we stopped in for a cuppa (one American, one Australian, two Kiwis and a Dutch lovely doing their best to pretend to be English) before we scoped out two ladies handmaking lace and asked a billion questions about this long lost art.
Having wandered out fill through the working mill, and watched Prunella Scales (Sybil in Fawlty Towers) in a short video about the history we accidentally teased a few ducks. #countrylife
Our mission for the day complete and bits bought from the gift shop, we found a country lane or two to kick leaves along, spotted a stag on a roof (he must have been on quite a night out to end up all the way up there!?) and a few surrealist bollards. Can’t beat a country ramble.
Our tour guide took us to a crystal clear stream full of watercress (famous locally), sunshine and sprats. And we took a gazillion photos – you can take the bloggers out of London and all that. We shot the breeze, instagrammed wonky thatched cottage doorways and solved a few world problems. As you do.
World peace sorted, we headed up a few teeny tiny lanes and taught the non-antipodeans how to play corners (if you haven’t played, it’s great roadtrip fun – take one car, put 3 people in the back and just lean into the road bends, squishing the middle person.) Hours of laughter.
We nipped into the Bombay Sapphire distillery (a separate post for another time) where we had a crash course in gin botanical (and a touch of taste testing – totally necessary) before hustling into a lovely restaurant to watch the All Blacks win the world cup. Best day ever.
One could perhaps suggest we were as thick as inkle-weavers – we certainly headed sadly back to the bright lights of London as full as a drum.