Its my birthday so its my day to do things and the sun is shinning – good start. But, always a but, there is a Short Wave radio shop just up the road in Portsmouth, so first port of call is there and whilst I sit in the van himself does some ariel shopping.
From there its straight down to Gosport and the Hovercraft Museum. Its hard to describe, both the Princess Anne and Margaret are in the middle of the site, 2 hangars of smaller crafts and a multitude of medium sized craft dumped everywhere. Basically they have no money, not enough volunteers and a month on month lease. What they have achieved is amazing but it could be five times as good. We were allowed on the Princess Anne – a first for me despite it flying from Dover, and also on a couple of craft that have been in James Bond films. Cracking place to visit.
By now lunch was calling and we were looking for somewhere to stop. We aimed in the general direction of Southampton then into the New Forest. At the first sign mentioning food we did a quick turn and faced the unfamiliar road hazard of ponies – not just one or two, they were everywhere. Stopped off in Minstead at the Trusty Servant for lunch, very olde worlde and at £5.50 for 2 cokes very expensive. Lunch was good though and we pocketed several sauce sachets to break even!
In the village churchyard was the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, someone had left an old pipe on the headstone – nice touch. Driving through the forest was incredibly beautiful, lots of open spaces as well as the forest and we gave up pointing out the gorgeous thatched cottages after a while as they appear to be the norm rather than the exception.
Time for a campsite and we are just outside Salisbury. Our campsite is literally 10 ft from Salisbury racecourse, sadly no racing today though. We are at one of the highest points in the area and there are beautiful views over mile upon mile of countryside.
All in all a very good birthday day – now its time to get the map out and plan a route for tomorrow to take in some of the chalk white horses of Wiltshire.