We were originally thinking about a day trip to the Isle of Wight today. We thought we’d leave the car at home and get the train and ferry which, with a railcard, is actually cheaper than just getting the ferry even before you factor in parking. Then we started to look at the logistics: the free bus from the train station to the ferry terminal seems to be perfectly timed to miss the incoming train and then to miss the ferry so you end up waiting around for an hour in Southampton. Then when you get to the island, you have to get to Newport before you can get the bus anywhere else. Before you know it there’s hardly any of the day left, and we just threw up our hands in despair and decided to go somewhere else instead!
We ended up at the National Trust’s Hinton Ampner which was hosting a ‘Family Fun Day’. On arrival we went straight over to the advertised tree climbing. Unfortunately Duncan was too young but Emma thoroughly enjoyed her rope climb up in the to branches of a massive oak tree. It was a shame that we had to wait so long and that it started to tip it down when she was half way up. I was just glad that I’d borrowed a helmet and was stood under the tree taking photos when the rain arrived!
It wasn’t long before the sun came out though and we had a lovely picnic in the grounds with an accompanying live band. Emma then wanted to go in search of the promised free face painting. Another long wait ensued and, as her departure time approached, the lady would no longer do full face patterns, but the effect was worth the wait (at least for Emma). We then did one of the trails where, as he filled out his quiz sheet, Duncan demonstrated that his writing is improving nicely just in time for school. He also demonstrated his ability to annoy Emma by somehow always getting the rubber stamper before she did! The children were suitably rewarded with plastic medals and, as Christine went off for a run, we picked up more medals on a quick tour of the house.
We finished up the day flying Emma’s pocket kite. It was nice to have had a trip to Hinton Ampner where we weren’t completely zonked after a night of orienteering (our previous two visits) and we spent just four pounds plus petrol money which certainly wouldn’t have got us to the Isle of Wight!