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7 May 2012

andover, andover, andover......

on the morning of day 3 we woke to less rainy conditions; a good start as today we were headed towards the west country to visit some of mother's cousins. they live in a country village called andover, which we were told is close enough to sights like stonehenge and avebury manor, as well as a drivable distance from places like bath and southampton - all highly anticipated spots that we three were entirely looking forward to checking out..

we headed off on the train around 10 and had to change at waterloo to get the outbound train to andover. we're not too far from waterloo, but the train times didn't sync so we either arrived 25 minutes before the outgoing train, or 5 minutes after. not ideal! but, once at waterloo we had to grab tickets and allowed time for a coffee stop for the journey also. we managed to kill time fairly easily.

the journey itself was just over an hour - not too bad at all! it's funny to think that an hour is usually what it takes to get from one side of london to the other, yet here we are, miles and miles out of the city in the middle of the country! we were met by mum's cousin janet at the train station while tony waited by the car. we piled in after making our various awkward greetings - for boyfriend and i this was a first meeting, and off we went. they don't live too far away so we were at their home in no time. we made ourselves at home in their 2 spare rooms - turns out boyfriend and i made homeless one furry feline for a few days, so she was not too pleased with us. i think she found her way back in from time to time as fresh layers of cat hair were made visible on most of my stuff.. namely black tights (of which i had only packed the one pair).

after a quick catch up over a brew, we expected that - being only around midday, we would be off soon after to start the sight seeing. we sat, we chatted, we waited.. there was no indication that there was any rush or plan of attack. it was becoming clear that there was NO plan. mum seemed happy just to sit and chatter with the family for a while, but i think the oldies noticed how fidgety boyfriend and i were. we had left our phones in our room too, as to not seem impolite (how ironic), and were gagging for something to do besides sit around. after a delicious bowl of home-made soup, there was an offer of going for a walk around the lake out the back of the property - that we promptly jumped at the chance of... so cold though!

we walked around for about about an hour or so, and walked into the local village after having discussed on our walk the benefits of eating at one of the local pubs for dinner the following night. we booked our table in and noticed there was a cinema and an ASDA right there also. boyfriend noted a pool table in the pub, so, if all else failed there were a few options for us after all.

we got back just in time for another rosie, catch up about our walk and then.. it was time for dinner. we spent the rest of the night in, and watched some ridiculous television show then we gave up and went to bed. i was tired.. exhausted from.. doing nothing. it was the plan to go to stonehenge the next day "weather permitting"... i had said to mum that afternoon that we thought we would be going to stonehenge that day as we had anticipated more things planned for us.. it wasn't until we arrived that it became obvious that that wouldn't be happening, so, in my eyes, we would be going there tomorrow - RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE.

shine it did not. and it took a bit of convincing (read: bullying) to get tony to agree that the weather wasn't that bad - it was barely spitting when we woke up! despite tony's arguments that it's not even that spectacular, we convinced him by agreeing to him showing us a 'better' rock formation in avebury afterwards, and off we went. stonehenge was about 20 minutes from the house, and during the drive it did rain on and off a bit, but nothing major. when we saw it on the horizon, i got excited a little bit.. i had been waiting to see this for so long - it's been on my list since i first got to london. when we pulled in though, and learned it cost £8 just to walk near the perimiter, i was less excited. we walked upto the fence instead, and took some pics over and through the fence, and we were close enough to be able to take it in. granted, we didnt get the full experience with the head set and audio tour - but tony seemed to know a fair amount about the history, so we got our info through him instead.

after our quick tour of stonehenge we headed up to avebury. when we got there i was busting for a wee and a coffee, and was hoping for a lovely scone too. the only ones they had were fruit ones BLECH so instead i opted for victoria sponge while boyfriend chose.... a bag of crisps.. we walked around the rocks for a bit and visited the gift shop then on we went, back home to meet janet for lunch (she'd been at work that morning). we drove through a couple of small villages on the way back and got to see a bit more of the country.

that afternoon i started reading the second hunger games book, 'catching fire'. i read about half of it in the 2 or 3 hours between getting back and our ingenious idea to escape the retirement village and head to the pub early. i read the first book in an 8 hour sesh a few weekends back, and started the first few chapters of the second on the train to the airport a few days ago. i kiiiiiiiiiinda knew what was going to happen so didn't get into it as much as the first. but, after reading more of it that day out of sheer boredom, i got a lot more into it. as mentioned, we decided to head to the pub early to play some pool, but when we got there the pub was paaaaaacked.  it was about 5 on the friday of the long weekend, so.. to be expected. we had about 3 drinks and amaaaazing singalongs in the pub until the others turned up for our 7pm reservation.

the food was ok, it was loud in the pub and i was a bit tipsy. after the meal (that we didn't even pay for - thanks to our lovely hosts!) we had the brilliant idea to go to the cinema instead of going home. we found the avengers movie about to start, even though it goes for almost 2 and a half hours, this was a better idea than going home to antique's roadshow.. or.. whatever. the tickets were £7 each! we normally pay £12 in london so this was another amazing discovery of ours! the lines were full of kids, but they were mostly all out to see american pie 7 - as a side note, i went to see the original american pie movie on my 15th birthday. these kids would have been babies when the original came out - what do they know about american pie! anyway, we got our ticket and settled in for a long but rewarding night full of marvellous entertainment (get it?!). the film was sooooooo good and i am glad i had begun my education only last weekend - starting with 'the incredible hulk' and 'thor', having seen both 'iron man' movies when they first came out. the only one i hadn't seen was 'captain america' so i felt i had enough background to understand what was going on.

we got home around midnight having gotten a little lost on the walk back - purely as we walked a diff way due to the park being an unsafe walk in the middle of the night. we slept til about 9 when mama woke us to ask if we were interested in going into town to see the history museum of andover. if i'm honest, it wasn't on my to-do list, but as we had little else to do, it seemed silly to turn down an offer to do something. after a bit of nudging about an hour after we were up and readied, and breakfasted, and had had another rosie, and were gagging to leave, we finally left the house. we walked back into town, a bright and almost-sunny morning, relishing the opportunity to be out of the house again. having arrived in the market, and picking up a coffee (despite having to wait almost 20 mins in line..?) we were headed to the museum but continuously getting sidetracked by charity shops on the way. i think tony was getting a bit fed up with it and wandered off to check what time the museum opened, and returned to let us know it was actually closed for renovation..! they were talking about going back to the house when i sort of let out an exasperation sigh and told them that, no, we were going to stay and look in the charity shops. we agreed to meet back at the house for 1:30 when lunch would be ready (!) and off they went.

no kidding, there are about a gazillion charity shops in andover - it's almost as if the village runs on second-hand products! it was brilliant. we found lots of cute stuff, and scored pretty well in one particular shop that had a great music section. there were loads and loads of old records and cd's, with walls and walls of memorabilia and posters. there was a record player on the shelf playing blondie at the time, it was awesome!

we don't even have a record player, but, finding some treasures we just had to have we threw care to the wind and snapped up some favourites. we even haggled the guy down on the prices, so got a real bargain on some great finds - Rumours LP and a Beach Boys LP for me, and Thriller LP, Billie Jean single for boyfriend, and... for the hell of it... Rick Astley's LP, Never Gonna Give You Up single and life sized poster (i wish) thrown in for free! mahoosive score!

best part of the weekend - easy. after we scooped up our deal, we headed home to finish packing. mum was due to head to another cousin's house for the next week and we were headed home. a bit of a relief. we had taken a lot of time off work, and hadn't really done much during our time off. we had some stuff to do back home and hadn't really had time to 'relax' since mum had arrived - not that it has been hard work, but just.. we've been 'on' the whole time - or at least, tried to be..

we missed our train at waterloo so had half an hour to kill where i read some more.. and finished it when we got home. it was nice to be home, even though it was only a few days away, i was looking forward to sleeping in and lounging again!

it was nice to get away and see the country - and i don't mean to sound ungrateful AT ALL for the hospitality or opportunity to just get out of london and to see the things i had wanted to for ages. i was just disappointed that there was not more planned for us while we were there. having heard from mum since she went on to her other cousins place, it seems her days are full and planned and she's gagging to get me back up there with them so we can see and do some more touristy things. we have booked today some train tickets to go back up in june when we have some more time off, so that will be really good. i think a day trip to bath is in the works for then, which will be great - weather permitting!

i hope you're not asleep and have enjoyed reading. this is only saturday's entry and i have a nails and diy update to follow - i will do this tomorrow so as to not bore you senseless today!

love love x