19/9/15 – Welcome to the lost world

Got up around half five, which was actually an improvement on yesterday morning (starting work at six always sucks, but Fridays also means we get cakes from Lynn, so silver linings, yo). Straightened my hair and packed up the little things we’d unpacked last night. Found our packed lunches waiting – nicely more than basic with fat cheese sandwiches, extra size bags of Quavers, Wispa bars and little cartons of apple juice. Well done, Roebuck. We approve. We moved everything back to the car and headed to Lymington.

We’re definitely in some backwards country area. We had to drive through some creepy misty marshlands, which immediately put me in mind of Silent Hill, mixed with that scene from Lord of the Rings. We realised we could actually see the mist moving over the top of us, so of course it switched to Harry Potter, as that could only mean Dementors. There weren’t really any other cars about – just a very menacing looking lorry that was following us through the mist. Great. Now it’s turned into Duel as well.

With the help of Kel’s Aussie satnav Bruce, we found the ferry port pretty easily. We double checked what we were supposed to do about boarding with some very nice holiday-makers, then grabbed some hot chocolate from the Costa’s inside, before getting back in the car. Didn’t have to wait long before we could board. We left the car in the parking bay and headed up onto deck for a bit. Not for long though, as it was cold and too bright to really see much without sunglasses. We retired to the lounge instead to break into our packed lunches/honorary breakfasts. Thanks again, Roebuck.

The ferry was nice, uneventful and only took about half an hour. Then the drive to Flick’s from the port wasn’t even ten minutes. Oh, we realised that her house happens to have giant dinosaur models outside. I’d seen pictures of them before, but hadn’t realised they were actually in her garden! There’s a Stegosaurus, a baby Triceratops and two Pachycephalosaurs that look like they’d being rudey dudey with each other. Of course I appreciated all the prehistoric types lurking around.

Well these would certainly stop drunk people from trying to break into your house. Not sure if this is a problem in the Isle of Wight though

Well these would certainly stop drunk people from trying to break into your house. Not sure if this is a problem in the Isle of Wight though.

Finally got to see Flick. Had some happy hugs and then she showed us around on a grand tour. Her house is feckin’ huge! Her little apartment within it is absolutely lovely. Me and Kel are sharing a twin room downstairs, so we didn’t have to lug cases very far. We even have our own en suite! Settled in a little, said hi to the rest of the family, then went through some options on what to do. We decided on Seaview Wildlife Encounters and headed out.

It’s a cute little place. Not exactly big, but it offers very hands on experiences with the animals. Most of the animals you can feed, particularly the millions of ducks that are roaming around (there was quite a hilarious moment when Kel was feeding some and then a gaggle of geese came screeching and waddling over at high speed). You can also walk through a lot of the enclosures, where the animals just wander around and you can stroke them if you like.

Wallaby friend!

Wallaby friend!

We watched the various feeding displays – I skipped on some of the feedings myself, mostly the birds as I’m not a big fan, but I did feed the wallabies and a macaw. We got to fuss a lot of the wallabies too, as they really didn’t mind the contact with people, and I also stroked a white and pink macaw that clearly loved getting attention. We broke for lunch in between. I had some very lovely sausages and chips, as well as a strawberry slushie. I do love slushies. The weather got surprisingly good as the day went on. I’d started the day in a jumper and ended up way too hot in just my Deadpool party t-shirt. Kel even sunburnt the back of her neck! Apparently the Isle of Wight is even crazier than England for not being able to decide on a temperature.

Once we’d seen everything we wanted to, we then headed to a donkey sanctuary instead, which Kel had wanted to visit. Apparently when they first moved here, there were two new donkeys called Felicity and Jenny (which are the names of Flick and her sister), so of course that was an amusing coicidence and we had to try and find them. Didn’t see Jenny, but Felicity was there and being very antisocial. Flick was not impressed with her namesake. One donkey decided it absolutely wanted to be my best friend and came trotting straight over for some fuss, practically trying to get through the fence. Sadly it was one of the only ones who didn’t have his name displayed anywhere, so I guess I’ll never know the name of my new friend.

Donkey friend!

Donkey friend!

After donkeys, we came back to Flick’s for a little while to have some food. We had a cheese pizza and something called bean burgers. I’d asked why Flick had so many of them in her freezer and she said it was because they were amazing. And they really were. Spicy, Mexican kinda tasting breadcrumb patties made of different beans and cheese. Yum! We got some brownie bite things out of the freezer too so they could defrost, then drove out to the beach to walk Twiggy and go fossil hunting!

Flick basically does guided tours along the beach to teach people about the paleontology based history of the island and to look for fossils in the process, as it’s a total hotbed for it. Since I’m a total dinosaur buff and being a paleontologist was my dream job growing up, this was just heaven for me. Flick taught us about some of the dinosaur fossils that were discovered here and showed us the historic levels in the cliff-side, as well as some genuine Iguanadon footprints in the rocks along the beach. It was really interesting and so cool to see Flick technically at work. She really knows her stuff! The whole time we were walking, I tried determinedly to find something awesome, but sadly I was being overoptimistic with it. All I managed to find was a rock with some seashell fossils in it. Not the giant dinosaur bone or arrow head that I’d hoped. We had to come back when the sun set, because it quickly got too dark to see anything, but I’m still determined to do better next time!

When we came back, we had our yummy brownie bites (after Flick had some fun trying to microwave them for the right length of time), then retired up to Flick’s apartment with Jenny in tow to play games. We played Cards Against Humanity first, which I wasn’t sure if they’d like too much because they’re nicer people than we are, but I guess nobody can resist the humour of it unless you’re really easily offended. We had ten rounds of that and had a real laugh over it – Flick even won! I came second. I’d been trying to play tactically, but not soon enough. As Flick said herself, “I like this answer too, but you used David Bowie on me!” I get how she works. After that, we played our Harry Potter trivia game for a while. More laughs, this time mostly over Seamus Finnigan’s impossible to understand accent in the films.

Kel was starting to fall asleep by this point, so we retired downstairs to bed. This was where I was trying not to freak myself out. Flick’s told me a lot of stories about her house being haunted, though I think she now knows not to let on about stuff like that. I have an overactive imagination when it comes to paranormal things, so it’s really better if I don’t know. It takes a lot for me to stay somewhere after knowing it has spooky history. Thankfully, Flick is that ‘a lot’. If no ghosties get me in the night then hopefully we can just forget about the whole thing.


18/9/15 – On the road again

I can’t wait to get on the road again. More of traveling on visitation purposes – this time to see Flick in the Isle of Wight. We originally wanted to get there late tonight, but with Kel finished work at five, we just couldn’t count of making the last ferry at nine with Friday night traffic. It took us well over four hours when we drove to Folkestone and that was much earlier in the day. So we decided beforehand to still travel down and spend the night somewhere more nearby, so we wouldn’t have to get up at ridiculous o’clock for our early morning ferry.

Because I started work at six this morning and took a half hour lunch, rather than an house, I got to finish at two and have time to do a last minute Asda run, get showered and finish up packing. We grabbed food from the chippy when Kel got home, got some money out for the trip – I know the island’s meant to be fairly remote, so I don’t know what the cash machine situation will be like – said bye the oldies and the woofie, loaded up the bags and headed out.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a long road trip and this was also the first the first time that Kel’s drove! Flick pre-warned me that the bumpy roads on the island may not be very nice to my low-down Mazda, so the old Yaris is our transport for this trip. Since I’m still insured on it, we can always share the driving. As Kel was happy to drive down towards the coast, it meant I got to play DJ for the first time ever. We hit my musicals and Disney/Don Bluth playlists. I bet nobody else’s musicals playlist goes from Wicked to Sweeney Todd to “shut your fucking face, uncle fucker”. We did out usual duets, including some new ones from the Swan Princess and J.D. and Turk’s “Guy Love” from Scrubs. Such fun!

The drive took just under two and a half hours. We managed to find our bed and breakfast, the Roebuck, somewhere amongst the back country roads in the dark. It’s a bizarre place. A B’n’B slash pub slash social club slash shop slash house. Since we needed to check out so early in the morning, we were told that breakfast wouldn’t be served then, but that they’d leave packed lunches for us outside our room. So special!

It turned out that we’d booked into spider room, as we immediately found several dotted around the curtains. Thankfully, nothing big. Touch wood. I did manage to throw a sachet of coffee out of the window when trying to dislodge one that was hanging off the handle. Oops. Let’s hope I didn’t hit anybody down below. It’s an odd room – the decor’s colour scheme is like Kel’s bedroom meets the stuff we sell at Homebase. None of the carpets line up with the walls properly though, so let’s just hope those gaps aren’t a haven for more spiders. Think this may have to be one of those rooms where we keep all our luggage on the tables, like we did in the Appalachian Mountains. Ah, memories.

Brought my last bottle of Stowford Press with me, so I had that in the room whilst Kel had a quick shower. Praise the keyring bottle opener that lives in my makeup bag. Our rule of thumb with hotel rooms is that I don’t like sleeping in the bed closest to the door and/or window, whereas I think Kel prefers it, so we followed that as per usual. It turned out I’d lucked out with that, because my bed was soft as anything and Kel’s was horrible and springy. Win!

We decided to hit the hat at a reasonable-ish time because of our early start in the morning, but that was very much ruined by the karaoke that started up at the social club, which sounded like it was right outside our window. It was so loud that not only could you hear exactly what songs they were singing, you could also hear just how bad they were. Of course we were giggling in bed over some of the silly pisspot music, but this wasn’t exactly what I’d signed up for. My packed lunch had best be good now!