When my benefits were sorted out at the end of last year I decided I needed a holiday. Since I’m trying to save I went for something small and I booked myself a few nights in a Premier Inn in Winchester.
It’s only the next town over, and it’s only a couple of days. But it’s a break nonetheless.
I’d worked out the train and two buses I would need to get there when a friend reminded me that he worked in Winchester and if I didn’t mind an early start he’d give me a lift.
Goggle maps informed me there was a Costa over the road from the hotel and I’m more than capable of entertaining myself in there for several hours. Reading, people watching, tasty drinks. It wouldn’t save me any money but I wouldn’t have to deal with the trains. So bright and early Friday morning we set off.
Unfortunately there was no sign of any Costa, but my friend dropped me off and I sat in the waiting area of the Premier Inn. I’d introduced myself to the check in lady and explained why I would be sat there for hours. She took my name and told me she’d let me know when a room was available and I’d be able to check in early. Fair enough. A worker from the restaurant got me a hot chocolate and I settled down with my book.
An hour later the lovely check in lady comes over and tells me there a room available and I can check in. At ten o’clock. Four hours before I would have been there if the ghostly Costa had actually existed.
So my trip was off to a fairly good start. Plus, my room was more than I was expecting. All I really needed was a bed, but I had a chaise longs (which I can’t pronounce btw) and a cute little desk too.
I had a really relaxing day, just chilling and not being bothered by anyone. And in the evening I went to see a show with a friend.
It wasn’t planned. The same friend who’d driven me there had plans to see a show with someone else, but the someone else was sick. So he offered me the ticket at discount price. Shows are reasonably traditional on my holidays, and it’s a show I love, so I accepted.
The show is That’ll Be The Day and it’s a rock and roll, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s music concert thing. We’ve been several times. It meant driving back out of Winchester and actually up past Basingstoke (home) to a different town, but that’s no problem.
The show was, as usual, fantastic. Yummy drum solos were my special favourite. And then an uneventful trip back to my hotel in Winchester.
As we were bypassing Basingstoke my friend decided he’d pop in quick and get some petrol. At the junction there was a police car pulled over with some other vehicles. We aren’t sure what was going on but as my friend drove around them, he hit a kerb quite hard. When we arrived at the petrol station the tyre was flat. He pumped it up and said he’d check in again in Winchester when he dropped me off.
Within moments of being back on the motorway he could tell something was wrong so we pulled into the services and called the AA.
My friend assured me that the AA would simply change the wheel and we’d be on the way, but being prone to paranoia I was a little concerned that the car would need to be towed and I would end up back home in Basingstoke with my trip aborted.
We were sat in the services for two hours in total, and apparently my day of rest was already working because I was calm the whole time. I had that little concern but I managed to control it. Which is big news for me. And although it wasn’t an uneventful trip back, I did end up back in my large comfy bed in my room in Winchester.
(Incidentally, my friend drove from one side of Basingstoke to the other to pick me up Friday morning, then back to his side of Basingstoke to join the motorway, to Winchester, then past Basingstoke to Camberley, then back past Basingstoke to Winchester then back to his home in Basingstoke. He’s a very good friend. Thank you!)
Saturday was another relaxed day. Just me, that comfy bed, the TV and my sudoku book. In the evening I wandered down to the hotel restaurant and got myself some dinner. After looking at the menu I actually chose a sharing starter for my dinner. It was huge!
In there was aromatic duck parcels, baked Camembert, crispy chicken wings, dough stocks, onion rings, grilled corn and maple BBQ ribs. It was insanely yummy. I pondered the idea of a dessert – the caramel apple paratroops crumble looked especially tempting – but I resisted and went back to my nice cosy room and my sudoku.
Sunday was a relatively early start, but well worth it. Winchester has a farmers market twice a month, that my sister loves to go to. I’d timed this trip to coincide with one of those markets and I met my sister and her beautiful little baby around lunchtime.
We had a wonderful time. Aislynn, my niece, is the cutest thing ever. She’s 5 and a half months at the moment, and she’s getting alert and interested in everything. We carried her around the market and she was fascinated by all the colours and movement. Poor little mite was completed tuckered out by the time my sister and I stopped for a milkshake.
Even aside from Aislynn, I had a wonderful time. My sister Jennie and I have a lot in common, and she’s one of my best friends. Plus, farmers market = lots of yummy goodies too. I got some delicious biltong, which didn’t last very long. I got myself a bottle of chocolate raspberry liqueur that is very very yummy.
And two different tasty cakes – pecan, maple, caramel cake, and a piece of millionaire’s shortbread.
And I picked myself up a postcard too. A vacation tradition for me, even when my vacations are in the next town over.
And whilst I was walking back to the bus, I walked past a card shop and spotted an adorable monkey plushie. So I bought myself a Valentines.
The rest of my Sunday was spent calmly and peacefully, sat on my large cozy bed getting on with my crafts and my doodling. The entire essence of my trip.
I got home earlier today. Home is busy, and stressful, but it is home after all. And my weekend away has me feeling refreshed and strong. For a while at least 🙂