Been on some grand adventures today with Tania, who is a long lost distant relative of mine (My grandmothers, cousins daughter). They live on a property on which they farm strawberries, pumpkins, other foods, and an array of flowers all depending on the season. I’ve met 3 of her 4 kids, and her husband. Today she took me around the local villages. In her local town of Titchfield (about half way between Southampton and Portsmouth), we visited the abbey ruins… They were beautiful and we had a good walk around. Henry VIII gave it to one of his lords, and nobility and artists like Shakespeare frequented there in its glory days.
We stopped by the most southern point of England by the seaside, which was rather nice today. It was a stone beach but the water was beautiful and clear. Then we visited the sailing club to watch her son competing in a sailing race.
We went to Boarhunt (another village) and met up with her husbands uncle and aunt (the most adorable old couple – Owen and Shirley, who were so lovely and hospitable)! They own the “Boarhunt manor” which is a gorgeous old farmhouse manor. It’s now a heritage building and the walls have shifted so much the floors are beveled underneath you in various rooms throughout the house! You can feel it under your feet as you walk through the halls and rooms. Doors dont close the way they should because of it. Ive never seen anything like it in my life!They also own a a large piece of land behind their farming acres in the woods that had blossoming bluebells. The smell was so lovely as their scent filled the air and the ground was a gorgeous shade of blue/ purple.
Looking all around me in every direction, the English countryside was so gorgeous. Spring is in the air as the bare trees are starting to bloom their shades of green and yellow again and the sun came out to play for much of the day. On the estate, there is a gorgeous little church of a few hundred years old (or more) and an old cemetery. There was a huge tree that’s still very much alive and thriving but hollow in the middle and you can stand inside it. There’s a story of a small homeless family living in there some time ago although we’re not sure how true that is. The eldest gravestones that were still legible were from the late 1860s however some could not be read any longer, as the elements had smoothed out the stone or moss had taken over it. It was a nice reminder that with death, comes new life, as nature flourished.
We then drove up to another village called Southwick (pronounced more like Suffick) where every door in the village (and neighbouring village, including Boarhunt manor) is painted burgundy red. There is an old brewery that’s no longer in use but an active bottlo downstairs, and we went in to have a look.We also had a look through the town which was so small I could walk through it in about 5 minutes end to end. At one end there was a gorgeous little church.
We then went back to Owen and Shirley’s manor and they showed us through the whole house. It was huge and like walking around on hilly terrain with the beveled floors beneath me.
We drove around to see the view over Portsmouth and Portsmouth Harbour.
We finished off the night playing board games and cards against humanity with some of the kids.
The next day we spent some time at the house chatting to one another and then went out to lunch and wandered an antique shop. Tania bought a couple of little things and then I needed to jet off and get my train back home to London, ready for work the next day.
It was an amazing couple of days exploring the English countryside with new found family.