I'll try and squeeze everything in this post - so be warned; it's going to be long!
We finally got around to testing out the camper! Mum, Jess, Alex and I stayed at a campsite in the New Forest. It was a very basic site and we didn't opt for an electric hook up, but it went quite well.
Mum slept in the camper and the kids slept in the tent with me - it was FREEZING! I barely slept because I was so cold! On the plus side, I heard the owls calling back and forth most of the night which was pretty awesome!
We went into Winchester on the Saturday to have a look around the cathedral - which was very impressive and then we went for a late lunch at the Red Rover.
If you're ever in the New Forest, on the A36 and you see the Red Rover pub - go in there for lunch! The staff was friendly, the food was cheap and most importantly; it was hot!
We went for a walk on some of the Forest land and managed to get close to some of the ponies - one of them then followed us back to the van which pleased Jess no end!
We declared that holiday a success and I booked a holiday for half term. I chatted with the kids and we decided that I would take Alex, Jess & Ellie away for half term. After discussion all over the place we decided we would visit Kerry and the kids for two days, Karen (who I bought my Kromski Sonata from) for two days then Helen for the weekend!
I decided that we would sleep in Kerry's house and Karen (who has a farm) said we could use her paddock but the weekend we were visiting Helen; we'd go for a proper campsite and because we froze our asses off in the New Forest; we'd go for a full hook up!
I booked it all, paid for it all and was seriously beginning to look forward to it.
Term was finishing a day early and Jess asked if she could stay at Ellie's on the Thursday night, I said it was ok. On Thursday she sent me a text saying that she had her clothes with her and would be going straight to Ellie's after art club.
I got a phone call at 8.30pm from Chele, Ellie's mother, asking if Ellie was here. Naturally, we quickly established that they'd both told us they were staying at the other's house and because they've been friends since nursery school; we didn't check!
I tried to call Jess; her phone was off. Matt, Alex and I immediately went searching and Chele started the drive over here. After an hour we still hadn't found them, Chele had run out of petrol and we were both frantic so I called the police and reported them both as missing! We found out that one of their friends had been saying at school that she was planning on running away from home.
Eventually I got the call that the girls had been found, they were very local and it was a matter of minutes before we'd picked them up. By the time we had thanked the police, shouted at the pair of them and the kids they were with and got them both back to my house, it was midnight!
Needless to say, they were both grounded and Chele said Ellie couldn't come with us over half term. A shame, but perfectly understandable and on the plus side; this meant we didn't actually need to take the tent!
Monday rolled around after a very long weekend of Jess moaning how bored she was as I had banned her from the internet, taken away her mobile phone and grounded her until she's 59!
We packed the van full to bursting and set off for Kerry's! We spent Monday night and Tuesday night with Kerry and the kids. Kerry had gained quite a few pets since we'd last seen her; two corn snakes, a gecko and a parrot. Here's a pic of Kerry, Phoebe and Jess dancing with the parrot:
This is the snakes eating their lunch!
It was great seeing them again and all too soon Wednesday arrived and we had to leave to visit Karen.
Jess loved it at Karen's. Karen lives on a farm with her mum, dad and brother and they keep sheep and horses. She has four horses, one is quite old and refused to have anything to do with us, but Sam, Chrissy and Inara loved all the attention (and apples) they got! We also loved meeting the sheep.
On Thursday evening, Karen took us to Bournemouth Stitch N Bitch at a ceramics cafe and Jess painted a money box elephant (unfortunately, it takes a week to glaze and fire it, but someone has promised to send it to us!).
While at Karen's she got to have a play with the WooLee Winder on my Joy and I got to spin on her Majacraft Rose - what a fabulous wheel! She had the lace whorl on it and I spun so fine, it was as thin as (if not thinner than) sewing thread! I totally fell in love with that wheel and wanted to steal it - I even offered to trade her my WooLee Winder, but she said no.
Friday came and we set off toward Bath to visit Helen. I met Helen at Fibrefest and we got on very well. We chat a lot on twitter and I thought it would be great to visit with her for a few days.
The campsite we had booked on was lovely, it looked like it was in the middle of the countryside, all green and neat. The toilets were clean and tidy, there were seperate sinks for washing up, water points every few yards, chemical disposal for camper toilets and they even operated a quiet time between 10pm and 8am! Bliss
We spent most of the time with Helen and her husband Ian. On Friday we had a pizza and a good natter.
On Saturday we visited the Roman Baths which the city is famous for. It was absolutely fascinating and completely exhausting!
That evening we had spaghetti bolognaise and watched Strictly Come Dancing.
Sunday was our last day, we spent it at their house. Helen had a go on my wheel and she taught me to sew using a sewing machine - something I've always wanted to learn, but never been very successful at - I even made a little bag to carry my WooLee Winder in!
It's lined and everything - you have my permission to be impressed; I certainly am LOL
Helen very kindly fed us roast chicken for lunch and we left their house about 4 o'clock for the drive home.
I have so many blog posts to catch up on, a week's worth of twitter, facebook and Ravelry waiting to be read, loads of laundry to do and I'm absolutely shattered!
I think I'll leave it until tomorrow - in the words of Scarlett O'Hara:
"After all, tomorrow is another day!"