Covid-19 has messed everybody’s year up. Weddings, businesses, funerals, holidays – all affected. Our two week trip to a farmhouse in France (with all the family – including grandchildren) had to be cancelled. Our earlier trip to France had to be curtailed. So we decided to have a trip anyway. In this country. We haven’t seen our friends Andy & Sue for ages. They live n Brighton. So it seemed like a good opportunity to visit them. Plus we’d been invited to see our other friends in Pitton near Salisbury at the weekend so we decided to link those visits with a couple of stops inbetween.

We set off for Brighton on Tuesday 25th August. The weather for the week was looking dodgy but we thought any trip away is better than none. As it turned out there was a huge storm and when we arrived in Brighton there were huge waves crashing on the beach. We’d booked into the CAMC site at Brighton for 2 nights. It’s located at the rough end of Brighton near to the marina.

On arrival in Brighton we walked down to the promenade and walked towards the pier. The wind was really gusty. We had a beer in the beach bar. Then walked back to the campsite.

The next day we walked back into Brighton and along the seafront all the way to the Old Pier. We had a look around The Lanes, and wandered up to where Sara’s Godparents used to live. Then we watched the i360 Tower viewing pad glide up the tower – and took some photos. The weather was sunny and not nearly as windy as it had been the previous day.

In the evening, we went to see our friends Andy & Sue. They used to live in Hove, but had moved into Brighton and we wanted to see their new place, which was located in a park – and was part of what looked like a stately home. Then we drove them back to the seafront and had a real in the marina. The staff at the restaurant seemed keen to be rid of us as soon as we had finished eating (they were piling all the chairs up, and sweeping the floor etc) so we drove Andy & Sue home and then went back to the site.

The next day, we packed up and drove along the coast, through Bognor Regis and via Selsey Bill until we got to Hayling Island. We stayed at The Oven campsite – as it was the only place to have any availability. It was rammed with campers. Compared to the CAMC sites, it seemed overcrowded, and the camping units (mainly caravans) seemed much too close together. We walked the dog on the beach, and walked past the closed funfair. It all seemed a bit sad and desolate. Even the pub didn’t have any appeal at all.

In the morning, we walked the dog, then helped the van next door (which had got stuck in the soft ground) get moving (by letting them use our grip mats) and got rewarded with some cans of Polish beer. We left soon after. If I’m honest, I didn’t warm to Hayling Island. Not sure why but we were glad to move on. We drove to the New Forest next and spent one night at the CAMC site at Black Knowl. Driving past the wild horses which were wandering on the entry road was interesting. This site is a great place if you like walking, cycling etc. We have a nice pitch on the top of a grassy bank. I got the awning out as it was sunny – but it immediately rained so back in it went. We had a quiet time there, walking the dog through the woods, reading, sleeping etc. There were no shops or pubs nearby so we ate in the van.

It was super quiet on the site, so we got a good night’s sleep and then set off for Pitton, near Salisbury to see our friends Tim & Nicky. They used to live in Worcester but had moved down to Pitton, so this was a good opportunity to see their new place – and Tim had let me know that he wanted to talk about planting some grapevines. We arrived in time for lunch and then went for a long walk with the dog. In the evening we ate in their local pub. Very nice. Then we slept in the van on their drive. In the morning Tim & Nicky kindly made us breakfast before we set off for home, the end of our little tour…