Shirley's UK Trip 2012 travel blog

Everything happened today without any dramas, which was a relief. The driver picked me up at 8:45am as requested & I had another interesting drive across London to Heathrow because this bloke took me a completely different way.

He took me to the Enterprise car rental depot & I now have a beautiful Renault Megane which has most of the features I’m used to, including a built-in Sat-Nav system so I won’t need the portable one I used last year. The only trouble is that I have to learn how to use it. I got the rental car bloke to put in the address here & that set me on my way. You should be able to see where I've travelled today on the map.

I got straight onto the M3 towards Southampton, then pulled off at the first service area & fiddled with things a bit. I found out how to raise the seat & adjust the head-rest which made things much more comfortable. It took me ages to figure out how to get into Reverse but I finally worked it out. Instead of pushing the gear-lever down, you have to pull up on a ring around the lever. I hope I don't have to use it in a hurry.

I couldn’t believe I was driving past signs to magic places like Winchester & Salisbury but we saw them last year & I need to see new places. It’s such a beautiful sunny & warm Saturday that the traffic was quite heavy, mostly heading to places like Bournemouth, I suspect. The forecast was for it to get up to 22C in some places which is unheard of in March & about double their normal temperature for this time of year.

Finally I could get off the motorway & drove through the New Forest which, of course, is very, very old & goes back to the time of the Norman kings in the 11th Century. I stopped at the New Forest Visitor Information centre in Lyndhurst & picked up lots of brochures (which I haven’t read yet). I also happened to find a nice looking bakery so bought a Chicken & Mushroom pasty for lunch which was OK but I’ve had better.

New Forest is famous for its ponies which wander everywhere. I saw a few but I was on main roads which were very busy so I’m sure I’ll see lots more in the days to come.

I found a Tesco supermarket at New Milton which is only a couple of miles from where I’m staying. In London, I pretty much shopped from day to day but now I’ve got the car, I could do a proper shop.

I wasn’t sure about this place but it’s lovely. My lodge has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice sitting area, well stocked kitchen with a washer/dryer & even 2 outside patios. It all looks very new & the lodges are a good distance apart with lots of trees. The only disadvantage seems to be that I have to go to the main lounge area to get Wi-Fi reception.

I’ll go over there now & send this off, then I can relax with a glass of wine.

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