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New Forest Ponies & Dorset Coast with Derek, Wendy & Guy

We arrived at our lovely country park setting in the forest, unpacked and organised ourselves for a nice dinner at a local country pub.

The next day we had a good walk around the park and played pool and air hockey. After lunch we went bowling. Neil scored an amazing 133 points! We had a nice dinner at home before ending the evening on the dance floor in our club.

Wednesday we went for a morning swim and then onto Beaulieu after lunch. It was a fantastic day (the best of the week) and we all thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful collection of old cars. We had a ride in an old double decker bus which took us to the manor house. At the end of the house tour we listened to the butler telling his ghost stories....well it was nearly Halloween! Again we found a country pub for dinner and as always, spent the late evening in our club dancing until late.

Thursday it rained for much of the day, but that did not dampen our spirits. We went for a drive to Sandbanks and went across to Studland on the chain ferry. Then we drove into Swanage and onto Corfe Castle. We stopped for a cream tea before getting a ride on a steam train back to Swanage. Megan, Mikey & Gary were allowed up on the engine plate to see the engines workings and coal fire. It was our usual evening of dinner at another local pub before dancing the night away.

Friday was a sunny day and we packed and went off for a drive through the beautiful forest. We spotted cattle & ponies and made time for an ice cream. We had a nice lunch on our journey home before we said our farewells.

Isle of Wight with Derek & Wendy

With such beautiful weather it was the perfect place for a holiday. We lunched at lovely pubs and cafes, ate cream teas and enjoyed fine dining in the evenings! Every day was started with a full English breakfast and that set us all up for a busy day ahead.

Making the most of the weather, we spent our first day at Osborne House and revelled in the fantastic grounds and the marvellous house. We had a horse and carriage ride, which Michael loved. Later that day we went for a drive along the south coast, taking in the beauty of the coast line from Old Shanklin all the way to Freshwater. Naturally we had to stop for an ice cream!

The next day we headed for the donkey sanctuary and were lucky enough to get to stroke some. The highlight of the day was our ride on the steam railway and both John and Michael were allowed up on the engine plate to get a feeling of being the driver. Back at the resort, Michael & Derek went for a swim before dinner.

The following day we first went to Allum bay and filled our shapes with the coloured sand and afterwards went to see the glass blowing demonstration. We then went off to the Botanical gardens and enjoyed a walk through the lovely grounds before going to see the wonderful Waltzing Waters. It’s amazing how water, lights and music can be so entertaining!

Every night was filled with show time, comedy and dancing. It’s a great place to spend an evening until late, making sure we are all tired for a good nights sleep.

Our last day, we travelled back on the ferry and into the New Forest for a drive through the great landscape. We looked out for ponies, donkeys and even deer. Our last lunch was at a nice pub in the forest area and from there it was homeward bound.

Amsterdam with Derek & Roni

After checking into our hotel we went for a walk and dined at a lovely pub in Waterloo Plein.

After a nice breakfast we headed off into the city passing the flea market where some gifts were bought. We continued to walk towards Dam Square whilst taking in the sights of lovely shops, canals & barges. Before lunch we took a horse and carriage ride around the city. After lunch we walked around the flower market and stopped in a cheese shop to sample the goods. A few more gifts were purchased. Josephine had a lucky day and received three free gifts; the Dutch people are so friendly! That evening we went t o a really nice restaurant and met with two of Derek’s Dutch friends. After dinner we found ourselves a nice small bar and made even more friends. Robin has a new pen-friend!

The next day we awoke to a beautiful day and went for a walk into the “Red Light” district, where we all had a laugh and giggle at the sights. It was great fun! We stopped for refreshments as we walked the streets. Lunch was taken in Dam Square in the sunshine before heading off for a boat ride on the canals. It really is a beautiful city and we all enjoyed the rest. Unfortunately, Josephine wasn’t feeling so good that night, so Roni stayed behind and the girls ate in while the boys went for a night out. The guys went for dinner in a really nice Irish pub (Michael likes his Guinness) and then moved through the city, again taking in the sights before ending up in the same bar as the previous night. It was nice and relaxing.

All was well and the sun was shining again on Friday. We had time to kill, so we walked through the shopping areas and bought some more presents for ourselves, family & friends! We said our goodbyes to Amsterdam and set off on our journey home. As usual, onboard our ferry we had a very nice dinner in Langans Brasserie.
It was a fun packed few days and there was a lot of laughter and fun was had by all. We met some very nice people and that was all down to Robin, Josephine and Michael.