Super Hants Training day

I'm done with flying for a bit, but have other shiny cards to wield. Specifically, a South West Trains gold card with their free travel pass benefit: go anywhere, for free, on a weekend. Let's sieze Saturday, I said.

Saturday siezed us with hangovers. We stayed up late on Friday night drinking Prosecco and watching Dirty Dancing, which was the same as the previous Friday except this time I stayed awake and saw more than the opening credits. During this experience I learnt that Helen hasn't heard of Richard Marx or Michael Bolton. How can one born in the 70s be so ignorant?

Anyway. Hangovers can fuck off, they are no excuse not to seize the day, so seize we did...but not before some slight trauma letting next door's 3-legged cat out for their morning piss. Poor miserable thing hates being touched let alone being picked up. We had a train to catch, but he didn't seem to understand the urgency.

Leave me alone you monsters

The journey started with an Uber to Surbiton, driven by a lovely Sri Lankan chap. Catering is not supplied onboard the train and so we bought alliterative breakfasts: bacon, bangers, bread, brown sauce. Except Helen had sausage and cheese. Who has cheese with sausage?

Exit row seats were available offering generous legroom for my left leg only. On the second train, from Woking, we had half the carriage to ourselves. This part of the journey was largely occupied by Helen playing Pokemon Go or doing some "here's what's in my head" doodling, while I dozed or played Fruit Ninja.

Brockenhurst next, for one last train change, to Lymington. Ooh look, boats!

And, much like Bergen or Prague, we got back on the same vehicle and immediately set off to where we came. Well, sort of. Our decision to go to Lymington Pier was not vindicated, as it turns out all there is is a terminal for the Yarmouth car ferry. Not even a nice walk back, so we alighted at Lymington Town. There is an excellent sign and some faded Union Jack bunting.

Oh, Lymington is really nice. Who knew? I'm sure I came here before, years and years ago, and only had a pint in a bad pub, without noticing the town centre at all. But this time it's all sunny and lovely and there's some cobbles and a hilly high street with a market on, and Ben Ainslie's gold postbox. Which sounds like a drug reference from Brass Eye.

After much wandering through crowds of retirees and people with dogs - seemingly evey third person here has at least one dog - we reach the church, having a "table top sale". But we can't seem to find a way in, and by the time we do we've looked through the windows and decided that, y'know what, it looks a bit shit.

Back down to the bottom of the street and the top of the cobbles, past the ice cream parlours and galleries and tat shops and expensive lodgings and, oh, a pub! By the harbour! From which they have zero problem with you taking glasses of beer outside and perching wherever you fancy. Pint of the Phillipines finest, please.

As we dangle our legs over hot concrete we're pondering our next move. There's a nice marina up the way and stuff, maybe we can catch a boat ride? As we discuss this, the least pushy marketing ever occurs: a bloke 20 feet away says fairly loudly - it's not even close to shouting - "anyone want a half hour boat ride? Leaving in fifteen minutes". Well, go on then.

A big boat this is not.

A few minutes in there are sport sailors, with sponsorship and everything. This bloke goes at a fair old clip.

The Isle of Wight is over there.

The hoofing great ferry is quite intimidating from down here. Everyone waves at everyone else though.

This boat has run aground. They've been trying to extricate themselves for over an hour. The tide is going out. Oh dear.

Our captain was a young lad who I doubt has done or will ever do a day's work in his privileged life. Silver spoon present and correct. His commentary, such as it was, largely revolved around how expensive it is to moor expensive boats in the expensive marina. He also told the old local woman with her shopping bags that the RNLI do not have a shop. This is not true.

Back in town and, hey! There's a wrestling show on soon!

We need cash. In Lymington, ATMs come with damaging lasers, and mirrors.

Time for a wander to the sea water baths. Through a park with a pond that should make more of an effort.

They're proud of their iron gas lamps round here.

Beyond the baths, which look fun but are not photography subject material unless you're a 70s BBC entertainer, there are more boats and extreme danger.

By now we're kinda done with Lymington. At this end of town there's fuck all. We also have noticed there seems to be no beach, despite all the shops selling buckets and spades and other beach tat.

Now we're hungry, thirsty, and want to reward the Bosuns Chair's excellent signage with our custom.

Awesomely, and sadly, the food in this pub is only pie, and I'm still on a no pies regime. Fuck it. So we go to the station, where we've missed a train by one minute. The bus driver won't let us on here, but will at the stop up the road.

Eventually we're in our row 1 upper deck seats with fuck all legroom, winding our way back up the high street, slaloming round all the stall holder vans and bad drivers. The bus fills up and off to Brockenhurst we head, via a distressingly Harlesden-esque detour through an industrial estate to a hospital. Also wild New Forest ponies 'n that. I have flashbacks to the half marathon I ran round these parts.

In Brockenhurst, finally, we get fish and chips. Because I'm allowed chips now! Hurrah!

We have half the pub to ourselves. My Guinness is nice, Helen's discount mistake cider is apparently wonderful. The pub got delivered the wrong stuff so they're flogging it for £2/pint.

Time to leave the new forest. Most of the station is shrink wrapped. Despite exclamation points on the national rail app our train is on time, and pretty empty, meaning we can get a table.

Helen is flaking out but I want to get off at Winchester for booze. Weather suddenly gets much much worse as we go through Southampton, where a group of women board and instantly get on the train wine. Damn it, why don't we have booze with us?

Decisions prove hard to make. I want to get off, then I don't, then I do, finally settling on staying onboard. This proves a mistake as we're rewarded by the attention of a marauding loud 3yo. Sigh. Helen hides behind her agapanthus.

The women have stopped talking about flying and how good the A380 is so I've stopped earwigging. Then, as we complain about there being no train trolley, the trolley turns up. Wine and beer, please! He says it's against policy for him to open my bottle for me, but does so anyway.

The change at Woking is under 3 minutes and before we know it we're back in Surbiton, then Thames Ditton, and in possession of the Budweiser I will spill over myself when I fall asleep later. G'night.

Created By
Darren Foreman
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