u3a STAYCATION (5th-11th September 2020)
Following the cancellation of our holiday in Lyme Regis due to Covid 19 restrictions, John and Linden had the inspired idea of converting the week into a “staycation”, using Hangar Farm Arts Centre as a base for meeting up each day. We held a meeting, collected ideas for days out, and some of us volunteered to each organise one of the days. Eighteen of the group participated, but not everyone could manage every day. We were blessed with a week of very reasonable weather and the staycation started.
Our first day out, organised by Brian and Shelagh, was a fascinating day at Exbury Gardens, riding on the steam train, making bird boxes and enjoying the beautiful gardens. We met again in the evening to watch a film.
The second day, organised by John and Linden, was a drive along a scenic route including the notorious
zig-zag hairpin hill into Shaftesbury where we had a very pleasant day wandering around, with coffee and lunch stops and visiting Gold Hill (of Hovis advert fame), with a visit to the Fovant Badges on the way home.
Day three. also organised by John and Linden was a trip to Wisley botanical gardens for a pre-booked visit at 11am. The group then spread far and wide throughout the beautiful gardens and woodland, meeting up occasionally until it was time for the return journey.
Day four, organised by John and Merrilyn, took us to the Isle of Wight,
taking the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry, a short drive to Alum Bay and then a walk for some to the Old Needles Battery while others took the chair lift down to the beach and a short boat trip around the bay. Most of us met up again in the evening at Hangar Farm for a games night with quizzes devised by Jean, John and Linden.
Day five, organised by Jenny and Mike, was an outing to Poole, with lunch in Wetherspoons and a Harbour cruise past the distant Studland nudist beach, Brownsea Island and a view of two mothballed cruise ships riding out the Covid-19 pandemic in Weymouth Bay.
Our final day, organised by Dave took us to Swanage for the day.
Eight keen walkers went from Studland over Ballard Down to Old Harry Rocks enjoying superb views. Others enjoyed a wander around the town and two decided to explore Corfe Castle and then take the steam train from there to Swanage. We all met up in the Red Lion pub in Swanage for a drink or to have a late, relaxed lunch. Several drivers came back via the chain ferry from Studland to Sandbanks.
Our final evening was again spent at Hangar Farm enjoying a socially distanced salad supper including a gammon joint donated by Shelagh and Brian. This was followed by a singalong accompanied by Mike playing assorted ukuleles and assisted by Jenny.
All in all, it was a very interesting week, not without its challenges, but very well organised by all the “day managers” and much enjoyed by all who took part.