Picnic at Bembridge Mill - Staycation Part 1

After a long summer spent flying our flags at various events & festivals, we have finally begun our holidays! A huge workload and last minute bookings meant we had to cancel our planned trip abroad, so we have settled for a "staycation" - a holiday at home on our beautiful Island. 

This involves making a list of loads of ideas of things to do and places to go, from some old favourites to new things that we've never done before.

We started off with a trip to Bembridge Mill, the last surviving windmill on the Island, and a first for me at least. This was our friend Julie's idea, an expert picnicker, and also holder of a National Trust card, which meant our entrance to the mill was free.

You have to park on the road, and walk up a little lane where you come across the Mill, which was resplendent in the sunshine. You go through a little entrance kiosk, with a gifts, coffee etc, into a garden with seating and also, today, a Bug Hunt as part of "50 Things To Do Before You're 11 3/4" run by the National Trust.

We were given pencils and a form on which to list the bugs we found, as well as one on which to list the Millers (little figures hidden inside the Mill.)

We had fun climbing to the top of the mill, and working our way down, discovering how it would have worked as we went. There were some great views of the surrounding landscape to be had from the small windows.

I really loved the smell of the old wood, and the look of the wheels.

We all spent some time imagining it in it's heyday - Hot? Cold? Dark? Definitely dusty - and guessing at the weight of the bags of grain and flour that would have been pullied up to the top and emptied down shutes.

At the bottom, after finding all the Millers and roughly working out the process, we had fun grinding some grain by hand on a stone at the bottom and debating whether or not to try on the costumes on display ("NO Mum!! You're not supposed to put them on!")

So then to the picnic - we spread out a huge blanket under the tree in the garden, and spent the next hour lazing about and eating a delicious spread - with the kids intermittently photographing the Mill, looking for bugs or climbing the tree.

Happy days!

Liz Cooke

27 September 2016

By Liz Cooke in The locals' blogs

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