Saturday afternoon, I rang up to ask if we could view, and it had sold. I think we're in a slow-to-sell market, so I can only assume that it had been priced below its value to make it shift quickly. Damn!
We had a whole new experience for me on Saturday, too: pick your own. I vaguely remember hearing the term from friends at school, but we never did it as a family.
Not that we had no experience of produce straight from the ground: my mum had (still has) an allotment, which, along with our lack of car, would explain why we'd never have done such a thing.
Vast seasonal gluts of fresh raspberries, blackberries, pears, peas, tomatoes and gooseberries, often as not with caterpillars and bugs that had to be flicked off (or, occasionally, worse - discovered half-eaten), we a staple part of my childhood.
Not so, Item, though - I'm afraid that gardening is something I've not learned, nor have time for. But I did really fancy the PYO experience, especially after reading several years' worth of Whimsy and Spice blog posts on the subject, like this one, for example.
Google Maps seemed to indicate that Roundstone Farm was just a short walk from Goring by Sea station, so I tweeted to find out if anyone had any experience of this.
That was like laying bait for our friend Ivyarch (who has her very own not-LJ pseudonym! The first photo of this post is by her). She also doesn't have a car and is a very energetic day-out-er/cyclist/conjuror-up-of-specia
We were pushing against the tide as we got on the Southampton train - the station was heaving, but with people coming into Brighton for Pride. Item enjoyed the various painted faces, fairy wings and super hero costumes, and we gallantly ignored the cans of lager at 10:00 and any off-colour t-shirt slogans :/
At Worthing, Ivyarch, her daughter and partner jumped on to join us and we went two more stops to Goring.
Unfortunately, it was quite a long walk from the station, and along a dual carriageway littered with roadworks. You could tell the nearby countryside was lovely, but the direct route was not going to allow us to see that - rather, it took us past an Asda store in the making, and several very grand looking suburban houses behind long drives, and one very welcome long haired siamese cat.
But we made it in good spirits, and the rest of the day was really fun.
A tractor trailer took us up to the very top of the farm, where we began with a few timid green beans, almost-finished strawberries, and onions.
From there we went to the sweetcorn field, where I had to try to be sensible and stick to just the number of cobs I knew we'd realistically eat, and the raspberry canes, where we went wild, secure in the knowledge that Item would eat as much as we could take home. Our last stop was the plum orchard.
Here Item is, in heaven, waiting for us to throw raspberries into her mouth:
We made it, but fancied the walk back less, especially knowing that our trolleys would be laden - so it was the bus back to Goring at an enormous cost of £6.15.
We'd hatched this day out before we knew quite how skint we were. On the face of it, PYO is a thrifty thing to do - heaps of produce at cheaper than the shops - but clearly we're out of practice at saving money. We should have brought sandwiches, but instead spent as much on soup and sandwiches for lunch as we did on our fruit and veg!
It was a lovely day out, so it was.