We are lucky to have friends who live in amazing places. Chums who are happy for us to kip over for the night, or a weekend or a week. Budski's who ask for a nominal fee for a phenomenal stay.
A small cottage on the edge of Lyndhurst, in New Forest, is one such place.
The wandering and - for the most part - friendly wild ponies greet you right outside the gate. I have never, ever lost my childlike entrancement when it comes to all things equestrian. Although I long ago gave up the mucking out, the brushing down, the tacking up and the hacking about the woods, they still make my heart flip.
I am always respectfully wary of them - just as I would be an old mare who is as placid as can be. Them beasts all have big old teeth and long, kicky legs.
But, the smell of them, the noises they make and their gentle presence is, for me, one of the delights of walking in a damp forest on an Autumn day.
After such a walk, albeit not brisk by any means, but cold, undulating and long, it is only right and proper that copious tea, cheese on toast and cake is slurped and chewed.
Faces drawn in the condiment of your choosing are compulsory.
There is much village-ness to be had in Lyndhurst and out of season is always, for us, far more glorious than the height of summer. It meant a peaceful and unhurried visit to an old graveyard with a not-as-well-know-as-she-should-be inhabitant.
It was not until recently that I read the original book for the first time. The Disney version of events is all I have ever known. Not, in my eyes, a necessarily bad thing, but it is always nice to read the actual story as intended.
After a chillsome pootle in and out of the charity, antique and chocolate shops, it soon becomes time to return to the cottage.
Via the pub. Naturally.
As the night draws in, the fire is lit by The Beard and I am able to potter about in a galley kitchen making hot food for cold tummys.
And generally trying to hatch a plan so that we can live somewhere like this full time.
My lottery win just keeps on missing me. Motherhubbards!
That said, it is nice to know that a top up of all things forest are not too far away.