‘The Rat’s Glossy Machine” reads the signal on considered one of three parking spots simply contained in the gate. Although our battered Toyota wasn’t ever glossy, we all know that’s our area, as we’re to be the primary visitors within the Magic Rat, a model new unit at The Meadow Glamping, close to Broughton in rural Hampshire.Giddy with pleasure at being out of London, and on the prospect of sleeping someplace apart from our bed room after too many months, we gaze throughout the sunny subject and spot our billet amongst weeping willows by a small lake. The Rat is a small narrowboat that proprietor Kate McAllister has added this yr to the Meadow’s two different glamping choices: Wild Billy’s, a standard red-and-yellow-painted Gypsy caravan; and Mary’s Place, a hybrid comprising a brightly painted summer time home and a catering wagon made right into a luxy bed room with thick carpet, metallic bedstead and fairy lights.Wild Billy’s, a standard Gypsy caravanTrundling our belongings alongside a bark path known as Flamingo Lane, we cross a footbridge and are excited to grasp the boat is moored on a little bit island within the lake. It’s our personal watery area, full with outside fire, seating, one other summer time home and, in a little bit wood shed, the (compost) rest room. Daffodils and pansies are blooming all over the place, and the spectacular trunk of a ruined oak provides environment. Like many people, I’ve spent too lengthy indoors this winter, unrelieved even by journey to the workplace, and this ethereal area actually lifts locked-down spirits.Throughout a little bit gangway, the Rat itself is undeniably compact, with a double mattress taking on half the area, bench seat, kitchen space and cast-iron range transformed to burn bioethanol. In restoring it, Kate was desperate to keep away from the narrowboat cliches of vibrant bunting and painted jugs; it as an alternative displays extra modern canal way of life, with tattoo art work, curtains produced from outdated pairs of denims, and repurposed vinyl LPs as porthole covers. Coathooks and curtain rails are bits of copper piping, and “cabinets” are classic biscuit tins nailed to the partitions.The Magic Rat’s compact interiorThe two-acre meadow feels very Covid-safe. It could be excellent, actually, for essentially the most delinquent glamper: every of the three two-person plots has its personal “property” of out of doors seating, firepit, bathroom and extra, and is screened from the others by timber or shrubs. There’s no sharing of amenities: every unit has a devoted (and themed) bathe room, reached alongside a winding path.We sit with glasses of wine within the late afternoon because the household’s pet geese clamber over our ft, a woodpecker pecks loudly, and nice tits trill their distinctive “dee-doop” track. We had a giant marriage ceremony anniversary throughout lockdown, so I’ve organized a celebratory dinner from native caterer McCrimmon and Reid (three programs from £28 a head). Kate sends us off on a night stroll and we return to a desk set with candles and fairy lights, and a person approaching with a giant field containing our three programs. Pea soup, salmon teriyaki, stomach pork and desserts are nice – although I make a psychological observe that not even the perfect triple-cooked chips maintain their attraction after being packed and transported a couple of miles.Devoted bathe rooms for models on the Meadow GlampingWith its hand-painted signage, chandeliers, hammocks and sparkly stuff, the Meadow feels much less like a campsite and extra like a boutique pageant – albeit with a really choose visitor record. And I step by step realise who’s headlining – the Boss. The title of our boat comes from Jungleland on the Born to Run album: “And the Magic Rat drove his glossy machine/Over the Jersey state line.”The trail to the bathe and washing-up space is named “Gypsy Angel Row” – from Spirit within the Night time (on Welcome to Asbury Park, NJ). Wild Billy, Mary’s Place and Flamingo Lane are pure Springsteen too. Appears Kate’s a fan …North-west Hants may find yourself discovering new followers this uncommon yr: it’s obtained as many cute villages, woods and rolling hills as any stretch of Devon or Dorset, however in all probability gained’t be fairly as busy this summer time. Over a few days we stroll quiet stretches of the Clarendon Method and Check Method long-distance paths, and go to NT home Mottisfont, a couple of miles away. There’s a buzz available in the market city of Stockbridge on the Monday as prospects hit retailers and cafe terraces for the primary time in months, however nowhere is packed, despite the fact that it’s the Easter holidays.In fairly Broughton village there’s a joyous temper within the backyard of the Tally Ho pub (desk service solely). Whereas locals greet long-lost neighbours – “all proper Frankie, made it by, then?” – we order from a lunch menu revamped over lockdown (not on the web site). I make one other psychological observe: eaten exterior, dishes like its tartiflette (potato and bacon gratin with reblochon cheese) and crouton-topped french onion soup, served in deep earthenware bowls, maintain their warmth and attraction greatest. The fries are good – OK, I’ve missed chips! – however quickly cool within the spring breeze.The Magic Rat boat on its island, with the Mary’s Place bed room unit to the suitable.I say spring. This April has after all seen a freak chilly snap, making even glamping difficult. The range’s ethanol pods final lower than an hour, in order it drops beneath freezing exterior, issues get fairly bracing. Cover and throws make the mattress cosy, however you want your face uncovered to breathe … We wake every morning to frost, and toilet visits in nightwear, coat and boots are character-forming in addition to comical.The chilly meant we didn’t pattern a number of the Meadow’s delights: enjoying tennis on the brand new grass courtroom, taking the rowing boat out on the lake or waiting for trout within the gin-clear Wallop brook. However as temperatures head for the mid and late teenagers, this will probably be as idyllic a spot as could be discovered little greater than an hour from west London.It may very well be the setting for extra Springsteen daydreams. Jungleland continues with a “Barefoot woman sitting on the hood of a Dodge/Consuming heat beer within the comfortable summer time rain.” Seems like an English summer time. The journey was organized by Host Uncommon, which lists offbeat and kooky lodging throughout the UK. Stays at The Meadow Glamping value from £105 an evening for 2, self-catering, two-night minimal