We left from Surrey and made it to Portsmouth via a walk with the dog along the Basingstoke Canal on Friday 1 March and arrived in plenty of time for Monty to have a romp on Southsea Common before we caught the ferry at 13:00. We met up with our friends (The Captain and Boatwif from Cleddau) on the ferry.
Monty was a very good boy on his first ever ferry trip.
We made our way to the house we had rented in Seaview and arrived an hour before we could go in, so went to the seafront to walk with Monty.
Back at 3pm as arranged, accessed the key via the key safe and entered our holiday home to find it was freezing. The boiler was faulty, the double bed was stripped and just the last occupants bedding neatly folded and left on it and used towels were on the radiator. It had the feeling of the Marie Celeste - cold, empty and unwelcoming. Phone calls to the caretaker, the owner and Cottages 4 U were first on the agenda. The owner and caretaker of the property said they did not know about the booking and Cottages 4 U said they did! The latter asked us to find a cafe for tea and cakes (we are to send them the bill) whilst they sorted it out. We went back to Seaview to the Old Forthouse - a cafe bar who had hot drinks, but no cake, but they could offer us hot chocolate brownies and ice cream at £4.70 each! £27 later we were all fed and watered and considerably warmer. Just glad we are not footing the bill! Cottages 4 U came up trumps and found another property that could take four of us and a dog. By 7pm we were ensconed in a smaller property inland at St Helens. A letter will be written when we return home!
|Carpenters Cottage on the far left - looks idyllic and it|
is apart from the busy road just outsdide the front door.
The new cottage is warm and the beds are good. The downsides are that it only has one bathroom and toilet (we have all shared a narrowboat on many occasions, so this is not unsurmountable), but worst of all no shower, no tumble dryer (we will have been away from home for 11 days and were relying on a wash and dry or two) and no dishwasher (not a major issue) and it is on a very busy road, but the thought of packing up and moving again was too much for all of us and we managed nicely.
Saturday 2 March
The men folk went to Tescos (hunter / gatherers) whilst Boatwif and I took Monty for a walk along the footpath across the road from our cottage. It was a good, but very muddy (thick, sticky clay mud) walk. Great views, albeit wet ones across the valley. Monty was definitely a 'bucket job' when we got back to the cottage.
|Look at those feet|
At lunchtime we met up with our nephew, his wife and two small daughters in the Boathouse Inn, Puckpool.
|There is evidence of WWII all over the island|
Then we all went for a walk along the beach enjoyed by all, but it did give poor Monty a problem as we split into three groups (pushchair on the prom and two groups on the beach) and he spent the entire time trying to round us up.
|Not too sure about this stuff under my feet|
|The beach at Puckpool|
|There were a lot of these|
This was followed by a trip back to the cottage for tea, cake and biscuits. The Captain and Boatwif are honourary extended family, so it was a wonderful catch up for us all.
Sunday 3 March
I was suffering badly with an asthma cough and the plan was to go for a walk around Carrisbrooke Castle which involved a lot of up. So no details from me. They may be provided, but if not and you are interested do please go and look HERE.
Monday 4 March
The four of us headed for Bembridge armed with a book of walks (Short Walks Isle of Wight (Crimson Short Walks) provided by the Captain and one I can thoroughly recommend. The plan was (according to one member of the party) to do a gentle 2.5 mile stroll. It turned out to be a 4.5 mile walk with parts of the coast path closed, so in reality nearer 5 miles. It was cold, but dry which is more than could be said for the pathways!
|We started at Bembridge life boat station|
|This was spotted near the start for lunch later on|
|Carved from a fallen tree|
|Are you coming?|
|Check out that mud!|
|We lunched here as it was too late to go on to the Crab & Lobster|
|Prawn melt_very good and very welcome|
Once back at the car we went for a drive to Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor where I took this picture:
|Monty on the Isle of Wight on the Isle of Wight!|
|I am surrounded by that wet noisy stuff|
|He spent most evenings doing this!|
A day to do our own thing. The Captain and Boatwif headed for the Needles and we went to Yarmouth and followed another walk in the Crimson walking book. What a wonderful day - dry, bright, sunny and warm. The walk was one of contrasts and good views and included a picnic lunch sat on a sea wall - bliss.
We started at Fort Victoria - I am not sure what I expected it to be like, but not like this
It was a good job we took a picnic
But it must be lovely in the summer
The sun shone through the trees into the woodland
Along the coast path
The view to Yarmouth from our picnic spot
Good paths and little mud today
View of Hurst Castle across the Solent
Our next stop was at Alum Bay just to take a look at the Needles
This part is not for us
I am not sure where this is - somewhere along the south coast on the drive back from the Needles on our way back to St Helens - neither of us has ever seen a thatched church before and how kind of the horse riders to be in the right place at he right time!
A view point along the Milary Road along the south of the island, but watch out where you park your car
Wednesday 6 March
A day free of mud! Again dry, but cold and we stuck to sight seeing. First stop The Garlic Farm where a little retail therapy took place.
A local resident - somewhat noisy.
Ladies & Gentlemen
Next stop was Ryde station at the end of the pier. This was my suggestion - we went there in June 2005 and we were enchanted by it's 1950's charm. However I was very disappointed.
Maybe they tidy it up for the summer - I would like to think so. We were all impressed
Finally from Ryde Pier - spot the error!
From Ryde we headed to West Cowes via East Cowes to take a trip on the chain link ferry.
School bus with a difference
It was a flying visit to West Cowes. Landing for the few.
Two rather interesting plaques
Thursday 7th March
The Captain and Boatwif were always due to go home today, however we were not due to leave until the 8th. Having checked the weather forecast (rain all day) we called the ferry company and were able to bring out sailing forward a day. Considering it was the beginning of March we all felt very blessed to have had 6 dry days that were not too cold.
I think I can declare young Monty's first holiday as a resounding success.