Friday, March 30, 2007

IoW Day One

Just back from a short trip to the Isle of Wight. Twas lovely. The Island is a timeless place. You could well imagine an episode of the Prisoner or Dr Who being filmed there.

The first day we had this huge cup of coffee in a cafe near the ferry port in East Cowes.

We then explored West Cowes doing a little light shopping, mint imperials and a giant graphite crayon for me, sewing thread to take up the trousers of Chris' suit for his interview with IBM. We walked along Egypt Esplanade to Gunard and sat watching the ferries go from Cowes to Soton.

The weather during the three days we were there was amazingly hot and sunny for the end of March. Most of the time we were simply wearing bare arms.

I forgot to mention that there is no way to get from East Cowes to West Cowes and vice versa besides the Chain Ferry. The next river crossing is at Newport, miles and miles down river. Because the mouth of the River Medina is a busy port/harbour, any bridge built there would have to be very high to let ships through, so the compromise is the Chain Ferry. Huge chains are slung across the river and securely set in each bank. The Ferry then uses its motors to haul itself along the chains, thus crossing the river. It means the ferry always follows the same path. I enjoyed going on the ferry as its a chance for a sit down in between long hilly walks and the council had decorated the passenger area with artwork and poems from local artists, poets and school children.

We then walked up another big hill to our b and b. We stayed at Crossways House, which was comissioned by Queen Victoria for the Captain of the Sea Cadets. The Island became a major tourist destination because Queen Victoria liked holidaying there. Crossways is a minutes walk from Osbourne House, which was where she and her family stayed whilst on the Island.

The b and b was lovely. A pink storybook house, we were shown to our fabulous room.

The proprietoress served us coffee and fantastic cookies and left us to explore our little suite. You can just see the to huge arm chairs and the rocking horse in the bay window, and hidden from shot were big built in wardrobes with lionhead doorknobs and the door to the bathroom. We had bathrobes to wear, all the hotel goodies in a v. modern and stylish bathroom done in pale green and white to match the room, and a table with a TV, hifi and tray of drink making goodies. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. The bed linen was such good quality and so soft that Chris was inspired to buy a new duvet set upon our return. We tried out the bed and made sure we sat in every chair to get our moneys worth, but I tell you it was worth every last penny.

After showering and changing, we went and caught the bus to Ryde, a seaside town fairly near to Cowes. The buses on the Island are odd in that you can't buy a return ticket unless you are travelling after 7pm from Sunday to Thursday. Other than that you have to buy two singles, and the cost soon mounts up.

In Ryde we wondered through more hilly streets and I bought some moisturiser and red lipstick as I had left mine at home. We went and sat on the beach and had a chat as the sun went down, which was lovely. Chris commented last night that he felt our little break had really helped us bond a bit more. He doesn't often comment on our relationship, so its nice he found all the little chats as enlightening as I did. During termtime I don't often get him to myself, as his project group members are always his housemates. They rarely stop working lol!

For dinner, we stopped in a restaurant called Kasbah. It was so relaxed that they couldn't find the menus, and I loved the Morrocan feel the place had with big leather sofas and bean bags for the punters to recline upon. The food was good value, and we had a bowl of olives, tuna steak, chirozo sausage, salad and mussels with garlic and tomato sauce. Its wasn't the best quality, the tuna was over cooked for example, but for £15.50 for all the above and two cokes, it was great, especially coupled with the relaxed and comfy attitude.

When we got in from Ryde, we conked out in our room, saying that we'd nap then go to a pub, but that nap turned in to 4 hours sleep!

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