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One week and a wedding in the Isle of Wight

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Not a few days after I handed my notice into my employers, I pottered off for a week’s holiday on the Isle of Wight. This was no ordinary trip, mind – it was Michelle’s
brother’s wedding, and Sarah was the lucky bride. Matt and Sarah have been
an item for years, and as I uttered the morning after the wedding day, it
was nice of them “to put us out of our misery” and get married.
Michelle and I planned ahead. Well, Michelle planned – I followed. We stayed
the night before at my house, a short drive away from the ferry terminal.
Michelle made sure everything was packed and we planned to go shopping
midday-ish, before setting sail late afternoon for the Isle. All was
As ever, the plans were in shreds by 9am. My car tax was due, and in sheer
horror I discovered that all the documents I needed were out of date. Cue me
doing a good impression of a blue-arsed fly, beetling off to the nearest
garage and demanding an MOT in the next 4 hours. Which, to their eternal
credit, they did – and we finally set off for the glorious Isle.
The ferry port conveniently sits abreast of a large shopping arcade, and we took full advantage. We
pottered, ambled, supped tea and failed to buy a single thing. By 4pm, the ferry
was docking, it was raining, and we were wet. The Alsation of Time was drooling impatiently
at our heels. We headed for the port.
The trip across water was uneventful. We alighted at Fishbourne, and made
straight to our multi-bedroomed house in Ventnor. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Isle of Wight
– if you haven’t, I’ll give you some advice. Don’t drive. It is without doubt
the most frustrating experience I have ever encountered – and that includes
parking in Guildford on a Saturday afternoon. Despite the island being a
goodly 10 miles across, even a small trip requires military planning. A
combination of large bends, tiny roads and an “older generation” of retired
folk means you are constantly wishing for the open road, a place to open the
throttle and roar off to the beach.
We arrived at the house in the early evening – although a closer description
may be “mansion”. The house was enormous, and amply fitted the 10 people
that eventually filled it. Once the bags were in, attention swung to
our empty stomachs and Michelle and I were quickly packed off to the local fish
and chip shop.
Only, there wasn’t one. At least, not one that was open. So, after half an hour of searching, we ordered the true cuisine of your average seaside town. We ordered a chinese meal.
Once back, we filled our stomachs until we couldn’t move. We were knackered. Bed was calling.
Day Two on the Isle, and the weather was dire. Michelle’s aunt and uncle
turned up (after crashing into a lovely couple’s car at the ferry port), Becki – Michelle’s sister – and Glyn turned up (with Glyn thoroughly enjoying his second week “on this bloody island”), Olly and I found salvation in a food shopping trip and several hundred games of Jenga, and we all hoped for better weather tomorrow – the Grand Wedding Day.
Day Three – and the weather was worse. Nerves a-jangling, we were worryingly
on time as we set off. Everything was going well. Too well.
As it turned out, there was nothing to fret about. The wedding was a
cracking affair, with the nervous groom and best man buzzing around making
sure nothing went wrong, and yours truly at the helm of the video camera,
doing – even if I say so myself – a fine job. It was my first time at taking
a video and I duly made the classic amateur mistake – talking loudly while
filming. Matt and Sarah now have a lovely video, marred only my constant
“witty” banter. Ah well…
The wedding party went long into the night, and was a highly enjoyable
affair. Excellent speeches were given, troughs of wine were drunk, incoherent songs were sung, aged men were falling over – all in all your typical wedding, but a very special one. Congratulations to the bride and groom, Mr and Mrs Cooke. It feels odd just writing that.
True to form, the sun came out in force in the days after the wedding, and we sweltered by the beach. We took a trip to Alum Bay, which, for a small island, was astonishingly far away from our house. The Bay is noted for it’s coloured sands – however, that is not what I will forever remember it for. For Alum Bay hosts the most dangerous rides I have ever witnessed. The first is cunningly disguised as a merry-go-round. However, for anyone above 5 foot, it should really be known as the Bollock-Breaker. The stirrups for the model horses are plainly made for leprechauns, and waves of nausea flood over you, rendering you numb as you ride up and down, up and down, essentially resting very firmly on your crown jewels.
This, however, was nothing – the Alum Bay Cliff Ride should frankly be banned. A Cliff Ride sounds enticing – you can ride down the cliff, take in the view, sample the sea air. The reality is this – you are sitting in one of two metal chairs, the entire thing hanging from a thin wire, as you rapidly plunge over a two hundred foot cliff, open to all the windy elements and facing a fall of gigantic proportions if you so much as scratch your right armpit. You’re not even strapped in, for God’s sake. And, to top it all, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Olly, who found it highly amusing to bounce up and down several times, turning a possible fall to my death into a near certainty. It was all I could do to hang on to his arm for dear life, thinking over and over to myself “if I’m going, he’s bloody coming with me”.
As it happened, I survived. Just.
The last remaining days were spent playing ball in the garden, becoming ultimate masters of Jenga, and consuming vast quantities of food in seafront pubs. There were several young’uns with us, and Joe in particular took delight in the Chicken Teddy Bears on one of the pub menus (“they’re teddy bears in the shape of chickens, Joe”).
And so the sun came down on our week on the island. The Isle of Wight is a strange place – it’s not until the sun comes out that you see what all the fuss is about. We were sad to go.

Interim Report

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Just come back from a week long trip to the Isle of Wight for a wedding, went to Thorpe Park today and now I’m off to Head Office for the rest of the week. And things are afoot, again. So, I’ll fill you in as soon as feet start hitting the ground – but meanwhile, take a look at the witticisms of a size 12 wedding gown seller on Ebay, play the new YetiSports game, donate a mammogram, laugh at the entire collection of Private Eye covers and marvel at what I’ve just bought.

Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight is very good, you know. Michelle and I have just spent 4 days on the island, staying right next to Shanklin beach. We timed it to perfection. Not only was the temperature never below 34 degrees, but Cowes Week was in full flow. Well done us.
We’d booked the outgoing ferry at 10am. Plenty of time to get up and ready, we thought. Then the tickets came through – we had to be at the port 45 minutes before sailing, which managed to hit the rush hour quite beautifully. Our plan of a hearty meal at a greasy spoon went straight out the window, and we arrived in the nick of time. After a short delay while an escaped dog was chased around the ferry, we set sail.
One of the reasons we chose the Isle of Wight was because Michelle’s brother runs a hotel over there. Very nice it is too – not that we got to stay in it, of course. It was full to the brim. So, we landed ourselves next door at The Lincoln Hotel, a family-run bed and breakfast. Lovely it was too – the owner’s wife was a little too chatty, and our room was a glorified shoebox, but otherwise very pleasant.
Isle of Wight is in a time warp. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Everyone’s friendly, for a start. One night we decided we should turn in, and left the hotel bar. As we passed the rest of the guests, every single one of them turned round, smiled and said goodnight. You don’t get that around here.
The 3 days we spent there was a mix of beach, sleep and walking, with a nightly smattering of restaurant meals. We visited Cowes twice, firstly to marvel at the boats and buy some sunglasses, and the second time to take in the famed Cowes Fireworks. Very good they were too, although the local decided it wasn’t a patch of previous years. It’s all relative, I suppose.
We also took in a walk through Shanklin Chine, which is basically a walk through woods, down to the beach. The decription doesn’t do it justice though – it really was a beautiful walk, full of trees and rivers and wildlife.
For the final night we dined in splendour at restaurant up the road with Michelle’s brother Matt and his fiance Sarah, who we’d been badgering constantly for help since we’d arrived. It was a very enjoyable night.
So, that’s the Isle of Wight done then.


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Well, I’m pooped. All my Isle of Wight antics tomorrow, but for now I’m just going to post links to things. That’s all I can manage…

I’m off for a week. Splendid.

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And now, joy of joys, I have an entire week off work. Don’t get me wrong, my working day is exciting at the moment, for geeky reasons that would only bore you to tears, but I need a bit of a break. Michelle and I are popping off the the Isle of Wight for Cowes Week, where sailors show off their boats, do a bit of sailing, then set about finding the many celebrities who pop along for a bit of fun.
And it appears i couldn’t have picked a better week. 37 degrees or above this week, they reckon. Bucket and spade shall be packed…

Trips Last Weekend

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A big thank you to Paul D (“P”), who, along with Liz and Ed Mundy, hosted a Sunday afternoon barbeque to be proud of. All my culinary skills came to the fore, and my ability to knock over full glasses of wine was beyond compare. I do apologise, P…
Last weekend also featured a trip to Gunwharf Quays and the Isle of Wight with Michelle and her mum, where we sunk great wads of cash into the Amusement Arcades. I’ve never lost money so enjoyably.

Isle of Wight Trip

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A weekend of the Isle of Wight seemed a peaceful idea. As I look at my sand-filled trainers, my bruised and battered leg, and my dust-covered car, I can safely say that I’m utterly worn out. Michelle and I trundled off on Friday night, and after a 1/2 hour drive (I swear we were driving round in circles – the island isn’t THAT big, surely…) we arrived at the beginning of a small farm track. Another 20 minutes after that (yes, it was plainly the world’s longest farm track) we found the cottage, in the middle of nowhere…
A visit to an animal sanctuary (where Michelle’s mum cracked some frankly appalling Toucan jokes), a visit to the beach (where my grand masterpiece of a sand-sculpted World Trade Center was roundly poo-pooed) and a visit to the Isle of Wight’s brave attempt at Alton Towers all came thick and fast in the next 36 hours and finally, bruised and battered, Michelle and I spooned ourselves into the car for the long trip back home.