There’s a lot to be said for country getaways. To this urbanite mind they are sentimental windows of opportunity, filling lungs with green mossy air and tinting day-shy complexions. I appreciate the wide empty landscapes. I like squelching through mud in my wellies to the quiet murmur of wildlife.
It may sound like a Tolstoyian depiction of a rural fantasy. In fact, as the queen of illogical optimism I acknowledged that it may well be. But that wasn’t going to stop my excitement as we raced down the A3 with the top down, beneath a cloudless sky, hair whipping in the wind.
The Isle of Wight has been a holiday destination since the Victorian times. So if it was good enough for the inhabitants of my (second) favourite historical period, it was certainly good enough for me.
It took us just over 3 hours to get there (including the Ferry crossing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne). The Island is shaped like a diamond. Rural farmland, thatched cottages and breath-taking views of craggy cliffs all make it painfully pretty.
We drove, walked and ate our way around the Island. There wasn’t really a plan- but you don’t need one. Just cross your fingers for a sunny day and you’re good to go.
Everything is delightfully steeped in nostalgia. No Costa coffees or mobile-phone accessory shops here. Instead you find old-fashioned haberdasheries selling ribbons and charity shops full of interesting knick knacks.
We stopped off at Ventnor, a seaside resort built on cliffs leading down to the sea. In the 19th century the town was a small fishing hamlet. It is still famed for the Fish and Chips served up daily at Ventor Haven Fishery from the catch hauled in that very morning. I was excited to discover that the fish on offer wasn't your regular soggy cod but a dizzying array of oceanic dwellers.
We watched the lady prepare our battered rock salmon with proper chips and apple fritters in sugar and cinnamon. We then sat on the steps by the sea and proceeded to wolf the lot down. Invigorated, we continued on our tour of the Island.
I could go on. But you're probably bored of reading. So I'll stop. And you can look at the pictures before reaching for the phone and dialing an appropriate travelling partner. You should probably open with "So... fancy some apple fritters?"