Well sad to say I haven’t been home in an age so was very pleased to get back to the Island to spend some time de-stressing from the hustle and bustle of mainland life. Being what I would now term a “frequent visitor” more than a resident has put a whole new meaning on Island life for me.
The demands of my job are now taking me to far flung places, soon much air travel will be involved, so to drive on to the ferry at Southampton to sit down and relax as we sail to East Cowes is a joy. So too for all visitors to the Isle of Wight the transition from pace to peace begins the moment you get on the ferry.
Not for one minute am I suggesting that everything stops once you come to the Island; far from it! There is always heaps to do, festivals, carnivals, summer concerts at Osborne House, all manner of places of interest and oodles of live music, great places to eat, superb country walks and stunning scenery.
This is where my transient life style has changed the view I have of island living. so precious are the hours that I have on the Island that I need to reacquaint myself with all the places I love and have taken for granted for 25 years! So yes I visit my favourite restaurants, I drink at my favourite pubs, I go and listen to my favourite bands but with time on Island at a premium for me I make for all those country walks, all those views, all those special discovered places that a new resident gradually discovers, to soak up the joy that I have for my home patch.
Others I know will be waxing lyrical about happenings and events, I however am continually drawn to the countryside, the walks, the air, the smell, the feel of the open downs, the windswept cliff tops, the shady woodlands, the miles of beach, the nooks and crannies of the beating heart of natural Wight.
So walking along the valley from my home, deep in thought and with a borrowed dog for company, I was forced to stop and take in the scene in front of me, I had arrived behind “The Castle” as all Islanders call Carisbrooke. You take it for granted when you are here but today I viewed this anew as the day I first viewed it. A pile of masonry atop a prominent hill but further inspection yields the perfect castle on a scale that is not too grand, in a state of repair that’s not so bad and enough history attached to satisfy all budding historians.
Apart from the fact that it is rather over-priced to gain entry, that is unless you happen to be an English Heritage member, it makes a perfect half day outing. The place where King Charles was imprisoned pending his execution, the famous working donkey wheel, a delightful museum and wonderful views all combine to make this an Island Gem.
If you are going to do only one thing historic whilst on the Island then this has to be it!