I’ve been to South Africa a few times now, largely due to the fact that all of my in-laws live there. It’s a fabulous place, beautiful and full of adventure and South Africans are very proud of their country but I feel very lucky that when meeting new family and friends I am able to stand firm as a ‘Pom’ and particularly as an ‘Isle of Wighter’.
Now it was time to put my money where my mouth was as our South African niece was coming to visit for 6 days. A mixture of excitement and trepidation filled me. I mean the Isle of Wight IS wonderful, but our niece lives in a very cool and scenic South African town 50yrds from the beach and is a teenager looking for adventure.
I was going to have to pull something out of the bag, something to compete with surfing on the Indian Ocean, with abseiling Table Mountain, with driving the Garden Route, with safari at Kruger Park!
We’ll we have got kite surfing at Brook, coasteering at Freshwater Bay (IOW Sea Kayaking), the picturesque Military Road and some plastic dinosaurs at Blackgang Chine, but I needed something original…..the clock was ticking…..
Day 1 is decided for me with a 17hour round trip to Bangor to pick Else up from her sailing regatta. The day is spent looking at English motorway scenery and Welsh road signs that look like a text message you’ve written assuming your on predictive text but actually aren’t. Day 2 and day 3 are taken up with London and Southampton respectively as Else enjoys England without seeing any of the Island.
So we’ve 2 days left and the need to impress is pending. What to do? The obvious then hits me like a 25ft wave…..Else-sailing-sailing-Cowes week. There was nothing for it I was going to have to buy myself a pair of red trousers, tie my pullover over my shoulders and get myself down to Cowes for a debut visit. I’ve never really got my head round sailing, I don’t know my jib from my spanker ,and I thought ‘boom’ was a Basil Brush impression and that ‘stern’ was the look I’d get when eating the fruit out of my Pimms with my fingers.
However, a bright sunny day welcomed us into Egypt Point and sat amongst the masses along the seafront Else revelled in explaining exactly what was going on with the Extreme 40 catamaran’s. After a walk to the marina, a bit of shopping and mingling with the upper set we returned in good spirits to Gurnard and the kids new favourite play park before driving home. Cowes had been a massive success. The kids loved the street activities especially watching the parachutists, Mummy loved the cocktails and Daddy thought it fabulous to spend a week’s wages in a single evening.
What we gained from having a visitor is that the Island has something for everyone, whether it is a teenage niece from South Africa, an adrenalin junkie uncle or a turkey and tinsel loving granny. We hope that when Else gets time between jumping 30ft into mountain plunge pools and riding elephants bareback that she remembers the IOW fondly and presses the ‘like’ button below because she thinks it’s wonderful too….