Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life on the ocean wave..

It's a Dog's life!
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
John F. Kennedy
And so it was that last weekend myself and a few other hardy souls decided to test out our amphibian beginnings - with a difference - we were on the water not in it! Arriving at Port Solent in a decidedly 'moderate' breeze we began preparations to set off sailing.  My only real concern was the frequent 'mayday' requests on the radio, until our Skipper, in his wisdom decided to turn it off. Good move Captain, or you might have been peeling me off the mast of the lovely 'Breezy Moment' (aptly named) that was berthed next to us.  All was good; the winds were brisk; the mood upbeat; even the sandwiches were demolished in quick time; and then. Then. The boat, egged on by its crew, began to pirouette and show off, dancing across the waves, with slightly less grace than a ballet dancer but making up for it with enthusiasm. Pitching, rolling, ducking, my stomach nearly ch*****ng.  "I'm sure we're going the wrong way" I tried to protest as I gazed longingly towards the disappearing coastline.  Anyway, Nab Point was reached and we made for Chichester Harbour where a good night out put paid to dodgy stomachs.  Early the next morning, before anyone was about I sat up on deck.  The mist lay low all about the boats, lending it a ghostly air.  There was the ocassional splosh of a jumping fish and on the bow lines of the next door boat, several Swallows argued and tittered.  It was one of those rare moments of peace and one I will remember in the busyness of the weeks ahead.  It didn't end there either, as on Monday I braved Wimbledon to watch Martha ball-girl - hot and humid, it was nevertheless a great day out - if only to watch Murray romp through his match with ease. I'm not sure I was any use at all on the boat, so thanks to you pro's for doing the lion's share, whilst I lay on deck sunbathing and reading.  When did you say we're going again...?!
'Salty Sea-dogs'
In the Solent
Round the Island Yacht Race

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Rainy Weekend

It seems to have rained for the last week on and off, and certainly for the past few days almost incessantly.  Today is no different - driving rain and blustery winds - more autumnal than early summer.  So in the light of our inclement weather remembering last weekend seems all the more important.  NB and I went off for a weekend away on the Isle of Wight.  Even the journey there feels like going on holiday - the ferry over, glorious blue skies and emerald green sea, yachts with billowing sails, all engendered that feeling of guilty escape. On arrival we made straight for Osborne House, the country retreat of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.  I've wanted to visit for a long time and it didn't disappoint.  The interior was regal but with enough comfort to imagine it as a family home and the exterior truly did justice to the Italian Palazzos it was designed to emulate.  From there we checked in at the little gloster.  Truly a little gem of a find.  Run by two brothers Ben and Jack Cooke and front of house managed by Holly, it's restaurant cum bar cum boutique bedrooms were all that we could have wished for.  Our room looked straight out into the Solent, complete with private balcony, deck chairs and table and bench, where we sat and drank wine in the evening sun and watched the yachts and liners.  The food was amazing too, aromatic and delicious, yet simple and locally sourced.  So, as the rain continues to beat against the windows, I leave you with some pictures of sunnier days...

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

The Italian Courtyard

View from our room

Watching the sun set from the balcony