Map 3  
We arrived at the Red Funnel ferry port on Saturday morning, May 24th and set sail down the Solent, surrounded by sailboats and sunshine. On the way there, we snacked on roasted peanuts - part of our diet, honest - and played Scrabble on our PDAs. B Ferry
N Palm
Nick playing Scrabble
 Under Rock
We shortly arrived in Cowes and from there, cycled the sometimes arduous route through Newport and Godshill, ending up at our final destination on the island's quiet south coast, Bonchurch. We checked into our lovely B&B, "Under Rock" and were served tea and biscuits in the pleasant garden.
Breakfast room
The breakfast room at Under Rock


That evening, we walked to the town's only pub for an authentically Italian meal and on the way back, we walked through the thousand-year-old churchyard and past the town's large, koi-filled pond.

N Pond
At the koi pond
B Seaside
The sea
The next day we rose early and set off for the botanical gardens in Ventnor. There we spent the morning strolling among the areas that were laid out in indigenous regions. Each region was filled with scented flowers and plants, some of them huge and impressive like the blue echium, which can be seen all over the town in people's gardens (including Under Rock). We bought some seeds to try to grow our own at home.
N Path Echium
The magnificent echium
Botanic map

N Greenhouse

Nick in the greenhouse

We had lunch at Tilley's and then walked around the town of Ventnor.
Pink House Monger
In Ventnor, we spotted some local wildlife:
Cute Guy
Local wildlife 1
Local wildlife 2

We returned to our rooms by cycling along the Esplanade for a rest before going back to Ventnor in the evening for a seaside meal at the Spyglass Inn, where I discovered that ordering a pint of prawns is not always as fun as it sounds. After dinner, we were delighted to attend a local amateur production of Little Shop of Horrors (the musical in which I played the Dentist in 2002) at the Winter Gardens theatre. The quality of the production was surprisingly good and I especially enjoyed the singing of the leads and the actions of the man-eating plant. The boy playing the Dentist must have been about 17, but he did a good job.
G Sea
On the Esplanade
B Spyglass
At the Spyglass Inn
The Spyglass Waiter (plus some guy who must be trying out a new cologne sample)
Our last day on the island, we cycled back north, taking more time to enjoy the ride this time. We found some easier roads to cycle along and it made the journey a lot more pleasant (except for the nettles). We visited the ruined Appuldurcombe House, which had been bombed in the war, leaving only exposed bricks and a ghostly series of empty spaces. Appuldurcombe
App house B Doorways
Columns N Sun
G Sun Sky
N Sun 2 Falconer
At the house, there are frequent falconry and owl displays by velvet-wearing experts.
We stopped again in Godshill for lunch and then made our way back to Newport and Cowes and finally back home, saddle sore. I now know a bit more about the Isle of Wight and hope to visit it again in the future.

On our way into Southampton harbour, we saw the QEII about to set sail

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