Archive for the ‘Spanish & Tapas’ Category

So it’s Raining? Here’s What to do on the Isle of Wight   1 comment

Yes, it’s summer 2012 and it’s raining. Why? Some say it’s the Gulf Stream a little off course, some say it’s global warming. But no, don’t be ridiculous, it’s because this year we have the British Olympics and of course June/July is a time of festivals, Wimbledon, Silverstone and when people want to go on holiday to miss the school kids.

Let’s face it June is usually pretty good, July’s ok and it’s supposed to be August (which by the way is the month of the heaviest rainfall in the UK, just ask Lonely Planet) that is a wash out.

But it’s different every year. I recall summer holidays in the Isle of Wight some of rain, some of blazing sunshine. The worst sunburn I ever had was here. I’ve had holidays around Europe (yes, when my sister and I were old enough to appreciate it, we ditched the Isle of Wight and they took us abroad) at exactly the same time 1 year apart in exactly the same places (you’re seeing my parents were creatures of habit) and Venice has been summer sun one year and lightening storms the next. June in Bracciano with the in laws not bad, warm, but cloudy, then on to Milan with friends and yes, lightening storms. And before you ask, no I haven’t been hit yet. So it’s not just England that gets wet summers.
(Footnote – once my sister and I left home my parents went abroad every year – My obsession could have been Portofino instead of Shanklin!).

So it’s Raining? What are we going to do about it? Absolutely nothing. It’s impossible to stop the rain. And as Billy Connelly once said “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just being badly dressed for it”. There are so many things to do on the Isle of Wight in the rain. Let’s face it the restaurants and bars are still open. And here at OSGH there is no pressure for our guests to shove off out if they don’t want to. We wouldn’t have a guest lounge if we didn’t want people to use it. London Underground puzzle? Destination Isle of Wight (good game), IOW Monopoly, cards, books, DVDs. Hell, holidays are about relaxing, not tiring yourself out.

So here’s some ideas for a holiday on the Isle of Wight in the Rain.
1. Quarr Abbey & Café – a hidden beauty of architecture and history.
2. Dimbola Lodge – The permanent IOW festival exhibition, Margaret Cameron’s Photo collection & always a new exhibition of works, then round to Colwell Bay for a lunch, afternoon tea or dinner at Barefoot on the Beach, but don’t forget to invite us
3. Cowes Maritime Museum depicting the yachting and shipbuilding in Cowes
4. Waltzing Waters, a fountain display with lights and music (stretching it?), then maybe lunch at Rosemary Vineyard
5. The Garlic Farm is mostly inside for tasting, the exhibition and food. There’s also a pottery next door.
6. The Steam Railway. Good for all weathers. Watch the rain lashing down from the comfort of your carriage. Toot toot!
7. Arreton Barns Craft Village – now hear me out. Admittedly my trips to Arreton are purely for food, but I have it on very good authority from my guests that there is, amongst other things, a leather maker (Tanner to some) who makes really good leather belts while you wait at a very good price. No hard sell, but one of our guests bought 6!!! You could then nip up to Briddlesford Farm, check out Bobby our Briddlesford Butcher and have a quick something in Bluebells Café. Don’t forget to say hi to the calves and give them a pat.
8. Oohh, now this is a favourite idea of mine – Afternoon Tea at the Royal. Mmmmmmm. Oh go on. After one of our breakfasts you may not want lunch, but ooh those lovely little sandwiches and delicate cakes and maybe a glass of Champagne. You’re on holiday after all.
9. Carisbrooke Castle has quite a lot inside. The donkeys of course turning the wheel when they feel like it (no animal cruelty here, but I’m sure it was done differently in Charles I’s time.) Be careful if you go up on the whatsit upstairs – the thingame – battlements? you know where they fired the arrows from? Someone help me out here. Anyway it might be a bit slippery. There’s also Carisbrooke Priory nearby, which is so often overlooked.
10. Another English Heritage Gem is Osborne House. Not bad for s summer house. I’d be quite happy with the kids’ Swiss Cottage (there’s a free bus shuttle to it nowadays too). The Terrace Restaurant is apparently very good. It was too late to try when we got there.
11. Brading Roman Villa. What’s the difference? – it’s cold in there all year round. Take a cardi, it’s climate controlled. Made much more interesting if you can grab a volunteer for a tour. Amazing views and, yes, you guessed it, a café.
12. Events around the Island go on all year weather not permitting. The Newport Jazz Festival, which is held in Minsters, Churches and all sorts of bizarre, but warm places with fabulous music, The Annual Sweetcorn Fayre at Arreton Barns and usually a sausage competition. There’s also a jigsaw puzzle festival, now, come on, that has to be indoors. The Isle of Arts Open Studios in July is a chance to see artists of all kinds at work (inside their homes and other dry places).
13. Godshill is a great place rain or shine. And no, not just because of the Taverners, but if you do happen to be passing please bring me back a piece of their lovely suet pastry pies. There’s also the Old Smithy, the beautiful church, a teddy museum, a chocolate makers. Just loads going on and of course afternoon tea.
14. If you have a lazy day at OSGH you could spread your legs in Shanklin, wander round the craft centre round the corner, get your rock shop gifts to take home (and a little something for yourself of course), have a drink down at the Esplanade and watch the stormy sea (there’s a new Irish pub, which could keep one amused all day), then have an evening at the Theatre. There’s so much going on there. Tuesday play, Thursday West End and all the touring fellas in between.
15. Now please be careful with this one, but you can always go ice skating. When was the last time you did that? When do you ever have the time? When are you ever 20 mins on the underground train from it? Then afterwards you can nurse your bruises with a magnificent Italian at Michelangelo’s or a damn good steak at The Alamo. Or maybe cocktails would be more appropriate in The Kasbah, or the Black Sheep or the Mexican or many other bars in Ryde. OK so Bowling might be less risky, but the rest applies.
16. St Catherine’s Lighthouse is a must see for any weather. During the summer they are open most afternoons. And of course a visit to the Buddle Inn is essential on any trip. A log fire in the rain warms anyone’s cockles.
17. The Newport Duo – wait for it – The Roman Villa and the Bus Museum! Why not? Come on everyone likes an old bus.
18. Yarmouth is a lovely wee town and it’s got a castle! You’ll be a history buff by the end of your holiday! You could then go on to Chessel Pottery and paint your own pottery. Don’t worry elbow the children out of the way. You’ve been on the planet longer.
19. Appuldurcombe House – a little bit ‘pooky, but well worth losing the hairs on the back of your neck.
20. And last but not least you can visit the animals at Amazon World or the, well, butterflies I guess, at Butterfly World.

Let’s face it there is no excuse not to enjoy a holiday in the rain here. It’s not Majorca where there really is nothing else to do but sit on the beach. In the rain you’d be playing pool, getting drunk and arguing with the other half. You can do that in Sidcup!

You don’t need to go round the world – you can do that at Phileas Foggs. Come to the Isle of Wight – anyway, our rain is far superior to any other in Britain!

 

 

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‘Figgy Piggy’   Leave a comment

Now you have to excuse me because I was drunk, so I can’t remember all the dishes.

After a drink at the Waterfront Inn, on Shanklin Esplanade (a bottle of wine that was not only reasonably priced and very nice, but came up even cheaper on the till) my sis – yes she was still with me – and I took my ‘somehow still drunk from the stag weekend’ husband to El Toro Contento even though he had been the night before with his stags. I know we had everything from the specials board. Mmm Figgy Piggy, prawn & chicken meatballs, Hake goujons (not Captain Birds Eye I can assure you), beef meatballs, something else porky, Boquerones (big fat anchovies) and Aioli. Oh and sherry prawns. I think there’s something missing, but that’s not bad considering.

I can never fault this restaurant. We had lovely wine – although we had to change half way through because it seems the stags drank most of the very slightly more expensive Navarra the night before! How they put up with us I don’t know, but Lorraine, Seraphin and Nell do a wonderful job keeping us as content as bulls.And our purses still in tact. Cost for 3 of us I think about £60

Of course the evening couldn’t end there and we had to wait for our cab. Could we have moved the time? Don’t be ridiculous. No, we manned up! Off we trotted to the Crab and Lobster Tap. Best pub in Ventnor I reckon. Then got our taxi (Door2Door) on time as usual. Thankfully Indy’s closed when we got back to Shanklin and we decided to go home. Returned to a booking and Gareth singing Whitney Houston Songs. (Something I didn’t think he had in him, but she died this morning, so fair enough).

Summary:
El Toro makes the best tapas on the Island by far

What did we learn?:
Matt and Cat Dining Club card still giving us great discounts. Although I always feel guilty using it at El Toro – 1 It’s very reasonable anyway 2 They are so great
Also remembered I’m an old soak

Posted February 13, 2012 by shanklinrocks in Bars, Bars, Pubs, Shanklin, Spanish & Tapas, Ventnor