7 night General Itinerary -Getting to Know the Island   Leave a comment


We would highly recommend, as usual, checking the individual websites for opening times, making reservations where you want to plan ahead (many of our favourite restaurants get booked up even in the quieter months) and also using your own head when it comes to where to eat. My choice may not be yours and I take no responsibility for any chefs having a bad day.

These are just suggestions and if you don’t think you’re going to want to do something just don’t do it – it’s your holiday. You wouldn’t stick your head in the oven if I told you to now would you? Don’t miss out on anything just because Mrs OSGH hasn’t mentioned it here.

Due to us having such a diverse and fabulous Island I couldn’t fit in everything, so I apologise if I offend anyone or have missed anyone out. Due to the fact that we only take humans over 12 years old and very rarely have children come to stay I have based it on adult entertainment.

** We recommend checking out Shanklin Theatre for what’s on. This brilliant theatre attracts worldwide acts and also excellent local performances. At the time of going to press ‘Best of the West End’ is a Thursday highlight during the summer months. **

Day of arrival – Godshill & Shanklin


Head to Godshill and if you’re in time for lunch the Taverners is a great introduction to food on the Island – grab a fish finger sandwich or something more substantial, like venison haunch or their fabulous suet pastry pies. If you’ve already filled up there are plenty of places for an afternoon tea or light bite or ice cream in the many tea rooms on offer.

There is surprisingly lots to do in this quintessential old English village; the model village of the Island, which has a lot of the Shanklin area, The Olde Smithy gardens and photography exhibition of old Godshill, Chocolate Island shop, an Island glass blower’s shop, the Cider Barn selling local produce, a fair trade shop and many others.

The walk to the medieval All Saints Church is a must. You’ll see why when you get there. The lane is just by Chocolate Island.

Then check in at OSGH from 4pm.

Once you you’ve unloaded and settled you can have a rest or go for a stroll around the Old Village, which is just around the corner (right at the end of our road) and stock up at the Rock shop on your favourite sweeties. Check out where you want to go for dinner in the Village or in town (left at the end of our road). You can also have a stroll down to the beach (right at the end of the road and immediately left – you’ll soon see the sea). Roughly the beginning of April to end of September you can walk through the Chine and come out just above the Fisherman’s Cottage thatched pub on the beach and just under the Chine Inn.

For dinner we recommmend The Cottage, Pendletons or Pavarotti’s all just round the corner or stroll down to the beach where there are more Inns.

Day 2 – Compton Bay, The Needles, Alum Bay, Colwell Bay, Yarmouth (wet weather day Osborne and/or Carisbrooke)

Rise and shine and up for breakfast. We head out west today. This can be weather dependent. On your drive west if you get to Blackgang and it’s foggy you may want to head to the wet weather destination instead.

Take a drive West towards the Needles. (Or you can catch a bus via Newport). On the way you can stop at the Pearl Factory and even if Pearls aren’t your thing they have fabulous views of the west coast from the café, which sells a wide range of foods; cakes, savoury or sweet cream teas, baguettes, more substantial meals & daily specials.

When you reach Freshwater you can park the car and walk around the coastal path to the Needles. This saves your parking charge to get to the Needles and is a beautiful coastal walk. You can then either walk back to Freshwater or get the bus. Alternatively you can drive there.

Once at Alum Bay/Needles take the chair lift (or walk) down to the beach to see the coloured sands. We recommend the boat trip from the beach to the Needles. You can also walk up to the Old Battery, which is an interesting historical point (even for me!). There is also a café at the top and great views over the Needles. In the main area of the ‘Needles Pleasure Park’ there is a glass blowing studio (it’s pretty warm in there and you can fill up your chosen glass shape with coloured sands. Don’t expect a memorable lunch here. You are better off eating at the Red Lion in Freshwater or at Colwell Bay afterwards, where there are a selection of better eateries, one being The Hut on the beach.

The Needles Pleasure Park is more for kids, but the natural beauty is still there.

You can also walk up the other side to Hedon Warren (on the right as you enter the car park), which is where our resident artist gets some of his inspiration.

Then depending how much time you have you could take a drive to Colwell Bay or into Yarmouth, a beautiful market town where many an Admiral retired to.

freshwater bay

Dinner at The Blue Crab in Yarmouth (or lunch) is highly recommended. Fish for all tastes and budgets. They also do take away. An IOW Minghella ice cream at the pier is highly recommended. Or for dinner head back south to Shanklin or maybe Cantina in Ventnor. At the time of going to press Phileas Foggs have a Seafood Sunday.

Quite a busy day!

Day 3 We go East

Take a drive to the Garlic Farm in Newchurch where you can take a tractor tour (seasonal), taste their products and if you’re there until lunch it’s worth staying for. Or head to Seaview for a stroll around this pretty seaside village. Lunch here can be taken at the Seaview Hotel or the Old Fort, overlooking the busy Solent.


*The Garlic Farm is not easy by bus, but you can cycle there or or if you do not have a car you can take a train to Ryde and walk around the coast (right along the seafront), through Puckpool to Seaview. It’s a lovely walk and well worth doing even if you do have a car. Then you can take the train back to the Steam Railway.

An afternoon at the Steam Railway – suitable not just for overgrown boys (check timetable). If the railway isn’t running you might be able to swap days 2 & 3. They often have events that you may want to head to or avoid. It is all volunteer run and they have won the Queen’s award for volunteers.

Quarr Abbey nr Ryde is well worth a diversion with a farm shop, gallery, Abbey, cafe and piggies to feed.

If you fancy staying out Michaelangelos in Ryde on the bottom corner of Union Street is a fabulous Italian, though their lunch menu is more limited. If you are travelling by public transport check your return times. Trains stop quite early, but the buses run later. Or head back to Shanklin for dinner. There’s plenty to choose from.

Day 4 Ventnor & Steephill Cove Walk

We would recommend a walk to Ventnor and Steephill Cove (walking guides are available written by our fair selves, so there’s no cost).

Going up over the St Boniface Down (the highest point on the Island) and into Ventnor taking in the views then on to Steephill Cove where you will find lobster and other seafood (lots of mackeral) fished that day and served in their restaurants. It’s a lovely cove and a bit of a local’s secret. You can either then walk up to the Botanic Gardens and get the bus back or walk back through Ventnor and back to Shanklin along the coastal path.

To extend the walk you could go out to St Catherine’s lighthouse and the Buddle Inn. You can then catch a bus back if necessary.

If you would like to walk, but want something a little easier you can walk to Sandown along the Esplanade. We would recommend that you head for either the Beach Shack, where the Esplanade ends before the road, Belamy’s in the High Street or The Reef or Ocean Deck further along the seafront for a bite to eat.

If walking is not your thing you could have a wander around Cowes (Coast Bar and Restaurant and the Union Inn recommended). Or maybe a drive to St Helens and something to eat at Baywatch on the Beach, visit Bembridge Windmill and maybe drive up to Culver Haven or a poke around the forts and take in the views.

Dinner at the Bonchurch Inn, Bonchurch. Taxis can be arranged. Or if you fancy going East maybe Lockslane in Bembridge.

Day 5 Osborne House/Mottistone Manor and or/or Brading Roman Villa (Yes you can choose for yourself!)

If you haven’t already done so, take a trip to Osborne House. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for a rainy day. The beach is beautiful and the gardens are well worth taking the time to relax and enjoy.

If you are a garden enthusiast Mottistone Manor is well worth a trip (out West) or Ventnor Botanic Gardens, which isn’t as far. The Plantation Room is a lovely eatery for lunch.

Brading Roman Villa is an interesting and well preserved piece of Island History. Take up the offer of a free guided tour. The guides are very well informed and make it much more interesting.

Dinner in Shanklin on the seafront for a change, maybe The Fisherman’s Cottage. Or if you want a really nice treat, The Royal in Ventnor – we recommend their tasting menu.

Day 6 Compton Bay Walk OR Owl & Monkey Haven

Add a walk from Compton Bay. Starting at Compton Farm (walks available at OSGH) this hilly 6 – 8 mile walk (depending if you believe the walking book or not) has breathtaking views with a stop at the Sun Inn at Hulverstone, where lunch is recommended.

WWCompton Farm Walk4

While you’re out this way have a wander round Brighstone then maybe a quick drink at the Buddle Inn on the way back and a look at St Catherine’s lighthouse.

Or again if walking isn’t your thing take a trip to Owl and Monkey Haven, which is a family run sanctuary. It’s exceptionally well kept and a very popular animal lovers destination. Then maybe the Lavender Farm.

For dinner the walkers may want to limp into Shanklin or venture to the Taverners in Godshill.

Day 7 Carisbrooke Castle, Priory & Newport Farmers Market (Fridays), Quay Arts and IOW Museum

This can be juggled to fit in with the Farmers Market.

Firstly drive in to Newport and park up to take in the farmers’ market right outside the Minster – check opening times for the Minster if you want to look round, as they vary. This old market town is now full of high street brand shops, but have a stroll and you’ll discover some secrets overlooked by the shoppers – the old town hall housing the IOW museum – it’s small but well done. Walk down to Quay Arts on the Medina River down the lanes.

Lunch can be taken at Olivos (Italian influence bistro), French Frank’s Sandwich bar or Quay Arts.

Then onto the beautiful Carisbrooke Castle, which was built in 1100 and famously held Charles I prisoner when he fled here thinking he was amongst friends.

On the grounds are a museum, chapel and display of donkeys bringing the water up from the well (if they are in the mood). This could take up quite a bit of your time.

During August they have jousting displays – check their website for details.

Then pop in to Carisbrooke Priory nearby.

Dinner at your favourite of the week.




Posted July 2, 2014 by shanklinrocks in Uncategorized

Cat’s Move to the Island   Leave a comment


My name is Hooper and I am a black and white moggie. I moved here with my servants who have a guest house in Shanklin. My role in the house is to sit on the back of the sofa and look pretty to entice people in. Being very beautiful helps.

In the sixteen human years I have been alive I have moved 6 times. I was also fostered for a year when my servants went travelling and had to live with my grandma when we moved out of our last house while we waited to move here.

The Island is very different for me because when I lived in England I used to get bullied a lot, especially after my brother T.C (Tony Cottee) died. There are quite a few cats here, but it’s mostly dogs and I have actually made friends for the first time with a girl who looks very much like me. Of course she’s beautiful too.

I enjoy having my servants at home all the time now and my favourite game is pretending that I haven’t been fed. It works sometimes!

They haven’t taken me to see the sea yet and when we came on the ferry it was very late and very dark. And I heard a story that the people at Tiger World used to exercise the tigers (cousins of mine) on the beach. I don’t think they do it now, but you never know. It would be too risky. When I first saw a seagull I was ever so frightened I had to make myself flat on the ground, so they wouldn’t pick me up and feed me to their babies.

As I said I am very beautiful and I think the sea air has helped make my coat even more shiny and it feels much softer than before. Obviously I still have to spend a lot of the day grooming and getting my beauty sleep, but most of it is natural.

Having lost my brother T.C I have had lots of love and attention – there’s been more to go round. I have a new sister too, but she is human. She’s a funny colour – she has very white skin and red hair. She pulls my fur sometimes, but I don’t mind because it’s nice to have someone else to play with and after all, as well as being beautiful (did I mention that?) I’m also very tough. She does get more milk than me though, which is a bit unfair, as I’m the oldest.

I don’t miss anything about England. I’m happy to be here and happy to see my servants enjoying themselves and this is my favourite home so far.

Posted February 23, 2014 by shanklinrocks in Uncategorized

The Fried Potato and Other Ramblings   Leave a comment

Flat chips. WHY? You know, the ones they call ‘steak’ chips? When and where were these ever served with steak? These are my biggest chip fear. You can tell a lot about a place by it’s toilets and chips. It just reminds me of bad restaurants that have wet peas soaking the chips. Urrggghhh. They are just lazy, unimaginative and tasteless.

I accept that chips, like eggs, are a very personal thing. However there really are some no nos in my book.

Of course the new(ish) thing is twice or thrice cooked chips. The Taverners in Godshill do these in an excellent manner! Pretty filling though and never really necessary to order as a side, but so hard to turn down when the opportunity arises. They have a place on pretty much any dish except, probably, fish in my view. I remember when they first ‘came out’ and they would be presented on a plate usually 3 down and 3 crossed on top. The first time I had these was in The Swan in West Malling, now a Michelin Star. If you were really lucky you might get a third layer. It was nice to see the humble potato get a revamp. A very important staple for us Westerners.

Chip shop chips are a tricky one. Obviously only for fish and chips, but they are pretty standard and any diversion from said recipe of slightly wilted, fire hot potatoes is a no no and please a little bit of batter accidently dropped in the bag. Served in paper with salt and vinegar. There can be no alterations, but would you accept them on a plate in a restaurant? Probably not.

It does pain me that restaurants are unable to name potatoes cooked in oil correctly or truthfully. Chips are chips and fries are fries. I enquired recently about the size of a restaurant’s fries to be told by the waiter “well, they’re chips really“. So why not call them chips? I would have been utterly disappointed if I had ordered them without asking. Fries are French fries. Frites. Thin, crispy, salty and naughty. Don’t mess.

On a recent trip to Cheltenham to a very nice brasserie, which was mainly French with a bit of pasta thrown in, the club sandwich came with matchstick chips and the steak came with frites. I had the club and, yes, the matchstick chips were frites (imagine my delight). They were the only chips on the menu and you couldn’t even order a side dish, so my betting is their matchstick chips and fries were exactly the same thing??!!

Americans are good at fries – Freedom Fries, of course. I wonder why they don’t call them Freedom Frites – it has a certain ring to it, don’t you think? In and Out burger, a fast food ‘restaurant’ in L.A cut their own spuds! Unpeeled too. And they’re ‘ansome. There are some good places for good fries on the Island – Phileas Foggs and Barefoot on the Beach. Proper fries.

Funnily enough and I have never questioned her on it, my mum when I was a kid used to have a deep fat fryer, which pretty much, every night cooked chips, until I was probably about 10 years old. Except, these chips were cubed. I don’t know why. Obviously more labour goes into cubes than sticks? Note to self – ask mum about chips. They were very nice though. How I stayed a slim girl I’ll never know.

Now for the Sautée. They need skins. Sliced, halved, I don’t care, but they need skins to capture my heart. Sautée potatoes with duck breast. Or is it duck breast with sautée potatoes? With sautée you then move onto potato hash. That’s one big kettle of lovely fish. My goodness, the hash variations you can make. Some to be seen on our breakfast menus. Black pudding hash, ranch potato hash. I’m working on some more, but Mr OSGH takes quite some convincing for new specials!! But let’s face it sautée potatoes are chips for healthy people who can’t face the guilt.

And the wedge? Come on everyone likes a wedgey! Sour cream dip? I like mine with IOW Garlic Farm garlic mayo. With a pizza? We’re all allowed a guilty pleasure now and again. Now I know it’s a chain pub, but the Crab Inn in Shanklin do excellent wedges – deep fried baking potato, a whole one I would guess. Scrummy. And because they’re probably an American creation it doesn’t matter what you do with them or what you have them with Americans don’t care if you bastardize their food.

The food anomaly within my siblings is my brother. Now my brother is not a lover of food. What does this have to do with chips? Christmas day – 55 year old man (yes, he is substantially older than I) – has chips with his turkey! I conceded to cater for this one year, but I refuse to do it again! Maybe the chip shop will be open next time? He is also an eater of those flat horrible ones. Are we really related?

There are some things that shouldn’t be served with fried potatoes and although it seems popular to some Brits, it’s as frowned upon in Italy as using a spoon for your pasta. Lasagne and chips. Why? Lasagne, chips and peas. Why?

Unfortunately it seems to be a mainstay on Shanklin sea front that everything comes with chips in the majority of establishments. One of our guests recently almost ate in one, but someone queuing in front of them to order asked if they could have peas instead of salad with their lasagne, this was bad enough, but the server then said “I’ll ask, but you’ll probably get the salad as well”‘!! I just have images of plates and plates lined up in the kitchen already prepared with salad on the side. Our guests went back to the village for food. And in fairness to said eating place if someone’s going to order Italian food in an English restaurant they’ve only got themselves to blame!

My new bugbear is kids meals. Yes, we love potatoes, but why do kids meals all come with chips all the time? Come on, use your imagination.

It’s amazing how we take the lowly potato for granted. They are a wonderful thing and should be raised shoulder high. I’m a big fan whether it’s mashed, boiled, fried, baked or roasted. It has to be said though, that there are other alternatives. I have more alternatives in my cupboards than I do potatoes. One day Shanklin will be ready for them… one day.

It should be noted that these are just my opinions and if you take them too seriously you need a certain amount of help.

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!



Childhood Memories of the IOW   2 comments

Key things happened to me on my holidays to the Island – maybe because there were so many. Holidays that is. I learnt to swim, I discovered my favourite animal, I fell in love with Shanklin and decided what I wanted to do when I grew up.

I started coming to the Island 30 years ago when I was about 3 or 4. We always had 2 weeks except one year when we came back again at the end of the summer holidays for a week. I was thrilled, as my parents never did anything crazy like that – oh, no, hold on a second, except making my sister and I walk from Ventnor to Blackgang Chine up a dodgy cliff face. That was the only time my mum ever bought me chips in the afternoon (overlooking the maze) and only through guilt!

My parents also didn’t have a car so every year we’d get a Rover ticket, which were cardboard in those days and we would spend all day just getting to one place. The buses were great. Let’s face it even now we all really want to sit at the front on the top deck and get the tree branches hitting the window, in the dark, the bus getting faster and faster. I always remember the journey to Blackgang and Alum Bay because you had to change at Ventnor at the terminal, which is no longer there. Shame, I used to enjoy swinging on the bars in the queue. The buses were always packed – the Island was always packed. People had to stand on the bus to get to Alum Bay and all the windows would steam up!

When we first started coming as a family we stayed in the flats, which are now above the craft centre between the Holliers and Village Inn. The lady who owned the flats and the house there, Shirley, had a goat. I think his name was Freddie, she did tell me recently. So of course goats are my favourite animal and Shirley is my next door neighbor!

Once we were too old to be entertained by sending us round to get the paper (I was devastated when the paper shop became a pasty shop, but even that’s gone now) we then stayed at Nodes Point in St Helens. The Priory Bay hotel (next door) wasn’t a hotel then, but Nodes Point was where I learnt to swim and fell in love with the resident band T-Set.

After many years on the East of the Island for reasons known only known to my parents we came back to Shanklin and stayed at Lower Hyde. Things were different then. People didn’t even think about buying their own chalet!

There are certain things about my trips to the Island that I am sure people must remember, but no one seems to. And I ask enough people.

Wally the whale on the green half way up the cliff next to the lift? He was inflatable and you’d go inside and bounce!

There was a lady with a ‘Dulux’ dog on Chine Avenue (before the really fancy new houses went up) collecting money I think for the blind.

The lift operator wore a cap and bell boy suit?

Discos on Shanklin Pier. Dancing to Brown Girl in the Ring. Ah, they were the good old days.

On the coastal walk to Ventnor there used to be tea rooms, but it’s now a private house.

I spent my last ever pound note in Blackgang Chine, on some gems.

And I had the worst sun burn of my life here – again bad parents!

Some things are still the same. The lift still smells the same, the village still looks like fairy land, the landlord of the Crab Inn is still the same (OK so that was when I was 18) and the beach is still beautiful. St Saviour’s church is still scary has hell when you walk past it at night and ……..

I have memories upon memories of my time here as a kid. Oh, and what I wanted to do when I grew up? Move to Shanklin of course.

Posted April 28, 2012 by shanklinrocks in For Free, Shanklin, Things to Do, Uncategorized

The Most Famous Trombonist in the World?   Leave a comment

Who, you ask, is Roger Harvey?

You may not believe it, but you do know Roger Harvey. I promise you. If after reading this you don’t, then I wouldn’t read any more of our blogs because they won’t get any better!

For a while now I have been aware of a very famous man who is the father of a very good friend of ours.  I have been dying to meet him ever since I found out who he is. Low and behold our friend Adam and his girlfriend Jo-Ann tied the knot and had a fabulous London wedding just a couple of weeks ago. Weddings are great because you get to meet people in your friends’ lives you wouldn’t usually meet. Sometimes that’s not a good thing I appreciate. Of course I was very excited about them getting married, but I was even more excited about meeting Roger Harvey – yes our friend is Roger Harvey’s son.

Again you ask “who is Roger Harvey?” All will be revealed, but firstly let me tell you a wee story about our Rog. Now we have been dining out on this for years, as Adam has probably run out of people to tell. Some time ago, when Adam was fresh out of education and desperate to buy a car – £300 – not an expensive car, he went to Roger and asked if he could borrow the money. Unfortunately being a musician type (we’ll give him that excuse) Roger said he couldn’t afford to lend it to him. So little Adam wandered off to save his pennies himself.

Not long afterwards Roger embarked on a trip to Paris for his birthday with his wife Anne – Adam’s step mum, but not a wicked one, so all good there. We’ll once again give Roger a chance, as he may have been touring at the time, so didn’t necessarily specifically go to Paris just for his birthday.
Anyway, Roger and Anne had lunch in a very nice restaurant, ordered their wine and enjoyed their meal. Of course you have to have a second bottle of wine – at least – so Roger decided to try something different. He ordered a new wine and the waiter asked if he would like to see the cellars. Don’t worry it’s not a horror story he didn’t get kidnapped or bludgeoned to death or anything. Off he went like a little kid in the MacDonalds fridge on his birthday. He was shown where his bottle of wine was kept and they brought it back with them to the table. A lot of fuss you may think. Well, it seems that after the first bottle of wine Roger’s decimal points and sides of the Channel got awry. This was in the days of French Francs. Yes you guessed it the £100 bottle of wine was actually and £1000 bottle of wine. You can just imagine the heart sinking right to the bottom of the credit card. “Heck!” I bet is what he said! And poor little Adam!

Adam has forgiven his Dad, but Roger is probably still paying the interest!! Still wishing he’d savoured the taste!

So “who is Roger Harvey?” Well, Roger is a trombonist and how many famous trombonists are there? Well, for most people only one. Roger is THE trombonist at the beginning of Star Wars – Imperial March. You know dum, dum, dum, dar-da-dum, dar-da-dum…. How cool is that?

Not only that, but he has been Co-Principal trombone in the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the last 12 years – so he ‘does’ the Proms. Another thing I love about our Rog is he gives a secret signal to Adam when they go to watch!! He started out at Oxford and London Universities and has played trombone is many different orchestras, touring the globe many times over. As far as I know he is still Principal Trombone for Academy of St Martin in the Fields since 1985, he teaches and has his own Publishing Company ‘Brassworks’. He’s even worked with Bloc Party! He’s all in all a Trombone Geezer!

So you ask, what has this to do with the Isle of Wight. Well, ok they are very tenuous links. His wife played trumpet at the Osborne Proms and remembers a time when the Wight Mouse Inn had rows upon rows of Whiskey. At the Garlic Festival last year there were sand speeders from the Star Wars films!? Yes, ok very tenuous, but it was so nice to meet Roger and he didn’t disappoint and I challenge anyone to tell me they know a more famous trombonist than our Roger!


Posted March 14, 2012 by shanklinrocks in Music, Pubs

The Guest Who Revealed Herself   1 comment

Now I wouldn’t usually talk about our guests. I see our privacy responsibility as somewhat similar to a doctor. So don’t worry she won’t mind!

February 25th 2012 a beautiful sunny day and very warm. We had three lots of guests arriving and then the Shanklin Hotel Ass Dinner Dance to look forward to in the evening. Well, I was, Gareth not no much! Two of the rooms I believed were arriving about 4 -5pm, but the Bonchurch Suite guests I had no time for. They’d booked back in January and I hadn’t been able to ascertain a time. Never mind. Anyway 3 minutes to 3 a car pulled into the drive and the usual knock on the door.

Gareth welcomed our new guests into the hallway and we did the usual signing the registration form and all the pleasantries. Having shown them up to their room I offered them coffee and said I would serve it in the lounge with the chocolate cookies I had just that moment taken out of the oven.

I clearly remember booking her in. The phone rang and I was up a ladder in the office painting. She was ever such a nice lady and we chatted and I sent her restaurant recommendations etc. Little did I know!

So having left them upstairs to get themselves together I went to prepare coffee and plate up my cookies, which were as usual nothing like the previous ones I had made, but looked alright none the same. Having put it all in the lounge I sat in the office tippy tappying on my Blog site! There was a bit of commotion going on upstairs and finally they came back down and I explained where breakfast was. Mrs then asked me if I would go and fetch Gareth, who was busy painting downstairs. “Of course”, I said, I rarely say no to guests. When I went to fetch him he decided he just had to finish painting the threshold he was working on. Now my mind is obviously thinking “what the hell does she need Gareth for?” The last time someone asked me for Gareth it was because they had broken something! Why they thought I couldn’t help I don’t know, maybe they thought I wouldn’t be able to take it! Well, he wasn’t home so I sorted it!

So eventually when Gareth had painted his threshold he trundled up the stairs. On my return she promptly apologised and said that I could also come into the lounge. She slowly revealed from her handbag a small flat wrapped present and gave it to Gareth and asked if it was familiar. On opening the small parcel inside was a sign – Charlestown. Now I had never seen the sign before, but I knew that Charlestown was the birth place of many of Gareth’s Dad’s family on his mum’s side. By this point Gareth was looking like a confused.com person!

So then the guest revealed herself. She is Gareth’s Godmother! Huh?! I had to sit down.

There was a story behind how she came to find Gareth here. She told one her cousins she was coming to the Island and it went somehow from there. I’m not really sure my head was whirling a bit. She went to school with Gareth’s Dad and her aunt in Charlestown, Betty, was Gareth’s grandmother’s best friend. I’ve met Betty twice and she is just the loveliest lady.

What a lovely surprise. How nice to meet your God Mother in your late 30s and get on like a house on fire. How lucky to still have a Godmother! There was always much discussion between my sister and I over who had my Uncle as Godfather – I wanted him! But I think actually one of the neighbours was mine! How could my mum not remember? Silly woman.

So ensued the usual Irish conversation about who was who and what their real names were. Gareth’s Dad John is David, Nanny Josie is actually Mary. Bless the Irish and their ways. It can be very confusing whilst trying to find your Nan in hospital and embarrassingly not knowing her name!

Well, what a funny day. Unfortunately due to the dinner dance we were unable to spend the evening with them, but I’m sure and I hope they will be back to see us again.