Five on a Smugglers' Island
"Will there be smugglers?" asked Andrew. "I hope so!" replied Gudrun, who rather fancied spotting a smuggler. "Smashing!" said Al, and with that the decision was made. The five, consisting of Gudrun, Al, Brendan, Kate, and Andrew were going to holiday on the Isle of Wight. "Woof!" said Timmy, waggling his tail. "Sorry, Timmy," said Kate sadly, "you're fictional, so you can't come."
Well, it may not have been Enid Blyton, but it was a fun, wholesome adventure, and even included scones and cream with tea. We jumped on the train from Waterloo, with the narrowest of margins to spare, made friends with a tipsy, elderly couple on their way to Bournemouth, and discovered we had forgotten to include the name or address of the place we were staying in Cowes, but luckily technology and a friendly voice at the end of the phone managed to determine which B&B we'd booked into.
After a terrific breakfast of bacon and eggs, which we all declared we weren't hungry enough for but managed to put away anyway, we caught a series of buses across the island to the Isle of Wight's priciple attraction for non-sailers, The Needles. Smugglers had used the island in the past, as the wearing away of the chalk coast created secluded spots to land, and the island is very well located for sailing. Eroded chalk (basically what The Needles are) also makes for a picturesque tourist destination. And also a fitting place for our picnic which included several items we're sure Enid wouldn't have approved of; dolmades, olives and choizo sausage!
We had a fantastic dinner on Saturday night, and woke on Sunday to beautiful sunshine, so stirred ourselves to head off to Osbourne House, Queen Victoria's country home. An odd blend of private family quarters and grand state rooms, plus the Swiss Cottage which Prince Albert built to educate his children about running a home, the boys grew vegetables and the girls cooked them. We were all very excited to see a 'Bathing Machine' on the list of attractions but were sadly disappointed when it turned out to be a bathing box on wheels that Queen Vic used to hide from the massess. It was a lovely weekend and even the fact that Kate lost her voice for the greater part of Saturday due to a raging head-cold didn't stop us having a good time.
Kate had a huge week at work with the conference she'd been involved in planning being held on Thursday and Friday. With dinner for 650 people on the Thursday night, for which she had to organise the seating plan (made our wedding look like a doddle!), and 770 delegates for the Friday plenary session it has been a big task, and has taken up a lot of her time over the last few months. Amazingly it all went incredibly well, with hardly any hitches and a lot of happy delegates and speakers.
And we've made the most of our last weekend in London by heading out the the Churchill Meuseum and Cabinet War Rooms. Buried under the Treasury Building opposite Westminster, the bunker complex was the headquarters of the British War Cabinet during WWII. An interesting collection of rooms but the recently opened Churchill Muesum proved fascinating not only because of its subject matter but also the incredible multimedia displays including a 12 metre long interactive table containing a projected collection of folders that multiple users could open and read.
And today we headed off to Tate Britain. Very different to the other galleries we've visited in our travels Tate Britain contains very little religious art; it seems the English were much more interested in painting themselves and their countryside than icons and the Virgin Mary. We did a great guided tour of the gallery and also went through the Turner rooms although most of the works were out on loan to another exhibition. Isn't it always the way?!
So our last weekend in London was a lovely one. We both have one more week of work left and then fly out for five days in Iceland next Saturday. Forgive us if there is a bit of a break in website entries, we'll be pretty busy over the next month or so but we will try to keep you updated with what we're doing.
- 24th April 2005
Five Go On An Adventure.
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