A Little to the Wight

23 Jun

Up the hill to the churchLast night, as I was packing up my well organized (for a change) suitcase I realized that I had no hotel reservations for tonight. While it’s been fun to have a very, shall we say, flexible journey, it’s not fun to walk the streets of a town with your back-pack on your back and your suitcase trailing behind (well, two to be honest). I hopped on the internet to look for a place to stay in Lymington (apparently often confused with Leamington). So, tonight I will be staying at the Bosun’s Chair.

I wake up and have one last traditional English breakfast in the hotel dining room. I gather my well packed bags (hint, tops in one pile, bottoms in another) and request a taxi to take me for the nearly half hour drive to Lymington. While I’m sure Lymington is a lovely place (actually, I’m not at all sure of this so don’t quote me), I’m heading there because it’s the closest location to catch the ferry to the Isle of Wight.

The taxi drops me off directly in front of the Bosun’s Chair.

My modern room key

My modern room key

On the internet they advertise themselves as “The Bosun’s Chair Public House”.” I have no idea what that means. It’s actually a pub with some rooms on top (if this were an old west town in the 1800’s it would be a saloon with a brothel on top). I knock on the door and it seems this Public House doesn’t open quite this early. Dave answers the door dressed in black sweatpants and flip-flops with the welcoming phrase, “Uh, you’re really early.” After I explain that I just want to drop my bags he opens the door and we store them in the restaurant. I ask for directions to the ferry terminal and he instructs me how to take a cab one mile to the ferry terminal. Really? It’s a mile for God sakes. I’ll walk.

I walk around the waterfront towards the ferry terminal. It’s a strange feeling. I realize it’s only 10:00am but, between the drive in and walking the mile to the ferry I have not seen any people. Zero. It’s beginning to feel a bit Twilight Zone-ish. I arrive at the terminal and step up to the desk to buy my ticket – £12.90 (hey, I figured out how to type a £ sign) for a return ticket (that means round trip in American). I run as the ferry leaves in 3 minutes.

I have just enough time for a cup of coffee during the 35 minute trip. I laugh at the emergency instructions announcement that can barely be heard. It’s the same as the one on the ship I work on, only presented in a much less formal way. I had hoped to ride a bike but, due to time limitations and well, coldish, rainy-ish, English weather I decide to look for a different mode of transportation. As my ferry lands me in Yarmouth I feel I should see something there. I immediately notice a sign for Yarmouth Castle. Ok, it looks old and seems to have iron bars and cannons. Must be something interesting (I hope there’s a bathroom). I stop in and pay my £4. It turns out that this was the last addition to Henry VIII’s coastal defenses. Unfortunately, this fact is the most interesting thing about the place (and there are no bathrooms! Did Henry’s army never have to pee?).

After a half hour of in the castle, and finding a public restroom, I head on over to the tour bus terminal where I get great advice from the man working there and buy my 24 hour Freedom Pass. He has great advice (although he gives me enough recommendations for at least a four day visit). I hop on the bus and head to Newport, the capital of the Isle of Wight. I grab lunch at a pub and look around the town. It feels crowded and touristy. Not what I’m looking for. Time to catch another bus.

Next stop, Godshill. I was told that this is a picturesque town that looks like the

All Saints Church

All Saints Church

quintessential English village you would see in photos. I follow the church bells up the hill to the All Saints Church.  According to legend, the original foundations for the medieval church were laid in a flat, easily accessible site but every morning they were found transferred to the hill where the church exists today. Eventually the builders gave up building it in the planned flat location and built it on the hill (wow, now that’s a questionable real estate deal). I walk through the attached cemetery (I love cemeteries) which has a lot of tombstones that are so old that they are no longer able to be read. Hhhmmm, love the history, just wish I could read some of it. There’s a Model Village in town that the tourist board seems quite fond of. It is a 1/10th scale version of the towns of Godshill and Shanklin. I decide not to go in as I just don’t get it.  Sure, it might be the one time in my life I feel tall, but why spend time seeing a miniature version of a town I’m walking around in? I choose to go have my afternoon cream tea instead.

I hop on the bus to Newport to transfer to the bus to Yarmouth to catch the ferry to Lymington. The bus ride back may just be the most entertaining part of the day as I sit on the top deck to enjoy the view of the sun that has finally decided to show itself. There is a drunken man sitting on the top deck with myself and about 5 others. He is singing God Save the Queen very loudly and with passion. We all snicker and enjoy the melodic (not so much) tones.

I once again, run for the ferry (I make it) and, 45 minutes later I’m checking into my pub, uh, hotel. Dave has brought my bags upstairs for me. It’s tiny, but clean and actually quite modern (except for the key). I clean up and head downstairs for a pint where I let the bartender choose my bitter. This place advertises the best pies in town as made by “The Pie Minister.” Who knew? I place an order for the Jubilee Pie. Darn, they’re out. Must’ve been really good. I then order up a traditional meat pie. The waitress returns with the bad news. The people that ordered just before me got the last ones (where is the Pie Minister as I’d like to lodge a complaint?).  “The chicken pie is really good,” she says. I order that (thinking that if it were that good, they wouldn’t have any left). My pie (with gravy, yummmmm) arrives and I dig in. Ok, it is really good.

This is a local pub filled with, well, locals. It’s a nice change from a day filled mainly with tourists. We notice the Jubilee concert on the television and request that the pub music be turned down and the television be turned up. You would think this a simple request but, after the waitress tried her best and her grandmother gave it a shot (I think she might actually be The Pie Minister) their efforts are in vain. The waitress finally decides to simply unplug the stereo system and we are, well, jubilant (ha!). One comedian at the concert jokes about Americans watching the concert sitting in their living rooms with their feet up eating peanut butter and jelly. The entire pub looks at me. Hey, I’m just finishing my pint and my pie.

After watching Sir Paul perform the final numbers and Prince Charles call the Queen “Mummy” it’s time to head up to my tiny room for a good night’s sleep before heading to the big city tomorrow.

Tomorrow – another train and a visit to the Queen.


3 Responses to “A Little to the Wight”

  1. Tracey June 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM #

    I’m enjoying your blog immensely Carole. I’ve got some left over United miles so looking for the best use of them. Thanks for some ideas

    • Carole B. Rosenblat June 24, 2012 at 2:59 PM #

      Thanks for reading and commenting. People tend to only think about London when traveling to England but there is so much more to see.


  1. I Went to a Garden Party | My Own Adventure - October 30, 2013

    […] I have dinner at the hotel dining room and attempt to  finish my bottle of wine (shame to let it go to waste). Tomorrow, an early taxi to Lymington to go “A Little to the Wight” […]

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