"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 21 July 2017

Isle of Wight: Day 6 - 5th July - Ryde and Bembridge

Holidays with a family (especially now my son and daughter are adults) involve compromise because not everyone wants to do the same sort of thing! On the Wednesday I was hoping we could visit Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle or the NT nature reserve at Newtown but the rest of the family had the idea of visiting Ryde on the east side of the island. Don't get me wrong Ryde is a lovely town but walking around seaside town centres and along sea fronts is not really my idea of fun - unfortunately for me my family love Ryde and visit every holiday so I was outvoted 1/3 and Ryde it was!!!

Before leaving D's photo of September Cottage reflected in a garden ornament.


Ryde is the largest town on the island and has a feel of Victorian and Regency grandeur - perhaps a little faded now. There is evidence of there having been a settlement here since the Neolithic Period and from the late Bronze Age. During the Medieval era it was a trading, ferry and fishing settlement and in 1377 was set on fire by the French. In 1780 a William Player had the idea of turning the town into a Regency watering place along the lines of Brighton. By the 1820's Ryde was becoming very fashionable and growing rapidly. By the 1860's Cowes replaced Ryde as the fashionable place to visit. The pier built in 1841 stretches half a mile into the sea and is well worth walking along. The town and nearby area has 6 miles of sandy beach.


View to the Spinnaker at Portsmouth - just 9 minutes away by hovercraft.




Hovercraft on the move - we once caught this to Portsmouth on one of our holidays and visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with HMS Victory and the Mary Rose - it was a superb day out - in fact you could spend two days there.

A mural in the bus-station - I am not quite sure why we ended up there!

Meet "Tennyson" Isle of Wight Bear number two - he was very pleased to finally be taken out for the day although I suspect Osborne was having an almighty mood back at the cottage!

Ryde Pier in the background

Does anyone else remember those "saucy" postcards to be seen for sale many years ago - it looks as though Ryde has a museum on the subject! Tennyson, became very prudish and said he wasn't prepared to visit!

I think this is St Thomas's Church which is now a heritage centre and would have been worth a visit if I had known at the time!


Apparently there is a Dr Who shop in the town centre and D was determined to visit - it wasn't too hard to find and had a superb range of Dr Who goodies.


Tennyson was brave enough to sit on top of a dalek!

Goodness only knows what the shop owner thought of me taking this photo - we left soon after!



A shop front (just for Pete and Mr Quacks) :)

It was hotter today - in fact too hot and B suggested a lunch time drink which pleased Tennyson greatly :)

"Its gone already - perhaps I had better not have another one - it is lunchtime after all!"

Tennyson and me - back on the seafront and walking off that pint!


Tennyson enjoying views of the harbour

Time for the inevitable icecream.

Tennyson decided to have a go at winning a Pokemon for E. Honestly, the money we put in that machine we could have bought several Pokemons! Every time it actually picked up a toy it immediately dropped it - has anyone ever won anything on one of these?!

Pretty doors in the ladies loo!

B and E love seafood so no visit is complete for them without a visit to this shop. There is also a very good fish and chip shop on the seafront (near the bus station) - the chips from there are superb and vegetarian.

On the way back we decided to visit Bembridge. Some friends of ours who visit the island a lot too always stop at Bembridge and love the beach there. We had never been and when we failed to find the beach car park I remembered why - we didn't find it last time either!! B eventually managed to park up a grassy track where there were a few other cars parked and access to the beach.

Tennyson at Bembridge


Spot the baby crabs - there were a lot on the beach and you had to be very careful where you trod.



To me the beach had quite a "mediterranean" feel - not that I have ever been to the Mediterranean.


Rockpools - the first with lugworm casts.

On reading a visitor's guide to the Isle of Wight while writing this post I discover that there is a privately owned shipwreck and maritime museum there which sounds as though it may be worth a visit. The nearby NT Bembridge windmill is definitely a great place to go to.

Honeysuckle by the front door back at September Cottage

*D - Photos taken by my son with the Canon Bridge SX50

Reference: "Landmark Visitors Guide to the Isle of Wight" by Jackie and Chris Parry

Day 7 involves a visit to the "Pepperpot" - a medieval lighthouse on St Catherine's Down, a visit to Blackgang Chine amusement park (another compromise for me!) and a quick visit to St Andrew's Church, Chale.

Eek - since publishing this post my blog list, profile, etc. etc. seem to have disappeared. Not sure why as I have just checked layout and settings and everything looks as it should. Hopefully, they will miraculously re-appear!

Edit 2 - they are still there but at the bottom of the blog post - not sure why!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Isle of Wight Day 5 4th July - The Needles Breezer Part 2: Yarmouth, Dimbola Lodge, Freshwater and the Buddle Inn, Niton

The Breezer travels along a coast road to get to Yarmouth. The zoom lens on the Canon came in useful for this photo of Hurst Castle - well worth a visit. We went there on a boat trip from Yarmouth on our last Isle of Wight holiday.


We got off the bus in Yarmouth for a quick look round.


I do like Yarmouth - it is small and pretty and not, in my view, too touristy. There is the castle (this is one place we have never yet visited), a pier (longest remaining wooden pier of its type in the UK) an interesting church, some good craft shops and second hand book store and, of course, the harbour and the tidal waters, salt marsh and mudflats of the Western Yar.





Osborne plucked up courage to sit on this "sea monster" seat - I think this is new as I don't remember seeing it before.


Osborne wanted to know why we didn't have a boat of our own - just so he could go on a sea trip!

Mosaics at the entrance to Yarmouth Castle which was built in the last years of Henry VIII's reign as a result of international problems between England, France and the Holy Roman Empire.

More on the church on the last day of the holiday when I managed a brief visit.

Back then on the Breezer to head back to Freshwater and Dimbola Lodge which was the home of pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879) and now a museum and art gallery run by the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust.

Sculpture of Jimi Hendrix in the garden.

Such a shame the bookshop was closed :(

Julia Cameron was a very important person in the early days of photography. She was a lady well ahead of her time and was ambitious and free-thinking.

The photos she took are among the most famous portraits of Victorian "celebrities". She experimented with close-up and diffused focal techniques which were to influence future photographers.

In 1835 she met Sir John Herschel whose many scientific interests included the use of chemicals in photographic processing. In 1863, when she was living at Dimbola, her daughter gave her a camera for Christmas to cheer up her loneliness as her husband was away from home at their coffee plantations. She took to photography with real enthusiasm converting a glazed "fowl house" into a studio and using a coal house as a dark room. Within a year she was elected a Member of the London Photographic Society. A sitting to have your portrait taken could have taken hours and Tennyson (from nearby Farringford house) told the American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow before his sitting that "you will have to do whatever she tells you; I will come back soon and see what is left of you".

Local people were also used as models e.g. the local cobbler's daughter Mary Hillier was used as a model for Madonnas and a porter from Yarmouth posed as King Arthur.

There were three phases in her photography. Between 1864 -66 she didn't take many portraits as her main theme was religion, for example, Madonnas. Between 1866 and 1870 she focused on portraits of famous men and women. Through Tennyson she met many leading writers, artists and thinkers. After 1870 she concentrated on portraits devoted to illustrating poetry.

The museum contains exhibits of Julia's photos, a timeline of her life and details of the photographic techniques she used. There is a changing exhibition which features work by present day photographers/artists, a Victorian Dressing Room with outfits to try on, displays of vintage cameras and an Isle of Wight Festival display with photos, posters, sculptures from the largest ever-staged festival held in 1970 at East Afton Farm.

There was a frame here containing smoky glass so you could try and recreate some of her effects. Sadly not the best of photos of Osborne - I had to hold him myself as D had disappeared and the camera card holder was playing up big time as I tried to hold it shut and click the shutter at the same time.

I didn't take too many pictures of her photos as with them reflecting lights it was difficult but this is one of Tennyson "The Dirty Monk" taken in 1865.

"The Freshwater Circle"

Dimbola was frequently visited by bohemian artists, poets and writers such as Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson, G F Watts, Lewis Carroll and William Thackeray. In 1853 Alfred Tennyson with his wife and family moved to Farringford House Freshwater (I believe the house is opening to the public this summer) where he wrote "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Crossing the Barr" and "Maud". Many writers, actresses, models and painters stayed with him such as John Herschel, Lewis Carroll, Alice Liddell, Edward Lear and Ellen Terry.

Note for Rosie - I picked up a free leaflet at Dimbola on the Freshwater Circle which has a map showing various houses, churches etc. connected to the Freshwater Circle - worth looking out for :)

Display of old Olympus cameras

Some items in the Isle of Wight Festival exhibition

Julia's bedroom

I found Dimbola exceedingly interested and was glad to have finally visited as I have wanted to go for years.

Insect drawings in the paving slabs on the way back to the car.



In the evening we went out to celebrate D's birthday at one of our favourite Pubs - The Buddle Inn, Niton which is a traditional 16th smugglers' pub with great coastal views.






"Sun Dogs" (second photo) in the sky on the drive home as sunset approaches.



A slice of the Dorset Apple Cake I made served with clotted cream. It didn't rise as well as usual as I had to use a bigger and shallower cake tin!


*D - Photos taken by D with the Canon bridge camera SX 50

References - Various leaflets bought from Dimbola on the subject of Julia Margaret Cameron

Day 6 - we visit the East side of the island (Ryde and Bembridge) and Tennyson finally gets an outing!