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Going with the flow in Cowes

April 12, 2014

With man flu still raging, we were forced to depart our pretty little abode in Arundel in favour of a myriad of rental clients, starting today, who began the inevitable landslide of questions about our pretty little house and its contents. They began at 4.10pm, some ten minutes after their tenancy commenced. Luckily, as I have refused to have anything to do with the whole idea, I am not involved, except when tenants have questions about the house, which they always do.

We had left at around 1pm with the plan to dawdle down to Portsmouth for the 5.30 ferry across to Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight, which I had last visited 53 years ago. I did not remember much of it.

On the way, with the idea of lunch rearing it’s very attractive head, we found that we were passing a pub about which I had heard good things, The Royal Oak at Langstone Harbour, at which we decided to take a look. It is truly a gem of an English seaside pub. I say seaside, but in reality I mean a pub set on the edge of mud flats, but none the less alluring for all that. A splendid old piratical feel, some excellent tapas and a pint of Speckled Hen was just the kind of restorative required to allow us to return the the land of equanimity, which one of our party inhabits much of the time, and to which one of us pays fairly infrequent visits. That Nice Lady Decorator has been working solidly to clean and repaint the interior of our house despite a very bad cold (not man flu but still quite nasty) and is pretty exhausted. It will take a few days of moving amongst the graveyards of the Isle of Wight for her fully to recover.

knitted figures

Some of the Sprogs toys knitted by my late mother look a but sad at being stuffed in a bag

And so we arrived at our first destination, the famous yachting town of Cowes, and booked in to the Union Inn, which I had not expected to be a Fullers house, so, for me, immediately uplifting. We decided on an early evening quick exploration to get the feel of the place. I had expected a bustling nautical town, full of Captain Pugwash types, smoking their briars full of old navy shag, as I think it is called and Roger the Cabin boy lookalikes who are reputed to be on the receiving end of a shag, but first impressions were very different. The town seemed a bit sad and neglected. The shops that are still here looked bedraggled and run down and there were quite a few empty, available for sale or even auction. Not what you would expect a stones throw from the Royal Yacht Squadron headquarters at Cowes Castle, the entrance to which we encountered by chance.

The yachting world with which I am familiar in Cannes, Antibes and Monaco, typical Currencies Direct territory, seem a far cry from what I saw in a brief tour of this sleepy run down town last night. Perhaps Prince Phillip, the admiral of the club, needs to get down here a bit more often and inject a bit of interest? Maybe it will look a bit more interesting this morning after a hearty breakfast and being a day nearer recovery from the dreaded lurgy.

Culture, walking and pubs. That is the theme for the next few days as we tour this little island famed for its Cowes. The culture is the part I need to get over with first. I don’t mind the walking, particularly along the beach paths and then the pub is at the reward at the end of it. So starting low, improving as the day goes on and then ending splendidly visiting the pubs of the island. Regular readers will know that I am a philistine when it comes to culture. I think I prefer what you might find on the top of a three week old yoghurt, but That Nice Lady Decorator likes that sort of thing and is very knowledgable, so best to go with the flow. Did you see what I did then? Using an old nautical saying to make a point?

Chris France
@Valbonne_News

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 12, 2014 11:55 am

    I know nothing of starboards or bows,
    Of larboards or deck hands or prows,
    But here’s a joke of renown,
    What’s steamy and brown,
    And comes everyday out of Cowes ????!!!!!

    Be fair, you must have known I couldn’t resist that one !!!

    Like

  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    April 12, 2014 11:58 am

    And to stop you taking the easy option, I don’t want to hear….ferry good !!

    Like

  3. Phil pennicott permalink
    April 13, 2014 6:09 am

    Hey Chris, give Osborne house a visit, they have a wine making facility there. Culture and alcohol in one place!!!

    Like

    • April 18, 2014 5:38 am

      Missed it! Next time…

      Like

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