an idiot on the isle of wight


Thursday, 6th July.

Today the plan was to walk to the other end of the Isle of Wight. Hmm. Well after I got disoriented leaving the campsite (memo to the lovely people at the Ordinance Survey - there is a new golf course in Sandown!) I was directed towards the path that would take me to Godshill.

I soon realised that this was yet another path that led through marshlands. Marshlands, bah! Humid, sweaty, and infested with insects. Ideal walking territory, compared to the rolling hills, eh? I found another path that was a little longer but led through some woods. I crashed through the undergrowth, and navigated successfully to the town of Newchurch. Just a town. Through the village I walked then I found the path off the road. Nurseries on the left and massive greenhouses on the right. Along the gravel roads on the manor and then I found myself at the arse end of Godshill.

It was lunchtime, I was bloody hungry, and I was looking forward to the postcard-scenery of the township. I was about to be very, very disappointed.

I rounded the corner to the centre of Godshill and found myself looking along a tacky tourist street. In my time touring the Historic Villages of Tasmania I saw some rubbish, but this took the cake. The street was completely filled with old people walking as slowly as they possibly could. There was no charm to the place whatsoever. Nor was there anywhere for a hungry Tasmanian to eat an appropriate hiking meal, but there were shitloads of tea rooms.

I spat the dummy.

I had been hiking for hours yesterday, and a few more hours today, and I'd ended up in sodding Godshill. I caught the next bus back to Ryde.

On the way back the bus passed through a town called Shanklin, which is notable only for its Western Shop - stocking authentic western and line dancing gear.

Soon enough I was back in Ryde, where time stands still. And then I was on the ferry back to Portsmouth. The brightly coloured fair equipment on the Portsmouth shore contrasted with the monotonous grey clouds. A town that only comes to life in the sunshine, the ferris wheel and the rollercoaster sat silent and motionless.

England's green countryside flashes by my window. Victoria Station, Dawes Road Palace. Effortless.