Daguerreotypes, festivals and Hendrix

Yesterday, we took the opportunity to meet up with John’s cousin Julie. Despite decades on the island she is technically still a foreigner according to her husband Jim an authentic caulk-head. We wiled away the hours, over lunch at the Spyglass Inn, discussing family and island life. Well to be precise, Julie provided John with an updated family history which he is embarrassed to admit he has very little knowledge of.

As an electrical engineer Jim worked on control systems for the Black Arrow rockets, which were proof fired from the nearby High Down Test Site. Despite the success of the program including launching Britain’s first satellite Prospero, Government Ministers declared there was no future in satellite technology and announced an end to the Black Arrow programme. Rocket testing moved to Woomera in Australia, while Jim and Julie built a successful international electronics business.

On first hearing the term caulkhead, Kim thought it was a reference to wine drinking, but it simply means a third generation islander. This boat building term originates from caulking (sealing gaps with rope and tar) as opposed to dropping new born babies into the Solent to see if they will float which we hope is just a local myth.

Today started with a return visit to Freshwater Bay and breakfast at The Piano Cafe followed by the ‘Iconic Jimi’ exhibition at Dimbola Galleries. The galleries are the former home of Julia Margaret Cameron, pioneering Victorian photographer. It’s amazing to see how physically large early cameras were (about the size of microwave) compared with todays pocket sized Smart Phones. Part of the exhibition includes posters and photos of the 1970 music festival featuring some legendary acts performing within sight and sound of Dimbola.

Julie and Jim had told us how pretty the north west Wight coast is, so our next stop was Yarmouth. There was so much going on, as you would expect from a ferry terminal and marina.

Somehow we had missed this rather unusual feature as we left the harbour for our wander around the town. It came as rather a shock on the way back. There is a prize for the first person to name it.

This evening, we had managed to get a reservation at The Smoking Lobster in Ventnor, the downside was that we had to be there at 5:15. It was worth the early meal. The food was delicious, staff and service was friendly and relaxed. We’ll only bore you with one photo of food and tell you that the cheeseboard included Tunworth.

On our walk back, we discovered that we’d missed most of the ‘Cascade Challenge’. An event organised by the local running club to raise funds for members competing in the London Marathon. The challenge was to run up and down the Cascade as many times as possible in an hour. Apparently the winner lost count at 20 and, to give you context, we hate walking up it once!

Our spirit of adventure took over as the light faded and after five days, we have discovered a route along the coast path which seems to provide a wide, flat route into Shanklin. Kim might be tempted back onto her bike and give it a go.

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