From Sun Wars to paddling

Sunshine together with inhaling sea air were seen by Victorians as beneficial for health. They started measuring sunlight hours using a Campbell-Stokes sun recorder where a glass globe is used to concentrate the suns rays and burn a paper card.

Sunshine-wars broke out between resorts as they tried to attract visitors, especially those promoting treatment of good health and alleviation of chest ailments. One of these resorts was the Royal National Hospital in Ventnor offering 130 separate south-facing bedrooms amid a micro-climate for its patients.

Mild climate treatment for tuberculosis became obsolete in the 1960’s replaced instead by the use of antibiotics and other drug treatments, and the hospital closed. But fortunately for Kim the gardens remain as Ventnor Botanic Gardens one of her top ten favourite gardens in the world and we have visited many.

All week we have been trying to walk to the Botanic Gardens from our apartment. 30 minutes Google said. We are beginning to distrust all forms of technology, it may have been 30 minutes for a fell runner but not us. We have to admit the coastal path was scenic and we were pleased to have seen the rather lovely Steephill Cove which certainly lived up to its name when leaving.

We arrived for breakfast at the Botanic Gardens and, despite being cooked by a man who only has two pans and two working cooking rings, it was voted the best breakfast of the week.

Kim is tempted to move here, she just loves the abundance of agaves and aeoniums and feels the tortoises would be right at home with temperatures averaging 5 degrees higher than the rest of the island.

Our walk back along the road was far kinder to our legs and we coveted lovely houses with amazing views along the way.

There was time for one final cycle ride before the Bromptons were stowed for our journey home. Kim had assessed the hills and they were judged suitable for pushing a bike up without crying. We headed down to the sea front and along the Coast Path to Bonchurch. We were hoping to get to Shanklin but the nice flat route petered out at a shingle beach. John, wisely didn’t suggest trying to cycle up the steep hill out of Bonchurch. Instead he sensibly opted to turn around and head back to the Sea Pot cafe for a cuppa.

We hadn’t cycled far so carried on into Ventnor and, for the only time this week, Kim took her shoes off and paddled. We haven’t been sure quite why we’re not more taken with Ventnor, but a little paddle in the sea bumped it up in Kim’s estimation.

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