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Michael’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Location: Isle of Wight, England

MapHey all, I know it’s been a while since the last update, as again, there hasn’t been a whole lot to tell.

The last two weekends there has been some lovely weather, at least one of the two days. Two weeks ago was the Titans first home game for the season and the first time the weather was anything other than windy and rainy for a Titans home game. We all made the most of it, getting as many friends and family down as possible, and putting the BBQ and beers on to keep the fans happy. More to the point though, the Titans set a league record by winning the game 243 – 22 over Brighton. A truly one sided event. With the sun shining, we made the most of the afternoon sitting around watching the second game and drinking a few bevies. Of course, the party continued late into the night at the Walkabout, but given we didn’t leave the ground till after 730, we were ‘well on the way’ by the time we made it to the pub.

Sunday morning was breakfast on the mainland and a waiting game for the pub to open so that I could retrieve all my bags with the teams stuff in it and head back to the island. It was a cooking day (by English standards) with clear skies and temperatures around 25 degrees, so I jumped on the ride and rode the 15 miles (by road) to Sandown beach for a swim. I did commit a rookie error on this trip, and when I made it there about 45 minutes after starting, and with the full effect of the Sun hitting me, I headed for the Driftwood Beach Bar for a beer rather than heading straight for the water. In any case, the beer was delicious, the water was too cold to swim in for more than a couple minutes, and the bar had a Rasta singing Bob Marley covers to keep the beach goers entertained. A new corner of the Isle of Wight discovered, and one I could enjoy again on sunny Sunday’s.

After the beer, and an ice-cream, and a few more Bob Marley covers, I jumped back on the bike and headed home. I passed the start of the Sunshine Trail, which had been suggested as an easier ride back to Cowes by Karen from work, so I decided to give that a shot. Of course, I should have figured that anything called ‘Trail’ would eventually become unpaved. Unfortunately, by the time it turned to rocks, I was 4 miles along, and totally lost for getting home any other way. About 500 meters from where the paving started again, after 2.5 miles of rocks, my rear tire got a puncture and I was stranded. Thankfully Laura and James were out driving and I was able to get a lift home.

Fast forward, for not much happened, to last weekend, and again we had a monster win in the football. The Titans headed to Chippenham, to play the competitions new team, and for the second week in a row we put up some huge numbers. In fact, it was so one sided that we were politely asked by the umpire if we could look at using our non-preferred foot in the second half. A few people took the idea on board and the scoring slowed for the third quarter, before picking up in the final. The final score for the game was 193–10.

Saturday night was a quiet night, and I was back at the island early. In fact, I think it was one of the first times I wasn’t the last man from the team standing at the end of the night. Sunday I was up at what can only be described as “stupid o’clock” and catching a bus across to the eastern most point of the island. Karren and I had some how come to a decision, after having a few drinks after football the weekend before, to complete the Walk The Wight. It is a charity walk across the island, 26.8 miles in all, over hilly terrain. Thankfully, it was a great day, and the sun was out reasonably early. We passed through the check-in point at Bembridge Airport at 8:05 am and set off on our way to the western most point of the island, Alum Bay and the Needles. We rocked into the half way point at Carisbrooke Castle around 1215 pm, and waited for Iona and Matt to join us for the second half of the walk. 12.5 miles down, 14.3 miles to go… and it was only gonna get harder, but prettier.

The second half of the walk was incredible. We climbed higher over the top of the island, seeing the mainland to the north and the English Channel to the south. The walk was definitely getting more difficult, with the final section seeing the Solent and the English Channel converge as we headed towards the western end of the Isle, climbing the Tennysen Trail over The Downs. The sun was shining, and people were everywhere, coming to grips with blisters, sore legs, and God awfully sore feet. But we marched on, and finally made it to the finish line at Alum Bay, crossing at 5:41pm, completing the journey in 9 hours and 36 minutes. A quick beer at Alum Bay, followed by a bus ride and headed back to Cowes. Sunday night was finished off with a dinner and beer out at the Anchor, mainly because I had no food in the fridge to cook dinner with!

Long weekend this week, and I am headed to London on the Friday night to see Chris Rock… what happens from there is anyone’s guess. And most importantly, only 2 weeks till I leave and head home for the first time in well over two years! Can’t bloody wait!