ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
[personal profile] ladyofastolat
Yesterday was gloomy, but undaunted I set off on to walk from one end of the island to the other in search of fabled poo. Pellinor met me half way to partake of some delicacies supposedly obtained by poachers, which we ate in a place guarded by pirates, and then we headed on together, where we were successful in our quest.



The first 5 miles were the oft-walked cycle path into Newport - a former railway line, and fast walking, but rather unexciting. It runs alongside the tidal river Medina, and pretty glimpses can sometimes be had through the trees, but yesterday the weather was distinctly gloomy. I took one picture, anyway, just to justify lugging my camera along with me. He is the posing lady (not a mermaid, as I always used to think, failing to notice the legs) surveying the wilderness left by low tide on a gloomy day. She had many egrets, which none are visible here.

01lowtide

Then through Newport to Shide, where I went past the house where John Milne, the Father of Seismology, used to live, because, um, the Isle of Wight is such a famous place for earthquakes? (He had previously spent many years in Japan, which makes a lot more sense.) The island is quite proud of Milne, perhaps because we have precious few other significant people to boast about, apart from Robert Hooke, and, er Alan Titchmarsh, and Bear Grylls' mum, and an unfortunate fenestration of King Charles I.

No earthquakes struck.

Actually, if you've invented seismology while personally serving the Emperor of Japan, perhaps that's precisely WHY you would then move to the Isle of Wight, since you're unlikely to have anyone get grumpy at your for failing to predict a devastating earthquake. Unless they blamed you for coastal erosion, which they might.

Anyway...

From Shide, I climbed up onto St George's Down, where the path is Very Dangerous Indeed, with hazards to the left of it and hazards to the right. The hazard to the left of it was very, very concerned that I knew about the danger, repeatedly warning me of it in nice, clear, well-maintained signs.

02golf

The hazard on the right of me was considerably less bothered. Yes, there were notices every few yards, but the one below is typical. Given that the hazard to the right of me consisted on a working quarry, deadly drops, vast trundling machines and deep ponds, I suspect it of presenting rather more urgent danger than a golf course.

03doom

The path itself was not without its own hazards and obstacles.

04path

There wasn't even an interesting view to distract me from the doom that surrounded me. Here is my old favourite, the long-leggety beasty, but yesterday he wasn't striding across a sunny plain, but slouching across a grey and gloomy terrain.

05gloom

Then down into the hollow lane, although it was too gloomy for decent photos of the proper sunken part of it, only of the approaches.

06lane

I'd phoned Pellinor to come to meet me at Arreton, but traffic was bad and I'd phoned rather late, so I had about 20 minutes to kill. It didn't feel polite to go into the church, since I was awaiting his phone call and I didn't want my ring-tone (The Final Countdown) suddenly blaring out into the pious silence, so I just wandered around the grounds.

Arreton church boasts some buttresses of supreme awesomeness. I always wonder if they were built at the same time as the church, or were built in a mad panic some while afterwards.

08buttresses

In the yard, there is the grave of Elizabeth Wallbridge, the Dairyman's Daughter, who was poor but exceedingly virtuous. In 1814, Legh Richmond, vicar of nearby Brading, wrote a tract about her piety, which went on to sell over a million copies. Her grave became a place of pilgrimage, and even Queen Victoria came to pay her respects.

Her fame still endures to this day, since she is now a pub. Thousands still flock to her every year.

Other stones in the churchyard were busy playing a game of Grandmother's Footsteps. As of my visit, there was no clear winner.

07graves

There is normally a large carved wooden St George near the church, but St George had disappeared! Oh where is St George, oh where has he gone?


Pellinor still hadn't appeared, so I returned past the carp pond to the Barns complex, guarded by pirates. The pirates were allegedly trying to attract people to come to the shipwreck museum, but I had done my research and knew that the museum was closed until Easter, so clearly the pirates were actually trying to trick people into following them to their Doom. Perhaps they were in league with the quarrymen.

I also resisted the notices urging me to have my name carved on a grain of rice and encapsulated in jewellery. "Demonstration here!" it said, but I decided that although I didn't want a grain of rice with my name on, I didn't feel strongly enough about it to demonstrate.

09pirates

Although it wasn't quite midday, so many people were pouring into the pub that I gave up on waiting for Pellinor, and went in and claimed one of the few remaining tables. When Pellinor arrived, we ordered what they call a Poacher's Board. And very nice it was, too. We both love sharing platters, but finding a good one can be hard:

- Italian style platter with lots of cold meats. Good, but the Pizza Express platter is so far above and beyond any others we have had that all others are something of a disappointment.
- Seafood platters. Neither of us like seafood.
- Platters dominated by ribs and chicken wings, which we both consider to be far too much work for very tiny and not even particularly nice returns.

However, last time we danced at Arreton, I'd noticed that it had a promising one. It still had it! Hand-carved ham, nice pate, and a gorgeous dish of fried bacon, chorizo and tomato, with some excellent bread. To be honest, chorizo, calvados (in the pate), onions, assorted pig products, tomatoes and bread all sound like unlikely targets for poachers, but who am I to know?


Somewhat fuzzy from lunch-time booze, we then proceeded along the southern half of the cycle path towards Sandown. This time the path was flanked on both sides by slimy, muddy channels. Needless to say, we met some happy, slimy, muddy spaniels at various points en route. Tree monsters lurked on either side, but presumably they can't cross water, so we were okay.

10treemonsters

Once in Sandown, we headed for our destination: Sandown Library, where the National Poo Museum had a touring exhibit. Since the National Poo Museum is normally based in Sandown Zoo, it hadn't gone very far for its tour, but I believe it has plans for some longer journeys in the future. Earlier in the day, there had been poo-related busking outside the library, and you could buy themed gifts and a book of "pooems."

Sadly, we had missed the poo songs, but we were still in time to see - as their own publicity put it - their "crap collection." This was, quite literally, poo. All sorts of animal poo, encased in resin and put on display like a magician's glowing orb. You can even press a button to illuminate the poo, and magnifying glasses are on hand in case you want to look even closer.

This is some lion poo, looking especially noble, an artefact worthy of any quest, perhaps even of any Quest.

13lionpoo

All the associated information is displayed on toilet pipes, and many fascinating facts were revealed:

11pigeons

There was also a little step-in booth with a toilet (not plumbed in), where all the walls were lined with images of books. This was to illustrate the Mariko Aoki phenomenon, which is, as Wikipedia puts it, "an urge to defecate that is suddenly felt after entering bookstores." (Libaries apparently Do Not Count.) Here are some possible explanations:

12bookshop

Well!

After that, we had a quick cup of tea and Pellinor had a prodigious slice of cake, before heading back to Arreton along the cycle path, and then back home.
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