Time out and away
During the second week of July I was engaged in a frantic effort to bring all my work up to date before I went away. Then on the 12th I drove to the south coast of England and took the ferry to the Isle of Wight, where I remained for a week, returning home on the 19th. Since then I’ve been taking care of the backlog that accumulated in my inboxes during the week’s absence!
For those who don’t know it, the Isle of Wight is a piece of land 23 miles long from west to east and 13 miles from north to south, separated from the mainland by a stretch of water called The Solent, famous for yacht racing. I’m not a yachtsperson but I do enjoy exploring new places (on dry land) and it was my first visit to the Isle. The name ‘Wight’ derives from the Romanised version of the Celtic tribe that inhabited the island when Claudius’s gang arrived in 43 AD: Victis. As the Roman Empire began to crumble and Germanic raiders began to settle on British shores, the new arrivals on the island – mostly from Jutland, in present-day Denmark – rendered the name Wiht (pronounced ‘Vikht’), whence ‘Wight’.
I enjoyed a glorious week: days of hot sunshine and clear blue skies, cool cloudless nights. I’d rented an isolated thatched cottage with a beautiful garden and surrounded by huge mature ash trees, which were inhabited by red squirrels. My forays around the island included a boat trip, a visit to a lighthouse, castles, walks to spectacular viewpoints, remains of Roman villas (one with a gorgeous mosaic floor), Bronze Age burial mounds… and apart from a daily diary to remind me of what I did and saw, when and where, and dispatching one or two postcards, I wrote nothing.
Now, refreshed by the break and still enjoying glorious summer weather, I’m eager to get on with the writing again!