ISLE OF WIGHT 2012
What a fabulous four days we've just had. 48 of us headed off early on Friday 2nd March, destination Sandown, Isle of Wight. We were greeted outside the Bronze Club by Keith our Driver who stayed with us the whole trip and did a marvelous job. After just a couple of pick up points it was off on the motorway. Beautiful sunny skies were with us most of the way even though the forecast had been for thick fog. Keith had a surprise for us when he diverted off the route and took us to see 'Downton Abbey' - a great time for us to take a few photos albeit a little misty. Onwards to Portsmouth to meet the Ferry. We actually arrived early, but due to the thick fog in the Solent sailing was delayed. Nevertheless we managed to get on the 2.30 crossing - a bit choppy - but we all 'survived'. The mist had cleared on our way to the hotel and those who hadn't been to Sandown before I think were pleasantly surprised at the location of the hotel - right on the front overlooking the beautiful bay.
After light refreshments it was off to our rooms, many with balconies - warm cosy and comfortable with cleanliness to an excellent standard. It was unusual for us to be in a hotel with several other coach trips, nevertheless it had a nice friendly atmosphere. All our meals were served to us and were of a good standard with plenty to eat, nothing seemed too much trouble for the waiting on staff and they certainly did work well to feed the amount of people there.
After our meal on Friday the hotel put on a short bingo session - it was nice to see our party winning - then afterwards we put on our linedance music and danced till it was time for bed.
Keith (our driver) informed us that Broadcaster were playing at the Trouville next door, on Saturday night and they would be happy for us to go along. Many did go for the linedancing and on Sunday as Natalie was there many more ventured to the Trouville (a hotel we had stayed at several times). Quite alot of us stayed in the Carlton and also had a thoroughly entertaining night, dancing the night away to the entertainment provided.
The weather Saturday was beautiful so we opted for a full day trip around the island to different locations - first stop, The Pearl Factory, then Allum Bay to see the Needles, through Yarmouth to Cowes for lunch then on to Godshill to see the beautiful thatched cotages - although we had been before there were a few changes as one of the thatchs had burned down and the 'kangaroo' was missing. The Griffin (pub) was still the same and several of us had to call in as all the sightseeing was thirsty work. Then it was back to the hotel for a quick change ready for evening meal.
Sunday morning was our linedance workshop time - A very big thank you to Graham Morgan who taught us 3 lovely dances. With the weather turning quite cold and heavy rain the workshop was full and it was nice to see several people from the other coaches join in. Afternoon time was 'do your own thing' time - Several went off to the local Social Club to watch a match, others went to Osbourne House or shopping.
A group of us did the walk from Sandown to Shanklin, then onto Old Shanklin to see the lovely thatched pubs and of course we couldn't have left there without sampling the local beverages, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Thankfully the rain had stopped and lovely blue skies followed. Then alas it was time to venture back and get ready for the evening meal. We did actually cheat here and got the bus !!!
I must say it was a brilliant weekend - everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves doing just what they wanted whether it be dancing, shopping, sightseeing or generally relaxing, that's what the holiday was all about.
Everyone has said they'd like to go on next years trip, that's even before they know where we're going, but as always they will get offered it first.
A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you from BIll and myself for the VERY generous gift you gave us- we are so gratefull, but it is all of you that make the trip such fun and such a pleasure.
LETS ALL LOOK FORWARD TO 2013.
Lots more photos to follow.