Journey to the Isle of Wight

There seems to be something terribly English about the journey to the Isle of Wight. The train from Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour is mercifully now upgraded stock with air-conditioning but the changes en route are still much as they have been for decades. Starting out, there is a view of the Houses of Parliament, followed quickly by ugly and dilapidated inner-city industrial buildings (brightened up a bit by the imposing MI6 building.) There is a trawl through increasingly well-kept suburbia and then a long haul through countryside punctured only by places like Haslemere and Havant. Finally, Portsmouth passes by with suburbs, industry, tower-blocks and then the harbour in quick succession. Just outside the station is this magnificent vessel:

In the distance, there is the naval part of the harbour. To be honest, the weather was not good for photographs, being impossibly hazy. However it did show quite neatly the camoulflage effect of battleship grey.

I first went to the Isle of Wight on a family holiday when I was seven. I remember it as a very happy fortnight spent with my brothers, sisters and cousins. In those days, I think the crossing was by steamer. Now it is by catermeran. The alternative is to go by small hovercraft which I must try one day but there is no easy link with the station. (Mind you, it must be easy enough to get a taxi.)

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