A Day On The Isle Of Wight

A couple of weeks ago it was decided that we, and our Ozzy rellies, would take a trip across to the Isle of Wight. The most flexible way is to take your own car across on the ferry, rather than rely on public transport on either side of the Solent.

Travelling into Pompey around morning peak traffic times is always a bit like a toss of the dice. Albeit late, we eventually made it to the Wightlink ferry port. Luckily, for us, our ferry was late arriving. Apparently this was due to the low tide meaning the ferry had to take a slightly longer route across the Solent. Once loaded aboard, we made our way up to the lounge, where we had hot chocolate and toasties for breakfast. I also took the opportunity for a couple of snaps.

The following pictures show the scene around the ferry.

In the background, above the fishing boats, you can see Viviers Fish Market. They are the suppliers of some truly scrumptious fresh fish. Proof is, as they say, in the tasting and we have recently had some superb Halibut, a couple of Bream and a couple of dressed crab.

Land Rover BAR Team home

The bland looking building is the Land Rover BAR building.  Having now seen it several times, I’m still not sure about the design. It looks like they are waiting for the wrapping to be fully removed, to expose its true shape.

The ferry was soon underway and after a short voyage, arrived at Fishbourne. We disembarked and made our way to our first destination, Osborne House.

Osborne House is a former royal residence, built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, as a summer home and retreat. Now under the care of English Heritage, both the house and grounds are made available to the public. A few pictures are posted below.

Unfortunately, due to filming of a new drama about Victoria and her indian servant, the fabulous Durbar Room was not available for viewing. In addition, photography was prohibited in other rooms as they were dressed for filming. Apparently, any images would be copyright, because the film company had installed some of their own furniture.

After touring the house, we had a pleasant lunch in the Terrace Restaurant and Orangery. Suitably refueled we headed down to the Swiss Cottage

Set For High Tea – Swiss Cottage, Osborne House

and on to the sea-shore via the Rhododendron Walk, dotted along which there are a variety of carved animals and birds.

Queen Victoria had her own “Bathing Machine” in which she would get changed. The “machine” would be run into the sea and she would descend the steps into the bracing waters of the Solent. Also on the beach at Osborne is a decorated “alcove” which during our visit gave shelter from the brisk breeze blowing in off the sea.

Returning to the house we spent some time, and of course money, in the gift shop.

From Osborne House we headed off to view  The Needles, a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight. They are also home to The Needles Lighthouse built on the western most stack.

The Needles – Isle of Wight

An unusual sight was this, apparently tame, fox being enticed to feed.

Tame Fox ? – Isle of Wight

Not sure about the fashion statement this guy is making.

It was soon time for us to think about a spot of dinner before travelling back to the mainland. We had already decided to head to a regular haunt of ours, The Folly Inn.

The Folly is a rustic pub perched on the banks of the River Medina, just up the river from Cowes in Whippingham. They serve good food, good beer, are friendly and provide a great location to chill and watch the yachty world go by.


Suitably replete, we headed back to Fishbourne for our ferry ride back to Portsmouth. With the autumnal evenings drawing in we were welcomed back to harbour by the Spinnaker Tower.

Spinnaker Tower – Portsmouth

Driving out of Pompey was a lot easier than our rush hour entry. We were soon home and relaxing with a nice cup of tea.

Two Rocks

Took a run out to a place called Two Rocks on Friday, travelling via Osbourne Park where our granddaughter was buying some uniform items for her new job which she starts on Monday.

Why go to Two Rocks ?

Well for no other reason that it is further up the coast than we had been before without having to have an overnight stop. I had also read about a large statue to King Neptune which had been, at one time, a feature of a now defunct theme park. I thought it would be interesting to drive up, take a look and perhaps have a spot of lunch. If we could find an eatery.

King Neptune - Courtesy
King Neptune – Courtesy

And so, uniform items purchased, we found ourselves trundling along the country roads leading to Yanchep and Two Rocks. Once you clear the Perth suburbs the driving becomes quite calm and the scenery is pleasant, swapping between woodland bordering the edge of the road and scrubby bushland with stark dead trees silhouetted against the clear blue skies.

Nearer to Two Rocks the bushland gave way to what looked like grassy hummocks. Initially I though these lumps were just piles of spoil left by local property developers. However, there are so many of them that I now believe them to be naturally produced sand dunes.

Despite being around an hours drive away from Perth there seems to be quite a lot of residential development underway. A large hoarding proclaimed that a plot of land can be had for 139,000 AUD. Slightly nearer to Two Rocks and another had jacked the price up to 195,000 AUD. So once you have your plot, all you have to do is build your house.

On arriving at Two Rocks we were immediately struck by how much like a ghost town the place was. A, very large, car park supports a small shopping centre. And I mean small. There several empty units. And those that were occupied comprised a small supermarket, cafe, tavern, hairdresser, travel agent, newsagent/post office, curry house and an arts and crafts gallery.

All of this is perched on a rise looking down on the Two Rocks Marina and the ocean. The Neptune statue can be seen from the shopping centre but appeared to be fenced off with no access. I had read that the statue had been vandalised but recently refurbished and reopened to the public in May. Seems like he’s been segregated again.

Catching some rays while waiting for our Chish n Fips

We did stay to have lunch at the Neptune Cafe. Fish and Chips all round with a chilled Ice Tea for Gerry, Chocolate Milk Shake for Caitlin and an Iced Coffee for me. All served on the terrace overlooking the marina and out over the ocean. The fish served here were perhaps the smallest fillets I have seen since being in Oz. However, this being lunch, they were adequate and well cooked. Each supported by a large basket of chips and a bowl of tartare sauce. With taste buds suitable enhanced by the salt sea air our appetites were truly satisfied.

Two Rocks Marina
Two Rocks Marina – Viewed from the terrace

It was very windy and the ocean, blue as always, was flat but speckled with whole herds of white horses. This terrace would be ideal for sitting out with a cool drink, in the evenings, to watch an Indian Ocean sunset.

Two Rocks - After which the town is named
Two Rocks – After which the town is named

Off to one side, in an out-of-the-way corner of this little community, there are a number of limestone creations known as “The Waugal Monoliths” created by WA sculptor, Mark le Buse.

Sculpture - The Waugal Monoliths
Sculpture – The Waugal Monoliths

The photo above is perhaps one of the better examples. The sculptures are supposed to be a depiction and interpretation of aboriginal Dreamtime legends.

Sculpture - The Waugal Monoliths
Sculpture – The Waugal Monoliths

No idea what this is supposed to represent. The sculptor hailed from the USA. You would have thought that they could have found an aboriginal artist.

The Waugal - An antipodean Nessie perhaps
The Waugal – An antipodean Nessie perhaps

The following was taken from an information board near this sculpture….

Waugal Monoliths Legend

The Waugals, legendary spirits with supernatural powers living deep within the Yanchep waters for thousands of years, featured in mythical rites and were regarded with fear and awe by the local natives.

Aboriginal folklore handed down for generations tells how the waugal dragged its victims down into the depths of the lake to imprison them there forever.

After this cultural break we headed back to Perth, making a brief stop at Drovers Marketplace, Wanneroo, to pick up some meat for dinner. They do good meat here.

I was also put under great pressure to stop at  Leapfrogs Cafe. Leapfrogs is situated in the Wanneroo Botanic Gardens on the shores of lake Joondalup and features a mini-golf garden.  We had been here before on a previous visit to Oz and it is the mini golf that was the major draw but, due to time constraints, a visit here had to be deferred.

A re-visit is on the to-do list and there is an open challenge from Caitlin, Steve and Denise.



Bussleton Jetty

Bussleton Jetty

Bussleton Jetty, 1.8Km long. 2nd longest wood jetty in the world. Has the UWO (Under Water Observatory) at the end where you can go below to see the various fish and other creatures on the sea bed and also on the jetty pilings. Some interesting plaques to read along the way. Well worth the long walk although there is a train which was in for maintenance the day we visited.

Frankenfish – Say No To Genetically Modified Salmon

I recently received the following by email and have re-posted here in its entirety.

Many of us have concerns about GM foods and the lack of testing or understanding of the impacts on both the wild salmon populations or the consumer is probably the most worrying issue.

Please take the time to read this and also take a look at some of the additional links below. If you agree with me, that this must be stopped until all issues are properly understood, please follow the link and sign the petition.

Dear friends,

The US is about to treat the world to the first genetically modified meat: a mutant salmon that could wipe out wild salmon populations and threaten human health. Unless we stop it, this Frankenfish could open the floodgates for biotech meat around the world. Click below to build 1 million voices to stop it:

The US is about to treat the world to the first genetically modified meat: a mutant salmon that could wipe out wild salmon populations and threaten human health — but we can stop it now before our plates are filled with suspicious Frankenfish.

The new fake salmon grows twice as fast as the real one, and not even scientists know its long-term health effects. Yet it’s about to be declared safe for us to eat, based on studies paid for by the company that created the GMO creature! Luckily, the US is legally required to consider public opinion before deciding. A growing coalition of consumers, environmentalists, and fishermen is calling on the government to trash this fishy deal. Let’s urgently build an avalanche of global support to help them win.

The consultation is happening right now and we have a real chance to keep mutant fish off the menu. Sign to stop Frankenfish and share widely — when we reach 1 million, our call will be officially submitted to the public consultation:


The company that developed the Frankenfish altered the DNA of the salmon to create a fish that would grow at lightning speed, year-round. Not only do we not understand its long-term health effects, if a few of them or their eggs reached the wild, these super-salmon could decimate entire wild salmon populations. Worse, once they hit supermarkets, we won’t be able to tell apart Frankenfish and real salmon, so there won’t be a way to avoid it!

The biotech industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying governments to approve its GM crops. Frankenfish is their next million dollar baby — it could open the floodgates for other transgenic meats. But the US government will consider public opinion before it makes its final decision — if we can stun them with a giant global opposition when they least expect it, we can stop this reckless deal.

Frankenfish is on the verge of being approved — let’s make sure biotech companies don’t decide what we eat. Help build one million voices to stop the mutant fish:


Avaaz members have come together to protect the natural world and our food system from dangerous meddling. In 2010, over 1 million of us spoke out against genetically modified food in Europe. Let’s come together again to stop Frankenfish.

With hope,

Jamie, Nick, Emma, Dalia, Emily, Paul, Ricken, Wen-Hua and the whole Avaaz team


Engineered Fish Moves a Step Closer to Approval (NY Times)

GM salmon: FDA’s assessment of environmental risks (LA Times)

Genetically Modified Animals (Women’s Health Magazine)

Protect our waters from GE Salmon (Center for Food Safety)

Below the Surface: The Dangers of Genetically Engineered Salmon (Food & Water Watch)

Genetically Engineered Salmon (Ocean Conservancy)

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