A Knight’s Tale (109: Ferry Across The Solent)

A 1968 Isle of Wight holiday featured in https://derrickjknight.com/2021/10/12/a-knights-tale-49-shanklin/

It will soon become clear why a day trip taken with Elizabeth, Rob, Adam, and Danni in the mid 1980s is somewhat hazy in my mind. In fact given the haziness of my mind on that occasion this is probably an accurate presentation. Jessica, Sam, Louisa, and I were spending a weekend with my sister and her family at The Firs, in Hampshire’s West End, when we decided to take a ferry trip to the island.

I woke in the morning feeling decidedly groggy and nevertheless, not prepared to put the kibosh on the day, insisted on continuing with the plan. It was probably on the journey over that, wrapped in a blanket I dozed in the bar downstairs – probably on the way back, too. All I remember is a quartet of children queuing to ask for money to feed the food and drink dispensing machines. Head buried beneath the blanket, I would stretch out an arm, on the end of which was a handful of coins. This was gradually stripped clean.

When we arrived wherever we found ourselves I staggered into the nearest churchyard, fell onto a generously proportioned gravestone, and slept soundly until the others returned from whence they had wandered.

We next stayed with our friends Sarah and Howard at Bembridge in August 2000. On their local beach

Jessica and Heidi towed Emily and Oliver in our dinghy;

Howard helped Jessica into their small yacht,

while Michael took over dinghy duties.

While there we took a trip to Sandownโ€™s Yaverland Beach. Is this a special stone Emily is displaying?

Jessica tows Emily and Oliver in the dinghy;

then Oliver romps on the sand with his Dad who rows him out to sea.

Although we now live so close to the Isle I have never visited it since.


  1. It sounds like you woke up feeling ill, and it was not from the ferry ride. Sleeping on a gravestone for the day does not sound good.

    The photos from that day contain so many sweet memories, including ones of two people who have passed on, Jessica and Michael. The camera was a wonderful invention. It doesn’t bring them back, but somehow it feels like one can still touch them.

  2. Goodness, Derrick, what we do for our kids. I can remember feeling like that on occasion but making the best of it. I’m glad that whatever ailed you was short-lived.

  3. Lavinia’s comment is so perceptive and empathetic.
    The photos are lovely. I was particularly taken with the one of Emily.
    The image of you sprawled asleep on a gravestone is vivid, even without a photo.

  4. Lavinia’s comment says it all. These photos are wonderful, Derrick but tug at the heart-strings, too. I am glad you recovered quickly from that bug.

  5. Oh, what a shame you missed their fun – thank goodness for photographs. You should take that ferry again.

  6. What a nice outing, save for your not feeling well. I have a problem with graveyards and would not be able to sleep on a tombstone but good for you that you were able to and sleep off whatever bug you had caught.

  7. The photo of Emily with the stone (?) is so adorable. Those dimples! And the series with Oliver and Michael (?) laughing and running in the waves is just great. What an outstanding capture of memories.

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