Finally conquering the Good Beer Guide meant cramming in ferries or flights to a dozen or more offshore Guide territories, and meticulous planning. And huge amounts of luck with opening hours, Covid closures and transport strikes.

The Isle of Wight is one of the easier offshore chapters, and also one of the easier to get pubs out of for blog titles,

but I’d failed to complete on four earlier raids over 20 years, and the threat of industrial action loomed large as I headed to Southampton at 5 (five) am for an early morning passenger ferry to East Cowes, the Kessingland of the South.

The 12 item breakfast on board the Red Funnel is one of life’s unwise joys, though The Queue rivalled you-know-what.

Ten minutes wait at Waitrose and I was on my way to Niton via Newport.

Regular readers, those of you with too much time on their hands, will know of my hatred of Southern Vectis buses.

So let it be written that I didn’t feel too bad at all on the route past Blackgang Chine, and really appreciated the little phone charging sockets.

I’d phoned No. 7 (formerly Joe’s) three times to confirm they’d be open, and each time with an unspoken dread.

You see, a couple had selfishly booked their wedding for the day of my visit, and despite assurances that the snug bar was still open,

I never felt that relief of the tick till the Butcombe was poured.

It’s a small bar, most folk seemed there for coffee and cake.

Bob was there for a greetings card.

Can you write the card for me ?”

What do you want it to say, Bob ?”

Lots of, Bob

Lots of love ?”

No, just lots OF Bob

Moreb poignancy in that 20 second exchange than a whole night’s BBC.

In truth, the Butcombe was the epitome of 2.5, but the garden was gorgeous,

and I had a chat with an abandoned Pub Ticker mascot.

Sadly, I was too young to have a go on the bouncy castle.

Nice place, but I really ought to have revisited the other GBG regular across the road for you.

Sadly, in 2022 you take every bus you see; the next one due might be cancelled. And NO-ONE wants to be left stranded in Newport (IoW) overnight. Even BRAPA.


    1. My sole visit to the Isle of Wight, was during the summer of ’69, and just happened to coincide with Mr Dylan’s first concert appearance at the IOW Festival. This followed the motorcycle accident, he may, or may not have had, close to his Woodstock home.

      I was 14 years old at the time, and was visiting the island as part of the youth group I was a member of. In charge was our local vicar, who was quite a character, but not so much to allow those of us he was responsible for, to attend a rock festival.

      Happy times though, and carefree as well, and too young really to have missed the significance of Bob Dylan’s comeback performance. 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So disappointed that you didn’t abscond from your “youth group” to see Dylan and the rest and drink a gallon of Fremlins or whatever before returning to your sleeping bag.

        I have no idea what you’d make of Wight, Paul, as I don’t know what to think either.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Also being 14 at the time I, too, was oblivious to the significance of the concert. Instead I was listening to my parents discuss unimportant political and other social topics occurring at the time.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. T’other Paul,
        No rock festival but a few pubs ?
        My first visit to the Isle of Wight was a couple of hours on 10th July 1974, arrived at Ryde, drank Burts in the Stag at Lake and departed Yarmouth, hitchhiking, Patchem the previous night Litton Cheney the next.
        My other visit to the Isle of Wight was a week with friends from school camping at Niton during the summer of 1978.


      1. The Southern Vectis bus commentary wouldn’t tell fibs to the gullible tourists, would it?

        And wiki makes the same claim, so it must be true.

        Liked by 1 person

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