Our friends Tim and Sarah bought a second home in Cowes on the Isle of Wight last summer and this was our first visit to see it. Sarah was brought up on the island and has always had a bit of a hankering to go back there.
For us getting there was remarkably easy - a fast service from Waterloo to Southampton, a shuttle bus to the Red Jet ferry, a 25 minute crossing and a five minute walk to Tim and Sarah's house.
Their black Labrador (wittily named Zinzan) is extravagantly friendly, he wags his tail so enthusiastically he bangs walls, furniture legs, etc with a real thump that made me laugh.
We might normally have done a load of walking but Mary's bunion was still on the mend. Instead we were chauffeured around to see the sights including the surprise hit of the weekend - Brading Roman Villa.
It was so quiet that we got a personal guided tour from not one but two of the volunteer guides who had, as it turned out, actually participated in the most recent excavations. Two hours of fascinating, information packed exposition - we learned so much more than we would have got simply reading the labels.
Sunday we drove round the western half of the island including a stop at Newtown to look at the Town Hall and the Nature Reserve.
Pub lunch and then home but we'll be back and next time, with Mary's foot better, we will do some serious walking.
Full set of photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markmclellan/sets/72157629067099487/