ZELLA COMPTON: Fancy a cruise? Hop on the Gosport ferry

Perfect for a celebration cruise from Gosport                              Picture: Tony Weaver
Perfect for a celebration cruise from Gosport Picture: Tony Weaver

COMMENT: Wild campers in car park might make a difference

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I have on more than one occasion mentioned that the Gosport Ferry is expensive to cross the harbour and a lot more people would use it if it were cheaper.

But, last weekend, I thought it was absolutely brilliantly-priced.

My family spent five hours on a mini-cruise – not running back and forth across the harbour, but venturing down the Solent and into Southampton Water.

We did this as part of a celebration weekend in which a couple of big milestones were hit. These included my son making 18 (for which a Macarena moshpit took place in the kitchen with the wild partygoers, while the bunting-clad garden housed the family barbecue).

For my husband’s 50th I wanted to surprise him with something genteel that would ease him into the other side of the century with little physical effort and much consideration for the hangovers.

What could be more perfect than a Sunday afternoon cruise setting off from practically our doorstep?

Let me tell you, it was great. That is, once we’d got over the awkward moment of deciding where to sit as we were one of the last families to board and everyone was staking their claim for the starboard views. Family decisions taken with 100 eyes trained on you can be an uncomfortable experience, especially if there’s a disagreement in the offing.

It’s funny isn’t it, that you tend not to do much touristy stuff in your own area, and when you do you learn all sorts of things. Cruising along the shoreline past Stokes Bay and Lee, we heard interesting stories about the history of the area before turning towards Southampton.

Portsmouth Harbour is visually more welcoming than our rivals. We’ve got turrets and castles and the Spinnaker. Southampton’s got refineries and industrial gloom. But they do have cruise ships, which we toured under before following them as they departed and made their way down the Solent.

At a price less than £20 per adult, plus one child free with every adult ticket – the price was brilliant.

Maybe a trip on the Gosport Ferry isn’t the most glamorous way to celebrate a birthday, but sometimes it’s the simplest things, close to home, with your family that are the most treasured.

SITTING BESIDE OUR HARBOUR IS ONE OF THE TOP THINGS TO DO

My attention was caught by an article in a national newspaper about the 29 must-do things in Britain before you die.

I was intrigued to see how many I had clocked up already and discovered that it was a measly amount.

It seems that there are many a hill, mountain and valley that I have yet to explore.

I was also surprised at the number of countryside activities as opposed to buildings – with the Houses of Parliament, a royal residence (any) and the Tower being of the few constructed.

And, crucially missing, was visiting our dockyard and then sitting on the side of our awesome harbour watching the world go by.

That’s definitely one of the top ways of all to spend time in the UK.

COME ON JODIE – TAKE US BACK IN TIME TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Brilliant news, the next series of Doctor Who has a fresh young doctor once again.

As much as I love Peter Capaldi, in the end he never did quite work for me.

I was always waiting for the high-end explosion of Malcolm Tucker expletives.

Capaldi was too tightly controlled and Matt Smith too loose (and what pitiful lines he was given).

So now we have Jodie Whittaker to hopefully elevate the series about a time-travelling alien back to its resurrection hey-day.

My advice for the writers (like they’d care – ha!) is to stick to having awesome adventures, fast-paced, snappy and fun, rather than the thick moralising tone which has been plastered on so thick it’s like wading through do-goodery cement.