Escape to the island - just be careful of those paths

Of all the times to have a weekend away, doing it the week before Christmas surely makes no sense at all.

Wednesday, 21st December 2016, 6:01 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:10 pm
Alana Spencer and Lord Sugar

But sometimes you have to take time off from the melee and make a break for it.

You see it all the time on Instagram and Facebook, families and friends heading for warmer climes (or colder). I know people holidaying all over the globe, including St Petersburg in far-flung Russia. So what better time to escape – and where better than across the water?

That’s right, the Isle of the Wight. I love that place. the feel of stepping back in time, the architecture, the slightly tired air of grandeur, the enormous houses and the quiet country lanes.

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We stayed in St Lawrence on the south side, a stone’s throw (with a very long arm) from Ventnor, from where we could explore the rugged coastlines.

That coastal path though, that’s a tricky one. We walked between our manor – to which I was surely born – and a pub (like you do).

I was intrigued to see the path disappear over the cliff edge.

You wouldn’t want to be following that when you were drunk, or using a torch. If you weren’t paying attention you’d be tumbling down 60 feet and crashing on to the rocks below.

Perhaps that’s what happened to the dinosaurs at Blackgang Chine. Were they following the path when they slipped into the sea?

These coastal paths are a thing though. There’s the decision to be taken about whether a path is a path, and when one becomes a scramble.

Concrete, or finished walkways are, to my mind, paths. Steps made out of logs at bizarre heights, covered in leaves and caked in mud, make a scramble. Ducking under low branches on vertical inclines is a scramble. A route where you have to hang on to something else in order to get down/up the next part is a scramble.

Perhaps it’s because of the coastline that I live on in Gosport, the sanitised version with a promenade and people on bicycles, clumps of pedestrians and multiple scooters, that I’m spoilt for ease of paths.

But the island is still a beautiful resource we should all enjoy.


So finally the final of The Apprentice happened, accompanied by groans across the country each time team members opened their mouths to help with their not-so-great marketing and advertising advice.

But more than that, the groans rang out at our house as we wondered how it is that finalists have been through a rather lengthy process and not come up with a name for their company, or a logo or a unique selling point?

How can you ask for that much money and not know what you’re doing?

That said, I was very pleased that Alana won, purely because I liked her. The way she acted, the way she presented herself.

Which may be the wrong way to approach business – but it makes sense from the consumer perspective.


I won a very small and easy contest last week to have my name featured in a children’s story.

How? I was the first to comment in a post on Facebook. And budda bing, within an hour, the chapter – well, page – featuring me popped into my e-mail.

There’s a lot that’s right. Middle-aged woman, wearing a red dress (I used to have one of those), a little bit merry and clutching a bottle of wine.

It’s almost as if the author was working with a photograph of me. But there the familiarity ended as the character in this story is an accountant.

I’m not sure if I’d volunteer my name so readily for an adult novel, but with a children’s book you’re safe – except for working with figures.