Across The Raging Sea
At the Long Stone

Little Egypt on the Isle of Wight
October 2011

"Would the weather be good? Would the beer be good? Would the hotel be good?”
These questions and more occupied the minds of the men and musicians as they eagerly anticipated this year's annual Little Egypt trip and this year's exotic venue, the Isle of Wight.

Friday 14 October and the coach arrived promptly, piloted by our Brummie driver and all round entertainer, Steve.
With everyone safely on board we crossed Ballingdon Bridge which marked the start of our long trip to Portsmouth.

 
Do I know this place?  Been here before, too. 

The gentle sound of crown corks being levered from bottles reassured us all that this was indeed a morris trip.
It was around 3 p.m. by the time we arrived at Portsmouth Harbour - just a short crossing and we'd soon be at our destination, the Channel View Hotel in Sandown.

 
Master and Commander  Manuel! 

Luggage was unloaded while Squire stood on the hotel steps hoping for a view of the sea.
He soon discovered that you had to be almost on the roof to achieve his aim.

 
I see no ships 

Keys were handed out and members of the group disappeared through various doors and up long and winding staircases in search of their rooms.
Some were large-ish, some were tiny (the rooms that is), some had baths, some had showers where you had to stand on one leg to turn around.

Still, we weren't planning to spend too much time in the hotel ...
and 20 minutes later most of us were in the nearby pub "The Castle" for some very decent beer.

 
I knew service was slow but this is silly  Just don't order any spirits 

Friday evening was eagerly anticipated because the deal was that there would be free drinks at the hotel bar. A polypin of ale had been ordered and was sitting on the bar all ready for our delight and pleasure. No brewers name was evident, and one taste of the stuff told us why.
It was horrible!
Large red wines all round then.
A D.J. & karaoke evening had been advertised and who should be the star of the floor show but our multi-talented coach driver Steve, who was variously Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and The Three Degrees among others.
Brian had a bash at an Elvis number while Hazel was, she really was, Shania Twain.
Squire and certain others were back in "The Castle".

 

Next morning, after a very pleasant Full English breakfast, it was all aboard the coach for a brief tour of the Island and a visit to The Needles which could be seen from a viewing platform behind an eight foot chain link fence.

 
First things first  Those white things, over there ... 

Squire took great interest in the "talking telescope" and was able to view the Needles in uncanny detail.

 
Don't point that thing at me, please  I tell you, it spoke to me 

Next stop was Mottistone Manor where "The Long Stone" was the main attraction, reached by a long walk up a wooded hillside.

 
Follow me, men  It's ok, I have an uncanny sense of direction 

At the top of the hill was what remained of a 6000 year old Neolithic long barrow with the Long Stone its centrepiece.
The perfect spot for our first dance of the trip -
but not before Squire's hazard assessment had pointed out the large number of cowpats all ready to sneak up and discolour our whites.

 
A perfect setting - but mind where you step 

Our lunchtime venue was the "Dairyman's Daughter" at Arreton where we met up with two of the Island's morris sides, the Oyster Girls and Guith Morris.
There was some fine dancing in glorious sunshine ending with a joint Sweet Jenny Jones with Guith Morris and the Special Molly with the Oyster Girls.
Add in some excellent ales from the island brewery Goddards and it was a most memorable and enjoyable occasion.

 
Oyster Girls  I like the cut of their jib 
 

Back at the hotel we were roundly chastised by the Head of Making-sure-everyone-does-as-they-are-told, because some members of the party were not ready for the obligatory 6.30 p.m. start of dinner.
The words "Fawlty Towers" sprung to many a lip.
Never mind, we weren't staying long because we were meeting up with local folk musicans and singers back at the Dairyman's Daughter for an evening of Going Ahead and Beer.
The men and musicians of Little Egypt contributed their turns to the evening's entertainment while the locals responded in kind.
A most wonderful way to end the second day of our trip.

 

Find out about the rest of our trip:



 
   
     
Page designed and maintained by Steve Clarke on behalf of the Morris Men of Little Egypt. - stephen.clarke06@btinternet.com - Steve Clarke 2011 - Photographs courtesy and Brian "Baggie" Stephens - 2011