Welcome to the Autumn 2008 On-Line Edition of
Waterlooville's Parish Magazine
St George's News

A Wight Welcome

Kinsfolk of Rod and Barbara - June and Mark who live in Barbados, came to this country for a holiday. They expressed a wish, whilst here, to go to the Isle of Wight. This was arranged accordingly and a most interesting and entertaining time was had there. The island compares well in size with Barbados, though shaped as a rough lozenge rather than a pear. June and Mark worship in St Lawrence Parish Church near where they live and were keen to compare it with that of the same name on the Isle. At the conclusion of their stay in this country they attended the Eucharist service at St George’s.

Among the marvellous activities and events of their Island holiday were the following:

• A visit to the Royal Church of St Mildred at Whippingham, learning much of its history and of the considerable artistic and architectural work therein. This was followed by a tour of Osborne, Queen Victoria’s favourite residence, including the world-famous Durbar Room.

• Examination of the old Parish Church of St Lawrence, said to be the smallest in the Queen’s dominions, and which has an unbroken line of Rectors from AD1201. This was compared with the Victorian Church nearby, which had lovely stained glass inside, by Burne Jones, William Morris, Ford Madox Brown and others.

• An exciting trip to Freshwater, Alum Bay and the Needles. Rod was the only one to venture on a boat to get close at hand to the Lighthouse at the end. They all learned of Black Knight rocket testing (when Great Britain was in advance of all other countries in missile technology), Black Arrow (which launched Britain’s Prospero satellite into orbit), and the secret tunnels under the Needles Battery for defence of the Realm. The current Rector of St John’s in Rowlands Castle (where Barbara worships) later told of his work on Black Arrow - when he was pursuing his former occupation.

• Accommodation on a working farm in the Rew Valley, between Wroxall and Ventnor.

Of course, Rod could not resist writing a poem about it! The group did all the touristy things, visiting Pearl, the Studio Glass workshop, lifting off from the multicoloured sand at Alum Bay by cable car and sampling the seaside delights of this, the Isle of Enchantment. These are the rhyming couplets:

Ave Vectis!

From old Gunwharf ferried we in weather dark and spirits bright -
To Fishbourne jetty in th’ enchanted and favoured Isle of Wight.

In Victoria’s Royal Peculiar Church at Whippingham St Mildred’s, we learned
Of Battenberg Prince Henry, and of starving Hessian soldiers perishing - the islanders unconcerned.

Thence to Osborne, palace of opulence in Italianate style,
With delightful artistic wonders, and where we terrace-dined the afternoon awhile.

Our happy resting-place in farmland we had no cause to Rew.
A little span from Wroxall, the vale and downs to view.

Eight centuries old St Lawrence church (the smallest in our dominions we were told)
Compared well with later church, Burne-Jones and Morris stained glass, but mere Victorian Old.

A lighthouse and studio glass-blowing gave us pleasure, on the way
To Pearl (Lao Tze’s great wonder) and Freshwater on that day.

From multicoloured sandline, a lift by high-flying cable car,
Yet those ashore (not White Rose floating Rod) espied Wight’s needles from afar.

Westwards at Battery fortified high on cliffs, to guard our right
To safety from the foe, by guns, searchlights and Black Knight.

Companioned with hiefer-curious, dined at highpoint meadow (fish supper) in Boniface Down,
Greatly above the zig-zag and cliff-hung landslid Ventnor town.

To quaint Godshill and Shanklin trinket kitsch we cottage thatching wandered there
As tourists, taking our ease in tearooms welcome and most fair.

At Ryde and Seaview strolled we to enjoy the picture scene
Of yachts and other vessels regatted on a sea serene.

Vale Vectis!

Rod Dawson

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