When I ask Zam what’s happening in the vineyard this week he tells me it’s all about waiting as he stares at his weather app looking for sunshine… prolonged sunshine, ideally until October.  There was no sign of any last week on a day in which the whole concept of waiting got thrown.

Our ticket for the Isle of Wight ferry said we must arrive an hour before departure. We arrive at 4.50.   The man in the booth checks our vehicle details, hands us a “6 o’clock” sign that we’re told to dangle from the mirror and directs us to lane 8 where we wait for our friends who are parking their car and then joining ours.  Within minutes another man directs us aboard.  We climb upstairs to the deck and wave at our friends sauntering towards us.

“Is that cruiser moving?” I ask, gawping at the size of the liner next door. “No.” Zam replies, “We’re moving.” 

“Is that cruiser moving?” I ask, gawping at the size of the liner next door. “No.” Zam replies, “We’re moving.”  To our astonishment our 6 o’clock ferry is leaving at 5 o’clock.  Our friends stop waving as they watch us depart.


Several phone calls and a foot passenger ferry later, we are reunited on either side of Cowes, none of us quite sure what just happened.  We head to the pub we’ve booked and eat fish and chips accompanied by a blistering 80’s soundtrack that reaches it’s peak with “I love rock n roll” before an early bed in preparation for an 8 a.m start.

The plan is a long walk, lunch, a return ferry at 5.30pm.  But as we sip coffee and stare out of the window we amend the plan.   We visit “Britain’s Hottest Garden” where we stand in the hothouse listening to rain hit the roof, we admire the countryside through the windscreen wipers, we buy paracetamol for backs that didn’t like the pub beds. We feel very unlike people who were planning to walk for 10 miles and more like people who want to sip from a thermos in their car looking at the view.  Except we don’t have a thermos. 

“Shall we go home earlier?” I’m not sure who first suggests this but it lands to a universal yes.  We head back to the ferry at midday.  “But you’re on the 5.30 ferry” the woman in the booth tells us.  We know, but we also know that yesterday it seemed to be like catching a bus so any chance of an earlier crossing? She shakes her head.  “All fully booked” she says.  We cannot find anywhere to eat because everyone else is already eating so we decide to buy a picnic at the supermarket and eat in the car. Zam approaches the ferry lady again.  Some time later he reappears saying triumphantly “I got us on the 3.30,” waving the thing you dangle on your mirror.


We are directed to lane 1 where I begin to butter rolls on my lap and a bottle of Chardonnay is opened. We’ve got crabmeat. Bliss.  A nice long picnic in the car in the rain.

And then it happens again.  Seconds later we’re waved on to the ferry which promptly departs. It is 2.30. 

“How was it?” I’m asked on the family WhatsApp.  “Confusing” I reply. “You sort of never wait for a ferry.”  Either that or the Isle of Wight is an hour ahead.