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Saturday, 8th July 2006
Virginia and I have had a week on the Isle of Wight. I think she enjoyed it more than I did. We went and saw Osborne House where Queen Victoria liked hanging out. The excerpts from her diaries in various places made her seem almost like a normal person . . . the over-powering opulence and movie set nature of the place counter-acted that. For me the monarchy has had its day.

More pleasant was to visit places like Mottistone Manor which had an enchanting garden. Could have spent longer there - one flaw of the holiday was how much we seemed to be dashing from place to place, getting caught in traffic jams and road-works, rather than just being. There were walks I would have liked to do but it was a question of trying to do things together.

Saw the Needles. Here as elsewhere we went we seemed to be pursued by packs of school-children. Even Ventnor Botanical Gardens (pencilled in for a restful hour or two) was being used by a school party playing pirates with loud whoops and cries. There was a good exhibition at a Roman villa discovered near Brading (though hurried through by another school party.)
Two contrasting dinosaur sites - Dinosaur Isle with flash new building and animatronic dinosaur, Dinosaur Farm which was a farm building with unattractive mounds of material. Dinosaur Farm probably had more content, but Dinosaur Isle was better entertainment.

Again near Brading saw "Waltzing Waters" where water is fountained on a stage in time to music and musak. As a sop to drought areas of the world you can donate money into a well at the end.

I realised again how stressful family holidays are. You're out of the safety of an established routine, you don't know where things are, how to get to places, where to eat. It's hard work getting around. People liking different activities means compromise rather than whole-heartedly enjoyment, means disappointment to a greater or lesser extent. Getting away from it all is hard to do.