Our thanks to Wendy Varley for this look back over the last year. Ed
Sometimes it’s easy to forget what a wonderful island we live on and how much it has to offer. Here, in no particular order, are five things I’ve appreciated on the Isle of Wight in 2013:
Dinosaur Island App Trail
Six “meteorites” sprang up around the Island’s coastal paths this year, making it possible to feature a dinosaur in your holiday snaps. They spurred my video-game-crazy son and my nephews to get up off the sofa and head out with us during the summer, and again over Christmas, ticking them off their list. It has never been easier to get them to agree to a Boxing Day walk.
Top marks to Visit Isle of Wight for this initiative!
Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival
If you’d told me when I first moved to the Island in 1998 that in the next decade or so many of the best rock and pop acts in the world would play right here on my doorstep, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Thank you John Giddings, and Rob and Josie da Bank, for bringing to our Island (not all in 2013, admittedly!) David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Muse, REM, Pet Shop Boys, The Who, Elton John, Amy Winehouse, Florence and the Machine, Kraftwerk, The Killers and far too many others to list. Also for giving lots of Island music talent a chance to shine on the smaller stages alongside.
Matt and Cat’s Dining Club
Each month Isle of Wight food reviewers Matt and Cat invite one of their favourite Island eateries to host their dining club. It’s a chance to meet new people and try out a menu you might not have encountered before.
2013’s venues included Ventnor Botanic Garden Café, the Pond Café, The George Hotel, the Needles Battery tea room and Lakeside in Wootton. The most unusual bespoke menu was from the Chocolate Apothecary in Ryde, which served up a delicious chocolate chilli con carne – or veg equivalent – and a post-dessert of salty dark chocolate slab alongside tangy blue cheese. Surprisingly delicious.
Youth music, dance and drama
The quality of the arts in many of our schools and out-of-school clubs continues to be superb. If there was a league table for this, I bet the Isle of Wight would come near the top.
The Isle of Wight Music Service did sterling work in 2013 through its peripatetic lessons in schools and Saturday morning Music Centre bands and orchestras. The Isle of Wight Youth Concert Band is also exceptionally good.
We’ve got excellent dance schools on the Island. And the school productions I’ve seen this year have been wonderful (special mention to Medina College’s production of Miss Saigon, which was the most ambitious and accomplished student show I’ve seen to date).
It’s been good to see so many people on this Island give up their time to support local charities this year. I support Independent Arts by volunteering my time as a trustee, and find it genuinely worthwhile. If you’ve ever thought about helping out a charity but haven’t acted on it, make that step in 2014.
What have been your favourite things in 2013? Please do share what’s been good about the Isle of Wight this year for you. And Happy New Year!