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Didn’t I tell you that East Cowes is an amazing place on the eastern (surprise surprise) side of the Medina River as it passes through Cowes to Newport our county town. East Cowes’ fame is right royal since Queen Victoria and Prince Albert lived here for many years in Osborne House, and their friends lived in Barton Manor and Albert Cottage and other places round the town. Victoria’s Russian connections lived there too, thus the Romanov memorial in the Jubilee Recreation Ground on the way down to the ferry.


As you know East Cowes is famous for its ferry to Southampton where the islands food and supplies come from at night and all the grockles come over during the day. It is also famous for its distortion of the English language for words like ‘floating bridge’ and ‘regular’ and ‘operating’. They are right sometimes and then is great fun to be pulled across the Medina.

The views round East Cowes are great. Coming down the hill towards the ferry you look over the roofs over to Cowes and the white houses rising on the hill look just like a Mediterranean resort, even when it is cold, as long as the sun is shining, and rain is light. The other interesting views are as you arrive on the ferry.

You see a numbers of wharfs with histories going back a hundred years as you sail in. All sorts of ships have been built in East Cowes, as well and the world’s largest seaplane, the Saunders Roe Princess. You can see the Columbine Building where it was built since the biggest Union Jack in the world was painted on the front and it now houses the Classic Boat Museum.

It’s sad that they only built three Princesses, only flew one, and then they were scrapped. The argument was that most countries had an area of water large enough for a seaplane to land on, but countries wanted an airport like Heathrow, Charles De Gaul or Brandenburg near their capitals, and so the idea of a seaplane was shelved.

The other thing you might notice as you look over the river to the Hammer Head Crane, is that the harbour is cluttered up with sailing boats. Hundreds of them and of course the annual Cowes festival brings in even more from all over the place. All wanting to tie up. There is a tide on the Medina, but it doesn’t drop as low as it does in Newport, so boating and ferries aren’t stopped even at the neap tides.

So there you are, that’s Royal East Cowes as far as I see it.

Gosheroo!! When I drive my pantechnicon off the ferry I only rush off to Ryde, trying to keep out of everyone’s way. I’m not aware of any of that as I drive through. Though I have seen the union Jack on the Columbine Building, not that I knew that’s what it’s called. Who’d ‘ave thought it.

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