We came back and crashed for a few hours this afternoon. I have been reading Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, which is quite good, I will finish it tonight and then start on its sequel, The Da Vinci Code.
Zoe decided that she wanted to go out for a drive and hit a pub that I wanted to try. Before we left, Zoe picked up her international drivers license from AAA (Yes, for $25 you too can have an international drivers license!). I was informed that I would not be driving this trip. Something about her parents car being totaled and scaring the living hell out of her. Zoe's parents car is a manual transmission, so Zoe felt that if in the process of changing gears she was actually rolling the window down, I would most likely be driving the car off a cliff with the windshield wipers on. Zoe said it was like riding a bicycle and did great. Although she was worried about the distance on my side of the car (the left), she did really well.
We headed out and I tuned the radio to BBC Radio 1 (after 5 minutes of screwing with the radio of course). We drove for about 15 minutes up to a small pub at a place called Culver Downs. In World War II, this spot on the downs held artillery guns aimed towards France. This was one of the defensive points if England were to be attacked by Germany. It is also the spot where the cruise ships can be seen leaving Southampton and heading out to sea. This would have provided a view of the Titanic leaving with Leo, of Zoe's parents watching her sail off on the Queen Elizabeth II and of the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary II a few years ago. It has an amazing view that I will try and get some pictures of.
We nixed going to Culver and decided to head to a pub called The Solent Inn. The Solent Inn was the Isle of Wight's CAMRA pub of the year for the last two years. The pub is old and small. It is divided into two parts and we sat on the right. When I took this photo, my back was against the wall. It is that small. The pub won pub of the year because of their huge selection of real ale. A distinction well deserved. One of Zoe's concerns is that because these are small local pubs, that everyone knows immediately you are a stranger, especially when I speak. I think she was more concerned that my accent would be heard and the patrons would drag my body into the alley beating me to a pulp like I was an effigy of George Bush. I on the other hand felt perfectly at ease and simply wanted a nice pint. We didn't stay long as we learned it was Quiz Night and I am fairly certain that we would have bombed.
We decided to slide into a fish and chip shop and grab some quick takeaway. This is authentic fish and chips. Unlike Long John Silver, here you actually pick the type of fish you want. Yes, that is an actual piece of cod. Not some combination of four different types of white fish found in the Atlantic Ocean fashioned into some cruel type of triangle shape. Absolutey delicious.