The Ballards - Isle of Wight


In the middle of one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world lies the Isle of Wight.

They've offered to build a tunnel but the inhabitants don't want it: they wish to remain aloof from mainland affairs, to remain separate.

And as a result, like many of the islands around the English coastline it's England, Jim... but not quite as we know it; more like how you knew it when you were young.
So the traffic is lighter; you can walk down the roads; everything moves at a slightly slower pace, there are no motorways (actually the roads are like something out of an old Agatha Christie movie), there are no high-rise blocks and no one has split houses into flats and applied pseudo-Art Deco touches to them (like they have all over the rest of the South Coast).
Staggeringly, for such a small island the Isle of Wight has not one but two airfields: Bembridge and Sandown. Over the years they have vied with each other for the favours of the manufacturer of the island's most famous export, the Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.
For years this been manufactured and re-manufactured at Bembridge Airport, but following a spat between B-N and Bembridge's landowner they upped and moved to Sandown in early 2011.
Bembridge has re-opened under the auspices of the resident gliding club (and very friendly they are!) but it looks like the Capital investment has now moved to Sandown. This is Good news for both airfields, as the landowner at Bembridge has been taken down a peg or two and Sandown now has an assured future.