Holiday: Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight – Day 1

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10.07am: It’s just after 10am and our journey begins! We’ve got ‘Robert‘, our EV, fully charged with 245 miles of range, and we plan to get to our first stop by lunchtime. With our overseas foreign travel on the back-burner, we’re taking time to visit – and revisit – places on our doorstep (ish).

Our first stop will be Portsmouth for a few days and then on to the Isle of Wight.

But before Portsmouth, we’re using our journey south to catch up with long-time friends, Ian and Sharon in Worthing. Ordinarily, this would be a straightforward (albeit a long) journey, but we’re having to time it carefully because the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed is happening at the same time – and that’s guaranteed to cause traffic chaos and congestion within a large radius of our destination.

12.56pm: Our first stop was 141 miles later – the Motorway Services area at Pease Pottage – for a top-up of electricity.

With Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen looking on with a smug expression on his face (did he know something we didn’t???) we arrived just before 1pm after a typical Friday round the M25. We’d experienced a few traffic jams en-route and these had added about 25 minutes to our journey. I’d quite forgotten how busy the roads, and in particular, the infamous M25, can get these days!!! 😮😮

As we pulled up alongside the Ecotricity Charger, the situation, like us, ‘went south’! Ecotricity were one of the first to install Chargers at Motorway Services and as a result, their machinery is now pretty old and somewhat unloved. We, therefore, didn’t expect a smooth experience!

How true!!! 😮 Smooth it WASN’T… although there was a happy ending!

First, their App didn’t work, so I couldn’t sign-in to initiate a charge. Then, just as I was about to call their helpline, a fellow EV owner on one of the adjacent charging bays commented that the Charger was now dishing out electricity for FREE!. I still couldn’t get the App to work, but it turned out that it wasn’t needed – and the electrons flowed!!! 😁 ‘Every cloud’… and all that!

Whilst the eNIro charged, we did too, as we tucked into our packed lunch. Forty-five minutes later, we were ready to go, courtesy of Ecotricity’s generosity! The next stop, with plenty of time to spare, was Shoreham Fort

Shoreham Fort

2.35pm: We arrived at Shoreham Fort and their small adjacent car-park (that was also being used to teach novice learner drivers how to park!) We parked well away from the ‘L plates’!! The Fort was built in 1857 as part of our defences against Napolean III. There’s not an awful lot to see, but if you’re into old Forts, then this is a worthwhile visit as there is a fair amount that has been preserved. For casual visitors like me, it just looked a bit plain.

Still, at least there was a nice walk along the sea-front – where we saw some very expensive properties! We later learned that many were valued at over £1m! Kerchinnng! 😮 Next stop, Worthing town!

3.45pm: An hour-or-so later, we were in Worthing. We parked in the multi-storey car-park near M&S and took a quick walk around the shops. In places, it looked quite sad (since the demise of Debenhams and House of Fraser) but in other parts, it had a real buzz about it. The good weather had certainly brought out the locals – and the shops, especially the eateries, were experiencing an enthusiastic level of business!! 😃

Like many towns and cities, Worthing had even installed a ‘big wheel’ 👍 No-one on it though!

4.00pm: We dropped into Whibley’s, the local family-run Jewellers, to have a look at their wares! If what they had in their window was just a sample of what they had inside (and it was!), it was very impressive – I’ve never seen such a range of stones! It was all very tempting! 😁

5.00pm: We then took a walk along the seafront, soaking up the excellent weather – and ice-cream!! 👍👍 A ’99’ for Ann and a Wall’s Feast for me!

5.30pm: A lovely day!!! We finished our seafront-soiree with a wander along the Pier.

6.10pm: We arrived at Indigo Seafood Restaurant (located in the Ardington Hotel) just before 6.15, a few minutes ahead of Ian and Sharon. It was our first visit, and it didn’t disappoint!

If the food was good (which it most certainly was!), the service was even better! They were very attentive, without being too ‘in-your-face’ and we wanted for nothing. Highly recommended if you’re in this neck of the woods!

We haven’t seen Ian and Sharon for a couple of years (September, 2018 actually) and it was good to have time to natter and catch-up with all their news. We briefly saw Brandon too.

8.45pm: We’d eaten all we could eat, and we agreed a return visit is on the cards for next time – a great experience in every way! It was so good to see a restaurant thriving, especially during these COVID-times. We headed back to Robert and back on the A27 for the final 45 miles to the Holiday Inn in Fareham.

10.00pm: We were both pretty tired by now, but the straightforward journey to our final destination for today passed quickly. Our technology challenges weren’t over for the day though!!! 😒 On arrival at the hotel, we immediately noticed that their single BP Pulse EV Charger was in a permanent state of resetting itself – for the technophobic, that’s NOT a good sign! And if Ecotricity isn’t known for its customer service, BP Pulse, in my experience, comes a close second! The wait time on the phone to get some assistance was close to 30 minutes – and it didn’t help that the hotel had given us a room that didn’t match what we’d booked. Once I got through to BP Pulse, the advice was swift and accurate. After a bit of fiddling at my end with the emergency stop button – all was right in the (EV) world. We love our EV, but the charging infrastructure still feels, like Ann’s ’99’, a bit flaky! 😒

11.20pm: Eventually, everything got sorted, but it was the wrong end of the day for me when we eventually ‘hit the pillow’ with the car finally charging and the room changed (and me feeling like Victor Meldrew!!! 😠). Perhaps not the best start to our holiday!!!

Tomorrow will be better! 😃

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