Louise and I have just returned (in driving drizzle) from a few days on the Isle of Wight which, despite having been resident in Southampton for near enough a decade, is a place I hadn't been before. Despite our better judgement, having spent a very pleasant few hours on the Isle of Wight steam railway (of which more anon), we ended up in Ryde. It's fair to say that it's seen better decades and that this is abundantly clear just about everywhere. No where is this more apparent, perhaps, than at Ryde Esplanade, once the hub of one of those odd bits of national infrastructure that were almost exactly the same in 1960 as they were in about 1900. It's slightly sobering to realise that these superannuated tube trains, just a couple of cars long, are now older than the O2s and much of the stock they replaced when they were withdrawn. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the steam railway carried more passengers yesterday: it was, in the form of Ivatt 2-6-2T 41298, using significantly more modern motive power!