Thursday, July 16, 2009

2 July 2009 - Isle of Wight: Botanical Gardens, Ventnor

2.30 p.m.

Later the same day we visit the Botanical Gardens which are on the site of an old T.B. hospital. When it was demolished, a covenant was made that the land should belong to the people in perpetuity, and reflect plants and climates around the world.

There are Australian, African and Mediterranean sections, and pottery sculptures amidst the plants. We are dwarfed by twenty foot echiums.

The Breathe Easy group is meeting here for a walk. It's a good place for it, being laid out over slopes, with a lift back up to the top if required. We end the afternoon with tea in the cafe; as a lung disease patient, and an ex-art therapist, I am intrigued to meet Caroline Riches, an art therapist who has done valuable work with people with lung disease.

There is little in the landscape to record the siting of the hospital here. But we come across a tunnel built through the cliff to the shore. Although planned in 1875 to provide sea access for patients as a boost to their recuperation, when finally built in the 1880's, however, it was part of a new drainage and sewage disposal scheme designed to remove waste from the hospital.

We say goodbye to Pamela and Andy who have made us so welcome, and arrange for Sarah to call by on Saturday morning before we catch the ferry. At the end of a lovely day, who knew the Tesco building could look so good?