If you live on #ThatMainland then you’re probably au fait with how to fit in with the local lumbersexuals, Chap Olympians and penny farthing MAMILS. On the Isle of Wight, we have our own street tribes, including #RedTrews yachties, elastic-waisted BMI bandits, and, err… Captain Panna, who ploughs his own lonely furrow in a dreadlocked frightwig and vintage shellsuit.
What they don’t have on the mainland is Ryde Slide (ok, so the idea was borrowed from Bristol, but we have made it our own). Tickets for Ryde Slide were drawn Willy Wonka-style and limited to three hundred or so slide riders, making them the hottest tickets in town. Both of Wight Catwalk’s staff writers, Helen and myself, were lucky enough to get tickets and, apart from the fear of whizzing off the end of the slide across the Solent to Portsmouth, the big dilemma was what to wear, natch.
I’ve never been on a water slide or bouncy castle, nor experienced a foam party, and was frankly concerned about getting injured so initially considered donning some heavy-duty PPE. But hey. Instead I put on some clean knickers for the ambulance and plucked a pair of liquid silver leggings, a black net tutu and some pre-loved gold pumps (Ryde Red Cross shop, £2) out of my dressing up box. If I’d have known how I would have ended up I may not have spent quite so long teasing my hair into Rod Stewart’s mum’s feather-cut, but there you go.
Helen, of course, had a distinctly practical solution to keeping her own shag intact. With the deft addition of a vintage swimming cap (model’s own), she was assured of making an impact without looking like a bedraggled cat. I, rather foolishly, refused the offer of a floral hat – memories of having my hair ripped out by a particularly cranium-crushing rubber helmet at school still remarkably fresh in my mind. Mind you, that green one *is* rather natty.
And so the time came – and went in a flash. The trip down Ryde Slide was such a buzz. We managed to get a bit of a momentum with the right technique – but not enough to lead to injury or even too much humiliation. Coming to a halt in a foam-topped puddle was the icing on the cake, and I even made it to the local press! We can’t wait for Ryde Slide’s return!