It’s the is­land life for ac­tress Celia Im­rie, who likes to es­cape from Lon­don with her son

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Living -

Af­ter a long stint of hard work, I feel that I de­serve a treat. I en­joy liv­ing in Lon­don but I love the sea and is­lands, so I go to the Isle of Wight; it makes the per­fect con­trast. I bought a house there sev­eral years ago so the jour­ney doesn’t need to be planned. It fol­lows a familiar pat­tern.

I pack a small pic­nic (boys are al­ways hun­gry), with per­haps a glass of Cham­pagne for me for the jour­ney, and meet my 12-year-old son An­gus [Celia’s child by ac­tor Ben­jamin Whitrow] off the school bus. We make our way toWater­loo sta­tion and board the train to Southamp­ton. Un­for­tu­nately it’s usu­ally crammed with other peo­ple with the same idea. On ar­rival we take the lit­tle bus to the ter­mi­nal and hop on to the hy­dro­foil.

There’s some­thing about be­ing on a boat draw­ing away from the shore that makes your whole heart feel light and glad­dens the spirit. It’s heaven to know that in 20 min­utes we will be in Cowes. In fact, the whole jour­ney takes only two hours. An­other bonus is that we don’t need a car: we can walk up the High Street to the house and we know where to buy an In­dian take­away en route.

When we walk through the door I could dance for joy and if there is suit­able mu­sic on the ra­dio I do. I love danc­ing and as a child I was des­per­ate to be a bal­le­rina. Re­cently, I em­bar­rassed my friends on a visit to the Plan­e­tar­ium by danc­ing in the aisles when The Blue Danube drifted out.

On Satur­day morn­ing I wake up early and draw the cur­tains hop­ing to see a pink dawn and a calm sea, but even if it’s a bit grey it doesn’t mat­ter be­cause it usu­ally bright­ens up later.

We get out our bikes and go straight down to the beach while it’s still de­serted. I love swim­ming in the sea, but it’s al­ways so much colder than you ex­pect. The re­ward is that tin­gling feel­ing when you come out. Then we cy­cle along the beach road to theWatersedge Restau­rant at Gurnard for tea and toast.

We never make plans, but just make de­ci­sions as we go. If it’s wet, we en­joy 10-pin bowl­ing. It’s a real thrill to make a good strike, though An­gus in­vari­ably wins. Hav­ing An­gus as a com­pan­ion means that I can in­dulge my­self at the amuse­ment ar­cades and the dodgems. For a spe­cial treat we might hire a cou­ple of horses and ride up the coun­try lanes or, bet­ter still, gal­lop along the beach. I imag­ine my­self on a film set. Some­one once said: “What is the point of gal­lop­ing along a beach with your hair float­ing be­hind you un­less there is some one there to film you?”

Ac­tors are al­ways keen to say that they can ride in or­der to get a part. How­ever, I would de­scribe my­self as just ad­e­quate. I learnt to ride side-sad­dle for my part in Gor­meng­hast — it made me feel ter­ri­bly el­e­gant and was eas­ier than I ex­pected.

When we are hun­gry, we might stop for­fish and chips or, if we are near Shoot­ers Hill, we pop into Tonino’s, the Ital­ian restau­rant. I’m not in­ter­ested in cook­ing and I haven’t eaten meat for 25 years. I can do pasta, but I’d much rather be out of doors mak­ing the most of the open spa­ces or tidy­ing my lit­tle front gar­den. An­gus usu­ally has home­work to do, so we have a quiet evening or, if his friends call round, we get out the cards and play Pit, which means lots of scream­ing. The down­side of be­ing an early riser is that I soon conk out. On Sun­day we like to walk on Ten­nyson Down. To walk up a hill is ex­hil­a­rat­ing and it’s nice to con­cen­trate on the beauty around you. The views of the open sea give a won­der­ful feel­ing of peace. And there’s also the re­ward of a Minghella ice cream when we reach the top — ice cream is my great weak­ness. If we haven’t taken a pic­nic, we have lunch at the Is­land Sail­ing Club. I don’t sail, but I’m do­ing a cou­ple of cour­ses. The week­end goes by in a flash, but it’s nice to know that we can do it all again soon. In­ter­view by Sylvia

Roger Celia Im­rie stars in King­dom, a six-part se­ries that starts at 9pm on ITV1

on April 22.

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