A WHILE ago Catherine James wrote in this column about the unwritten rule which dictates that all coaches drive around the Isle of Wight the same direction.

Leaving aside the question of which way that was — entertainingly, this was never resolved — it made me reflect on some of the other hidden Isle of Wight strictures that might come as a surprise to overners.

The most well-known is the prohibition on entering a mini-roundabout until it’s full.

No Isle of Wight motorist worth their salt would dream of crossing the white line until all approach roads are occupied.

Mainland drivers may rant in distress, but how little they understand. This is part of the social nature of Isle of Wight roadcraft.

Especially in these days of Covid-19 lockdown, those nods and waves, the gesticulations, even flashing headlights — it’s a way of keeping in touch with your fellow drivers.

You have to make eye contact when you’re in a Mexican roundabout stand-off, there’s no time for shrinking violets.

Also connected with transport is the waving rule. If you see passengers on public transport in motion, it’s customary — and sometimes obligatory — to wave and for them to reciprocate.

The application of this rule is complex, and needs deep understanding of local culture.

From two ferries passing close by on The Solent, passengers on open decks are expected to wave to each other. Those observing through glass less so.

But if the form of transport is a particularly old one, or if it’s sunny, the imperative to wave is much higher.

So if you loiter by Lord Louis Library on a wet evening and wave persistently at the Number 9 Southern Vectis bus as it rolls in, you’re likely to be moved on as a crackpot.

But stood on a summer afternoon in Shanklin Old Village, if you refused to wave at passengers aboard The Old Girl people would think you worryingly lax.

And anyone seeing people aboard the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, under any circumstances, should wave like a drowning sailor or face social ruin.

Other rules are a bit more obvious. Try Hurst First, for example.

Hurst’s assistants might look askance at newcomers when they ask for an artisan quinoa press (or whatever they stock in Shoreditch hardware stores) but they’ll have one upstairs, you can be sure of it — even if it does bear a stencil of a crinoline lady.

And ice-cream. It has a ritual significance here on the Island that mainlanders never truly appreciate.

Every town, every industrial park, has its ice-cream round, and grown adults are happy to come out and indulge in a whippy 99.

Brading Down? You can’t just drive by there without stopping for a cornet, and then taking a glorious selfie with the English Channel in the background. Can’t you? OK, maybe that one’s just me.

Did I miss any out? Let me know your favourite Isle of Wight Rules.