A recent ‘Memories’ article looked at the quirky, humorous articles and one-liners that the County Press of the past delighted in. Here are some more of those items, this time from the 1960s.

We begin with the winter of 1962–1963. It was the coldest winter in living memory and was known as the ‘Big Freeze. Snow fell in mid-December and laid for two long months.

Scroll through the gallery of pictures above to see scenes from the 1960s and 70s...

Mrs Gunton of Northwood, felt the full force of the freeze-up. She was visiting friends on the mainland for some weeks and while she was away the big thaw began.

The County Press reported: “Her neighbours were alarmed to see water pouring out from underneath the front door and looking through the letterbox they saw ice five inches thick covering the hallway and water dripping from the ceiling. They broke in to find an extraordinary sight. Ice more than one inch thick completely covered one wall — a bowl of flowers was entirely encased and letters were frozen into the ice.”

Isle of Wight County Press: Ferry Garage, Ferry Road, East Cowes, in about 1973. See the gallery to read more about petrol prices!Ferry Garage, Ferry Road, East Cowes, in about 1973. See the gallery to read more about petrol prices!

Mrs Gunton’s neighbours mucked in and spent three hours chipping the ice away. Aahh! The days when neighbours were neighbours.

In July 1963, Mr Bound of Whitepit Lane, Newport, had a brainwave years ahead of its time.

He wrote to the County Press to share his uncanny premonition: “What about using the disused railway tracks as cycle roads with a footpath for pedestrians?

"The cost of making the old tracks suitable for cyclists, I imagine, would not be all that expensive and would set us a cycling boom in the Island. Just imagine a lovely straight and level road from, say, Freshwater to Bembridge or Sandown and St Lawrence. The pedal cyclists’ dream.” Give that man a prize!

A month later, in the ‘Town And County Notes’ column, under the headline ‘The Silly Season is Here,’ the following curious letter appeared. “On Friday, August 9th, at 8.30 a.m., my husband was approaching Somerton corner. From a field gateway emerged two girls, one dressed in a white brassiere and panties, the other in jeans and a shirt. What could the explanation have been?”

It was a fair question and the answer, blunt and to the point, came in the next issue. “Dear Sir, the lady and her husband wondering what the two girls were doing, coming from a gateway on Somerton Corner, can now have their explanation.

"It was not a girl in shirt and jeans, it was a boy, a beatnik where I come from, and that boy was me. If she had looked over the gate about five minutes earlier she would not have been so inquisitive. G. Somers. Brighton.” Well, that told us!

Isle of Wight County Press: Shalfleet Post Office and village store used to be on the main road - crossing the road to get there must have been a challenge!Shalfleet Post Office and village store used to be on the main road - crossing the road to get there must have been a challenge!

A few weeks later Dorothy Hardiman of St Helens also had a query: “My husband and I were walking along the beach at Bembridge when we saw, standing to attention, a penguin. It allowed us to approach within two feet of it then waddled off slowly to the sea.

"Is it a rare or unusual thing for penguins to visit the island?” The following week a sceptical correspondent wrote in to ask if the penguin was a paperback.

In a reflection of how times were so different to today, in early 1965 Mrs Bailey of Ryde wrote: “I would like to express my disapproval of the way pigs are marked in Newport Market. I was there on March 10th and was disgusted with the way they were being treated.

"The holes punched in their ears were as big as sixpences and the amount of blood over the pigs and on the ground was terrible. Surely there is a more humane way of marking these creatures. It is not a very pleasant sight for children, who are always in the market.”

Thank goodness computers have got smaller, in June 1965, ‘Island Notes’ reported: “The County Council’s computer arrived on Thursday. The ‘robot-age’ machine, weighs one ton, and its printing equipment, weighs half-a-ton.”

The following year, in April 1966, came this unusual tale under the headline “Thirsty Adder Meets Its Doom”.

“Patrons are always assured of a friendly welcome at the Sportsman’s Rest at Porchfield but the exception proves the rule. On Monday Mrs. Jill Tilbury, wife of the licensee, had a shock when she saw one of the first customers of the morning — an adder.

"By way of introduction the visitor flung back its head and hissed. Mrs Tilbury called for her husband, who, armed with a mallet, called a hasty “Time, gentlemen, please” for the adder.

"With the introductions complete, Mr. Tilbury transferred the adder to a large jar — tangible evidence for any friends who might otherwise have doubted the story.”

Finally, from July 1966 comes this tale of ingenuity: “While prawning in the shallows with a push net, a Yarmouth resident came across a brand-new outboard engine. He had the engine dried out, cleaned and running perfectly within two hours.”

Like reading stories about the Isle of Wight in bygone times? Click here to visit our Looking Back section and read more nostalgic tales.