Normal Service Will Be .....

......resumed whenever our telecoms company can send out an engineer to find out why our router keeps dropping off to sleep.

I hope to return to blogland soon.

Which Way?

The local constabulary recently posted a report of a motorist who was stopped as they passed through this No Entry sign, going against the one-way traffic coming down off the mountain section of the TT course.

As someone commented on the post...

Oh look, traffic lights, loads of cones, no entry signs & a big sign that says to turn right. I know, I'll just drive round it, against flow of 1-way traffic onto a road with no speed restrictions, no cones & vehicles travelling towards me, some doing more than 70mph.

Ironing Season Starts Again

I hate ironing.  I think it must stem from my childhood when my sister and I were made to do all the laundry for our family of five every Sunday.

As we had no washing machine at home in those days, we had to trudge up to the High Street with our load of dirty laundry and use the local launderette.  This took a few hours to wash and dry everything then pack it back into the trolley to trudge back home.

Everything was then piled into a basket and placed next to the ironing board for us to iron.

Dad was quite good at ironing his own clothes when he needed them but mum insisted that my sister and I had to do everything else.

Now that the summer season is upon us, we have opened our small guest annexe for B&B guests so I shall be spending the next few months cleaning, washing and yes - ironing!

Strawberries and cream...almost...

We have a few strawberries in the greenhouse that are almost ready for picking, given one day of sunshine (please! ), so in the meantime, we can still enjoy our few Wigeila, or the strawberries  and cream plant as we call it.

Rain Stopped Play

This was the scene yesterday afternoon up on the mountain section of the TT course.

As you can see, the low cloud and misty conditions had already claimed one victim and it was decided to postpone the first practice session of this year's TT races until today (Sunday).

The roads around the course will therefore be closed for most of the afternoon and early evening, but I shall be busy here giving our guest annexe a thorough spring clean before our visitors arrive.

The annexe hasn't been used since last September so I shall expect to find a few spiders lurking in there.

Knockaloe Internment Camp

This month a new Visitor Centre was opened in the nearby village of Patrick to show the story of the WW1 internment camp that was built just across the road on the site of what is now Knockaloe Farm.  We decided to pay a visit yesterday as we have always been interested in that episode of the island's history.

The centre has been created in the old Patrick village schoolrooms, a very pretty building in a beautiful setting, beside the old churchyard and with lovely views out across the countryside.

The exhibition space is very well presented and tells the story of how and why the camp was built and also some of the stories of the individuals who were interned there, and some of those guarding them and caring for them too.

This is from the centre's information about the camp...

The first 200 internees arrived on the Isle of Man in September 1914 for internment in Cunninghams Camp, Douglas, however following a riot in Douglas camp leading to trhe death of 5 internees due to overcrowding and the poor quality of the food, Knockaloe Moar farm, a former training camp for Territorial troops, was identified as and eventually became the largest internment camp of WWI. The first of the civilian male internees arrived on 17 November 1914 and ultimately the internees were of various  nationalities including German, Austrian and Turkish.    Knockaloe Camp ultimately held “nearly 24,000 prisoners in 23 compounds inside barbed wire, with 4,000 old soldiers acting as armed National Guard, and 250 civilians attending to their wants and comforts…..The camp at Knockaloe was three miles in circumference; 695 miles of barbed wire surrounded the compounds” Samuel Norris “Manx Memories and Movements”.
It was interesting to discover that two reasonably well known names were associated with the camp.

Josef Pilates (an internee) is said to have developed his method of fitness from working with patients in the hospital, taking the springs from the beds to assist in the patients’ exercises.

Archibald Knox, the Manx born primary designer for Liberty's, worked there as the Parcel Censor from November 1914 to October 1919.

 After looking around the exhibits we wandered outside to look at the seven Muslim graves, for the Turkish (Ottoman aliens) who had been interned in the camp.

Across the road is the entrance to Knockaloe Farm, once the camp and now green fields.

Evening sun

Thursday evening. The garden catches the late sun and our laburnum tree, always late to flower, seems to glow.

A Close Shave

Our local Wildlife Trust has recently been encouraging us not to cut back shrubs and hedges during the current nesting season.

This, however, was the scene a while ago after the utility company cut back the hedge which borders our lane and their property.

Hard luck for any nesting birds there then.

A Taxing Day

Yesterday I spent over 3 hours getting our domestic accounts up to date in preparation  for the completion of our tax return.

I was expecting that this would only take me around half an hour,  but I soon discovered that I had left things to pile up in the in-tray for a little longer than I thought.  Unfortunately I also discovered that I was already a day late in paying the  credit card bill so will now be hit with interest  charges. Damn.

By the time I had reconciled the credit card and bank statements and chased up missing receipts etc I had lost most of the afternoon. P was sitting outside in the garden enjoying the sunshine all this time.

The tax return will now have to wait for another day when my brain is not so frazzled. 

Who Cares?

I have just been reading an article on the BBC website about the subject of a BBC Newsnight report on 'Teens in Care'.  Or lack of care as it appears.

The report makes for depressing reading citing steadily increasing numbers of young people effectively abandoned and left to fend for themselves without proper support or guidance.

It is a sad indictment of our age that there are so many children needing state care at all these days.  I don't remember, growing up in our sprawling West London estate, so many children needing to be taken into care. I know that it obviously did happen elsewhere as my mother was, for a time, a foster parent for children who were temporarily taken into care due to a parent's illness or similar circumstance. Somehow, though, it seems that extended family, friends and neighbours all looked out for each other and this is something that appears to be missing in today's society.

I don't know where everything went wrong.  Is it possible to mend our modern society or is it too late?

Meat free Mondays?

Planning to cook a chickpea one pot meal for meat-free Monday.  Does adding black pudding count????

1969 - How Much?

P came across this online this week.  If it is genuine it's interesting to see those names we recognise and how much they received for a gig...

Friday's View From The Window

Goodbye sunshine and blue skies. Hello again grey cloud. Hope it is better where you are?

Guess where we three pictures

A little game. Just for fun. This is where we visited back in 2008. It will be too easy to guess I fear.

Car Parking Blues

As the island's population continues to expand so the number of cars on our roads also increases.

Unfortunately, there has been no corresponding increase in car parking spaces over the years and we now have a bit of a problem. 

creative parking solution

A large proportion of the working population have to travel to Douglas for work and most choose to drive there. The lack of available free parking leads to some of them taking a bit of a liberty.

I used to work at the hospital which is on the outskirts of town.  I regularly saw people drive into the hospital car park and take up the free spaces there, then a friend would arrive to pick them up and drive off to town. The friend probably had access to a company space in town or they shared the town parking fees between them.  Needless to say, when the patients turned up for their appointments later in the day, all the spaces were full.

The same thing is happening at the Tesco store in town. Office workers have taken to arriving early in the morning and taking up spaces in the store's car park so that when we shoppers arrive there is nowhere left to park. A store employee told us that when challenged, these people often turn quite aggressive.

There are several car parks in town but these are fairly expensive for all day parking so office workers prefer to nab a free space where they can.

I don't know what the answer is to the issue but it seems more and more people are just plain selfish and just don't give two hoots about anyone but themselves.

Rant over ...

It's Payback Time...

..... for this glorious weather.

Antihistamine pills and nasal spray on the go now.  I am on my way to start my shift in the Wildlife Trust gift shop so at least I shall be indoors, away from grass, pollen and other pesky allergens.

Another 4 or 5 months of this to go.....

Sunday Morning Walk

The sun came out and the wind dropped. Perfect for a walk around town.
Couples with young children were sitting on the promenade benches eating ice creams. A whole row of motorbikes lined up along the breakwater with their owners sitting outside the kiosk enjoying tea and bacon baps. Walkers, with and without dogs, strolling along the promenade, quayside and beach and even venturing up the hill to look down over the town.  

We walked along the promenade, over the bridge and around the outside of the castle then back alongside the marina.  Almost tempted to stop for a bacon bap but resisted at the last minute.  

On the horizon, that dark blue smudge is the Mull of Galloway

Along the causeway out to the castle and the breakwater

Around the back of the castle

My favourite spot - almost Mediterranean

Two beaches divided by the causeway

Looking over to the marina


Looking back towards the castle

Our Snow Trees

Driving along our lane the other day we remarked on how much blossom there was on the hawthorn trees everywhere.

Looking down on the fields it seemed that all the hedgerows were a mass of white, looking just like they had been sprinkled with snow.

I kept meaning to take a photo before they were past their best but the weather has been so awful that I didn't manage to get out.  However, today the sun came out and although I didn't make it along the lane, I did get these few snaps of the hawthorn along our own little stretch of hedgerow before it was too late to capture their blossom.

I also managed to catch these chaps having a snooze beside our fence....

.... and a couple of shots of the garden waking up at last...

A few bluebells hanging on still.

Please excuse the poor quality of the photos - I just used my 'phone camera.

The But Game

I was perusing a women's comic  magazine in the hairdressers the other day and read a short article about why we should count our blessings every day in order to remain happy and contented.

This reminded me of something else I read quite a while ago that recommended adding a BUT clause to every negative thought you have in order to turn it into a positive.

I thought perhaps I should have a go at this today so here is my version....

  1. I am getting old  BUT   I have lived through some *interesting* times
  2. I am losing my hearing  BUT  it is so darned peaceful around here now
  3. My house is old and shabby  BUT  at least I don't have to worry too much about housework
  4. I drink too much  BUT  I shall be a very happy corpse
  5. My husband is the world's grumpiest old man  BUT  I do have someone to catch spiders for me
  6. The world is going to the dogs  BUT ... oh, see 1 and 4 above....
I'm sure I could think of more, given time and inclination.

Mum is Back

I was so pleased to read today that the BBC will be screening a third and final series of Mum, starting next week.

Lesley Manville has played the title role in both previous series with a light and gentle touch and I have found it amusing and touching at the same time.

I shall look forward to watching this final series and hoping for a happy ending.


Supper last night was rather hot stuff.

I accidentally shook a little too much of the dried chilli flakes into our pasta dish.

Much wine was consumed to douse the flames.

The countdown has started

Yesterday morning on the drive into town for our weekly shop it was apparent that the countdown to the TT Races has started in earnest.

The main route into town was strewn with cones and temporary traffic lights as various teams of men were filling in potholes, painting white markers on the kerbstones and putting up the bales and protective cushions along the roadside walls and telegraph poles.

It is only a couple of weeks or so now until the motorbike invasion begins and we retreat into our shells until the mayhem is over.