Yesterday, as we drove along the lane to go into town for shopping, we had to stop as there was a large rabbit in the middle of the road.

We very slowly drove around it and, as I took a look at it, we noticed that it was very unwell indeed.

It was shaking and seemed unable to move.  As we got closer, I saw that one eye was deformed, bulging and quite red. 

We were about to stop but then more cars arrived and so, as it is a single track road with not much space to pass, we carried on.

The poor creature was not there on our return.

Our online research suggests that it may have been the victim of myxomatosis.  A horrible disease.

Dark and miserable

Today's weather here is a huge contrast to yesterday, when we had wall to wall sunshine and temperatures around 30C.

Now we have a thick mist over the island making it so dark we had to switch on the light to read the newspaper.

We went early into Douglas this morning, before the Saturday shoppers came out in force. A breakfast in the coffee shop then a whizz round Boots, Holland & Barrett, M&S then the TT souvenir shop to pick up everything on our list.  Back home in time for lunch and just missed the showers.

Next weekend the main road between here and Douglas will be closed for water main works so we wanted to get it all done before then.

Here is the current view from the breakwater webcam. Hope it perks up again soon as our summer has only lasted two days so far.

The Case of the Poisoned Pigeons

One of the top local news stories this morning concerned the current spate of pigeon poisoning around town.

It seems somebody has been putting out rodent poison and around 40 bodies have been found so far, according to the newspaper.

Pigeons have always been a nuisance in town, making a mess everywhere and getting into the shops, a particular problem in the M&S Food hall I understand, but it is an emotive subject as the comments on the local press news story show.

The Wildlife Trust have expressed concern over the knock on effect on the pigeons' predators, such as cats, seagulls and peregrines who may be eating the poisoned birds.

I personally dislike having pigeons flying into me at face level whilst walking down the main shopping street but I don't have enough knowledge about their impact on the local environment to make a judgement about the rights and wrongs of poisoning them.

The birds are being examined and efforts made to find the culprit(s) so I hear. 

Better late than never

It seems we shall have our summer after all this week, although more rain is forecast for Saturday.

I went into our little local hairdresser this morning for my 6 weekly cut and the town was throbbing with people out and about enjoying the sunshine.  

We thought we should give the parasol an airing before we forget what it is for.

Not Sausages

As P is taking part in a running event this evening we decided to have our main meal at midday instead of early evening as we usually do.

Neither of us can manage a "proper" meal during the day so P suggested a Full English.  I no longer eat processed meat, such as bacon, sausages, ham etc due to my low-cholesterol diet so I had to think about what to have in lieu of the bacon and sausages I was cooking for P.

I cooked two individual mushroom omelettes and added strips of ham to P's. He also had a couple of grilled cumberland sausages, his favourite.  I also grilled some tomatoes and made toast instead of fried bread.

My alternative to the sausage was a roasted beetroot.  Luckily ours are just ready for picking from the garden so it was certainly fresh.  I quite liked it until P mentioned that the pink juice from the beetroot, mingled with the bit of runny egg mixture from the omelette looked like something drained from the mortuary slab.

Thanks a lot for that.

The Parish Walk

The Manx Telecom Parish Walk is a unique endurance challenge where competitors have 24 hours to complete the 85 mile route which takes in all 17 of the island's Parishes.

This took place on Saturday and the walkers have to pass by us at around the 35 mile mark on their way along the west coast road from Peel to Kirk Michael.

It was quite a warm, sunny day on Saturday and I am sure they would have been suffering a little by that point.  We usually stand on the corner of the lane to cheer them on.

This year's winner made it across the finish line just before midnight with a time of 15.44.06

I Cheated

Yesterday our larder was bare on our return from our trip so we popped into our local supermarket for some emergency supplies.

There is not a huge amount of choice there and we didn't want to go into town to the larger Tesco store so we only bought some essentials to tide us over.

I was still tired from our journey home and did not want to make too much effort with supper so I was tempted  by a pack of spicy quinoa and beans in the frozen food section.

We had a couple of sea bass fillets in our freezer so I defrosted those and cooked them very simply. Just a generous squeeze of ginger puree with chilli flakes into a pan and heat gently. Pop in the sea bass and add a little glug of white wine and simmer for around 15 to 20 minutes.  The frozen quinoa and beans take 2 minutes in the microwave.

Quick and easy.

Coming home

However much we have enjoyed one of our jaunts away, we always feel a sense of relief to arrive back home to the calm and serenity of our little corner of this world.

More so when the return journey has been longer than we would wish.

We arrived at Gatwick late on Thursday night after our delayed flight from Gibraltar and had a good night's rest at the airport hotel. Our onward flight home was unfortunately not scheduled until 7 PM on Friday so we had a whole day to kill.

As we travel light with no luggage to check in we made the mistake of going through security early to spend the time in the departures area. We soon realised the error of our decision when we saw the overcrowded, noisy  lounge area, still undergoing reconstruction and building works.  Seating was at a premium and many people were sitting on the floor. Not a good way to spend our 6 hours.

All the restaurants were full and when we finally got a seat we ended up paying £50 for two bowls of lasagne and two glasses of wine!  With hindsight we should have bought a sandwich from Boots and sat on the floor to eat it 🙄

We were relieved when we were called for boarding on time and squeezed onto the very full flight, only to be advised by the pilot that our takeoff slot had been put back one hour so we had to sit on the tarmac until 8pm before we could leave.

So glad to be home now, with two loads of washing done and some supplies hastily procured from the local supermarket.

It is the island's Parish Walk event here today so if the weather is kind we shall sit outside with our wine this evening and watch the surviving intrepid participants passing by along the coast road just across the field.

On The Rock

On Wednesday we took the cable car up to the top of the rock and decided to walk down, visiting the siege tunnels on the way.

The cable car is certainly vintage

There are some wonderful views from the top and we also got a good view of an aircraft taking off before it ran out of runway.

It was quite a long walk back down towards the town and getting quite hot as it was midday by then. We visited the siege tunnels about halfway dow. A labyrinth of tunnels and caverns dug out of the rock back in the 1700s.

It was blissfully cool in there and we spent quite some time exploring and reading about the history of the site.

On the way down towards the town there was a little outdoor exhibit depicting life in the garrison at that time.

There was also the remains of a Moorish tower dating from the 1300s

We eventually made our way back down to town and had a sandwich and a welcome bottle of water on a park bench., looking back up where we had been that morning

P suggested walking up to the airport as he  wanted to experience walking across a live runway. Not something you can do in many other places.

As we were there, we popped into the almost deserted airport terminal. They only have a few flights each day. We had a beer in the air conditioned cafe before the 45 minute trudge back to the hotel.

Finally, just a couple of signs around Gibraltar that caught my eye...

Pop in here to use the 'phone

Beware the one eyed rabbits

Gibraltar: Tuesday

After enjoying a pleasant drink in the bar of our hotel and watching the sun set over Algeciras on .Monday evening, we awoke the next morning to a glorious sunny day.

We decided go spend our first day walking around and generally exploring the streets. 
Our hotel is close to the tiny Trafalgar Cemetary. An interesting little oasis.

After heading down Main Street,  a typical shopping and tourist area, we then ventured down to the marina and on to the dockyard (not the most attractive part of the city).

We had intended to walk around the headland to Europa Point, the southernmost tip of mainland Europe but the dockyard  comes to a dead end so we retraced our steps back up the steep hill to the upper road.

This route involves walking through a few road tunnels,  blasted out of the rock.

We eventually made it to Europa Point where it was pretty windy. I was almost blown off my feet by one gust. We had a salad and a bottle of water in the cafe (eyewatering prices but we were hungry and thirsty after walking for 4 hours in the heat).

I took a couple of snaps of Africa before we hopped on a bus back to the hotel for a cup of tea and a rest.

Suitably refreshed,  we went for another walk, this time around the Alameda Gardens, before heading back for tapas and cava on our balcony.