A Glimmer Of Summer

This morning was bright and sunny with temperatures close to 25C.  Summer at last.

Unfortunately, today was my turn to work in the gift shop so I could only gaze out of the window at the lucky people walking past in shorts and t-shirts, hats and sunglasses.

I eagerly sped home after my shift, looking forward to relaxing in the garden with a book and perhaps a mini Magnum.

Alas, as soon as I reached home, the dark clouds rolled in and it now looks like rain.  As I typed this and took this photo there was a sudden flash of lightning.


Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Calendar Girls

Next month will see a performance of the play  Calendar Girls at the Gaiety Theatre in Douglas -  a building with its own fascinating history having been built in 1899 by the famous Victorian theatre architect Frank Matcham and still retaining much of its original glory, inside and out.

Gaiety Theatre facade, situated roughly in the centre on the promenade as it sweeps around the bay of Douglas town

The performing rights for this play are currently withdrawn across the UK and Europe. However, seeing an opportunity to raise funds for charities at a time when most theatres in the UK are closed, they requested, and were fortunate to be granted, a licence - a special exemption for the Isle of Man. All profits from this production, hosted by a team of volunteers, will be shared between various charities: Hospice IoM; Breast Cancer Now; Breast Cancer Care; Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation; and, the Royal British Legion.

Tickets are selling fast.




Spending My Pocket Money

This morning we each used our Old Fogey's bus pass to travel into Douglas.  I had been wanting to mooch around the shops - the first time since February - and P had a couple of errands to run.

The bus dropped us off at the sea terminal so we had a quick coffee there first before going our separate ways.

I had a very enjoyable hour and a half browsing all the sale racks in the various stores and managed to find a few things that I liked in my size, which is unusual.  Some were marked down by 70% so I could not resist. Although my wardrobes are pretty full, I have to admit to being a sucker for new clothes.  P frequently says "How many dresses and trousers can a woman wear?"

My M&S Sparks card seemed to have stopped working so the two ladies at the till sorted it out for me and, by way of apology, gave me a free M&S jute bag, which usually costs £4 - so another bargain.

We met up again at the sea terminal where we had lunch in the coffee shop before catching the bus home again.

Not a very exciting post, but I really enjoyed my day out.


Out For A Pint

We were almost out of milk so decided to go into Peel to buy some this morning.

P suggested that as we were going out perhaps we should also stop for a coffee and perhaps a stroll.

The coffee shop at the museum was empty so we had the place to ourselves. 

Coffee and a shared slice of lemon cake, looking out at the museum entrance and the marina...







We then walked along the Promenade where I stopped by the Chocolate Shop and bought a gift for a friend. The charity shop is right next door so we browsed in there amongst the 50p books and chinaware. I bought myself a gently used cardigan for £2.

Walking back up through the lanes I stopped to take a photo of the old police station.  It has always interested me but this was the first time that I had taken a photograph...



Back home and it has now started to rain.... AGAIN!!!



A Bit Of An Accident

I was making a cup of tea this afternoon when I accidentally knocked over a mug full of just-boiled tea. It went everywhere, a lot of it all over my left hand.

I rushed to hold my hand under cold running water from the tap to try to cool my skin, watching a large puddle of hot tea running all over  the kitchen worktop and oven, dripping down onto the floor, powerless to do anything about it as cooling my burnt hand was my priority.

After a couple of minutes I looked for a cloth to try to mop up the mess. By this time P had wandered out into the kitchen to see why there was a delay. He rushed to fetch an old towel and managed to mop up most of the tea while I went back to holding my hand under the tap.

Unfortunately, the liquid caused all the sockets down that side of the kitchen to short.  We have now cleaned up as much as we can and hope that the socket under the worktop dries out by tomorrow so that I can use the automatic ignition on the gas  hob.

Meanwhile, my hand has been sprayed with dry Savlon and loosely wrapped in a gauze bandage, but it is very sore now.

At least I don't have to cook tonight - P has offered to fetch a takeaway meal.




Cream Crackered

To use an old expression. 

 I swear the girls are trying to finish me off.  We were due to meet this morning at the usual place in the car park. I arrived early because I needed time to change into my sturdy walking shoes (I can't drive in them).

This was the scene when I arrived.



Luckily it had stopped by the time the others arrived so we set off on the route they had decided on. This week there were an awful lot of uphill bits.  We started up the Gleneedles Road which climbs steeply up Slieu Whallian Hill. After a short level section at the top we turned off onto the steep lane down to meet the Foxdale Road. Across this road and along the footpath which runs alongside the stream, so far below us we couldn't see it, although it was rushing along quite noisily.  Then came yet another uphill section to meet the Archallagan Road, leading back to St Johns.  Two hours in all.

We then took a little detour as one of the girls wanted to pop into the civic amenity site's reuse centre where there was something she wanted to pick up. A barely used baby buggy in excellent condition for a friend's grandchild.  She pushed this the rest of the way, along the railway trail back to the car park!

We were not aware before we set off that there was a big cycling event on today.  The Manx 100 mile endurance ultra mountain bike challenge.  The car park was being used for one of the stages and was packed by the time we got there, as was the cafe where we usually stop for coffee and cake at the end of our walk.  We were lucky to get a table and enjoyed coffee with a slice of coconut & chocolate cake to share.

There were some very pretty wildflowers on the table which I could not resist photographing. (Those legs behind belong to the stools at the bench. Quite quirky)


Back home, showered and ready for a snooze.

Hot Stuff

3x140g Le Phare du Cap Bon Harissa Sauce (3 Large Tubes)

I recently bought six tubes of this paste via Amazon as it was proving quite difficult to buy our usual jars of Harissa paste from our local shops.  

My goodness though, it ain't half hot, as they used to say somewhere or other.

A little goes a very long way.


I'm Not Doing That

I have just been reading a news item about employees in certain organisations being asked to carry out various cleaning duties, such as cleaning their office desks or the toilets, as one of the consequences of the current virus precautions.  This seems to be causing quite a lot of controversy with staff objecting that "It's not in my job description"

That may be true, or not as most contracts when I was in full time employment added the requirement to undertake "other duties as requested by the employer".

I shall always remember the day (many, many years ago) when, arriving at the bank's office where I worked a dog had left a rather large, fresh deposit on the doorstep.  The manager told me to clean it up as I was the unfortunate who happened to arrive first.  I very reluctantly obeyed his request, retching and heaving all the time, but I never once thought to question his order, much as I would like to have refused.  

What is reasonable these days though?  Should employees refuse to do things they just don't fancy doing?


A Little Treat

Today has been warm and sunny for a change and, as P is going to be taking part in a hill race this evening, we thought we would go out for lunch.

We drove the 5 minutes to St John's and parked in the centre of the village.  We were lucky enough to find a table by the window in Greens Cafe, a popular lunchtime spot.


Freshly baked ham and egg pie with heaps of various types of salads and a bottle of sparkling water then I was ready for a walk.

A short stroll along the road took us to the Community Garden, planted out in 2018 to celebrate The Year of Our Island.  It was designed as a wildflower garden and has been left to do its own thing, as you can see from these photos. The wildflowers are thriving.







A further 5 minutes walk along the road took us to Garey Ny Cloie, the headquarters of the Dept of Environment. Their gardens are open to the public and worth a visit.


Crossing over the road we took the footpath beside the sawmill that takes us to the railway trail back to the car park.
This is the view from the sawmill. 
That brick pillar was once part of the railway support on the Peel to St John's line.

A huge mass of rose bay willow herb.
 


Back home it is time to get out the garden chairs and enjoy what is likely to be the last of our sunny weather for this week.











Pressure

A few weeks ago one of the essential parts of my pressure cooker broke - I think I may have mentioned it in a blog post.  I sent a message to the manufacturer asking them how I could order a replacement.

No reply after several weeks and a couple of prompts so I have given up and started looking to buy a new one - but definitely from a different manufacturer as this one is obviously unreliable.  I have tried my slow cooker but I still prefer the convenience of a pressure cooker.

I first looked on John Lewis's website but they only have two  stovetop cookers and neither of them suitable.  I don't want an electric one as I need something that can be used in the event of a power failure - something we occasionally experience during winter storms.  

Browsing the magic of the internet I came across the Lakeland website - I had completely forgotten about them.  I used to buy their products many years ago and was always pleased with them.

Ten minutes later and one of their stainless steel pressure cookers is ordered and hopefully on its way to me soon - provided Hermes doesn't lose it.




Walking In Sunshine

....to misquote Katrina and the Waves.

A gloriously sunny Sunday morning for our walk but now, back home, showered and ready to sit out in the garden and recover, the sea mist has started to roll in.

Sod's Law.

Farmers' Market

The Farmers' Market has started up again now that our lockdown has been lifted.  The producers visit a different location around the island each weekday.  Thursday is the turn of  our closest one in the St Johns church hall so we went along this morning to see what was on offer.

We arrived about 20 minutes after they had opened and already a few people were coming out with full bags.

Inside the church hall we were surprised to find only 4 stalls set up. We were expecting more producers to be there after reading some of the reports on the local news.

We did, however, manage to find some tasty goodies to spend our pocket money on...

... a huge cucumber for £1, a home made cheese and bacon pie (still warm from the oven)  for P's supper plus these little delights...


We sampled the honey first. It has a rich, creamy texture and has a delicate sweetness.


Hoglets

Since P found the two dead adult hedgehogs a week or so ago, he has now come across two little hoglets - possibly from the same family?

The first one he found a few days ago was alive but poorly so he carefully put it in a cardboard box with some shredded paper, a saucer of water and some cooked chicken to see how it got on. It ate some of the chicken but was still obviously quite poorly so he took him/her to The Hedgehog Lady of Peel.

This woman is dedicated to saving hedgehogs.  This is her profile on her Facebook page...
For over 30 years I have been taking in sick/injured or just Autumn juvenile hedgehogs. They are not pets, they are wild animals, and I treat them as such.   My aim is to be able to release them back into the wild when they've recovered or overwintered.
It can be heart-breaking and expensive, but it's such a great feeling watching them wander off into the wild when they're ready to leave.

She has around 40 hedgehogs at the moment which she is caring for.  She took a quick look at "our" hoglet and said it was a male, recently born and in need of feeding up.  She is going to build him up then call us when he is ready to be released back where we found him.

This evening P saw another hoglet on the drive but when he took a look it was too late. The poor little thing was dead.

We are not sure but they could have come from the same litter, perhaps from the two adults who may have been killed by slug pellets somewhere in the vicinity.

I am a bit of a softie but it makes me feel sad.

EDIT:  For northsider .....








Missed A Day

I realised this morning that I seem to have missed a day or so in Blogland.  I haven't been doing anything special but just been quite busy with one thing and another.



Friday morning we walked in Peel, had coffee (but no cake this time) then popped into the charity shop on the promenade as a friend told me that they have a box of sewing patterns that have been donated. I managed to find 5 quite useful ones for the bargain price of 50p each. I also bought two king size duvet covers for £4 each which have now been thoroughly washed and will provide me with plenty of fabric for sewing projects.

In the afternoon I inspected P's handiwork around the garden and admired all the ladybirds adorning the foxgloves and the strawberry plants.
















Saturday was spent cutting and sewing, then swearing, unpicking and re-sewing.

I am now just back from an energetic 2 hour Sunday morning walk around Port Erin with the girls so ready now for a cup of tea and half a rich tea biscuit.






Spam

Well Meaghan, thank you for taking the time to visit my little blog and leave such an interesting comment.

It seems that Doctor Razor is indeed a truly miraculous man, however, I am not sure it was really necessary to leave the same comment in 50 different blog posts.

I am afraid that all those comments are now no more.  That is 20 minutes of my time that I shall not see again but hopefully Blogger's spam settings will work better next time.

Slow Work

Yet another lazy day.  After yesterday's early start I had a lie-in this morning until 9:00 a.m.

From the breakfast table we watched the truck arrive at the top of the drive and the two workmen get out to take a look at the hole they dug yesterday.   Not sure what they did but they were gone again around 10:00.

P went to see his father's partner, now well into her 90s and quite frail, while I lazed around at home.

This afternoon turned very warm and sunny and I dozed out in the garden for a while.

I have an appointment with the GP next week to discuss the results of yesterday's blood tests.  That's if I can stay awake long enough!


It's All Go Here

Up early (for me) this morning as I had an 8:30 a.m. appointment at the GP surgery for another blood test.

This time there were no masks, gloves or PPE required and the waiting room was back to normal. With more than 48 days COVID-free on the island things are reverting to normal everywhere, including the GP surgery.

After a quick 5 minute visit we were done and drove straight home.  As we pulled into our lane we saw that the Highways men had arrived to start work on the drains that had caused our flooding a couple of weeks ago.  Their truck was parked opposite our driveway and they were busy setting up cones.

We managed to squeeze past and park on the drive and P got out to have a chat with them.  They said that they had to wait for their boss to arrive to tell them the plan of action.

It is now 9:45 - an hour later - and they are still hanging around waiting.

It will be tea-break time soon and they haven't started doing anything.

Feeding Time

Back at the end of February P collected some of the frogspawn from the pond and brought it indoors in a plastic tub, which now resides on our kitchen windowsill.

It has been quite entertaining watching the tadpoles hatch out and slowly develop over the past few months.

Recently, their appetite has grown and we are feeding them on thin slices of courgette every day.

Over the past week two of them have developed arms and legs and tried to climb out of the tub, so P carefully scooped them out into a jam jar and returned them to the pond.  They are so tiny though, I hope they can survive.

Their siblings, although quite lively,  are still to develop any limbs and are happy to stay in the kitchen eating their courgettes...




Neighbours

Last weekend we were intrigued to see the neighbours that back onto our garden (the ones with all the sheds) were busy putting up fence posts all around the back section of their garden, which adjoins ours.

Fence rails and wire were added then a water trough was set up next to the nearest shed and a new door put into the rear of the shed.

Speculation went on with our other neighbour, who suggested that perhaps goats were coming. P said horses.  I suggested a pack of attack dogs.

On Wednesday morning we got up and looked out of the window to see that there were now three adorable little ponies in the garden.  They were running around, close together, exploring their new home.

P went down to the fence and took this photo of them.



It may be hard to tell from the photo but they are quite small.

I have absolutely no idea if they are male or female but the one with the white mane and tail I call Blondie as "she" struts and prances like a girl, swishing her long ponytail and generally showing off how beautiful "she" is. 

So  much more interesting to watch than the robot mower that occupied the garden for the past few months.





Rather Stupid

Yes, that's me.

Last night we met with a group of friends for a meal in a local restaurant, to celebrate the fact that most places have now reopened as normal and we can all get together again.

Everyone chose their meal and opted for beer or other drinks. My friend and I were going to order a glass of wine each but it was suggested that, if we were thinking of having more than just one glass each we should get a bottle to share as that would work out cheaper. So we did.

Unfortunately, after her first glass my friend decided that she didn't want any more.  Actually, neither did I, however I didn't want to see the rest of the bottle go to waste so felt obliged to drink an extra glass, which I really didn't want.

Although by no means intoxicated, I had trouble sleeping and woke feeling quite fuzzy this morning, which was unfortunate as I was working in the gift shop today.

I think I shall have a few days "on the wagon".

An Airbridge

I have been busy today, not occupied with anything physically productive but researching, planning and eventually booking a little trip for the summer.

It was recently announced that, as both the Isle of Man and Guernsey have been virus free for over 40 days it was safe to introduce an airbridge between the two islands for six weeks over the summer, to give residents of both islands a chance of a break. To visit friends and family or just have a short holiday.

The flights appeared for sale this morning so we grabbed the opportunity to book a week's break, just for a change of scenery.

We are hoping that the weather will be kinder to us down there as our summers are quite often wet and windy.  We have booked a little cottage close to some walking routes and may even hire a couple of bicycles for a day or two for a tour around the quiet Guernsey lanes.

As all other holiday options are off for the remainder of this year, this will be our little treat.

Look out Guernsey, here we come.