Flitters

I was reminded today by the local Manx culture organisation, Culture Vannin, of the Manx tradition for the morning of Good Friday  -  the eating of flitters.






These shellfish are caught from the rocks and cooked there on the shore. Tradition says that no iron should be used at all this day (in recognition of the nails used to put Jesus on the cross), and so the flitters should be cooked in their own shells in the embers of the fire, and eaten using sharpened sticks.

The shells are thrown into the sea with the Manx invocation, "Gow shoh as bannee orrin" ('Take this and bless us'), before performing the Flitter Dance over the embers of the fire.

There are a couple of short videos here;  the first showing the collecting and cooking of the flitters and the second  of the dance, performed by some very serious children...



https://vimeo.com/260973563


https://vimeo.com/261299607








First Spring Day

Not the first day of Spring but our first sunny and warm day of the season.

P went for a two hour run over the fells and I sat out on the garden bench enjoying a blissfully peaceful interlude.



There was no traffic noise or people passing by. All I could hear were the various tweets from all the garden birds calling to each other and the occasional croaking cry of our local male pheasant.

The odd honey bee from the hives in the field next door lazily mooched about, looking for flowers to investigate. 

The two sheep in the field were chatting quietly to each other, although they could just have been suffering from indigestion. 

Crab risotto for supper tonight and a glass or two of Mud House. 

Bliss.

DIY

As with so many people in these days of lockdown when most businesses are closed, I have resorted to trying to do some things myself.

Chopping at my fringe when it gets too long being the main culprit.

One thing I did learn earlier this week is never again  attempt a DIY pedicure in poor light without wearing glasses.  I seem to have been over enthusiastic with the rough emery board and sanded off several layers of skin from my toe by accident.

I shall not be going on any long walks for a day or two.



No Ill Effects

Well, after my first AstraZeneca vaccination on Thursday I am relieved to have suffered none of the side effects that are listed on the vaccine information sheet.

Apart from a very mild headache yesterday, which quickly disappeared after a paracetamol, I have felt fine.  One of our friends also had the AZ jab and was just tired and lethargic the next day, however, another friend had the Pfizer jab and suffered from severe headaches for two days.

I have taken no notice of all the hype and scaremongering doing the rounds via the media.  It all seems to be politically motivated to me. I am just glad that I have had my first jab and look forward to my second one in June.




Always Look On The Bright Side

Today was a positive one, albeit grey and drizzly.

First, I found an email in my inbox this morning from my 87 year old uncle who lives in Sydney, Australia. We have corresponded on a reasonably regular basis since he and my aunt emigrated in the 1960s. He always sends me little jokes and funny stories so that cheered me up straight away.

At lunchtime P drove me to the vaccination hub where I was booked in for my first jab. The whole process was slick and efficient with a whole team of lovely nurses directing proceedings. Due to my history of various allergies I was asked to wait for half an hour afterwards to make sure there was no adverse reaction, but all was fine.

When we arrived home there was a call from the estate agent to say that she had today received a good offer for our house before the buyer has even been to view it. They apparently liked the agents' photos and video and have driven by several times to take a look.   We are cautiously pleased but after the last experience are not counting any chickens just yet.

Just wanted to leave you with this....it always makes me smile.




A Good Read

I have just finished reading one of the novels dropped off for us by our local librarian on the day our lockdown started a couple of weeks ago.

I was not sure at first if I would enjoy it so had left it until I had finished the more obvious choices in the pile.  It follows the paths of a blind French girl and a young German orphan through the years of the Second World War leading ultimately to the meeting of their separate paths very briefly in occupied France at the time of the D-Day landings.

Some of you may have already read this book as it is a few years old now.  

I became totally absorbed in it right from the start and found it quite beautifully written and ultimately quite sad.  It may not appeal to everyone but I am quite disappointed that I have finished it so soon.




A Ghostly Walk

 This morning (Friday) I was feeling desperate to get out of the house and get some fresh air. 

P was up a ladder doing painterly things and I had exhausted my limited enthusiasm for housework tasks.

I decided to go for a short walk along the lane as we are still in lockdown and not supposed to venture far from home.

Just as I reached the top of our drive the fog came down.  I decided to carry on regardless, wearing my hi-viz tabard with the "deaf" warning logo as protection.

The fog rolled lazily up and over the fields as I walked, sometimes obscuring the lane then rolling back to reveal the sun. The trees appeared then disappeared, like ghosts.  It was quite eerily beautiful.







Sisters

 ♯ Sisters, sisters,  there were never more devoted sisters ♯

(Courtesy of the Beverley Sisters)


My sister recently sent me this photo.  Our uncle had unearthed it from a collection he had been sent over a period of 60 plus years by various members of the family. I think he was having a sort out and had decided to send some of his old family photos to my sister.  We would have been around 3 and 2 years old here probably.

Looking at it prompted me to think about how different we are from each other. Although only 13 months apart in age we are not alike at all in terms of appearance, hair and eye colouring, demeanour, lifestyle, likes and dislikes etc.  However, we do share the same heritage. We grew up together and spent the first 17 years of our lives together.  We love each other to bits, but we are still very different people.

I am grateful to have her in my life.






Injury Time

Not football related I hasten to add before you all switch off.

With the house move grinding to a halt due to our current lockdown and a recent - all too brief - spell of Spring weather, P decided to spend some time painting the outside of the house. After such a horrible winter it was looking very grubby so a coat of white paint would spruce it up a bit.

It has been a couple of years or more since he last painted the house and, although most of it is all on one level, there are a couple of high gable ends that require ladder access.  It seems that the effort of bracing one knee against the ladder whilst reaching up to paint the highest sections has caused some injury to P's knee and he is now having trouble walking around without pain.  Needless to say, the rest of the painting is now on hold so we have half of the job done.  (He refuses to pay someone to do the job as he says he is perfectly capable of doing it himself!).  Still there is no hurry as the lockdown is likely to last for several more weeks yet.

More "good" news from our agent.  The prospective buyer had a property valuation survey done by a friend of his who happens to be a surveyor and who carried out a quick one hour tour of the house.  The buyer said that several defects were highlighted which would mean that the purchase price would need to be reduced by £40,000 to cover the costs of the remedial work.  When the agent asked for a copy of the report so that we could see what works would be required, he refused and has now withdrawn from the purchase.

So, back to square one.


Unsettled

Not just the weather, although that has been swinging to and fro between bright, sunny days then howling gales and heavy rain.

Our current lockdown is set to be in place for at least another six weeks, thanks to the ferry worker who brought in the Kent variant last month and started this whole mess off all over again.  It spread like wildfire around all the schools first and then into the older adults from there. New cases every day, although most of them now seem to be contained within isolating households.

Whoever thought that arranging a house move in the midst of a pandemic was a good idea must be an idiot. Oh wait...that'll be me then.

Our buyers are now into the Survey Squeeze Game.  Trying to see how much they can knock off the purchase price because of all the dubious defects their surveyor friend found.  P doesn't want to play that game so the house may well be back on the market soon.

My insomnia is back with a vengeance so I need to try some relaxation methods, apart from half a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc each evening. (Yes, I know that probably makes it worse but hey ho).

The good news is that P had his first vaccination yesterday. All done in 5 minutes and no side effects so far. I am in Group 6 so still have to wait for mine.  The rest of our group of friends have now all had their invitations.  Of the two who are younger than me,  one is in the vulnerable category due to cancer treatment and the other had hers early due to a mix up by the GP surgery.  I shall just have to be patient and wait my turn.

Although I may be feeling a little unsettled right now I know that this will all be over eventually.  We still have good health, a warm comfortable home and plenty of food so we are luckier than a lot of people elsewhere.

The barometer is pointing to change, so that's a good sign.




Spring Sun on a Sunday

Yesterday, Sunday, was a gloriously sunny Spring day.  P spent most of the morning painting the outside of the house then went for a short run. 

After lunch we went out for a walk up the track behind the house.  As we are in our Lockdown number three we wanted to walk somewhere free from other people.

I have shown this walk before but here it is again. 








I shall miss this when we move, but there will be new routes to explore,  and different views to enjoy.

 

A Fishy Story

Thursday afternoon I ordered online from our local fish producers, here in Peel.

This morning, around 10 a.m. the delivery man left a bag of fish in the porch and rang me from his mobile 'phone to let me know that my order had been delivered.

1kg of fresh haddock, half a kilo of hake, 1kg of fish pie mix and two tubs of mixed crab meat.

All exquisitely fresh and wholesome looking and now divided up and in my freezer.

There was an invoice in the bag so all I had to do was go online and pay by bank transfer.

What a wonderful service!



 

Bear Hunt

Hang out all the bunting!

Come and take a chair

Daddy's gone a-hunting

He's gone to fight the Bear.

The Bear is quite invisible

He can't be seen at all

He seems to be invincible

It's been a long old haul...

But Daddy's got the vax, Dear

He'll jab it in your arm

So there's no need to fear, Dear

We'll all be safe from harm.


My sincere apologies for the truly excruciating doggerel but I wanted to do something to cheer myself up on a day when our island has had the highest spike in cases since the pandemic began last year.

The vaccine rollout here is supposed to be ramped up now as we are getting 10,000 additional doses from the UK this month.  Yippee!

My sleeve is rolled up and I am ready and waiting.






On And Off

P finally received his letter today inviting him to register for an appointment for his vaccination.  They have just got around to the over 70s here.

He is supposed to ring the helpline number 111 to register and they will give him his appointment details.

Well, he tried calling on and off from the time we received the letter, around midday, until he lost patience and gave up, around 5 p.m.

I was browsing the online news feeds late this afternoon when a post popped up from Manx Telecom saying, oops sorry, there is a problem with the 111 line which we are trying to fix.  By the time it was sorted out at 6 p.m. all the helpline staff had finished for the day so there was no reply.  

Hopefully we will have better luck tomorrow.

Oh, and another three week circuit breaker lockdown has now been introduced tonight due to another sudden spike in cases, most likely caused by the ferry company staff member who brought it here last week.

Cest la vie!