Absolute Madness

We had a viewing booked on a house for first thing Monday morning. The property had flashed up on the agent's website yesterday and I rang straight away to book a viewing. The first available appointment was for 09:00 a.m on Monday, so we booked that one.

I have just had a call to say that they have already received so many offers from people who have not even seen the property that it has now been removed from the market for viewings.

The property market here seems to have gone absolutely crazy. I can see us being in this rental property for quite some time to come.


This evening, feeling a little sad and dispirited after the loss of our dream home, we decided to visit the little tasting bar of the local Fynoderee gin distillery.  It is less than a five minute walk from here and, although the distillery has been going for a while now,  the bar has only recently opened up.  One of its gins features in a national Gin Club offering in the UK, so it must be good!

We ordered a large elderflower gin and a Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic each and sat back to enjoy the ambience.  My goodness though, the gin seemed quite strong and we were soon quite mellow.

For those of you who may be interested in the origin of the name Fynoderee, here is the sad story from the distillery's website...

Are you ‘sipping’ comfortably? Then I’ll begin...

Many years ago... Kitty Kerruish was a young and beautiful girl who lived with her father in a small cottage surrounded by fuchsia bushes up at the top of Glen Auldyn in the North of the Isle of Man. Her father was a tailor and the men of Ramsey would visit the cottage to have their suits made for them. Even though Kitty’s father was not considered the best tailor in the world, he still did good trade as the men would happily trudge up the many miles along the gorse lined footpaths from Ramsey in the hope of getting a glance of the beautiful Kitty Kerruish - and to even make a play for her hand in marriage. Kitty, however, was so devoted to the needs of her father, who was frail and in need of her help, that she turned away her many suitors with the excuse of being unavailable for marriage while her father was still alive.

One summer evening, as Kitty was sitting outside her cottage working on her spinning wheel, and awaiting her father’s return from a business trip to Ballaugh, she heard a strange rustling in the undergrowth... Then appeared the most beguiling young man she had ever set her eyes upon. Though small in stature, he possessed such a mesmerizing beauty that Kitty quickly realized he could not be of mortal form, but rather a member of the fabled fairy folk community that were known to inhabit the Isle of Man at that time.

It soon turned out that this little fellow was no ordinary fairy, as he introduced himself as “Udereek”, Prince of the Elfin kind! He then proclaimed his undying love for Kitty, who he had secretly been watching and lusting after for many months. Kitty, although taken-aback by this sudden proclamation of love, was entranced by his magical beauty and was powerless to resist his beauteous charms. When Udereek went to kiss her, she fell into his arms, and at the same time fell instantly and hopelessly in love with him too.

Now, it is completely forbidden by the Fairy Court for fairy kind to fall in love with a mortal girl, and for Prince Udereek - who held a very high position within the Fairy Court - it was even more important that their love could never be discovered. So, before Kitty’s father could return to the cottage, Udereek quickly vanished, but not before making plans to meet Kitty at dusk the next evening under the Blue Rowan Tree nearby. And so it was that Kitty and Udereek would meet at dusk every evening for their secret trysts under the Blue Rowan Tree, and day-by-day each fell more and more in love with the other.

 Weeks went by, until one evening Udereek explained to Kitty that the next night was to be the “Royal Festival of the Harvest Moon” in Glen Rushen and that it was decreed that all Elfin kind were to attend the festivities until the moon had set over South Barrule. Kitty teased Udereek, suggesting he would have such a good time at the ball that he would forget all about her and instead be seduced by a beautiful fairy maiden. Affronted, Udereek insisted this could never happen... To prove how much Kitty meant to him, he would make his escape from the Harvest Festival early (after only three hours had passed), and he would come looking for Kitty as usual under their Blue Rowan Tree.

The next night, fairies from all parts of the Isle of Man assembled before the Great King and Queen. Elfin kind, sprites and bugganes came together for a bounteous feast, dancing and much frivolity. Udereek found himself sitting next to a fairy named Estella, who was widely considered to be the most beautiful of all fairy maidens - and who possessed ways of seduction and bewitchery that no mortal man could ever resist. Estella was delighted to be seated next to Udereek and was attracted to him for his good looks and his high position within the Fairy Court. Estella pulled out all the stops to seduce Udereek, but he was immune to her charms, bewitched as he was by his love for Kitty, and to whom he remained true. Then, as the feasting ended and the dancing began, Udereek took his chance to slip away into the night and to find Kitty as he had promised to do.

Estella was mortified and furious that Udereek had so easily resisted her charms. She was confident in her superior beauty and couldn’t understand why her attempts at seduction had been so easily brushed aside. This had never happened to her before and she soon became convinced that Udereek's heart must already be taken. Overwhelmed with jealousy and rage, Estella stalked Udereek as he quietly made his departure from the Harvest Festival Ball... Unbeknown to him, she then followed him on his flight of passion back to Glen Auldyn and the waiting Kitty Kerruish.

 Relieved by the eventual return of her lover, Kitty fell into Udereek’s loving embrace - just as Estella stumbled upon the scene... Consumed by jealousy and bitter hatred for what she saw, Estella vowed to have her revenge on the helpless lovers. Quick as lightening, she returned to the Harvest revels where she announced to the full Fairy Court what she had just witnessed. Astonished and betrayed by the treachery of Udereek in falling in love with a mortal girl, The King and Queen called an immediate halt to the festivities. They flew straight to the scene of the crime - where Udereek was caught in Kitty’s embrace, pulled away and instantly sent for trial.

Estella beseeched the Great King to exact a terrible revenge on Kitty, but the monarch was a fair man (and not immune himself to the obvious charms of Kitty), and he could not bring himself to harm her. Instead, he gave Kitty instructions to flee the Isle of Man and decreed that she must be gone from the shores of “Ellan Vannin” before the next full moon, otherwise her fate was in the hands of Estella - and he would do nothing to prevent Estella from having her own sweet revenge.

But Kitty could not bring herself to leave her father, or her memories of her passionate love for Udereek. Every evening she would return to their special place under the Blue Rowan Tree in Glen Auldyn. She would pine for her lost love and dream of his unlikely return, and she did not notice the passing of the days. Then one evening, as Kitty sat in the twilight, the moon rose to its fullest... Estella, still consumed by her bitter jealousy, gleefully summoned a rising mist from all the poisonous plants in the glen, and silently directed it to surround poor Kitty. Slowly and imperceptibly, Kitty breathed in the toxic mist until her fate was sealed.  That night, overcome by the noxious fumes, she passed away in her bewildered father’s arms.

For Udereek, a different and even worse fate was in store. He was formally tried by his peers and condemned to banishment from the fairy community - to remain a lonely wanderer in Ellan Vannin until the crack of doom. His sentence was no sooner pronounced by the King than Uddereek was instantly changed from his beautiful Elfin form into a figure resembling a satyr: half man, half billy-goat - from whence he derives his present name of Fynoderee, or HAIRY ONE.

He has remained on the Isle of Man ever since.

Although heartbroken and fallen from grace, the Fynoderee is known for good-naturedly assisting those who he befriends, and many are the tales of the hairy fellow’s beneficence. Over the years and by moonlight, he has helped farmers to reap and sow, moved boulders to assist builders and mended many fishermen’s nets on the quaysides around our Island.

The Grove

This morning was another bright, sunny one.  After breakfast we set off for a walk and decided to head across town and visit the Grove Museum.  We have been before but it is a fascinating place with pretty gardens.

The house was built in the 1800s by a shipping merchant from Liverpool and after their parents died the two daughters remained living there by themselves until their deaths in the 1970s.  They had never married  due to the shortage of available young men following the Great War.

The house had never been updated or altered and is preserved now as a museum of Victorian life in the Isle of Man.

We strolled around the gardens admiring the wildflowers and took a look at the various outbuildings and farming implements that belonged to the house.

The outdoor privy!

There are bee hives in the gardens but also, upstairs in the house a transparent box houses a bee hive  with a plastic tube to allow them to enter and exit through the window.

The box used to be made of wood with glass sides but we see that this has now been replaced by a modern version. Shame.

Outside in the field is a fine flock of Manx Loaghtan sheep, with their distinctive horns.

We walked back home  crossing the White Bridge over the river and investigating potential new home locations.

Two hours in the sun. I think I may have had my dose of vitamin D for today.

Queen's Pier Restoration TrustOpen Day

This morning we tootled down the road (all of 3 minutes walk) to drop in on the open day festivities for Phase 1 of the Queen's Pier restoration.  

This the view down to the end of the street where we are currently living . Queen's Pier is just at the bottom.

Things were well under way and the speeches had all finished.  People were milling around, listening to the band playing. The Tuesday Tooters  is an initiative of the Ramsey Town Band to give senior citizens an opportunity to learn new skills. They are pretty darned good.

We admired the work in progress and chatted to a friend who is one of the volunteers repairing the Pier.

First opened in 1886, Queen's Pier provided a deep water berth for visiting vessels until 1970, when it fell into disuse before being closed for safety reasons in 1991.

The heat was starting to get to me so we hauled ourselves back up the street, to sit indoors in the shade.

P is taking part in a fell run this evening.  He must be mad to run in these temperatures. 

On The Train

Wednesday.   We had decided that this was the day to take a trip on the Manx Electric Railway from Ramsey down to Douglas.  The school holidays start next week and, as P has fell races on Thursday and Friday evenings, Wednesday would be our last chance.  The weather was pretty good too.

Our pensioners bus passes entitled us to half price fares so one way to Douglas cost the princely sum of £3.35 each.  Bargain, for a trip of an hour and a half.

We elected to travel in the open "toast rack" carriage, mainly because of the heat and also because it would be pretty well ventilated against "you know what".

We sat up front so that we were up-wind of the other plague-ridden passengers (all off-island visitors).

The track hugs the east coast all the way down to Douglas, with some pretty impressive views along the way.  Unfortunately, due to the swaying and bumping from the train travelling at a fair old lick, it was tricky getting decent photos.

We arrived at Douglas around 12:30.  The Electric Railway station is at the very far north end of the promenade so we had a 2 mile walk along to the southern end and the Sea Terminal / bus station.

We popped into M&S to buy sandwiches then sat on a bench in the sunken garden to eat our lunch, bravely fending off the marauding seagulls who wanted to share with us.

We sat beside the memorial plaque to Sir William Hillary who started the Royal National Lifeboat Institution from this very spot and also caused the Tower of Refuge to be built in Douglas Bay.  

From Wikipedia ..... At the age of 60, Hillary took part in the rescue, in 1830, of the crew of the packet St George, which had foundered on Conister Rock at the entrance to Douglas harbour. He commanded the lifeboat, was washed overboard with others of the lifeboat crew, yet finally everyone aboard the St George was rescued with no loss of life.  The incident prompted Hillary to set up a scheme to build the Tower of Refuge on Conister Rock. The structure, designed by architect John Welch, was completed in 1832 and still stands at the entrance to Douglas harbour

There is also now a brand new memorial on this section of the promenade. A statue dedicated to the Bee Gees who were born here and eventually became pop music superstars.

... Staying Alive! ...


We Lost The War

The bidding war that is.

The agent called to say that someone else had put in a much higher bid than ours so we didn't get the house.

I was a little surprised as our bid was quite a lot higher than the original asking price.

Still, we only bid what we thought it was worth, so good luck to the new buyers. I hope they find it was worth it in the long term.

Point of Ayre

Monday afternoon and P was feeling bored and restless.  We had walked into town after breakfast to do some shopping but after lunch he was twiddling his thumbs, with nothing interesting to fill his time.

He suggested a short drive up to the Point of Ayre to walk along the foreshore. The area along the shore is a protected nesting site for Arctic Terns so we took the binoculars and our walking boots.

The Ayres is the northernmost point of the island and feels quite remote, even though it is only around 8 or 9 miles from town.  From the sandy parking area you can look across to the coast of Scotland and see the sun glinting off the glass of lighthouses or buildings.

The Terns' nesting area is roped off to prevent people walking there, and any dogs must be kept on a lead.  There were a few other people there, just walking or sitting on the unprotected area of shingle, enjoying the sun.

We walked to the lighthouse and followed the path further along the shore, before retracing our steps to the parking area then along in the opposite direction.

We passed by the rusted remains of WW2  sea defences and stopped for 10 minutes or so to watch a small group of seals that were swimming and diving only a few yards from the shore. We got a great view of them through the binoculars but they were too far away for my phone's camera.

Back home for yet another ice cream.

After supper the temperature was much more comfortable so we walked the 20 minutes to the hotel by the park for a glass of pink bubbles.  Just like being on holiday.