It seemed incongruous this morning waking up to a clear, calm, bright and sunny morning with choirs of birds singing their little heads off, knowing that a horrific scenario is being played out across the opposite side of Europe.   Somebody please stop that madman.

Nevertheless,  I was motivated to grab the opportunity to attempt some form of normality after 6 weeks of inactivity.   

P went off for his usual Friday morning volunteering session  gardening at the local Victorian House museum so I decided to try a walk into town.

My scar has healed well but the bruising seems to reappear after I have been moving about.  I consulted Professor Google who suggested it may be leaking blood vessels following the surgery.  I have messaged the surgical team for advice but decided to go for a walk anyway.

A slow saunter to the library for more books, then a sneaky little purchase from the Hospice shop of a sweater dress, unworn with labels still attached. It is warm and cosy and long enough to hide my scar.  I do love a bargain.

I walked back along the Prom, after stopping to buy a cinnamon swirl to have with my coffee.

The tide was out and there were several dog walkers enjoying the beach.

I stopped at the corner across the train tracks from our driveway and took this shot .

I am looking forward to the start of the heritage railway season when the trains will be chugging alongside our garden fence.

Sometimes it helps to just stop and appreciate what is good about life.


Just One After Another

So far... touch wood, cross fingers and all that other superstitious stuff ... we have escaped storms Dudley, Eunice and now Franklin with very little damage to our Church House.

I don't think anyone upstairs has been looking out for us, it is just that we are sheltered from the northwesterly gales to some extent.  Other parts of the island have not fared so well, with damage caused by fallen trees and flying debris.  It seems that winds of 110 mph were recorded up on Snaefell overnight. 

I did keep a wary eye on the various tall trees that surround us. Lying in bed, looking up at night through the Velux window set into the roof, I can watch the top of the huge Scots pine swaying violently in the wind,  hoping that it doesn't end up on top of me.

P told me that the noise from the wind and crashing branches outside was so loud it woke him several times.

It seems there a few advantages to being hard of hearing.

Life After Life

 I have just finished reading this novel by Kate Atkinson and must admit to feeling ambivalent about it. 

It is an unusual novel, describing multiple versions of the central character's life from her birth in 1910 in middle class,  Home Counties England to WWII and beyond, based on the premise that one small incident can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of a life. Each version of her life is changed by the outcome of that particular incident.

I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of domestic life in the period around the two World Wars, but felt that perhaps the storyline included too many iterations of her life and it left me feeling it was unresolved at the end.

Have any of you read it and, if so, what did you think?


 .. is not dead, just not feeling very well right now.

St Valentines Day has never been a "thing" for us so I do not expect much in the way of romantic gestures on 14th February each year.  Today was no exception.

P drove me into town to do some essential food shopping and run some errands.  We bumped into friends who had taken the bus up from the Douglas area.  The coast road had been closed this morning due to fallen trees so they had taken advantage of the unexpected opportunity for an "express" bus trip over the mountain road detour with no stops along the way.  A scenic drive courtesy of IOM Bus. We had coffee and a chat then popped into the charity shop to see if they had any jigsaw puzzles.   I bought P a rather fetching merino wool jumper for the princely sum of £4.  

In the supermarket we saw they had a couple of rib eye steaks reduced in price - still £6.00 for two but we bought them as a treat.

Tonight's romantic supper was sorted.

Out Of Stock

I have spent a frustrating couple of days trying to buy reading lamps for our bedside tables.

The lamps we have now are not really suitable for reading so we decided to replace them and move them into the guest bedroom.

Unfortunately there is only one lighting retailer here and they seem to specialise in corporate and special event projects.  B&Q was the only other option but they had a very poor selection and the only one that would have been suitable is out of stock.  Same story with the dreaded Amazon.  So many items showing as unavailable. 

Finally,  after an hour or two of trawling online this afternoon I found just the thing on the RNIB website and have ordered two.

Just hope they arrive as we often have delivery problems over here.

Fingers crossed.

All Clear

Yesterday's hail and sleety showers have gone for now, driven away by today's strong to gale force wind, although the temperature is a mild 10C.

P drove me the short distance into town this morning as I wanted to choose some library books and buy a couple of things from the supermarket. He parked as close as he could so I didn't have to walk very far. Unfortunately, the shop didn't have everything I needed so I'll need to try elsewhere another day.  I did manage to find a couple of books to keep me quiet for a few more days though.

Tomorrow we are planning to take a trip across the mountain down to Douglas  (weather permitting) as I want to visit B&Q to buy some things for the guest bedroom. We have friends coming over to stay for a few days in March and I want to make the guestroom as welcoming for them as possible.  A couple of bedside lamps and a large garden thermometer are on my list, amongst other sundry home "nice-to-haves".  P has also arranged to meet some friends there for coffee now that our restrictions have mostly been lifted.

After lunch P checked our postbox (which is down at the bottom of the drive so a bit of a haul back up for me at the moment).  There was a letter for me from the hospital with my latest biopsy results.  All clear and just a follow up appointment for June.

Good news.

A Little History

Northsider Dave suggested that I spend my current period of inactivity researching the history of our new Church House, so I have been following his advice over the past day or so.

I stumbled upon a very informative site ... manxnotebook ...  which goes into quite a lot of detail about our little chapel.  An abbreviated extract is copied below for anyone who may be interested.

[From Churches of South Ramsey,1923]

Ballure Chapel stands within the "Treen" of Ballure, on the site of one of those earlier structures known as "Keeills," which were in existence before our present parishes were formed. In Maughold there are remains or sites of fifteen.

The "Keeills" were built by the Culdees, or "Servants of God," who never married but lived alone, teaching and ministering to the people.

We do not hear of the Diocese of Sodor and Man till 1154. It consisted of the southern islands of Scotland, extending from the Hebrides to Arran, and Man, and it was then placed under the Archbishop of Drontheim in Norway. The word "Sodor" is derived from two Norse words meaning "southern isles," so that Sodor and Man means "The Southern Isles and Man" ; it is, in fact, the Ecclesiastical name for the Kingdom which was then called "Man and the Isles" . The connection of the Kingdom of Man with the Isles, or Sodor, came to an end in 1266, but the Diocese still bears the title of "Sodor and Man."

When the lands in the Isle of Man were divided into "Treens," one of these "Keeills" seems to have been kept in repair in each division, and in several instances more than one.

In 1712 the occupant of the Treen of Ballure, which consisted of the quarterlands of Ballure, Ballastole, Ballacowle, and Clenaigue, was together with the inhabitants of Ramsey, assessed to keep the Chapel in repair.

What the original dedication of the Chapel was is not known, but it has been called "S. Catherine’s," and the name has been attributed to Bishop Parr. It is generally referred to as "Ballure" or "Ramsey" Chapel.

At various times the Chapel was allowed to fall into a dilapidated condition.


A "Reader" had been appointed to Ballure, whose duty it was to read Prayers and sometimes a Homily. The reader was also Master of the Ramsey School. It would seem that "school was kept" in the Chapel.


At the beginning of the last century some old Yew trees were to be seen standing near the Chapel yard. This is interesting, as the name of the Treen, Ballure, or, as it is in the Manorial roll, ‘ ‘Ball-y-ure," means "the place of the Yew." As this tree lives to a great age, it is not impossible that these were the last of the number from which the name had been derived before any building had been erected on the ground now occupied by the Chapel. And Feltham in his "Tour," written in 1798, says, "Yew trees, which are generally found in our churchyards in England, are not to be found in those of Man."

A stream of water flowed from the highlands, passing the Chapel on the East, somewhere near the spot where the tram lines now pass. From this stream may have been taken the water for the Font, as in the case of the old Church of Marown where, after a dispute about the water flowing by the Church, it was settled "that the said water was to serve for the Baptizing of Infants."

Many baptisms are recorded after 1746. And several marriages took place in the time of Rev T. W. J. Woods and, though the rings were not of gold from Ballure, it has since been found near there.

The small burial ground round the Chapel corresponds to the raised platform on which some of the "Keeills" were built, but it has been slightly enlarged on the south and east sides. This would be done when the Chapel was lengthened to 61 feet in 1743, at the restoration of that date previously referred to. Many of our Churches at that time were from 50 to 60 feet long, and from 14 to 19 feet wide, and the average population of the parishes where they stood was about 800.


After S. Paul’s Church had been consecrated in 1822, the old Chapel fell into ruins, but it was again restored by the Rev. William Kermode in 1851 . A sum of £300 was raised by voluntary subscriptions and a grant of £45 was made by the ‘ ‘Incorporated Society for Promoting the Enlargement, Building, and Repairs of Churches and Chapels, "on condition that "the whole of certain seats described in the plan should be set apart and declared to be free,"

The Tradesmen’s Club, called the Ramsey Amicable Society, in which Mr Kermode took very great interest, used to turn out and march to Ballure for an annual service. These services were afterwards continued at S. Paul’s until the year 1889, when the members met for the last time immediately before ‘dissolution. The sermon at the last service (July 11th) was preached by the  (then) present Archdeacon of Man.

...... The East (stained glass) window was erected through the instrumentality of the Oddfellows Society to the memory of Rev. George Paton. The other windows were the gift of Miss King, except the two small circular lights in the West end, which were put in to the memory of Jessie Theodora, daughter of Rev. G. Paton.

In 1913 Canon Harrison purchased the field in front of the Chapel and planted it with various trees, much improving the appearance of the spot.

The first recorded burial, within the Church, was in 1611. Since then several other interments have taken place within its walls. At one time burials within the Church were common, not only in the Chancel but in the body of the Church. Pews were introduced instead of benches at the beginning of the XVII. century, and, as late as 1737, when the pews in Braddan Church were re-arranged to accommodate "intak" as well as "quarterland" holders, the latter were permitted to bury under their seats. And a few years earlier, when a new Church was built in Lonan, the parishioners had reserved to them their ancient rights and place of burying in the old Church, as well as the Churchyard. This custom has been abolished by law.

The earliest dated stone to be seen in the graveyard is that of Margaret Martin, 1750. At one time the Martins and MacCowles owned Ballure. Both these names were common in Galloway, and the MacGoilla Martins are said to have gotten their name from the patron Saint of the Church at Whithorn, S. Martin of Tours. 


On the west side of the Chapel is the tomb of two sisters, Martha and Elizabeth Fricker, well-known as. the sisters of the wives of three poets, Southey, Coleridge, and Lovel."

On the north side is the tomb of Sir Henry Claude Loraine. He was descended from one Robert Loraine who was murdered by Moss Troopers in the reign of Elizabeth, and of whom it is said that they "cut him in pieces as small as flesh for the pot." Near this tomb is that of Sir John Macartney, who had been knighted for assisting in the inland navigation of Ireland. His son Edward was lost from the "Hawk" on her way from Dublin to Douglas.

On the right-hand side of the entrance gate is the vault of the "Frissell" or "Fraser" family. This name, so well-known in many parts of Scotland, was at an early period connected with the Isle of Man. In the XII. century Oliver Fraser was "Thane" of Man. Thanes were at first stewards over the King’s land, but afterwards they became hereditary tenants of the King. John Frissell was Attorney-General in 1757 and 1758, and John Frissell, junior, was a member of the House of Keys in 1777. In this year the office of "High-Bailiff" was constituted, taking the place of the ancient one of "Captain of the Town," and the latter John Frissell was High-Bailiff of Ramsey. The Hill under Albert Tower is still known as "Lhergy Frissell."

The Rev. George Paton and Mrs Paton are buried here.

These are some of the names to be seen in this quiet little spot which, with its hallowed associations, is one link in the long chain that binds the present with the past.

Getting Out

I had visitors yesterday afternoon. A couple of friends popped in for tea and biscuits after an appointment at the Cottage Hospital.  During our chat they asked me how I was passing the time during my recovery and I admitted that I was feeling a little fed up.

After they left  P suggested that we take a drive out somewhere today and have lunch. He could drop me off outside the cafe and then fetch the car afterwards to pick me up.

So, this morning we left home under a bright, sunny sky for the half hour drive down the west coast to Peel.  Halfway there the clouds appeared and the sky darkened. We parked on the harbourside close to the museum and I hobbled the few yards to the coffee shop entrance. Once inside and the lentil soup ordered, we sat at a table by the window and watched the passers-by dashing to get out of the sudden wintry squall.  It lasted until we had finished our lunch and only cleared once P went off to fetch the car.

Negotiating the one way streets to get out of town, I remembered that Thursday is the day my two friends volunteer at the local Hospice charity shop. P managed to find a parking space close by so I was able to go in for a chat with them.  I ended up buying a good,  sturdy stainless steel saucepan and a birthday card for my sister.   

On the way home the clouds blew away and the sun came out once more.

P has now gone out for a run,  but he had better be quick as sleet and wintry showers are on their way again.

Bored, Bored, Bored

This is a grumpy,  feeling fed up kind of post so apologies in advance.  After two weeks of inactivity I am climbing the walls with boredom. 

A pile of library books have been read and are being exchanged today by my live-in carer (who seems to be a little disenchanted with his role now);  some mindless computer games played; online bills paid and some laundry done.  Oh,  there was a brief shuffle around the garden path a few days ago where I enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine.

I even resorted to trying to watch some TV on my tablet with the subtitles but  goodness me,  what a load of rubbish to trawl through before finding anything decent most days.  I watched a couple of documentaries on BBC iplayer which did help to pass a few hours.

P drove me to the hospital on Monday to have the stitches removed. I naively thought that I would immediately be bouncing around afterwards but it is still healing slowly and will be another couple of weeks yet.

Inactivity and comfort eating is becoming a real danger to my waistline.  Probably best to move the chocolates to the top shelf!