Around The Block

It is very cold today but too bright and sunny to stay indoors.

I wrapped up in my padded jacket and went for a walk around the block. I intended to only do a half hour walk but the footpath was closed for repairs so I took the longer route instead. 

I am glad that I did.  I feel so much better for the exercise. 






Neighbours

 Everybody needs good ones, or so the Australian TV soap theme tune tells us.



P has been spending the past few days clearing and tidying the memorial garden, which had suffered a little over recent years from neglect. The low stone wall dividing it from our neighbour's property had collapsed in places so P has been  carefully rebuilding it.

The neighbour came over to chat with him and they discussed the state of repair of our joint boundary and the trees on each side, some of which are becoming a bit of a nuisance. One large and very heavy branch had fallen onto the wall during the recent storms and demolished a section of it.

The neighbour offered to apply to remove two of the offending trees and also to use his heavy duty saw to take out a huge stump left over from an earlier diseased tree that had grown into the wall at some point  dislodging most of the stones.

When P went back outside after his lunch  the neighbour was already hard at work. He had taken out the stump and was busy rebuilding the section of our wall.

Perhaps he is relieved to have  a new neighbour like P who is keen on maintaining the garden as we gather the previous owner was not so inclined.

It always seems to make life easier if you have good neighbours. 


Normal Service

... has now been resumed.

We drove our friends to the airport on Saturday for their flight back home so now we are home alone again.

It was an enjoyable,  if brief, visit helped by the warm-(ish) sunny weather last week.

We managed to fit in a trip on the electric railway to Laxey and walked down to the sea for crab baps at The Shed.




There was a lot of catching up to do and we spent our time talking, eating and drinking.  

Now they have gone, there is a pile of laundry waiting and the weather is turning cooler and cloudier.

Back to normal then.



Hair Raising

It was more than a year since I last had a proper haircut.  My regular appointment was due the week that our last lockdown started, then we had a busy and stressful year with the house move then my hospital appointments so I just didn't get around to finding a new hairdresser up here to make an appointment. 

Eventually I got so frustrated with the mess I had made by trying to cut it myself that I walked into one of the many salons in town and booked an appointment. 

The stylist was great. Very experienced and asked lots of questions about what I wanted whilst examining my hair for texture and fall etc.

I came out £40 lighter in the pocket but very happy with my wash and go cut.

Yesterday P was very disappointed to discover that our Freeview set top recorder box seems to have stopped talking to our TV.  We have tried rebooting it,  several times, but no luck. He eventually decided we need a new one but there are none in stock locally.  He is cross that he has lost a few episodes of the series he had been watching (our TV doesn't have catch-up which is why he needs the box).  I tried to order one online but the website froze just after I had entered my credit card details so I am reluctant to try again.  Hey ho.

We are now sitting here in the sunshine having a coffee before driving down to the airport to pick up our friends.   The guest bedroom has been primped to within an inch of its life, the salmon is ready and waiting in the fridge along with the rhubarb and ginger creams I made yesterday  and the weather looks to be set fair all week so I am looking forward to their visit.

Who needs TV?



Ghost Cheese

I stopped by the local  Goat Farm stall at the Farmers Market yesterday as I wanted to buy some of their cheese for our visitors to sample next week.


When my niece visited with her young daughter, Poppy, a few years ago we spent a convivial evening after supper/dinner eating cheese and chatting.  Young Poppy, who was only three at the time, wanted to try some of the ghost cheese that we were talking about.  Since then we often refer to goats cheese as ghost cheese.

They had some fresh goat meat for sale - slaughtered and vacuum packed just the previous day - so I bought a pack for the freezer.  Not cheap but a treat for our wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

We now have lots of daffodils in bloom alongside the drive so I picked some to put in a vase on the kitchen window sill.  They may not be particularly fragrant but they look cheerful.


We are looking forward now to a week of sunshine and light winds, which will be a relief as our friends are due to arrive on Wednesday for  a short visit.  Can't wait to see the back of our cold,  wet and windy weather.


Beware

Tis the Ides of March.

I am going nowhere near the Coliseum today.

It is grey, overcast and very breezy this morning so it will be a day for lounging around, reading and drinking lots of strong coffee. There may be a hobnob or two involved. 

The heritage railway season starts today so I am looking forward to seeing and hearing the first trains rattle past the fence later.  There is a  crossing just behind the house so we shall hear them toot as they approach.

Simple pleasures for a simple person

EDITED:

Just got a couple of (bad) shots as it passed by. My fingers were too cold to press the button.









Cheering Up

Everything seems pretty gloomy at the moment and I didn't help myself much by reading an article about dirty bombs and chemical/biological weapons that could easily reach us in the West.

 The rain eased off by mid morning so we walked into town to buy the newspaper and some essentials. 

The Co-Op store had lots of bargains on offer today so we stocked up on discounted food to stuff into the freezer.  Should come in handy once the shelter has been dug out and bomb-proofed.

We picked up this pretty selection to cheer ourselves up ....


Just waiting outside to be potted up...


Oh, and here are the two compost bins that P made from the odd bits of wood that had been left in a pile behind the shed (along with loads of assorted junk)...








Things That Go Bump In The Night



Late last night as we both sat up in bed reading, P jumped up and said that he had heard a loud crash somewhere in the house.  I, of course, had heard nothing.

We both got out of bed and walked through the upstairs rooms looking for anything that may have fallen over, or fallen through the skylights. Nothing there, so we switched on all the lights and went downstairs.

We searched each room two or three times but couldn't find anything that may have caused the noise.

Eventually we gave up and went back to bed.

This morning I went into my little dressing room to do the usual with face and hair and discovered that my hairdryer had obviously slipped out of the little basket I prop it up in and fallen to the floor - which is laminate, not carpeted.

Mystery solved.  Phew!



Culture Vannin's Article On Womens Day 2022

I saw this online today and thought it may be of interest to some of you ...


 On #InternationalWomensDay2022 we want to celebrate the wonderful history of Manx boarding house keepers. 

From the 1870’s the Isle of Man utterly transformed itself into ‘holiday island’ as it sought to compete with the flourishing seaside holiday towns of England. There was a huge building boom in Douglas, with boarding houses of uniform design appearing along the newly constructed promenades. By the end of the century similar buildings appeared in Ramsey, Port Erin and Port St Mary.

The proliferation of boarding houses presented a unique opportunity for local women. Running a boarding house was considered a female occupation, and as such local women could apply to rent and run these new boarding houses. This was respectable work for ordinary Manx women, who did not need to be married or have their father’s permission to run such an establishment. This gave the new boarding house keepers great freedom, at a time when such freedom for women was often curtailed. The boarding house keepers were central to the success of the tourist industry, which quickly became the mainstay of the Manx economy. 

Some say it was because of their importance to this crucial economy that women acquired the vote on the Isle of Man before anywhere else in the world.

Spring Is Springing

After the recent wall to wall rain and gale force winds it has been a welcome relief this week to have calm, bright and sunny days, even if cold and frosty ones.

Yesterday I had a stroll around the garden to see if anything interesting was coming up.

The snowdrops are long gone but the miniature daffodils are out. The larger ones are still in bud so obviously a later flowering variety.

The previous owners left us a few tubs of various bulbs and plants so we are waiting to see what pops up.  This one is very cheerful.


I was surprised to see daisies in the lawn so early.

This chap was taking a rest on the wall.  I looked him up online and think he must be a Hawthorn Shieldbug.  Apparently they are very common.

I went for a walk this morning with my friend who is recovering from a nasty accident involving an ironing board.  She had the stitches out on Monday so we took  a gentle stroll along the North Shore and then coffee in the park café. 

More sunshine is forecast for the next few days.  Hallelujah !





Seeing Red

One of the problems I have had for the past 6 weeks or so was not being able to do my usual food shop by myself.
P very kindly offered to do it for me, armed with a list.
Unfortunately he is easily tempted by certain items on the discounted yellow sticker shelf so we now have a freezer full of beef products.. stewing, braising, rib eye and sirloin steak.... and Manx Meat Market sausages. Incredibly it seems there were never any chicken or fish products discounted. Hmm...
Although I am now able to go shopping for non-beef supplies, there is not enough space yet in the freezer to store any more food.  I have been buying just enough fish and other produce to keep in the fridge for a few days at a time and am steadily working my way through the steak stash.
With all this red meat being consumed I shall certainly not be deficient in iron or protein for some time.

Out Of Sorts

Despite the beautiful sunny weather today and the sight of our first daffodils and tulips in bud, I am feeling a little sad and generally down right now.

I cannot help feeling anxious and  angry about what is happening across Europe. It has echoes of the 1960s about it and the fears back then of nuclear tit for tat.

Our delight in our new home has also been somewhat dampened as we start to discover the little hidden problems that didn't show up on the pre-purchase survey.  We knew that a 170 year old property would need ongoing maintenance but we had hoped to have a few more years before we needed to dig further into our pensions. 

I managed another walk into town today and enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine without that relentless gale force wind. 

It was just like spring!.