It's Back

After a two year hiatus, this weekend marks the start of the 2022 TT Festival.

We have already starting seeing the earlybird fans, browsing the beer aisles in the supermarket, distinctive in their motorbike leathers and T shirts emblazoned with previous years' TT logos. 

I did a morning shift today, helping out at the charity shop, and there were quite a few visitors in looking for bargains. It was great to chat to them and they seemed pleased to be back.

The campsites have been slowly filling up and the sound of motorbikes can be heard as they roar up the mountain section of the course just behind us.

Just before it all kicks off, we also have the S9 Supercar club over this week with their 50 eye-catching motors to display. Apparently worth £15 million in total. 

Petrol head heaven.


Our next door neighbour called round yesterday with a man from one of the local tree surgeon companies. He has been discussing with P his plans to remove two huge trees that are on his boundary but also encroach on our property.

As you may be able to see from these photos, the trees are pretty big brutes. They are uncomfortably close to the house, and create quite a mess  dropping needles, catkins and leaves all over the place.

Our neighbour now has a permit to remove them so is just getting a few quotes.

Methinks it will not come cheap.

What's Next?

 P finished the fence yesterday and was very pleased with himself.  He deserved his steak and half bottle of Merlot last night.

I went for a two hour walk this morning with my friend and when I returned home he was already hard at work down by the gate at the bottom of the drive.  He has today moved a huge pile of soil and riddled it for stones, which he plans to use for a car parking hard standing  area down there.

He is non-stop, just like the Energizer Bunny in those TV ads.

Yesterday afternoon as I was cleaning all the oak tree catkins that daily cover the car and patio at the front of the house, two women strolled up the drive with a small dog. I went to greet them and ask if I could help. They said they just wanted to have a look around the Memorial Garden.  I very politely advised them that it is only open on Sundays, as it says on the sign at the gate, so they turned around and went back.  This is the third or fourth time this has happened.  People either genuinely don't notice the sign or just assume that they can wander in at will.    It does make me feel slightly uncomfortable as this is our home and, although we are very happy to have visitors to the Garden on Sundays, I wish that they would respect our privacy on other days.  One of the minor irritations of living here I suppose and something we shall need to get accustomed to in time.

After a misty, damp start today it has turned into a warm and bright afternoon.

P is still working out in the garden but I am now getting ready for my G&T before popping the "stinky" chicken in the oven (this is the chicken that our friends left for us in the porch last week. I took it out of the freezer yesterday and now our fridge smells quite pungently of garlic).

Off to try to buy some bread tomorrow.  I have been told that the Co-Op bakery shelves have been bare the past couple of days so we are hoping the local artisan bakery has been hard at work using our local Manx grown flour.

Working Hard

When we first came to view this house the first thing P said was " That fence is rotten. We'd have to replace that."

I wasn't particularly worried about the fence. It is just the boundary between us and our neighbours, but he has been determined to fix it.

He has spent several weeks taking out the old rotten posts, sorting out which of the rails can be reused and then trying to get quotes for a new fence. Only one of the three fence companies came back with a quote, which was eye watering, so he decided to do it himself, using inexpensive agricultural Cundy posts and the fence rails salvaged from the old one. He had to dig out holes for the new posts as the spacing was now shorter.  Very hard work.

Now most of the posts are in and some of the rails attached. He has run out of cement mix and screws but this is his progress so far...

It has taken several weeks so far but not bad for a 72 year old.

Looks like we have been fortunate to have been spared the expense of having a fencer in. It seems we are now unlikely to get back the deposit from our rental property. There are some very shady landlords about.

Garden Stuff

I haven't posted for a few days. Not been feeling great and couldn't summon up any enthusiasm.  I have been oomph-less.

Today, the rain has stopped and the sun is trying to break through so I have been pottering in the garden.

Lots of shrubs and flowers are now showing themselves off after their winter sleep and we are discovering lots of pretty things now.

Here are some photos for those who like garden stuff...

A Surprise Gift

This morning P went off for his usual Friday volunteering stint and I walked into town for an hour's summer clothes browsing. 

As I walked back up the drive I could see there was a small white bag in the front porch.  The closer I got, the more I could smell it too.

It turned out to contain a  packet of  rosemary and garlic marinated chicken fillets and half a dozen maple marinated sausages from the artisan butcher, plus a home made sponge cake from the farm shop.

It seems that our friends had called round while we were both out to leave the goodies as a thank you present.

Last weekend we had given them a whole estate-car boot full of large tree branches for firewood. We were happy to get rid of it and didn't expect anything in return. 

The enticingly aromatic food was very welcome though.

A Quiet Day

We had been out for a meal with friends last night so just wanted an easy day today.

However, as it was a sunny morning P was eager to get started on digging holes and putting in the new fence posts.   He was pleased that he had got them for what he felt is a bargain price of £3.50 each.

Anyone know why Cundy posts are so called? I asked Professor G but he was not much help.

I walked into town after breakfast to buy the fresh fruit and veg and may perhaps have also detoured via the bakery for two custard tarts to go with our coffee. 

A little light deadheading and pulling up some persistent dandelions and now drinking tea on the bench.

The Head Gardener has gone for a run. 

This Morning's Walk

My usual walking partner is away on  holiday so I was walking solo today.

P had an early start as he is marshalling at a fell race. He can't take part as he is suffering from a recurring knee injury.

I left the house at 9 a.m. so there were very few people around.

A little grey, breezy and overcast but not cold.

Just a short half hour loop around the lanes up behind the house to loosen up the muscles  and work off yesterday's excess food.

The lane verges were bursting with wild garlic and ivy.

This garden hedge could do with a trim

Back home again and a couple of shots of our bluebells and an azalea.

Coffee time now and the rest of Sunday to enjoy.

Happy Sunday!

Random Stuff

Today has been another good day.

Sunshine ... mostly... and warming up a little.

A stroll into town this morning to buy the newspaper, milk  and a couple of pecan twists to go with coffee.   We also popped into the Farmers Combine shop on the quayside and bought a small pot of parsley for the kitchen windowsill.

The seeds I sowed in my bargain kitchen trough have germinated.   I think I may have sown too many ....

We spent the afternoon gardening.  P was moving the grass turf the railwaymen dug up for us and using it to fill in some dead spots under the trees.  He said we should have bought a house on a flat plot as he puffed past me up the drive with a loaded wheelbarrow. 

I was deadheading tulips and cutting back the rose bushes  until the hay fever got the better of me and drove me indoors.

A propos of nothing, this candlestick was originally a ceramic electrical insulator from an overhead power line . 

P found it in the garden, cleaned it up and it now sits on our hall shelf. (Northsider.. more upcycling!)

P's friend arrived a little while ago to drop off some courgette plants for the garden and they have both now gone to the pub for a pint.

I have popped open a bottle of fizz and am enjoying a peaceful hour or so whilst a goat stew is gently bubbling away on the stove and enjoying looking out at the late afternoon sun on the trees.

Joy and Diversity

Yesterday, on my little bus trip into Douglas, I was struck, for totally different reasons,  by two blogger's posts that I had recently read:  Yorkshire Pudding's observations about the differences in cultural diversity in various parts of the UK  and Rachel's comment on her blog What is the Joy of Living?

We had taken the trip into Douglas to visit the Government Planning Department to view the original plans for the conversion of our house. As these are twenty years old now, they are only available on microfiche so we had to sit at the machine in the reception area and peer at the dark and fuzzy images on the small screen in order to make out the details.  Unfortunately, the scanned documents appeared to be incomplete and some of the technical stuff seemed to be missing.  We did glean some information, however, so it was not a totally wasted visit.

We also did some shopping and had a coffee, to make a day of it.

Anyway, this is when YP's blog post about diversity struck me. Although our island is very small compared to the UK, our population has very quickly grown in ethnic and cultural diversity over the past couple of years.  It was apparent just walking through town and visiting shops and cafes that there is a very wide mix of new residents. We have many different colours and creeds here now whereas up until very recently the island was made up predominantly of white Manx, UK and Irish nationalities.

The young lady at the reception desk in the Government office was of Eastern Europe origin, as are some of the staff we speak to over the 'phone at the bank and building contractor offices.  There are many different nationalities working in our health care services and I have also seen quite a few different nationalities working on the local fishing boats too.

I thought about YP's observations that, across in the UK, this does not seem to be the case in areas outside of London and the surrounding areas of other cities but we certainly seem to be welcoming many different people here to bolster our population.

As we were ensconced in our seats on the bus home I was gazing out of the window and, once free from the gritty environs of Douglas, was enjoying the view of the rolling green hills and sea cliffs as we bowled along.  I had a moment of total contentment, feeling fortunate to be reasonably fit and healthy and to live in a relatively safe, quiet and beautiful place with just enough money to feed, clothe and warm ourselves .... so far, 

That is when Rachel's comment on What is the Joy of Living?  came to me. At that particular moment I felt that was my version of it.

Fun And Games

Today has been pretty grotty weather wise, cool, damp and grey so I have stayed indoors.

P went to the tip first thing to get rid of several sacks of garden waste. On the way home he picked up a bag of chocolate and hazelnut doughnuts for the railway repairmen, who are supposed to be finishing off the track job today, probably.  They were quite happy with their elevenses goodies.

Later on, the foreman came up the drive to ask P if he wanted some of the visqueen sheeting they have been using as they have a roll left over. He thought it would be useful to put over the ground before P covers the new parking space with his stones and gravel.  We have ended up with a huge roll of it, which will come in very useful I am sure.

After lunch they asked if they could bring their truck up our drive with the heavy duty power washer on the trailer as they needed to jet wash the track.  Our drive is above the track so it is easier for them to park up here and wash the track below them.

While that was going on, the delivery men turned up with our new shower enclosure screen. They had been unable to bring their delivery van along our road as the railway workers' digger and heavy equipment was blocking the junction so the two guys had to park on the main road, several hundred yards away, and carry the two very heavy packages on their shoulders all the way to our house and up our steep driveway.  Amazingly they were still quite cheerful and didn't grumble at all, at least not to our faces!  When P tried to lift just one of the packages he could hardly move it.  We have sent a message to their company praising them for their excellent service.

I had messaged the Government Planning Office over the weekend asking about the original plans for the conversion of our house.  An email arrived this morning from a very helpful lady saying that she has retrieved the relevant microfiche from their records and it will be in their reception for us to call in and view any time this week.  How's that for service?

All we need now is for the weather to improve a little.

May Day

I understand that May Day, or Beltane, is a day for merriment and revelry, halfway between spring and summer.  

I am looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, it is wet and grey here this morning with a steady drizzle.  The gang of very friendly men working on the railway track beside our garden have been back again this week with their big boys' toys  to finish off the job they started at Easter.  They seem to work nonstop from 8:30 am until 5:30 pm. No slacking!

 P has been out working in the garden every day so they have been chatting over the fence on and off.  During the spell of warm sunny weather our neighbour brought them all choc ices to cool them off. When the weather returned to its usual temperature, P bought them bacon and sausage baps to warm them up again.  They also asked if they could cadge some electricity to put their cordless drills on charge so P rolled out the long extension cable for them a couple of days during the week.  In return, they have given us a few unwanted lengths of used timber and the digger driver has just been round to clear away a patch of scrubby grass that we intend to gravel over as a car parking area.  They are a great bunch.

We had to put up a "Private" sign yesterday at the bottom of the drive as we have had a few people wander in recently, perhaps not realising that the Memorial Garden is only open on Sundays. There is a sign to that effect at the gate but I am not sure that everyone actually reads it.  We shall see.

If the drizzle stops this afternoon I may go out for a stroll, after all, we are supposed to be halfway to summer now.