Seeing Stars

I had difficulty sleeping last night, just dozing on and off for an hour here and there.

It was a cold, cloudless, still night so I was content to just lie snuggled up under the duvet looking up at the stars through the skylight above my bed, as I have done on previous sleepless nights.

Our bedroom faces north so Venus was clearly visible above the treetops.

Have you noticed that it is easier to see the stars if you don't look directly at them?  I let my gaze drift slightly to one side and could then see them all twinkling away.

Around 3 a.m. I became aware of a brighter spot of light moving steadily down, from the top edge of the window in a straight line down to the bottom edge. It was gone in less than a minute.

I am assuming is was the International Space Station so had a quick look at the online tracker map this morning. It does seem to have passed overhead at roughly that time.  I didn’t think to wave to the crew.

I Missed You

It has only been a couple of weeks but I have missed my blog friends.

I am feeling a lot better, physically and mentally, and hoping to rekindle my friendships with everyone.

My blog posts and comments may be a little sporadic but I am still reading all your news.

This sight outside my front door cheered me up this morning.

So Weary

Lately I have been feeling quite tired most days and lacking in much motivation to get started on all the little projects I had planned.

Today I finished my volunteering shift at the charity shop an hour earlier than usual as I was feeling tired. I walked home but my legs felt like lead.  After lunch I lay down on the sofa and fell asleep for two hours.

I know it can't be down to my thyroid problem as I had all the blood tests last month. Only a slightly raised white cell count but everything else was normal.  I am over last week's cold now so it can't be that.

Perhaps it is the gloomy winter season or just me getting older!

Wishing For Rain?

Manx folk lore would have us all hoping for a rainy day on 1st February.

It was believed that the Caillagh ny Groamagh (roughly translated as ’Gloomy witch’) was thrown into the sea in Ireland and drifted here.

On the morning of 1st February she landed at Port St. Mary where she hunted for sticks to light a fire to dry and warm herself.  The area she landed used to be known as Callie or Caillagh Point, but has today become known as Kallow Point.

So the legend goes, it is hoped that every ditch will be full of rain or snow on the first morning of February.  This is so the caillagh cannot start her fire, and only then can we can be sure of a good spring.

Laa’l Breeshey, or Breeshey’s Day.

’Breeshey’ is the Manx form of ’Bridget,’ the Irish Saint who famously laid out her cloak, which miraculously stretched to cover enough land for her nunnery.

The Manx believed that Breeshey would wander the island on Oie’ll Vreeshey (St. Bridget’s Eve, January 31), looking for a place to stay, so people would make up a spare bed, leave out food and drink, and recite at the door before bed:

Vreeshey, Vreeshey, tar gys my hie, tar gys y thie ayms noght.
(Breeshey, Breeshey, come to my house, come to my house tonight",

In the morning, if the food and drink had been tasted and the bed slept in, it was a sign that Breeshey had visited and your house was blessed, so you could look forward to great luck and fortune ahead.

This was, however, open to abuse, as at least one story tells us.

Edward Faragher, the poet of Cregneash, tells of the woman of Earyween, a farm high up the Baldwin valley, who prepared correctly for Oie’ll Vreeshey.  However, unknown to her, a Jurby man was passing in the night and couldn’t resist the free food, beer and bed.  He had already gone by the time she emerged in the morning, allowing her to believe that Breeshey had visited and her luck was made. She carried this belief to the grave, as the man was too ashamed to tell the true story until after her death.

Ooh, look, it's raining!