Donald arrives today. I have known Donald for close on 45 years having met on a Wood Badge course with the Scouts at Gillwell. Haven’t seen him in probably 10 years with the bizarre exception of bumping into him at Bangkok airport in March. He arrives on very late ferry (late as fishing lines wrapped around Ben’s propellers which delayed it an hour) and no time to go out tonight as High Society rehearsals are scheduled.
Clear day forecast next day so off up Snaefell from Laxey on the crowded tram, time for a walk around at the top, viewing all but Wales of the 7 kingdoms before returning and then going over to Peel. I don’t think I have seen Peel as crowded as it was apart from carnival day or longboat race day.
The weather was not so good for the following day, so steam train it was, chugging to Port Erin with a fairly full load, picking up more as we went along. A refreshment break at Port Erin followed by a walk up to top of Bradda Head for some fantastic views back to Port Erin. Bus then to the Sound for lunch and a brief view of the seals as by now heavy rain had set in.
Back at Port Erin, just time for liquid refreshment before catching last train for the day back to Douglas. Old fashioned compartment to ourselves although this time only to Castletown where we are joined by Professor Andrew Marsh and his son from Greece who is over here on business with MT but had a couple of half days free to sample our Victorian Transport.
Not an overly brilliant (weatherwise) day followed and after a walk through town we made our way to Derby Castle for the tram to Ramsey. Quite crowded on the trailing coach open to the elements and most disembark at Laxey for mountain trip.
At Laxey waiting to return to Douglas was Professor Marsh and his son; how co-incidental. They had travelled up to Snaefell but it was in cloud so nothing seen. Too late at Ramsey for lunch in Bar Logo – kitchen closes at 2pm even in peak holiday season so resort to Costa Coffee before returning on bus via Kirk Michael and Peel.
Off to the Ashes at Chester-le-Street. Tony next door is there tomorrow and we are there on Saturday. With Ashes won, let us hope some decent cricket played with no rain interruptions. But first of all an exceptionally smooth crossing to Liverpool – smoother than gloss paint it seemed.
A Friday at the National Railway Museum. How do the people of York survive with so much traffic around? Museum not overcrowded and pleasant to walk around reviewing those mechanical marvels of the Victorian era. Only 4 of the big A4s on site as the other two in steam somewhere on the mainline after last month’s Great Gathering. An area dedicated to children to build their own carriages out of “brio” and race them down a track was very popular. The store of artefacts has so many items it would be impossible to see and study them all.
A diversion from transport – watching day 2 of the 4th Ashes test at Chester-le-Street, home of Durham County Cricket Club. Now if you know nothing or little about cricket (as Sally does) this may be a boring day for you but as a birthday present from Sarah & Ali we had to choose our day well in advance so had no control over match conditions, weather etc. Unfortunately, the day was not the best advert for the game with only just over 200 runs scored, very few big hits and only 6 wickets in predominantly overcast and chilly conditions. The best entertainment was left to the fellow spectators who were in good voice fuelled of course by copious amounts of alcohol and the light-hearted banter between the English and Aussie contingents totally unsegregated and who between them caused absolutely no trouble. Even the long snake of used beer “glasses” reached from one contingent to the other.
A lovely evening meal in The Dun Cow on way back to hotel.
Drive over Pennines to Stanhope and then on to Barnard Castle much better than the boring Motorways with a lovely lunch at A66 Motel at Richmond before another crossing of the Irish Sea back home with a lovely sunset half way across.
Surprisingly, it was cheaper to come back home for a couple of days and then fly to Jersey than either fly from the UK or take car to Jersey!
A very long walk at Gatwick now that gates 1 – 9 have been demolished and the usual stupidity of having to exit through customs and straight back through security to a nearby gate. Flight on time and our 10kg hand luggage is bursting to the seams but no one weighs it.
Catch double-decker bus into St Helier and sit up top looking in all the gardens en route. A few swimming pools and other surprises we weren’t aware of before. Another bus up the hill to Sarah & Ali’s and Sarah arrives home a few minutes later.
Harry back shortly afterwards with Ali. Harry now saying a few words but first of all has to see Riley, the neighbour’s dog. It is now a ritual when he gets back every day. Other popular words are “Seagull, Truck, dirty (with the emphasis on the rt), no”. His understanding of other words is very good – he knows which is his toy police car if he is asked to get his “ne na” and goes to the front door when anyone mentions the word “work” .
Still milk intolerant but other than that eats well, liking spicy foods.
Seven days of good weather, with Millbrook park and beach visits, and although he does not like the sea he loves the beach. A visit to Laura and Jim’s, seeing Evie and Alby who perhaps has some health issues and a meal out at Moulin de Lecq with Laura, Jim and Kevin.
St Ouen’s at Bray slip was crowded beyond belief on Sunday evening as it was high tide accompanied by very good surfing waves.
Only a very small area patrolled by the RNLI life guards which added to the congestion.
Harry just played in the sand and wandered around the group of people we were with.
Sal bought some tops at St Peter’s garden centre for £3.10 each. Who needs America for clothes shopping?
Back home and prepare rooms for Homestay bikers in between more rehearsals and attempting to learn words. John, Peter, Robyn and Brendan are good fun and not as demanding as the Romanians! Hopefully they enjoyed themselves with us, there was certainly some good racing although the final race was cancelled due to poor weather.
The wonders of Skype kept the costs down and by all accounts she had a good time. With house painting done, the repair to the living room window takes my time in between High Society.
Apparently Richard is not good enough for High Society and with 4 weeks to the show, he is “relieved of his part”. After all the time he has put into it, the producer obviously had someone else in mind for some time. So, why did she want him to do it in the first place, he never auditioned for the part anyway. What a waste of his time all through the summer and what with a few others not happy, it does not bode well for any future productions. Richard will certainly not be going back next year anyway. Sal & Mel are also understandably outraged.
Change ferry crossing and go to Oxford early managing to see Flic and Gary and have a meal in Faringdon with Phillip & Sylvia.
A Caro Emerald concert was a fantastic choice for a “lift me up” although the weather in Oxford was not. A paddle around the city in the pouring rain, a place I hadn’t been to before, did give some sort of idea on the architecture but it was a very very wet day. Sadly we can’t go to the March 2014 concerts but will have to watch for future dates. She is an amazing performer.
It was just as well we took the Friday ferry as strong winds cancelled the Monday ferry we were originally booked on and might have missed the concert. Can’t wait for our America holiday now.
A bad fall by Sal on the pavement outside Cowley Groves in town is going to result in a right shiner that will last for weeks; poor girl. Obviously shaken but opts for no medical treatment as all parts moving properly.
Viv arrives for the week but with inclement weather, we spend more time indoors than we expected although do get over to Peel, Port St Mary, Ramsey and Laxey for some walks. Too cloudy to go up the mountain though.
3 & 4 October
Dentist time. First Sal for an hour and a half and the following day, Rich had half a tooth out in the same time, the other part refusing to be budged. No alcohol for a week whilst the anti-biotics kick in.