Friday, 20 June 2014

First Trip to the Isle of Man

Like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland it's hard to know where to start.

`Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, `and go on till you come to the end: then stop". However if I do that it would be like War & Peace so I'll just give the highlights.

I couldn't take many photographs when I was working, looks like I'm on holiday. So My photos were taken in my free time, which wasn't a lot until the Sunday which was the passengers' free day & mine!

We had a great smooth crossing on a glorious warm & sunny day, from Heysham Port on the North West Coast. The crossing to Douglas was very smooth, just as well because we were on the boat for over 4 hours.

Our hotel was on the promenade in Douglas which seems to stretch for miles. It has lovely little areas of gardens with seats which were set down sheltering you from the breezes. Lots of the people on the tour used to walk the full length of the promenade in the evening after dinner.

The buildings along the promenade are lovely old terraces many of which were used to house the forces during World War 11. There were palm trees too! They don't get severe winter weather here.



Further along the promenade from our hotel was a lovely park, shopping & cafe area called the Villa Marina. 

The Isle of Man has a wonderful transport network. There's an excellent bus service but there are also steam trains, electric trams, a mountain railway & here below is the amazing horse drawn tram service. The trammers as the horses are known pull the carriages along the full length of the promenade from the Ferry Terminal at one end to Derby Castle, the Electric Train Terminal.

I think this one was Robert. The horses are wonderful and they are well cared for unlike the ones we see in other parts of the world. They do a limited number of runs or rather trots the length of the promenade, I think it was four & then they swap the horses over. The horse sheds are at the side of the promenade.

They retire after about 15 years and they are well cared for at the rest home for old horses, ponies & donkeys. You can visit them too at Bulrhenny.

I'll stop now. There's more to come!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Happy Easter!

A very happy Easter to everyone. Sorry I haven't been around for a while, not due to any real problems just the usual ones that life throws up every now and again plus I really do need a new computer but I'm too mean to buy one.

The little chick above is one of the the things I've been busy with for a little while. Well not just that one, I've knitted twenty seven of them Mostly for the children we teach to knit as a little Easter present but also for my grandchildren and my sister's.

It wasn't my chick pattern, I got it here if anyone wants it. I got twenty chicks out of a 100 gram ball of double knitting so not too expensive.

Here's a batch of them sitting on the dresser all waiting for their cream eggs to fill them up! When I went to buy the eggs I noticed that the cream eggs are twice the price they were last year. Last year they were 6 for a pound, this year they are £1.99! The result of Nestle buying up Cadbury's? 

Well anyway they looked great and to be honest I hated to part with them.

They are exactly the right size for the cream eggs and all the children loved them. The hardest bit was getting the beaks and their eyes straight. The funny thing was that they all had different expressions. 

Have a wonderful holiday, hope the sun keeps shining and the wind and rain keeps away for us all.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell They're Not!

I love this even though it is an advert but I watched it with great trepidation the first time. 

I kept waiting for the cat to pounce but don't you just love a happy ending!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

I'm going to the Isle of Man!

            The Sound, Isle of Man         Source:Wiki Commons

I was disappointed at not being able to do the Elbe river cruise I was allocated but I've got a lovely one on the vintage railways of the Isle of Man.

I've wanted to go there for a while after seeing films made there but have to admit I don't know a lot about the island. So I've started a bit of research.

It's a British Crown Dependency and like Jersey & Guernsey it's self governing but they are not part of the UK, The Commonwealth of Nations or the EU. Facts I didn't know. It even has its own flag!

The Isle of Man is situated in the Irish Sea between Ireland and the British Isles and is 33 miles long and 13 miles wide. In 2012 its population was 85,284.

Legend has it that the Irish Giant Finn MacCooill in a battle threw a chunk of earth towards Scotland. It landed in the Irish Sea & it became the Isle of Man.

Now I'm not sure about the legend but it looks a lovely island with a very varied landscape. Its coastline is about 100 miles with some long sandy beaches in the north of the island and rocky cliffs with sheltered bays around the rest of it.

There are lots of things to see and do around the island. With over 10,000 years of history there are ancient monuments, lots of heritage sites, castles, forts, mines as well as parks, nature reserves and wildlife attractions. We'll have a Heritage Pass included in our tour so it will mean we can visit as many places as we like, if we have the time! 

I also found that there are Dark Sky Sites for stargazing. Due to the natural tranquility of the Island there is little light pollution and on occasions you can see the Northern Lights!

Apart from all those things & the lovely scenery there's the railways! We are going on their horse drawn trams which are apparently known locally as Toast Racks! Now when we go on holiday I'm very reuctant to use transport provided by horses as I always worry about how they are treated. Well I checked this one out and it looks like they are very well cared for. They even have a sanctuary, the Home of Rest for Old Horses, where when they retire, usually after about 15 years, the horses are looked after.

Next we go on the Snaefell Mountain Railway which dates from 1895 and is the only electric mountain railway in the British Isles. It takes us to the summit of Snaefell, 2036 feet!

We also travel on a 17 mile journey on the Manx Electric Railway from Douglas to the harbour town of Ramsey in the north east of the island. It's the longest narrow gauge vintage railway in the British Isles and we'll be travelling in the oldest working tramcars in the world!

Another railway we'll be travelling on is the Isle of Man Steam Railway, the island's oldest Victorian rail system which uses restored heritage carriages. Well it all sounds great to me and I hope to get lots of photos. I'll let you know how I get on in May. 

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Scotland Here I Come!

Princes Street Gardens & Edinburgh Castle (Source-Wiki Commons-AD Weskens)

In my last post I mentioned that I have got a new job. It's as a tour manager for a rail travel company and I've been allocated a tour of Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands and the Islands of Skye and Mull. 

All I can say is wow! It's many years since I was in Edinburgh but I've never been to the Highlands or any of the Scottish islands so I'm really looking forward to it. Just hope the weather is good in June.

I was also allocated a river cruise from Prague to Berlin which I was delighted about but unfortunately it hit right on my granddaughter's First Holy Communion so sadly I couldn't do it. Never mind I'll wait to see what else I've been allocated.

Meanwhile I've completed the training, absorbed mountains of information and now I have to start my own research for the tour. Seems a long time to wait until June I just hope I get an earlier tour allocated as I feel like a child who can hardly wait for Christmas!