Tag Archive: Isle of Man


Come along and see me

Riding in the tt races

This week it’s coming up to TT week – that time of year when tens of thousands of motorbikes come and visit the usually (comparatively!) peaceful Island.

I like it – the noise of the bikes, the smell of the bikes, and the foreigners who visit all make it an awesome fortnight.

Some residents don’t like it – the bikes are noisy, smelly, and bring foreigners to our home. To these people, I will often quote that famous manx phrase “There’s a boat in the morning”. There is always the option to leave for a holiday, and no need to bear it with bad grace.

True, it’s not as busy as it was 20 years ago (when quoted figures were 80,000 visitors with 50,000 bikes) but it’s still a very noticable influx, which brings a great atmosphere with very little trouble.

(additional – since I started this, the police figures have been released showing that 80% of arrests were of locals. Grow up, people!)

True, I’m not as busy as I was with the band (although nothing will beat out 12 gigs in 14 nights of 2006, but that also encompassed me driving into a wall at very high speed, so fewer gigs are probably for the best!), but the odd gig here and there is well received.

The TT is a race held on public roads, which are closed for the duration. As with all road races (the best known is probably Monaco for the F1), if the driver gets it wrong there isn’t much forgiveness in terms of run off areas, and this inevitably leads to fatalities, which is always very sad indeed to read about, but the racers know the risks I suppose.

If anyone has the chance- come along and see the races in the next few years, quick! Atmosphere is awesome, our Island is lovely, and the beer & music is totally fantastic!

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Well, not quite- one car (thanks Christina & Martin), one plane, one Fiat people mover thing (thanks JG & Trish- multiple journeys within), a boat, and then my car. That was a busy weekend! It was chock full of goodness, top food and the lovliest most awesome people ever.

Also, it encompassed the debut ever gig for my ukulele. Which went down better than the straight stuff JG&I played. Ah well, everyone loves a uke, I guess! Some people appear to be converts, and I think sales may rocket!

In the next few days, I’ll know if I have a similar style journey to make next week, and if that comes off it will be full of interesting and frightening unknowns. Time will only tell on that though.

I have the strangest feeling that I don’t belong where I am at the moment, and I’m very unsettled. Various threads of my life are in limbo (which I’ll detail when they are resolved), and I feel on very uncertain footing. This is an alien feeling to me, as the island has felt like home since about my 3rd day here 20 years ago. The main wobbly stuff should be resolved for absolute certain within a month at the longest, I know that, and that will help.

From that point, there may be three directions, and I have no SatNav for any of them. Looks like I’m flying blind for a bit!

So, to end on a lighter note as this has been a little heavy so far:- who is your fantasy SatNav voice? Mine would have to be Mr T. Who could ever tire of “Turn left, sucka” and “I pity the fool who doesn’t take the second exit of the roundabout”. I guess the only problem would be directions to an airport…

Barljo

Personal challenge

Well, just a quick post-parish walk blog.

‘The Parish’ is a competitive event, run under UK race walking rules. The course is 85 miles, with a 24 hour time limit. Various checkpoints along the way have cut-off times.

The course weaves around the Island, calling at the primary church of each of our Parishes (some similarity to Sheadings in the UK, or Counties in the US but on a much smaller scale!)

Proper information can be found on http://www.parishwalk.com

First, what I achieved: I made the Kirk Michael church, which is 39 miles, at 1740, or 9hrs40mins. That’s an average speed of just over 4mph, which is pretty much what I was aiming for.

Here’s what I set out to achieve: the Jurby church, which is 42.5 miles., at around 1830.

I’ve been training since September, from a position of little-to-no fitness and zero experience of walking, so in some respects I’ve achieved well.

I am disappointed with and angry at myself for having to retire when I did, a decision which was ultimately taken for me by an ankle injury.

There are no excuses to make, or reasons to placate myself, but I can take solace in my speed (on target) fitness (on target!) and recovery. Legs, feet, and non-existent blisters have been fine. This troublesome ankle will take longer to be fine…

So, the future is: couple of weeks rest and stretch. Followed by more stretch and back to training for next year- I will finish next year, injury permitting.

You can quote me on that.

Barljo

Interesting times

This was a note I wrote back in March 2008, when I was packing to sell my flat, to buy a house.  Ultimately, I didn’t sell or move until July 2009, but I think the sentiment still stands, and I quite like the writing I did with this one…

“In ancient China, there was a curse:- “May you live in interesting times”. I used to believe this was particularly harsh.

However, I was walking around the flat this morning after a heavy weekend of packing stuff up, and I realised that at the moment, I was living in the place that I bought nearly six years ago, not the place that I’d made it over that time.

I had a wonderful helper on Sunday afternoon, which just goes to show that two pairs of eyes are better than one when you’re splitting stuff into ‘keep’ and ‘throw’ piles. That second glance over the “keep” pile, and the ensuing “Seriously, John – why are you keeping this?” does wonders for the relative size of said heaps.

I hadn’t realised how much rubbish I’d accumulated over time! Now to the next stage of selling my home and buying a new place for my life.

And the memories. Oh the memories. I found things that brought a lot of thoughts back. Things that had got buried brought back smiles, and also a few tears at happy times gone by. It’s memories that shape my every day without knowing it. I raised a glass to them (Dr Pepper, but a glass nonetheless!)

I’m in a great place right now of getting some whole new memories to carry with me forever. It’s a new chapter for JB, and I’m very happy about things. Looking to move out is finding a new place for that chapter.

Here’s to the future. May you all live in interesting times. In a good way.”

Barljo

O gem of God’s Earth

I’ve been doing a lot of walking this year (by which I mean 20 miles at a time). Not in a straight line, but in circuits so that I can replenish drink/food at home on the way by. It’s only a relatively small Island, so things can get repetitive…

This evening, as I came round the headland near my house (Groudle) I saw the familiar scene across the Bay (Douglas Bay) and I realised that after countless times of having seen it, it was still beautiful.

The rather trite phrase occurred that when I am tired of the stunning views and scenery that this little Island repeatedly offers I would be tired of seeing anything at all!

“Gem of God’s Earth” is a line from our national anthem, and it would do everyone who lives here some good to remember that line every now and then. We are truly blessed to be here, and I will make a conscious effort to remind myself of that.

We have all seasons here (sometimes all at the same time!), and in every season we have a beautiful view. Yellow gorse in summer haze, purple heather through autumn mist, every shade of green from trees and plants just now and snow topped hills in winter. Traa-dy-looar (manx for “time enough”, equivalent to ‘manyana’) seems to have disappeared- We should all raise our heads more and just look around.

Davey Knowles (local singer/songwriter now doing some very big things in America) summed it up for me with his line from ‘Roll Away’ which goes “I love this place with my breath and my bones, and I’ll always call this Island my home”.

Long may I be lucky enough to live where home is…

Barljo