Last times…

Last time we were on the Isle of Man, it rained. It rained a lot.
It very rarely stopped raining. And then we went to Sheffield in it rained some more.

Now I know that the UK (of which the Isle of Man isn’t part), has a bit of a reputation for this kind of thing, but the summer of 2012 was unprecedented in its raininess. There were literally a couple of nice days during our entire three week stay. The Flickr collection I made is testament to this.

We deserve better this time.

Of course, I not forgetting that we did get better back in 2009. The holiday where I regularly ended up taking our toddler son out (not in an assassination kind of way) at 6am before he woke up the whole household because he’d forgotten how to sleep:

This one was taken at the Calf Sound, where there was only us, some rabbits, some seals and a small yacht.

He’s twelve now, and does sleep occasionally. I’m hoping that this holiday is one of those times.

London

Google Trips tells me that I am spending the day in London today.

Yes, the train from Paris arrived here yesterday evening, but then it was all about the dash to get down to our hosts’ place after a day of travel.

Today, we get to explore.

Last time we were in The Big Smoke was just 10 months ago on a day trip down from Sheffield. [pics]

The light was awful that day. But perfect if you wanted to get a menacing shot of a Tower of London raven.

It’s also Tynwald Day in the Isle of Man. According to Google Trips, we’ll be popping over there on Saturday morning.

Drone homework

I’ve been planning ahead for our trip to Europe later in the year. Part of that planning is working out where I can safely and legally fly my Mavic.

It’s reasonable to say that there are differences in the approach to drone rules and regulations between differing countries.

Take, for example, the Isle of Man:

Basically, with a few provisos here and there, together with a dollop of common sense and a healthy respect for other people, you can fly your drone up to 120m high anywhere outside that red circle.

You need to employ those same provisos, that common sense and respect in France too. But it’s a bit more complex than the IOM.
Here’s a map of the bit of France we’re going to:

Right.

Easy stuff first: no flying in the red bits; but yes flying (up to 150m, nogal) in the uncoloured bits. No problem.
From there though, it gets complicated. Pink areas allow flight to 30m altitude. You can fly up to 50m up in the orange (or is it peach?) areas. Even better, in the peach (or is it orange?) areas, you’re permitted to fly at 60m up from your takeoff spot. I’m not sure why they have this 10m difference. Presumably, something important happens (or is likely to happen) in this narrow strip of airspace in orange areas that doesn’t happen in the peach areas. Oh, and then in the yellow areas, you can fly up to a height of 100m.

I’m happy to comply with all of this, of course. It’s just that it’s massively complicated given that we go through a constantly changing kaleidoscope of colour as we wend our way downstream, so I’m going to have to keep a digital, zoomable copy of this map to hand.

The other thing is that for a lot of these restricted areas, it’s not very clear why there are restrictions. That doesn’t matter, of course – if it says not to fly, you don’t fly. It would just be nice to know what that bizarre mirror image of a question mark is bottom right. And why there’s that huge, weirdly shaped peach (orange?) swathe right across the middle of the map.

Obviously, I’m going to follow all the rules and regulations. There’s more than enough opportunity to get some decent shots and video in between all the bureaucracy.

But it’s going to be much more simple to chuck Florence the Mavic up once we get over to the Isle of Man.

Noa Bakehouse Fire

I spotted news that that there was a fire at the Noa Bakehouse in Douglas, Isle of Man. Fortunately, it was a small fire and there wasn’t much damage.

However, emergency services are still on the scene.

Still. Two days later.

Just in case.

Bleakly Californian

OK. Bear with me. This all started when I saw this photo posted on Facebook:

Look, it’s a good photo. There’s drama, there’s atmosphere, there’s strong contrast; you’re drawn into the image. What’s the story here? Who is the girl? Why is she there? I like it.

Immediately, I had other questions though.

Firstly, WHO ON EARTH names their hotel Bleak House? Do they know what “bleak” means?

a bird’s horny projecting jaws; a bill.

I’m sorry. I have to press really hard to get the L key to work sometimes. So et’s try that again.

I am aware that in the Dickens novel of the same name, the Bleak House is actually far from bleak, but firstly, this isn’t that house, and secondly, how many people have read that much Dickens?

Can you imagine telling your friends that you’ve got two weeks booked in Ramsey (which is surely bad enough, anyway), before then elaborating and telling them that you chose to stay at a place called “Bleak House”.

Really? Were Superb Hotel, Lovely B&B and Entirely Pleasant Lodgings all booked up then?

No. Given the huge – near infinite – range of potential, positive-angled guest house nomenclature available to the proprietors, this seems like a bit of an own goal.

And then there’s the caption. That’s a misquoted lyric from The Eagles’ Hotel California, isn’t it?

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
‘Relax’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!

I know I’m being a bit picky here, but wouldn’t a line from… well… Bleak House be rather more appropriate here?

And I am bored to death with it. Bored to death with this place, bored to death with my life, bored to death with myself.

OK. Perhaps not that one.

Fairy-land to visit, but a desert to live in

Better. Very Ramsey. Apart from the fairy-land bit.
But this one fits perfectly, I think.

As all partings foreshadow the great final one, – so, empty rooms, bereft of a familiar presence, mournfully whisper what your room and what mine must one day be.

In fact, I’m reliably informed that this was exactly what many paying visitors muttered on those very steps, when Bleak House was still an operating business.