Late again

Home from a hectic day at work to a hectic evening at home, mainly involving a jungle gym, a yellow barrel and a golf ball.
Don’t ask.

And then dinner and a few episodes of Big Bang Theory. Yes, it’s American and therefore should be rubbish, but the science angle makes it personally relevant and therefore amusing. It concerns me that I identify with certain traits of some of the characters though. (I’m not saying which traits or characters, since the vast majority of the protagonists are completely socially dysfunctional.)
I was going to add a random photo to this post from the Flickr Explore “last 7 days of interestingness”, but they are all photographs of a certain genre – too “mucked about with” (photoshopped) and unnecessarily arty for my liking. So disappointing.

So instead I searched for something from the Isle of Man groups, where I came across this:

group

which appears to be the least successful attempt at a swingers ad ever.

I also found a misplaced sunset picture (taken in Worcestershire) which would make a lovely quota photo. It was heavily copyrighted though, so appropriate permissions have been sought – hopefully you look out for that another day.

Gansey – a parenting revelation

Behold! A picture of Gansey – the beach in the Isle of Man where I spent most of my childhood summers.


Gansey (gets bigger here)

It had everything a young boy could want: ample sand for beach football or cricket, sun, sea, rocks with the essential rock pools, a small river etc etc. It was perfect.
At the time it never really troubled me, but looking back, I wondered how come my parents were so happy to let us spend so much time on the beach each holiday? Finally, as I visited there for the first time as a parent myself, the answer came to me.
It was so bloody EASY!

Even at their young ages, my kids were completely visible, completely safe and completely happy. As parents, we didn’t have to do anything except provide the odd biscuit and relax. And it cost nothing.
This is obviously the Manx equivalent of dropping the kids off at Westlake and getting the police to bring them back.

I’m going to highlight this post to my son when he has his own kids. Because forget all that stuff you learn at parenting classes about diets and nutrition, about bathing and which soaps are best to use for baby’s skin. That pales into insignificance against this sort of information. This sort of information is invaluable. It’s gold dust. It’s priceless. (Pammie – I hope you’re listening)

And relaxed parents mean happier children. Or so I’m told.

Gansey flickr set here.

Holiday Highlights

Although it pains me to say it, the 2009 Kids in Tow Tour is slowly but surely drawing to a close. And – as with all holidays – it’s had its ups and its downs. Fortunately, the highlights have far outweighed the negatives and – because I blog for myself as much as anyone else and I find myself with a few rare spare minutes – I think I should list them. That way, when I get back home to Cape Town (which apparently got washed away while we were here), and it’s grey, cold, wet, depressing and my zebras have gone missing, I can quickly and easily refer to this post and remind myself of the great time we had here. Which will cheer me up for all of 3 seconds. My brain is not easily fooled.

Let us begin:

  1. The embarrassingly uncomfortable Michael Jackson Tribute in Trafalgar Square.
    This, in fact, deserves (and will get) a blog post all of its own. Rarely have I seen a group of people looking more awkward in their own skins. Apart from the one lass in her polka dot skirt, floppy hat, white tights, cream fishnets and crocs, who was making all the others even more self-conscious.
  2. The worst landing ever at Ronaldsway Airport. Not a highlight per se, but it was just nice to be alive after it. 
  3. Reliving my childhood watching Alex and my Mum heading up to the farm together to collect the milk. A reminder that it’s sometimes the really simple things that mean the most.
  4. Every visitor to the cottage being invited to come and have a ride on Alex’s shed bus. For those of you who are uninitiated in the ways of the shed bus, it’s basically a shed with two chairs inside which stops at local Manx villages, Constantia Pick n Pay and the Waterfront.
    No ticket required. If you want a trip, just turn up and you’ll get an invite. Or ten.
  5. Silverdale Glen, with its Victorian water-powered roundabout. I have rarely seen anyone so ecstatic at such a unique playground feature. Bouncing with excitement. Shaking with exhilaration. And that was just my wife. The boy was beside himself.
  6. Our little girl’s First Birthday. She had cake in the garden and then went out on her first ever boat trip. I’m happy to report that the cake remained within her despite the somewhat lumpy sea conditions beyond Port St Mary breakwater. 
  7. Finally getting Mrs 6k to the summit of Cronk ny Arrey Laa. That’s a hill on the West coast of the Island with stunning views – especially at Sunset time – and it was always my intention to get engaged there. To whoever I was going to get engaged to. However, when the big moment came, I was 6,228.23 (thanks Google Earth!) miles away in Hermanus and I thought the romance might have been lost by the drive back to Cape Town International, a 15 hour trip to the Island via Amsterdam and Manchester, a drive up the shoulder road together with the worry of the weather being a bit crap when we got there. Although, I suppose we could always have taken the shed bus.
    Still – all’s well that ends well and it was nice to finally get up there yesterday evening, albeit that the sunset was more pretty than spectacular.    

And there are still 5 days remaining before the (literally) long haul back to Cape Town. It seems to have passed like wildfire, but at the same time (as is the way with these things) I can hardly remember details from the beginning of the trip. That could be down to old age or red wine though. Or, more likely a bit of both.

And – as a bit of a disclaimer – I’m not mentioning the obvious stuff like seeing family and friends. That should go without saying. Although I just said it.

Photos still available (and being regularly updated) on the only official 2009 Kids in Tow Tour flickr set.

Lonely on the IoM?

Not me. I have family deluxe, since we were joined by my brother, his wife and their 40kg farting rottweiler this morning. However, obviously, some people don’t have the luxury of companionship (whether or not it’s a flatulent canine) and may require some assistance in avoiding loneliness.

Step forward Google Ads. They identified that there were posts about the Isle of Man on 6000 miles… and that the site was therefore likely to attract people from the Isle of Man. And that some (or more) of those people from the Isle of Man may be lonely, single or ugly. Or all three.

And they suggested: Isle of Man Fish Dating.

I haven’t delved too deeply (if you’ll excuse the pun), as the “woman” with the fishbowl in her hand on the front page scared me off by being too manly. I’m not sure why anyone would want to date a fish, but I have heard that there are certain genres of Japanese “adult entertainment” which revolve around octopuses. Maybe this is similar?
Cod only knows.

The UK Dating Group which runs this odd contact site is also responsible for lovegundating.co.uk which urges you to “Just point and click” and is designed for those individuals who lose it it bit when relationships end.  Especially those with access to firearms. Shockingly, all the faces on the lovegundating site are the same as those on the IOMfishdating site. Maybe they only have 7 members. Still, that’s three happy couples.

And Penny (49), who is destined to remain single. Forever.

2009 KiTT: The story so far

I have finally managed to get around to using the ultra fast internet here on the Isle of Man to upload the first few photos of the 2009 Kids in Tow Tour to flickr. And not only that, but these are also the first batch taken with my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28. And I love it.


Calf Sound, Isle of Man

The weather is sunny, but the northwest wind is keeping it cool. But get out of the breeze and it’s lovely. And though we’ve only been here for 24 hours, it feels like forever: this place relaxes you instantly. We were down by the sea this morning, watching the seals and for about 2 hours, we just did nothing. Any parent will tell you how rare and precious that sort of time is.

The boy, born and brought up in suburban Cape Town, is in his element. There is space, fresh air, farm animals, birds, sea, rocks to scramble over, grandparents and a plastic tool kit that his Auntie Jane bought him. This morning he went up to the farm with Grandma to collect the milk. The rural equivalent of 7/11 – this stuff comes unpasteurised in churns, not in plastic cartons.

Now, as I sit inside this beautifully renovated 18th century cottage, tapping away on a rather posh laptop, I can see the family beginning a game of cricket outside in the sun. It seems foolish not to join them.

Until next time…

P.S. Thanks to all of you who have forwarded me Louise Taylor‘s hysterical piece in the Guardian on visiting South Africa for the World Cup next year.

She suggests that Egypt should have hosted the tournament. That’s Egypt which polled a mighty zero votes when they were selecting the host nation. Yes, Louise knows all about democracy.

As she says, “surely if the Egyptians could build the pyramids they could host a World Cup?” Yes, Louise knows all about hosting major sporting events.

And then, the piece de la resistance. Those four little words: “I’ve never been, but…”.

Yes, Louise knows all about South Africa.