Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Monday, 24 June 2019

St Petersburg

I am away at the moment. I'm sure many of you will recognise this church in St Petersburg, Russia
 More about the trip when I return home.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Peel, Isle of Man


The day we visited Peel on the Isle of Man it was pouring with rain. We decided to go to a cafe for a hot drink whilst we waited for the rain to pass. There we met Jeremiah, a 60+ cyclist from California, who was peddling his way around Ireland and the UK pitching his tent wherever he found some grassy level ground. Everyone in the cafe joined in the conversation. It is a very friendly and welcoming Island. By the time we left the cafe, the rain had stopped and we wandered through the town to the Cathedral, the only one on the Island.










Inside the Cathedral we bumped into Jeremiah again ( on the right) who had made the acquaintance of Henry. Henry worked at the Cathedral doing a variety of jobs in return for food and shelter. Today he was supervising three prisoners who were digging up the driveway. The prisoners had volunteered for the work and would not be paid but would receive their food and enjoy time out of the prison. They seemed happy in what they were doing but I didn't photograph them.


Henry offered to give us a guided tour of the garden which charts the history of Christianity on the Isle of Man in plants and structures. The Dean of the Cathedral wanted to bring the ethos of the Cathedral into the outside to encourage more people to visit the church. It is an impressive project. Eventually there will be a series of 17 gardens within the grounds of the church. Twelve of the gardens will tell the story of the island and five will have special themes.













This part of the garden is one of the two hemispheres mentioned in the description below which is an extract from the Cathedral's website :
This garden looks at a period dominated by two world wars and a church having to come to terms with the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz - Birkenau.The Isle of Man because of its geographical position was used as a place of internment. During the First World War Knockaloe, was the largest enemy alien internment camp in the British Isles The gardens four gardens around this structure represent Genocide Each of the gardens features fables associated with the genocide, for example, the German garden is based on Little Red Riding Hood. (The Third Reich saw Little Red Riding Hood as representing the German people with the evil wolf representing the Jews). Either side of this sculpture are two circular gardens divided into two hemispheres


There is much still to do to complete this project.








I hope to return to the Island and see for myself the finished garden.



Henry had already invited Jeremiah to stay for lunch and extended the invite to us but sadly we declined as there was still much to see on our last day on the Island. The rain clouds had moved on and the sun and blue skies were making an appearance as we wandered through the streets.






These are the remains of S Peter's church which was deemed unsafe after a fire in 1958 and was demolished shortly afterwards. Originally built around 1550, only the outer walls and the clock and bell tower from 1872 remain.








The sun was now shining and we walked down to the sea. It is a sandy beach although I think the one at the Port of Erin is a better one for families.



We walked round the coast a short distance to Peel Castle.

























Peel castle is situated on St Patrick's Isle, a  small island connected to the town by a causeway. The castle was constructed in the 11th century by the Vikings. It has had many additions and alterations over the centuries.












The sea was a greeny blue and crystal clear.















The round tower dates back to the 10th and 11th century and was originally part of a celtic monastery.
10th century St Patrick's chapel.













Friday, 14 June 2019

Local police station

 This is the police station in Castletown, Isle of Man. As far as I can gather the police moved into this building, part of the Civic Centre in November 2017 from a purpose built Victorian building. 

 The mural goes around the building


Monday, 10 June 2019

Above the Underground update

As my regular readers will know, a few years ago I set myself the challenge of visiting every one of the 270 underground stations in London to photograph and research places of interest in the vicinity of the stations. I have been doing this now for almost five years and have only just completed four out of the eleven lines and visited 104 stations.  I keep saying I need to speed things up and this year have set a target of two per month.  I have just completed the Circle Line which was overflowing with places of interest.

Read about Hammersmith, the last station on the Circle Line here:here

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Steam train



This is the train station in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man. We were waiting for a train to take us to Port Erin. This is no ordinary train, this is a 3ft gauge steam railway which opened in 1873 and still operates today.











We watched the engine being brought back along the tracks to be attached to the carriages.






Time to board the train.
The inside of carriages reminded me of the steam trains of my youth.

Remember the leather straps that open and close the windows?



The signal box.




Lovely views of the coast

We stopped at a number of stations.









It took about an hour to get to Port Erin, the terminus.

A bigger town than we thought with a sandy beach. It was a warm, sunny afternoon when we visited and we enjoyed just sitting in the sunshine looking out to sea.