Thinking Time

The best decisions are often the ones that make themselves. Days or weeks after first considering a question, KA-BOOM! suddenly the answer is just there ๐Ÿ˜€

Thay’s how it seems to work for me at least. Once I’ve gathered all the necessary information and identified the options, there’s just no point in trying to force a decision; I’ll only go round and round in circles. Better to just leave it to make itself.

“Thinking time” really seems to help speed things along. By “thinking time” I mean time in which I’m notionally busy doing something that isn’t mentally challenging. My brain can then quietly chug away in the background without me even noticing. Gardening and decorating work well for me as decision-making aides, as, it turns out, does sitting around in the sunshine watching the Isle of Man TT.

Now, I’m not going to say anything much about the TT in this post, nor will I bore you with the slightly complicated financial reshuffle that’s needed next month and that has miraculously organised itself this week without any active intervention from me. I realise that there are limits to your patience….

The big question that remains unanswered is “where do we go this winter?”. That one hasn’t magically resolved itself this week, probably because we haven’t even managed to specify the alternatives. We could head to Greece (which is where we’d planned to be last winter, before family matters intervened). Or there’s always Spain and Portugal (though as we’ve spent two winters there in recent years, perhaps that’s a bit of a cop-out?). Or we could go long haul, possible destinations as yet unidentified….. Watch this space!

Mark’s made some travel planning progress whilst we’ve been on the Isle of Man: he’s going to head off on a bike tour next year with his pal Brian (they decided this in the pub a couple of weeks ago). In fact, he’s in SOK at this very moment, swearing loudly at the FerrySavers website! We’re off back to Silly Moos campsite near Ramsey this afternoon (where Brian lives: in the farmhouse, not in a tent!) for the two of them to confer; I’m hoping that some approximate dates in the diary for the bike trip will help narrow down the possibilities for this winter and into 2019 and that, given a bit of thinking time, a plan will come together at some point all by itself.

Anyway, time for a quick update on the week’s activities….. We’ve had a gloriously sunny week over here on the Isle of Man and we’ve done extremely little. We spent Monday at Conker Fields / Silly Moos, where Mark’s pal Derek (on his annual trip across to the Isle of Man from Cheshire) was hard at work keeping the tea urns full for the amassed racegoers:

This is a fast section of the TT course; a great place to watch from:

We’ve spent most of the rest of the week up at Keppel Gate, a glorious location with views up to the mountain on one side and down to Douglas Bay on the other:

We left Keppel Gate yesterday and drove up to the Ayres on the North coast of the island, an area in which wild camping is officially allowed. There are vans dotted around all over the place!

We’re heading back into tourism mode now… We stopped off at Andreas Parish Church on the way up here to look at more Manx Crosses. Thorwald’s Cross is easily my favourite so far.

One side of Thorwald’s Cross shows a Christian figure carrying a cross and a book (Bible?), together with a fish and (so the signs told us) a defeated serpent:

Maybe it’s St Patrick banishing the snakes (the early Christian missionaries to the Isle of Man came from Ireland)?

On the other side, beside a large Christian cross, is the figure of Odin with one of his ravens Hugin (“thought”) and Munin (“memory”). Odin is being killed by the wolf Fenrir at the battle of Ragnarok as per Norse prophesy.

An inscription in runes down one side of the stone slab reads “Thorwald raised this cross”.

We’ve also tramped through plenty of long grass to see Kerroogarroo Fort, which dates back to the English Civil War (1640s). The aerial photo in the book gave a better overall impression than actually standing on it:

Apparently it’s a very good example of a “sconce” fortification, which is a small, often earthwork, fortification used to protect artillery. The Isle of Mann was staunchly Royalist during the Civil War in the sense that the guy in charge, the Lord of Mann (James Stanley) was staunchly Royalist (let us not confuse what the guy in charge wanted with whatย  thelocals might have wanted: quite possibly nothing more than a bit of peace and quiet in which to get on with their lives). We came across James Stanley in a previous post.

In 1651, after James Stanley had been captured and executed over on the mainland, the Manx people, under the leadership of a guy known as Iliam Dhone, took matters into their own hands and opened negotiations with the Parliamentarians. The Manx offered to allow Parliamentarian troops to land unopposed so long as they promised to guarantee the traditional rights of the Manx people, a matter that had been the subject of some contention between the Stanleys and the local population. Unsurprisingly, the Parliamentarians were happy to accept these terms and soon arrived to take the rest of the island and besiege Peel and Rushen castles, both of which soon surrendered.

It’s nice to be back in tourist mode. We’re planning to head back down to Peel tomorrow to besiege the launderette there, after which we aim to outwit the guardians of the till at the entrance to Peel Castle by waving our English Heritage membership cards at them…..


  1. Not a cop out to go back to a place if you really like it! Long haul? Argentina? (Can just picture you learning the tango…) Chile? Happy pondering!

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    1. us learning the Tango would be hilarious. Four left feet between us ๐Ÿ‘ž๐Ÿ‘ž๐Ÿ‘Ÿ๐Ÿ‘Ÿ I’m not sure Argentina is ready! (M is saying Argentine immigration might not be happy with the plethora of Falkland Islands stamps in his passport ๐Ÿ˜‰)

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  2. You’d need different shoes for the tango! There’s a lovely book called Penguin Lessons, which is set in Argentina and based on a true story. His retelling of trying to smuggle a penguin through Argentine immigration is priceless! Well worth a read. When does Mark’s passport expire?

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    1. The Penguin Lessons book sounds wonderful. I’ve started a list of books to order before we next return to home base and Penguin Lessons is number one (I could just get the Kindle version but the illustrations sound gorgeous).
      I think Mark’s passport expires in 2021. Mine expires in 2020 and still has a few blank pages – reason enough to get travelling! I’d hate to have paid for extra pages and then not use them!

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  3. Time to start filling those blank pages!

    On the penguin theme there’s a novel called Death and the Penguin which is very sweet and also very funny. No penguins are killed….

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