A Change in Blog Tempo

It’s been a while since we’ve posted anything on Dossers’ Diary. Our only excuse is that we haven’t had much to say…. All that’s changing this weekend though as we set off on separate no holds barred adventures….

Rewinding somewhat, we got back from South Africa at the end of March. The day after our return home, Mark went out to “check the van’s OK”. It wasn’t – as soon as he turned the gas on (with some difficulty – he says it was pretty firmly stuck) he could hear and smell a gas leak…. To cut a very long story short, it turned out that the valve on the gas tank itself that had failed. Apparently, it’s pretty much unheard of for these to fail, and our repair man had to send off to Germany for a replacement. All I can say it that we got there in the end, but it took a good month….

Thankfully, all was fixed in time for us to head off to the Isle of Man in the middle of May. The Isle of Man is rapidly becoming our second home, which is why we didn’t post any blog updates this year whilst we were there. We’ve visited (and written about) the main tourist sites in previous years.

One new thing we did get round to doing this year was hunting down some wallabies.

The Isle of Man has the largest wallaby population in the northern hemisphere, with a wild population of well over 100, the descendants of escapees from the local wildlife park (there were a number of great escapes in the 1960s and 1970s). They’re red-necked wallabies, which are generally found in Tasmania.

We headed off into the Ballaugh Curraghs on a wallaby hunt….

Who’d have guessed that wallabies would be happily hopping around the woods on a small island in the Irish Sea? It didn’t take us all that long to find two of them.

Mum…..

…and offspring…

We saw quite a few wallabies later that evening from a hide in the nearby Close Sartfield Nature Reserve. So all in all, a successful wallaby-watching trip.

Mind you, there were wallabies all over the Isle of Man this year as part of a “mass participation” art project (www.wallabiesgonewild.im). I’ve seen painted cows before, but not wallabies. Hopefully it’s raising lots of money for Hospice Isle of Man:

The cars in the background, by the way, are the annual outing of the VW Karmann Ghia club…. The Isle of Man does seem to attract a lot of car clubs; these were on show in the centre of Castletown for the day, not that we had any idea of course until we stumbled across them. Stumbling across events seems to happen to us quite often on the Isle of Man – it’s a busy little place!

Talking of events…. the TT. What’s to say? After stunning weather last year, this year was different. It’s not that the weather was particularly bad, it just wasn’t right for motorbike racing. We’d be sat out in the sunshine down at the coast in Ramsey, for example, and there’d be showers elsewhere on the island or low cloud on the mountain. Very frustrating. Practice week pretty much didn’t happen, and most of race week ended up concentrated on the last Thursday (where they squeezed a record five races into one day, all shortened) and Friday (where they did manage to run the Senior race over the full distance – 6 laps of the 37.75 mile circuit). Oh well, fingers crossed for sunshine next year…..

After a month on the Isle of Man, we reluctantly arrived home on Tuesday this week for a few days. Literally. This morning (Saturday), we’ve both set off again on our next adventures. Mark’s pal Jamie arrived at around 9.30am, and after a quick cuppa the motley duo were on their way…..

Their plan for today was to meet up with Brian from the Isle of Man at the Midway truck stop then head down to Tiverton in Devon where they’d booked a B&B for the night. Tomorrow they’ll be catching the ferry from Plymouth to Santander, followed by two weeks of biking adventures in the Pyrenees. Mark has taken a (very small) notebook and says he will keep notes so as to be able to do a blog post when he gets back….. All I can say is that I’ve heard one tale already and it’s only Saturday evening – so there could be a whole saga of comic capers in that little notebook by the time they get back.

I locked the house up and set off about half an hour after Mark and Jamie. I used to do solo motorhome trips all the time when we had Kampington and Mark was still working, but this is my first solo trip in SOK. The big question is whether I’ll remember to do any of the jobs that Mark normally takes care of (like filling the fresh water tank)? We’ll have to see….. So far, my trip seems to be going a lot better than Mark’s from a logistical point of view…..

My plan is to hit the National Trust and English Heritage memberships hard over the next couple of weeks. I chose my destination, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, by flicking through the handbooks looking for regions I haven’t visited yet. I did scoot through Norfolk on a previous solo trip, but as time was short I only had time to visit Sandringham and Sutton Hoo (a quick aside: Holy Sh*t – I just searched the blog and that trip was in June 2014. Time really does fly….). I suspect that there’s going to be a lot to record over the next couple of weeks, hence plenty of updates to make up for the dearth over the last couple of months. And if you get bored, there’s always Mark’s comic capers to look forward to….

6 comments

    1. I did wonder why the shopping trolley seemed emptier than usual (I stopped off at your least favourite supermarket on the way). Of course – no Mark means no beer! That also explains how I seem to have lots of space in the fridge 😀

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  1. Looking forward to the updates from your solo trip. Did you get used to driving the motorhome quite quickly ? Lots of women seem to leave the driving to their male partners !

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    1. I used to drive our old motorhome, Kampington, all the time – but he was a van conversion so narrower. Mark’s done pretty much all the driving since we got SOK (which suits him as that way I’m responsible for navigating!) so I was, if I’m honest, a bit apprehensive about setting off on my own for a fortnight in SOK. It’s all been absolutely fine so far though (and I’ve been down some pretty narrow lanes this afternoon!). I think it helps that the Transit is incredibly easy to drive and the mirrors are really good, also SOK has very little overhang behind the back wheels so I don’t have to think too much about the back end swinging out at junctions (Kampington was thinner but was longer and had a bit more overhang, so you did have to be aware of it). Really, the width is the only thing I’m having to get used to…..
      I don’t know why more women don’t drive motorhomes. Maybe it helps when there isn’t a man sitting next to you telling you what he thinks you’re doing wrong!
      Mark didn’t say anything about driving before he left, but he did start telling me all about his box of hosepipe attachments blah blah – then looked a bit put out when I said I couldn’t be faffed with all that and I was just going to choose camp site pitches near a tap and use the watering can like I used to do on solo trips in Kampington….

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  2. We used to share the driving until children came along. At that point my husband (now ex-husband, but not because of anything driving related!) decided that driving was far preferable to trying to keep young children occupied, and that habit stuck when they were older!

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