During last weeks cold snap we had a little frost forming on the inside of the bathroom window. I was reminded of my parents home during the winter, there would be ice on the inside of bedroom windows every time there were sub zero temperatures.
At the end of October we were back on Island to look after the little manxman while mummy went to the channel islands on business for a few days. Luckily the weather was good so we could spend time out of the house.
To remove some of that excess toddler energy we took him to playgrounds, parks, and balance biking along the prom. We had a session of water fun at the local swimming-pool, on another day we went to the Fun Barn where I tried my hardest to keep up with him in a 'soft play' area, his little legs can propel him along like Faf de Klerk. While chasing I managed to break one of my toes by stubbing it on something that wasn't so soft.
When his mum returned he had a visit to Santa and a trip on a steam train.
He liked walking on the track!
One cold grey day we had a trek up the top of South Burrule, I would never have got up there if I had the little manxman strapped to my back like his mum .
Lots of lovely muddy puddle jumping on the descent.
November we were back on the boat with the stove lit 24/7, coal has gone up in price by around £3.50, today I paid £14.40 a 20kg bag.
Sue booked us a couple of days relaxing at Shrigley Hall spa hotel with friends. We had a great couple of days using the spa facilities, walks in the grounds and afternoon tea.
I had a day out at the NEC bike show to look at some shiney new machines and try a couple out including a Royal Enfield and an Electric bike. Loaned riding gear by the organisers including helmet maybe helped me get manflu the following day.
The BSA brand making a comeback.
On a very cold December evening we visited Shugborough Hall to see the Estate Light trail, it took over an hour to walk around the illuminated path to see all the lights.
Warming up at the halfway point.
Ferry booked for the 21st to spend Christmas at home.
We had a good 10 days in Florida until Ian was predicted to hit land around where we were staying, I was prepared to sit it out and experience the ferocity of nature until state officials put out a mandatory evacuation in our area, it was time to go. We headed for the airport and got the last flight to Gatwick before the airport was shut down. Our friends could not get seats on the flight, so the authorities evacuated them to a shelter in downtown Tampa.
We had a cruise for a couple of weeks, which terminated at Wheaton Aston before returning to the marina. only 36miles along the cut. Only took three photos and here they are.
That was back in July, in August the drought came along, and the shortage of water for all resulted in closures of locks or threatened closures close to the marina. Nevertheless, we have gotten out of the marina as often as we liked for a few days at a time to cruise 2 miles down to Burston or Tixall Wide.
September I had a trip to Christchurch in Dorset to visit my son and grandchildren who are growing up so fast the eldest has just started her second year of A'levels.
Next week Sue and I will be on a 777 heading for a beach in Indian Rocks Florida with friends Glyn & Christine.
Finally got the crew back on the boat, so cruising could now finally get started. Nope, the first mate had booked tickets for the Love Cheese Live Food & Drink Festival at the Staffordshire Showgrounds at the weekend.
But before that we helped our mate Gordon celebrate his Birthday
Lots of cheeses for the judges
Beer and cheese pairing.
The main hall.
We wandered around sampling cheese from different regions, my favorite cheeses are strong cheddars, blues, and Camembert (left out of the fridge for a few days). I expect I tasted at least 15 different varieties, don't tell my doctor.
We came away without purchasing any that we sampled, no fridge space you see, but a couple of Kantaifis made their way back to the boat with us.
At the end of April, our daughter brought the Little Manxman over to see us and we rented a bungalow in Wales for a week.
Where has my sand castle gone, that will be global warming.
Getting to know a Welsh free ranger.
In May we went home for the TT festival, we enjoyed the bikes, atmosphere, the racing, Red Arrows and one evening we had tickets for a Pink Floyd tribute act (Pigs on the Wing)at the Villa Marina.
The Red Arrows buzzed our house on the way to display in Douglas harbour.
I was out on my bike as often as I could, these days I can no longer endure the head down arse up wrist ache of a 150hp Fireblade(I'm nearer 70 than 60 now), this has been replaced by a sedate 47hp Honda 500X. The buzzy twin is great fun to ride and has a comfy riding position. Best of all I am getting an indicated 95.3 MPG.
I keep off the course as much as is possible preferring to bimble along the backroads and lanes, I did do one lap of the TT course with a few other bikes in honour of all fallen bikers, especially for my old mate Ted who passed away in hospital last year. Ted had been a regular visitor at the TT and Manx GP in the past and enjoyed marshalling at Kepple gate.
German, Dutch, French, Italian and Spanish bikes are in the mix for the lap.
First day of practice.
Ballaugh bridge Senior race day
In between race days a quiet stroll around Sunset Lakes
I'm back on the boat now waiting for the first mate to return so we can get cruising.