Isle of Man 2012
Phew, I think we’ve just about caught up after our whistle stop visit to the Isle of Man.
The main reason for visiting the island this year was to attend the wedding of Andy and Natalie, but as the wedding fell on the same weekend as the Isle of Man End2End mountain bike race I signed up to do that as well. I also managed to persuade my brother Jay to join in the fun so he made his first ever visit to the island and rode the End2End as well.
Anna, Morgan and I drove to Liverpool on Thursday afternoon to get the evening Ferry. Morgan didn’t shut up all the way there. He just babbled on talking nonsense all of the way without even stopping for breath. The ferry crossing was a little rough in places but the Stugeron seemed to work wonders and we were all OK. Once on the island it was a quick drive to Pats house (Anna’s Mum) where we unloaded, had a chat and a drink and then headed off to bed.
Friday was a fairly hectic day. First I had some work to do on the island helping someone out with a new computer I had bought and set up for them. This was all fairly painless and we were soon done with that and back in Ballabeg. We then had to visit Malew church with Pat where we were to assess the stone that the altar was made from and take some photos – All part of Pat’s PhD thesis. Next we drove into Douglas where I went for a swim at the NSC and Anna and Morgan dropped Pat off at the ferry terminal where she could make the crossing to the mainland in order to attend a conference in York. They also collected Jay who had come across as a foot passenger on the ferry along with his bike.
We were able to sign on for the End2End later in the afternoon, so as we were already in Douglas we decided to waste a bit of time and sign on there and then. We headed off to a garden centre for some very nice cake and a coffee, then went off in search of a couple of geocaches. We found the location of the first one and with a very clear hint knew we were in the right place, but unfortunately the cache itself wasn’t there. The next one took us on a bit of a wild goose chase for a while as we went first to the Villa Marina Gardens and then eventually on to the correct gardens a little further into Douglas. Once in the right place, the cache itself was easy to find.
Jay and I then signed on for the End2End and we headed back to Pat’s house. We now had the run of the house as Pat was away – so we ate her out of house and home and found some very delicious steak burgers for dinner!
Saturday was wedding day, so Jay and I went for a quick mountain bike ride in the morning around the short trails at South Barrule. I also went for a bit of a run – anything to stop the midges biting as it was a very misty, still and midge-infested morning! Then we all got dressed up. Anna of course looked lovely in a dress, even Morgan looked fairly smart and I put on my suit (last worn in about 2003!) which was a little too big for me – although the sleeves seem to have shrunk! We then headed off to Santon church for the wedding ceremony, leaving Jay with Anna’s car so that he could fend for himself.
The wedding was good and it was nice to catch up with everyone that we haven’t seen for a while. The food was delicious of course, especially the chocolate wedding cake, although I did eat far too much of that. After the meal, Andy, the Groom then played for quite a while in the band, but he seemed to be enjoying himself and I guess it was good for us all to see him perform. No doubt many of us had never seen or heard him play. The band was good, although Morgan was now getting a little tired and grumpy so after a while we headed home to get some sleep ready for the End2End tomorrow. Needless to say Andy wouldn’t be joining us on the ride this year and James had wimped out too.
I’ve written about the End2End elsewhere – click here to read my Isle of Man End2End Race Report and here to see the Isle of Man End2End photos that Anna and Morgan took as they followed us around the island. James did turn up to support as well, but we’ll have to get him riding it again soon. The weather wasn’t great but all in all it was a good day out riding across the island. Jay suffered quite a bit and was a broken man by the time he finished. Once we got back to the house he crawled (literally) up the stairs and collapsed for a while. He didn’t even have the energy to eat dinner once I’d cooked it for him, but he did recover a little later in the evening.
And then that was that, time to pack and then off to bed ready for a 5am start the next day so that we could drop Pats car off near the ferry terminal and head down there ourselves ready for check-in. The crossing back to the mainland was pretty calm and we were back home in Wales by early afternoon having had an enjoyable but tiring few days away.