A Very Different A3!

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Day 6 - Tuesday 5 September

Back to Douglas, to take the tram to the top of Snaefell (which you will recall was not part of our walk to Snaefell Mine the other day). First, though, ,we'll have a little walk around town and take in a few of the sights.

It's Queen Victoria! Is she amused by the fact that she's in an alcove of Queen Victoria House, which is on Victoria Street?

The Isle of Man Museum website tells us, "The statue was carved by a firm of ships' figurehead carvers of Liverpool and placed in the niche by Mr. Doyle [who?] in his then newly constructed 'Victoria Bazaar'." I feel none the wiser, and I'm not even sure I'm that much better informed.

Other useful information that I have discerned from the Internet: you can rent office space here for as little as £165 pcm for a single-person working area!

Not impressed? Fair enough.

The latest fashion statement: a wicker sundress.

It's a small but pleasant little marina. There are much more extensive harbour facilities not far away, but I can think of worse places to park my gin palace. Not that I have one, of course, not least because just about every boat owner I've ever spoken to says it would be far cheaper to burn wheelbarrows of five-pound notes every night. Actually, with inflation, make that twenty-pound notes.

There's a bit of a queue to get the tram we want, and you can tell that Amanda's in a happy mood because she's been talking to strangers!

Looking down from the tram on the Laxey wheel, you get a good feel for just how big it is.

Up the hill we go. It's quite slow and rattles a fair bit, but when you consider it's been in operation since 1895, you have to cut it some slack.

[Aside: that's pretty much when HG Wells' Martians were making their invasion plans.]

And here we are at the top.

What you can't tell from the picture is just how strong the wind is. Not quite blowing you off the hillside, but getting close. I have given up trying to keep my hat on my head. Out of the wind, the sun would be warm, but you can't get out of the wind, you can only get to a corner where it can't quite reach you with its full force.

Little triskelions in their multitudes form the tram platform panels.

And now we're going to walk down.

Chris had recommended this and we thought it was a fine idea, although we didn't know at the time we'd have to deal with a hurricane. However, as some of you may know, Amanda's and my relationship pretty much began with one (in 1987, the day after Michael Fish had said not to worry, there would be no hurricane), so we can take it.

The descending tram looks strangely toy-like as it crosses the road. We can see some red traffic lights, but no barriers or anything. Presumably local drivers are expected to be sensible.

On that note, we didn't realise it at the time, but unrestricted Manx roads are literally unrestricted: they are not subject to the UK national speed limit and don't have one of their own. Seems that while they obviously do a lot of closing of roads for the TT races, they don't actually need to change the law to allow silly (sometimes literally lethal) speeds.

We have found it a touch frustrating that our hire car has a 0-60 time best measured on a calendar, but we would have noticed if the locals were all F1 wannabees and they aren't.

Compare Patagonia, where we had a decently fast car and I wasn't feeling nervous about driving, but the locals were still overtaking me in a fashion that even I considered foolhardy. When you'tre throwing up so much dust that that the first you know about a car behind coming past you is your own car's radar sensor going BEEP! and you know that they basically can't see a thing ahead of them, you do have to ask yourself where cojones and loco cross. This is not our IoM driving experience.

[But I digress.]

There's a famous [to those who know about such things] biker cafe halfway down the mountain, and this is a sculpture of a famous [to those who know about such things] rider by the name of "Joey Dunlop".

The plaque reads, "In memory of Joey Dunlop, 1952-2000, "King of the Mountain", 26 times TT winner".

Hmm... I'll let you do the sums, but I have to say I'd rather have spent longer reflecting on fewer victories.

But look closer... What's that?

It's Feb, the Boobie Bear!

Boobie Bears (we later learn) are travelling the world to raise awareness of breast cancer. I'll be honest, I had thought that this was something everyone knew about already, but then I learnt that men can get it too, which is something that had simply never occurred to me. Life is complicated.

We will take him with us and then pass him on. His story on Facebook is here. Spread the word.

A slightly obscure picture, but it turns out to be the best I've got for this stage of our descent. Just below the Victory Cafe, where the tram crosses the road (as seen above) the continuing path is not at all clear. I've got my GPS, but the routes it's showing are not at all obvious on the ground. We're scratching our heads a bit and a woman who's been coming down the same trail as us catches us up; but is sadly no more familiar with the path than we are.

We combine forces to solve our mutual problem, and eventually I (in my commanding manly fashion) decide that we will do what the GPS says. Since nobody has a better idea, I get away with it. Fortunately, before too long, we do find ourselves on a clear, if minimal, track.

Aha, this is towards where we walked with Chris the other day, so it looks like we'll end up retracing that route.

And so it proves. It's a pleasant walk but nothing new, so I'll just skip over the rest of our walk, and likewise, the drive back.

Outside our cottage, a non-Manx cat. Except obviously being a cat in the Isle of Man, it's a Manx cat. This is confusing.

"Manx Queenies"

These are small scallops, a local speciality, and I bought some in a fine seafood shop in Douglas earlier today.

Yummy! Goodnight.

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