Friday 30 August 2013

It’s the Pits

So far, I haven’t really shared anything much to do with the reason that we are over here now – motorcycle racing.

It’s been going on for nearly a fortnight.  We first visited the Pit Paddock on the Friday before practice started, when it was still rather quiet, but a good opportunity to have a wander around.

There are big, flash teams.  This collection of Yamaha reproductions are all owned by the one man and until now have never been raced. He has now sold them all and after this fortnight they will all be serviced and are going to their new owners. 

IOM 16 Aug 13 074

IOM 16 Aug 13 077

Kawasaki also have a rather flash collection.

IOM 16 Aug 13 078

IOM 16 Aug 13 080

I liked the decal on the tail of this bike.

IOM 16 Aug 13 106

The name “Ollie Linsell” didn’t mean much to me.  He actually went on to win the first race of the week on this bike.

IOM 16 Aug 13 109

As we wandered around, I just looked at what was nice, not really knowing which bike was for which rider.  It turns out that this is the bike destined to be ridden by Guy Martin.  The only problem was that Guy didn’t turn up to ride it until Thursday of practice week and you had to have completed two laps of practice by the end of Wednesday’s practice session.  Therefore, he was ineligible to ride in further practice or the racing. Quite disappointing for everyone involved, as well as the spectators.  Much controversy, but the rules are the rules.

IOM 16 Aug 13 111 

Then there are the rest of the racers, who go with the  help of friends and family and some local sponsorship. We watched the start of practice next to the family of this racer.  They all pitch in to help.

IOM 16 Aug 13 193

Of course, Mick found the Aussie tent.  There were quite a few Aussies competing, other that Cameron Donald, who is one of the favourite racers, both in ability and personality. 

IOM 16 Aug 13 148

It is good to see a group of racers travel all this way without the big sponsorship and backing of the major riders. They had about ten bikes here, which was a great effort.

IOM 16 Aug 13 149

It was also fun seeing the range of accommodation for the riders and their teams.  From the grandiose.

IOM 16 Aug 13 113

To the humble.  Complete with Aussie flag.

IOM 16 Aug 13 169

Here are a few more random pictures.

IOM 16 Aug 13 086

IOM 16 Aug 13 120

IOM 16 Aug 13 194

IOM 16 Aug 13 135

IOM 16 Aug 13 091

IOM 16 Aug 13 089

IOM 16 Aug 13 161

IOM 16 Aug 13 130

IOM 16 Aug 13 102 

IOM 16 Aug 13 182

IOM 16 Aug 13 105

IOM 16 Aug 13 140

IOM 16 Aug 13 134

Now we were ready for the racing to begin.

Castletown – Part 2

Now to continue on our stroll.

Back in the main square you get a different perspective of Castle Rushen.

IOM 14 Aug 13 002

If you look closely, you can see that the clock only has one hand.  It dates back to Elizabethan times and that was how it was made.  It still works, but is currently being refurbished.

IOM 14 Aug 13 005

Even the lamp posts feature the castle.

IOM 14 Aug 13 004

I’m not sure what this building is, but it looks impressive.  I have heard the details of the column, but can’t remember them.  It never had anything perched on the top; I can remember that much.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 018

Opposite the castle is “The George”, which does a rather nice seafood meal.  We were struggling to walk home after our huge dinner the other night.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 017

More patchwork inspiration in their foyer as well.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 004

Now, let’s go shopping.

There are two shopping streets, neither of which you can drive along.  Castletown only has a small range of shops, but you can get most basics here.

IOM 15 Aug 13 095

We are spoilt to have Radcliffes located here.  They are one of the best butchers on the island.  They make beautiful dry cured bacon and have the best range of sausages.  This time we have tried Welsh Dragon and Loaghtan Lamb.  Both delicious.  They also sell some fresh veges and free range eggs.  All nice local stuff.

IOM 17 Aug 13 005

The fellows were very obliging when I requested a photo, even posing with a pie.  I love the natty little hats that butchers all seem to wear over here.

IOM 17 Aug 13 001

There have been some changes since we first started coming here six years ago.  The newsagency and chippy have gone, as has, sadly, the lovely little antique store that we could always find a little something to take home.  However, on the plus side, Elevenses has opened up.

IOM 19 Aug 13 021

They do a lovely morning tea.  You have to make sure that they are OK, you know.

IOM 17 Aug 13 002

There are a couple of lovely gift shops.  This one is quite girly.

IOM 16 Aug 13 202

Whereas the Port Erin Gaslight Company is more masculine.

IOM 16 Aug 13 201

Next stop, the supermarket.  It seems strange being just part of a row of buildings like this, rather than the usual style that we have.  Admittedly, it is only a small suburban supermarket.  Other towns have larger versions of Shoprite, which is only on the Isle of Man, and Douglas has a Tescos.

IOM 2013 22 Aug 13 012

I suppose it is time to head back home.

Some of the cottages were built when people were generally a little shorter.  Mick is six foot tall, so you can see that even I may nearly have to duck through this door.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 020

The house to the right of the bright blue one, with the stone bottom and cream top is the house we stayed in the first time we visited.  Like Bathurst does for the car races, it was a private home rented out for the TT fortnight.

IOM 15 Aug 13 098

You can buy this tiny little cutie for 210,000 pounds.  That’s about $420,000.  I think I’ll buy two for that price – not!  Housing is definitely not cheap over here, like petrol, which is about twice as dear as at home.  Food, however, is about the same as at home.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 021

And just a bit further down the road from our current cottage is this colourful row.  They look so cheerful, whereas most cottages are just white or cream.

IOM 19 Aug 13 023

Admittedly, I have shown the most scenic parts of Castletown, and like all places there are some not so scenic parts, but it is a lovely place to keep coming back to and we wouldn’t stay anywhere else while here.

Thursday 29 August 2013

Castletown – Part 1

Firstly, I need to clarify that when I said we will have spent two months in our little cottage I didn’t mean on this trip, but as a cumulative total over our three stays in this cottage.  We are only here for three weeks this time.

The town that our little cottage is located in is Castletown, the ancient capital of the Isle of Man.  (The modern capital is Douglas.)  Let’s go for a little stroll.

We’ll start by walking along the harbour.  The floral display on the bridge is stunning.

IOM 11 Aug - 13 Aug 163

Looking back the other way you see the colourful boats and Castle Rushen.  Fancy that, a castle in Castletown.  The tides here are quite big, so at low tide these boats are out of the water.

IOM 11 Aug - 13 Aug 164

Here is  another shot at a lower tide, but still quite a lot further to drop before low tide.

IOM 14 Aug 13 006

As always, not so  pretty at low tide.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 012

The pub next to the castle is the “Castle Arms”, but better known as the “Glue Pot”, which Mick has been known to frequent.  It is a pokey little place and I wonder what stories the walls could tell, if only they could talk.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 013

There is a swinging bridge across the harbour, which we actually saw while open.

IOM 16 Aug 13 021

See the stone wall across the harbour.  Well, that is the back of the Nautical Museum which houses “Peggy”.  More on her later.

IOM 16 Aug 13 017

As you can imagine, there are lighthouses at the entrance to the harbour.  I think these are particularly pretty. but I may be biased, as they are in Castletown.

IOM 16 Aug 13 010

The Steam Packet Company runs the car ferries to and from the Isle of Man.  They are currently owned by Macquarie Bank – yes, an Aussie company.  However, they had much humbler beginnings with offices in Castletown.

IOM 16 Aug 13 020

We’ll head back into town now. 

See this little bridge which seems to disappear into a house.  It is actually a little lane into the next street.  There are heaps of little laneways running everywhere, once you get to find them.  You can certainly tell that the town evolved well before the need for cars, or even much in the way of carts.  Apparently the streets are crooked to stop the wind whistling up them.  I can assure you it doesn’t work.

IOM 14 Aug 13 014

There are all sorts of things on display in people’s windowsills.  They are so deep that they are perfect for this.

IOM 11 Aug - 13 Aug 167

We’ll head up another little lane now to see some more.

IOM 2013 29 Aug 13 014

More soon.