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     We saw the last of our delivery vehicles yesterday.  The old trams have the winter off and start work again in March.  From now until then local deliveries will have to be made by car as we have no handy bus service.  We do try and do our bit to stop global warming.      Unexpectedly the last two trams of the season did a parallel run from Ramsey to Laxey - that's the northern half of the line.  For those of you who don't know what a parallel run is, it means two trams running side by side going in the same direction.  One of them obviously has to use the line which trams travelling in the opposite direction would normally use.  Under normal working conditions this would be unsafe as the pair might meet a tram coming towards them.  As these two were the last trams of the season they knew there was nothing else on the line (and they'd checked by radio with the stationmasters of course) so the drivers thought they'd put on a show for enthusiasts.     It was spectacul
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I hadn't realised it had been so long since the last blog but we've been busy.  Sorry about that. Our last publication of 2022 is just about due from the printer.  In fact it should have been here, but there were 'delays at the factory', so it missed its promised shipment date.  We're now hoping that Ramsey past & present will arrive next week, so it will still be in time for those of you looking for something for Christmas (?!), even if it's later than expected. Part of the problem with deliveries to the Isle of Man is, of course, the weather and how it affects shipping.  Rain is a nuisance, but worse are high winds, which can delay the boats.  Incidentally, other countries have ferries, we have boats. Our shipment will probably arrive on the Ben my Chree , the Steam Packet Company's largest boat and the one used for most freight.  The Steam Packet's fastcraft, Manannan , pictured above in Douglas harbour, is great for a quick crossing, but rarely
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We've just taken delivery of The Wreck of the Racehorse , the story of a sloop of war which wrecked on the rocks in the picture, 200 years ago this year.  The wreck site is just across the bay from Castletown, the Isle of Man's old capital, and the heroic efforts of volunteers to save the crew of the stricken ship helped convince William Hillary to found what became the RNLI. They succeeded too.  Of nearly one hundred people on board Racehorse , only six were lost.  Sadly three of the Castletown volunteers also died. The boat visible above the Skerranes - the rocks - is HMS Severn , a Royal Navy offshore patrol vessel which just happened to be passing when we were photographing.  There's a better picture of her in the book.
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Many of you know that, since the 1960s, the Isle of Man has had a small but growing population of wild wallabies.  Descended from escapees from the Curragh Wildlife Park, the wallabies find life on the island quite tenable.  There are thought to be about 100 of them now, and they've gone exploring. One seems to have come to live in the grounds round our office.  The senior partner has seen droppings, the junior partner a bouncing shadow.  For such large animals - they stand about three and a half feet tall - they hide remarkably well.  Most active at dusk and during the night, they eat grass, leaves and the bark from trees.  In fact their diet is very similar to that of deer, so they have few competitors for food, as there are no deer on the Isle of Man. The real problem with 'our' wallaby, is that we're spending so long trying to spot it, the work is not getting done.  We should hop to it. Incidentally, what do you call a lazy baby wallaby?  A pouch potato... The photo
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Working late one evening last week I noticed this wind dog out of the office window.  It was all the more amazing as it must have been ten o'clock at night.   Wind dogs are incomplete rainbows and some think they presage stormy weather.  This one didn't though.  While the weather on the island has been nowhere near as hot as in many places of Britain, it's certainly been much hotter and dryer than normal. The headland is Maughold Head, and the small white building on the far left used to be the accommodation for the lighthouse keepers.  Maughold lighthouse is half-way down the cliff beyond the white building.  It's low down so that its light shines beneath the sea fogs for which Maughold is noted. P.S.  Wind dog is also a nickname for the Saluki, the second fastest breed of dog after the greyhound.
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No, we haven't suddenly acquired an office helicopter, more's the pity.  This flew over the office the other day, probably with a group of motorcycle enthusiasts - or possibly professional racers - on board. We were interested enough to look up the details of the whirlybird (yes, I know we should have been working...).  It is apparently owned by Helitrain, which is based in Cirencester in Gloucestershire, near where the Loaghtan Books junior partner comes from.  Helitrain effectively offers a helicopter chauffeur service, although the company also appears to be involved in adult education, which we're interpreting as training helicopter pilots. It's pretty cool though, owning your own helicopter.  At least I imagine it is...
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The island has just seen the end of the TT fortnight.  The race circuit doesn't go past the office, but we can hear the roar of the motorbikes hammering out of Ramsey.  In fact the racing could have been a lot closer to us if the original route was still used. The start of the TT, or, as it was known then, the Gordon Bennett Trial (yes, he of the expression), started just across the valley from us, in Port E Vullen - we can see the houses from the office.  The plaque pictured above marks the spot.  The Trial was originally for cars and was held on the Isle of Man because the Westminster government didn't want to close their roads for racing - there were no race tracks then.  Tynwald, always looking to bring people (and their spending money) to the island, didn't have such qualms, so the Trials came here.  They were successful.  People had a good time, engineers worked out how their cars could be improved (or not), and the Manx liked the novelty. After a few years, races for