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Slieau Whallian, Laughs, Memories And What A Hike!



Today I and my friend Anne decided we would do another walk taken from our rambling book. Today's was to be Slieau Whallian at St.Johns to almost to the Rushen mines and then down to Barnell on the Patrick road. Had all gone according to plan we were also going to walk back down the railway line from the Raggart to St.Johns. I had to be up and about early as I'd arranged to meet Anne at 8 a.m. just on the Patrick Road, at the St.Johns end over the road from the lane and cottage that I owned when I met Tom. That in itself brought back memories of both before our relationship and afterwards. Anyway, I was raring to go as I had never actually done this walk before as I'd heard it was a bit bad underfoot. It wasn't somewhere I could take Tom and I feel that rambling walks into the countryside should be done by two people in case an ankle is turned or whatever. That is why I am enjoying our explorative walks more than ever because they are energetic in themselves without just walking. Well they are when you follow instructions like Anne and I. We started by walking up the road and going over a stile part way up the road and we were quickly into the forest. I knew this forest well from my time in St.Johns as I used to climb it twice a day and loved to test my fitness by running to the top. Time has moved on and even walking fast is not an option now, but we did climb to the top and couldn't find a gate that we were supposed to go through. Down we went and decided to take another route only to come across the stone wall that we should see, but no gate. Lots and lots of barbed wire though. So we, or perhaps I should say I, decided that instead of walking the paths, we should walk vertical up the forest by the stone wall until we came across a gate. Talk about steep! We made it though, well as far as another line of barbed wire which now ran through the forest and blocked our path. Going down would have been great if we had been kids with a flattened cardboard box to sit on and we'd have been able to navigate the trees of course. As it was we just went back down gripping branches for brakes until we got to the path. Anne suggested we actually do the walk in reverse and then hopefully we would find the elusive gate on the way back. As we wandered down the hill, we were almost at the entrance which we came in the forest, when I saw another path little used that possibly could be the one we needed. I told Anne that if we tried it and this failed then I was going to give in and we'd go to Tynwald Mills for a cuppa. We had messed about in the forest for an hour and we hadn't even started, but we hadn't half had a warm up. As we walked along there was quite a bit of fern and it brought back memories of when we lived in Ramsey and Tom found a tick under his armpit, fully ensconced and sucking his blood. Before I went to work that morning I soaked it with meth's and as a rule that would have been the end. He turned up at work a bit later in the day wondering if I could help as it was irritating and still hanging on. I then tried burning it with a cigarette as I'd heard that would surely kill it, but it still hung on. In the end I had a brain wave and decided I would gently burn it with a lighter that Tom had which just lit up a ringed part for his pipe which he smoked at this time. I never thought for a moment that with all the neat meth's, alcohol and everything else I had used to kill it, that his armpit would go up like a forest fire. I did manage to put it out without Tom being hurt and thankfully the tick met his maker. Anyway, back to our walk and we did come across another stile, not a gate as was mentioned in the book. We saw two cyclists walking up the path and discussing how steep it was for a while, but bingo, we'd found the elusive path. We hadn't been walking long before 4 trials bikes came passed us and we had to hold the dogs until all was clear. A little later as we continued on our upward climb another few bikes came passed and one biker said we would be ok once we got onto the Barnell path as they were all turning left. The views were stunning looking back towards Peel to Douglas valley and the St.Johns to Foxdale valley. We identified landmarks and the sun was now shining after a stuttering start. It was clear and beautiful. As we turned eventually onto the Barnell track, we could see trials bikes in a field and felt quite safe that they were going to have nothing to do with us. I don't think it was long after that the 1st trial bike came towards us from Patrick. It was a bit of a shock as they had been coming from behind on the other track and now they were meeting us on a much narrower lane that was rocky and hard to walk at the best of times. All the bikers were really polite and thanked us. We thought we'd enquire from one of the first bikers on this road as to whether there were anymore coming. "There's about 50." he said and we thanked him for telling us but it wasn't what we wanted to hear. The path got worse and each time a bike came, we flung ourselves into the nearest hedge. My worst experience was when I flung myself into a gorse bush. It was a nightmare and one of those were everything becomes extremely funny because it's so bad. I had to pull myself together lots of times as I was in danger of losing the plot. Anne lost her footing at one stage and went sprawling, such was the state of the lane with uneven rocks and massive big ruts. I can see why it would be brilliant for bikers. Trust us to pick that walk when there were bike trials going on. We eventually staggered to the road and all I can say is that the views were gorgeous, but the path itself would not tempt me back to do it again. The views are such that taking a photo would not be good enough for someone to appreciate. That can only happen by being there, turning 360 degrees and savouring everything your senses can see, hear and smell. I did take a photo on the way down as I loved the scene from Patrick to Peel and there is a 3 legs of man which can be seen in a field made up of different types of grasses to make the design stand out. I believe this was done by the prisoners of war in the WW2 that were at Knockaloe. If I'm wrong I will stand corrected. I got back to the car pretty shattered and have a painful knee again which has happened after great climbs and only hurts going downhill or as now, going down the stairs. Tomorrow it will be fine if last time was anything to go by, but I would love to hear from someone who may know what may be the cause of this and if there is something to help me stop it on my rambling days, besides not going up hills. I love these walks, but the pain going down is something else again.

This last week has not been the best for me as regards the grieving process and was triggered when I heard the insurance money was delayed yet again by PHEONIX. That is despite the bank having a fax 3 weeks ago saying the money would be put in a 48 hour transfer. The latest excuse is that they want a discharge letter from the bank that has been stamped the banks company stamp and signed through the middle. The bank have already sent 3 discharge letters and each one is not to PHEONIX satisfaction. The bank are furious, the broker is furious and I am finding it dragging me down. All I can think is that if Tom was here what he would do, it would never happen and he'd sort them out and then with each thought, I get lower. This week I have wished I could turn back the clock and have Tom back and my cosy, loving life. It has eaten away at me and I have cried buckets. Each day I have lost another pound in weight as I never get hungry and forget to eat. I always eat something at lunchtime, but if that is only a bap, I won't be hungry later and again I forget to eat. It's only the next day that I work out I haven't eaten for so long and I am still not hungry. Sleeping is a problem with me waking every night for probably 2 or 3 hours and maybe I go back to sleep and maybe I don't. So some nights it can be 3 hours sleep and others I may get 5. I went to the doctors on Thursday as I myself was worried that I was slipping back into depression. I'd been at my friends Pauline and Rays in the afternoon and couldn't stop crying and didn't want to talk either. I just wanted Tom, plainly and simply although it is impossible. Pauline came with me and helped to explain things to the doctor where I may have forgotten. I have picked up since and there will be more medical stuff this week, but anyone grieving out there may like to know that it was all still put down to the grieving process and is quite normal. Everyone's grief is different and each cope with it in their own way.

A week last Wednesday Sean and Wendy came back to the Island for the Viking festival. I managed to find a window in the weather and Toms friend Michael took us to the Sugarloaf Rock and round the Calf in Toms boat, the Silverburn. I'm waiting for some pictures from them to put on here for you all. They had a great time whilst they were over and I really do think they should do a blog, such are their exploits and two very, very interesting people.

Mr. Goosey was put to sleep on Thursday which as sad. His muscles in his left leg had collapsed and he was no longer able to get around which caused his chest to get the equivalent of bed sores and he was soiling himself. There was no quality of life left and he was in pain. The moorhen spends every day in the aviary and is keeping it all clean from worms etc and he comes into the house in the evening. He really does think I am his mum and he just acts like any of the other animals in the house. He goes to a bowl with water to bath and defecate and is a right little character. Any morning that I have found it hard to wake after a bad night, he is up the stairs with his little calling sound and eventually he will find a way on the bed and runs excited to sit on my chest and chatter away in moorhen. He is developing wings and feathers and still has a lot of colour changing to do before he is a fully grown up moorhen.

I think that is it for now folks. I will leave you with some pictures and will write again soon. I wonder which will come first, my next blog or the insurance money?

I've shown a good path on the way down the track. This deteriorated rapidly and I haven't taken any pics of that. I was too busy throwing myself in the hedges and trying to negotiate the track. I have also included the latest picture of the baby cockatiel which can now fly, but has some feathers to come. The moorhen makes an entry as well and there are more of him/her but I'll show them again.

Love from Barbara and her menagerie on the banks of the beautiful Silverburn.


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