This is woolley’s final contribution on Manxforums which will come as a blessed relief to some, no doubt, and so, ladies and gentlemen, I crave your indulgence one last time.
Considering that I’ve written so much here, I can’t even recall what it was that moved me sufficiently to sign up to MF in the first place. It’s all lost in the mists of time, but it was clearly the start of something that endured and became a part of my routine. All things, both nice and nasty, eventually come to an end.
When I’d idly pondered in the past how I might conclude my MF tenure other than by falling off my perch, I long fancied that I’d simply stop posting and say nothing. I’ve noticed that the problem with this approach is that people then start speculating: “He’s got a lifetime ban.” (Still short odds on this one, I guess!) “I heard he’s had a stroke and is sitting in a home for the bewildered, even more gaga than before.” “Fred in the office says he knew him from the line dancing society. He’s dead.” Well, I don’t want any of that malarkey.
At the same time, 26,837 posts while under severe provocation, yet maintaining a sunny disposition throughout is quite a haul. It’s exceeded only by Albert Tatlock, and he’s 112 years old and terminally grumpy as a result of the stress. That must be around a million words I put into this place. I charge a lot for that amount of content normally! After so much and so long, a valedictory post to mark the end is surely apposite, if only to put a nice hemline on the bottom and stop the raw material above from fraying, but what to include; how to sum up?
The pithy one or two paragraph flounce has been employed in the past by those departing under a cloud after a run in with The Man, but I’m sure it must leave a flaccid feeling after the initial euphoria of hitting the submit button. Likewise, the fevered-browed, foul-mouthed invective filled rejoinder, damning to hell and back everyone who ever wronged you on the boards, in fact or in your imagination. Not really my style to eff and blind my way off the premises either. It gains you nothing. Instead, it occurred that it would feel more cathartic to reflect a little on my personal MF experience and share it with the group. In that vein, I took time to recall some of the great (and not so great) posters I’ve enjoyed reading or pitting my wits against over so many years. I hope it will jog the memories of others’ favourites to highlight in this entertaining thread too.
My own short odyssey through MFspacetime then, begins with those who made me stop and think, like you, VinnieK, with your perennially sound reasoning. If anything good came out of the lockdown, at least it brought your return to these pages for our delectation. Or those who expanded my knowledge, epitomised by Chinahand, particularly on your personal experiences in China, and the stuff on space and the universe; always a source of fascination to me, and proof that there is something new to learn and marvel at each day, if only we will trouble ourselves to seek it out. I will still follow you, Chinahand, and I strongly recommend your posts to anyone who passes them by. Shame we never had Einstein here for he really was the man, but I suppose we did have a worthy understudy in Rog.
Just as treasured are the ones that made me laugh out loud, like maduncleronnie with his hilarious laments. I cried laughing reading the heartrending tales of “our Sharon” and her serial sphincter expanding obsession with “the filthy Turks”, not to mention all of those “jousters – not real Manx fellers”. What a shame that ronnie is not still among us in these troubled times to make us smile. Woody was good at blending humour with his serious posts, but it wasn’t always picked up by the snowflakes who couldn’t tell the difference. Back up to date, I give you Stinky; I do appreciate your razor sharp wit and twisted sense of the ridiculous, Stinky. If the world were ending, I am sure your sideways take on it would have us guffawing even as we spiralled into oblivion. You would obviously spend your final hours here on MF. Wouldn’t you? Less inspiring, but just as memorable, have been the latter-day freak shows of the apparently barely sane that we gaped at, like Hillshepherd and Boredom. Notice the disturbing train of thought there, Stinky? Do be careful.
The Encyclopaedia Roger Mexico - you give good value, invariably worth a read, full of information, lots of sound research all eloquently presented, and always right .
Speaking of “right”, the forum possesses none more so than our decent all round good egg, dear Quilpy; my friend and dependable staunch ally on here. We have supported each other for years and tried to rein each other in by PM whenever one of us has been in danger of climbing too far out of the trench and going over the top! So long, comrade, and keep dodging the bullets. Thinking warmly of Quilp also reminds me of the other extreme. Richard Britten was one that I crossed swords with more than most. A man so liberal, he made Lord Longford look authoritarian. As we find with liberals everywhere, he was only liberal provided you agreed with him, otherwise he could turn rather nasty and disagreeably vulgar…. I personally wouldn’t have banished him for good though.
Why are we so short of females nowadays? Even long time mainstays like Bees don’t seem to be around so much anymore, and it’s such a great shame. I think I once, many years ago, mixed you up, Bees, with the lady who lost her knickers that fateful night on Marine Drive, and you were most aghast. Who was the commando lady? Was her name Kathy, perhaps?
Still flying the ladies flag almost solo, thank goodness, is the redoubtable Gladys. I recently accused you of being an accountant and opined that the whole lot of them are bat shit crazy. You put me right in your trademark no-nonsense fashion, but we still had a laugh about it, which is what it should be about when all is said and done. I had hopes too for Potty Lisa who could be feisty, but she seems to have sunk without trace, if indeed Potty Lisa was actually female. Guess you never know nowadays, even if it wears a frock. Then there is always Manxy, who I find very, very nice indeed, and so polite, but oh, Manxy; those conspiracy theories! And still, Befuddled haunts me. A vision of her cast away tragically on some forlorn windswept rock in the North Atlantic occasionally invades my consciousness. Did she ever come home like Lassie? What has happened to Roxanne? She seems to have had a drastic makeover, but MF definitely needs more of the fairer sex around. You really can’t beat women, as I always say to the violent offenders’ rehabilitation group.
My appreciation abounds too for our purveyors of interesting and helpful background information, particularly Wrighty who has come to the fore with his epidemiological work during the pandemic. Good show, Sir. You have the ability and bearing to convey the information and, just as importantly, the thinking behind it, quantitatively and qualitatively, so much better than the meagre politicians who are actually paid to do the job. You inspire confidence. And Derek, for years our resident MF Plod. I remember being gobsmacked on discovering that you posted info on here as part of the job, and not merely out of a sense of civic duty in your own time. It simply never occurred to me that posting on a forum could remotely be considered police work, or any kind of work, for that matter. Astonishing how novel concepts can shock you when you have lived for a long time. Now, just a few years later, we have “influencers” earning millions from social media. Vacuous world it is that can be influenced so readily. See you in Keys?
I used to have some interesting and enjoyable exchanges with Mission about government, business and the economy etc. in the early days. What a wise poster he was. All now lost – nothing from him for 2 years, and precious little for a lot longer than that. Speaking of lost and wise, there are several lamented, although none so much as Lonan3. Up high in my MF hall of fame, because nobody is more missed here. MF was so much the poorer with his passing.
Other thoughtful, debate stimulating commentators of note were Bladerunner and Lysenchuk. Remember them? Definitely more controversially, Notwell was also a good poster, widely baited because he rose to it too easily, wrongly maligned and then too easily banished in my opinion, which I know will not be unanimous. And what has become of my old sparring partner MonkeyBoy? He was adamant that we should tell the FS to FO and rely on the ingenuity of the Manx people alone. Idealistic, certainly; crackers, perhaps, but he believed it sincerely and expounded it vehemently. Like a latter day DeValera for Mann, he was. I never did find out from him what we were supposed to eat in his brave old world though. Somebody might have said he actually left his beloved Island which would be a supreme irony. I hope not. I often found Tarne had a different take on life too. I quite enjoyed reading him, but he seemed to offend a lot of people……… Even Lxxx seems to have gone awol.
I like Dilligaf. Yes, actually, I believe you do look like you give one despite the name, and I’m convinced your heart is in the right place. Nine bans now is it? I can’t begin to understand how that happens. And DocFixit, Uhtred, Piebaps, Declan, Slinky – all are good value for a few minutes of my time any day. Or Pongo. You seem unique on here with your eternal, almost wearying optimism for the modern world, while apparently blind to its overpopulation and other immense problems. I sincerely hope you are right. Similarly, I don’t often agree with Helix, but you make your points well and argue persuasively and with civility, which counts for a lot in any company.
One thing I could never normally be doing with was posters who don’t live on the Island. I mean, why would you post from afar with no connection to the place? But I do like to hear from old Ramsey spaniel worrier, GD4ELI, particularly on how spiffing things are in Switzerland or Cornwall, although again, regrettably, once a mainstay but not so much nowadays.
Those are just a few who spring to mind that have regularly brightened my working days or the odd late night after the pub and will live long in the memory. There are many more I have appreciated. All of you, in fact; because the whole is far greater than the sum of the parts, and that has been the pull of the changing MF crowd that kept me looking in and belting the keyboard for so long.
I reserved my last tribute, ironically, for The Corporal, as Quilpy acerbically and very appropriately nicknamed you. My long-time dogged adversary and stalker, none other than PK. True, we had a complicated interaction on here. I christened you my stalker because whenever I posted, day or night, you would be there immediately it seemed, with the pugnacious retort. A bit like Mrs. Doyle standing in the dark, tea tray in hand at the dead of night, on the off chance that Father Ted should happen into the parlour with a thirst in the small hours. Often you would go OTT with some inane Grauniad nonsense or other, and I would feel compelled to counter – and so it went on…, and on…. Despite what some may think, we both know that there really was never any real malice in it. Life’s too short and, in spite of myself, I do have a sneaking admiration for your sometimes self-effacing humour, which is definitely one of your stronger attributes. As in going to Ronaldsway got up all hazmat, looking like an astronaut, having paid EZY to reserve specific seats, only to find both the airport and the plane completely empty, but then being big enough to give a full report to us wolves waiting back here, so we could lap it up and wet ourselves laughing. Priceless stuff, and much kudos for that.
You would, I hope, concur that, metaphorically speaking, rather than a pair of thugs kicking shit out of each other outside some nightclub where we might jeopardise the onlookers, we were more reminiscent of a couple of ageing pantomime dames with handbags drawn. Even The Teapot (yet another worthy poster despite the LFC affliction) thought that we were funny. And now in retrospect, in the denouement, what harm did we ever cause to anyone with our small skirmishes in the grand scheme of things? Not a lot that I can discern, aside from possibly a little mutual blood pressure escalation between ourselves. It wasn’t as though we were scribbling a moustache on the Mona Lisa considering the pedigree of the Theresa May thread and some of its past, shall we say “eccentric” contributors, was it? So crack on obsessing about “totally amoral, narcissistic serial philanderer and inveterate liar, Bozo and his Bungling Brexiteers” and “the UK alternative reality rabid right wing press, which is to say pretty much all of it”, though perhaps you might be advised to tone it down a bit. It might also go unanswered and unchallenged at times in future, but don’t run away with the idea that this means you are right! I shan’t lose sleep, but, seriously, I will look in from time to time to check for your return from “M(ythical)-Town” (LoL) very soon, safe and well.
I shall continue to watch my favourite posters now and then, and I will join the legions who evidently enjoy lurking here but never engage. I wish continued success to MF, all contributors and everyone connected with its operation.
Finally, let’s all give thanks for our huge good fortune, particularly right now, in being able to call this beautiful, safe Island our home. For all our niggles and complaints about the government and the travel on and off, the price of corned beef, whatever else or petty squabbles among ourselves, where else would we want to be right now, other than within this talented community, safe and sound here in wonderful Ellan Vannin?
Well, that’s all folks; the end of my sojourn down MF memory lane, and also the height of it from the shaggy sheep. No more longwinded bollox from him. He’s off to relax now by leaping in a nice big trough of dip - so very little change at all really.
Good health, Good fortune and Goodbye to you all from "the woolster". It’s been really, er,….. Real!
 Well, usually. Except when you’re not.
The complete version of woolley’s avatar picture including his more bashful partner’s MF debut. It was taken on a spectacular visit to the Isle of Harris in the depths of winter.
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