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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sheep With Attitude


"So, you want me to move then?"

"If you don't mind.."

"Can't you turn around?"

"Um, no not really."

"Why not?"


Hmph.

You think I jest? I had to run at this little blighter to get him to budge, and even then he held his ground, thought he was about to butt me at one point. Navigating the mountain road is not for the faint hearted. It is also prone to mists, and in the dark, often all you can see is a pair of blazing red eyes glowering back up at you.. well, that and the horns of course. Trapped inside a Dennis Wheatley movie, who could blame you for being put off your Sunday leg of lamb?. We had this encounter on Wednesday, as we were making our way over to the village of Maughold. Hubby had booked the week off work, and whilst the kids were at school we'd made the most of it, setting out each day exploring various corners of the island. Maughold has an ancient churchyard housing tombstones dating back to the eighth century. It's a place I've always meant to visit, yet never before have quite got around to. Sadly, the original church (or Kirk, as it is locally known) has been replaced over time, but it still appears to have a strong congregation, being lovingly cared for. Set in a beautiful little village perched overlooking the sea, the views here are quite spectacular. I try never to take this place for granted, but I often have to pinch myself to believe we've landed up living in such an idyllic spot. Mid-week, out of the tourist season, there is a stillness to this isle that is hard to describe. Is it really only seven years ago that we were living inside a crowded inner City? Seems a whole other lifetime ago.Surprisingly, arriving at the church we found the doors unlocked, enabling us a few quiet moments to explore inside.
The smell of fresh flowers and beeswax rushed to greet us, and between the silence and the echoes we found ourselves whispering - heaven alone knows why. (Smile.)A lot of these gravestones are too weathered to read, the latest one I could find belonged to a Florence Quayle who died in 1821, aged 32.The oldest stones are housed in a three sided stone built shelter to serve some protection from the elements. A stained glass window has been painstakingly inserted, lending a fitting reverence.Some of these Celtic crosses date back as far as the earliest Viking invasions.Maughold was an active religious centre at this point, and a third of the Island's cross-slabs have been found here.It was a lovely way to spend an unhurried morning. It is easy to forget to set the time aside, there is always something more urgent calling, isn't there?This last week we devoted one day each to visiting the north, south, east and west of our island, finishing with either lunch at a traditional Manx pub, or in a cosy family-run restaurant, only arriving back in time for the on-slaught of our babes tumbling home from school.The fifth and final day we elected to stay in. Being as it was wet, wild and windy out, we wisely lit the fire, popped a bottle of Champagne and settled down to watching a movie or two over a banquet of Brie, Roquefort, Port Salut and crusty bread.

36 comments:

Kit Courteney said...

Other than the cheese (yuck!) it sounds like a perfect week!

Marty said...

Very cool!

CHEWY said...

Great picture of the sheep, beautiful countryside. Good thing it didn't come to butting heads with the stubborn beast.

Champange, a selection of cheeses and a cozy fire sounds like the perfect end to the week.

SJ said...

I guess whoever coined the term sheepish to mean timidity was wrong.

Nice pictures. Craggy island is very beautiful indeed.

mrsnesbitt said...

Ah the mountain...is it THE mountain? Phew! I still remember the first encounter in June!

PS Who is the side car photo off?

Our latest favourite cheese is Yorkshire blue....we're having some tonight..

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Jeni said...

Beautiful! How super to explore these places, especially the church and cemetery with markers dating back to the 8th century! Incredible! A cousin of my Dad's supposedly did a really extensive family tree search on our Scottish roots and "supposedly" she was able to track our roots back to the 1300's. I've never seen any of the results of her labors and am really wondering if and how she could track them back that far. I suppose it is possible as I have my Swedish ancestry traced back to the early 1600's but somehow, this cousin's claims doing ring all that true to me. I'd dearly love to be able to visit Scotland some day -not gonna happen though -and to be able to view for myself some of the sights -especially the isles you mention and post about. Really enticing, you know.

Leslie: said...

Fascinating! I've always been intrigued by my British heritage and enjoyed this bit of history. I'll have to add your area to my list of places to visit next time I get over there.

CrazyCath said...

Stubborn sheep I know all about. Hmph indeed!!

It's strange how we often forget to visit the areas around our home, taking them for granted.

So glad you remember to visit your Craggy Island once in a while. One day I will go to see that county Lancashire....

jay said...

Cruel woman! Now you've made me want to come back over for a couple of weeks! The silences and the quiet I do miss.

Can't right now. Too much to do. But maybe ... we came over in February last year, maybe we'll leave it fo the nice weather next time?

I love the pictures. Daft sheep! Doesn't he know that in a battle with a car he'd lose? LOL!

You look great! :)

Shrinky said...

Oh Kit, yes of course, you HATE cheese, don't you? (Strange woman that you are!)

Cheers Marty.

Oiy, Chewy - who are you calling a stubborn beast?? That's fighting talk, that is!

Hi sj, yeah, I think the sheep over here are mutants..

Hi denise, I've no idea who the photo is of, some biker or another (they all look the same to me) grin..

Hi jeni, actually I am not in Scotland now, I'm mid-way between Liverpool and Ireland, but yes, it is beautiful, isn't it? I hope you do manage to make it over to this side one day, from what you say I feel certain you would love it. As for your family tree, my mother-in-law was CONVINCED she could trace her lineage right back to having come from St Guthlac! (He wasn't much of a Saint if you ask me, he first abandoned his wife and four kids to become a hermit). Besides, it's not easy living with "Saint's", as I keep reminding hubby of!!

Well leslie, I hope if you ever do make it over you will give me a shout?

It's so true cath, it was the same when I lived in London, I rarely did the tourist bit. Oddly enough, I'm returning there for a week in January soley to get round the sights, how warped is that?

Oh jay, I'd love to meet up when you are next here - but save yourself some grief and don't ask me to be a guide, I can (and do) get lost just crossing the road!

The Future Was Yesterday said...

You do realize, your long time and faithful readers have been willingly derived the outcome of the butting match of the century! I confess with downcast eyes, I would have bet against you ever so slightly, based on your occasional proclivity to forget what the hell it is you're supposed to be doing!:)

This wasn't a post. It was a Postcard. Beautiful!!!

Akelamalu said...

What a beautiful church and you are so lucky living in such a fabulous place. I really enjoyed reading about it and the photographs are great!

Scott from Oregon said...

Ahh the life of Riley...

(who is Riley, btw?)

You peoples got lots of really old stuff lying around, dontcha?

katie jane said...

What a wonderful little trip, Shrinky. It's nice to get away for a bit now and then. Thank you for the tour. I feel like I went away with you. So pretty there.

Fireblossom said...

hey now, Ms. Sheep is a baaaaaaaad girl! You'll not be making a sweater at her expense!

All of your photographs are lovely. I have always liked to explore such places. And the photographs of you are so nice, you look so sunny, who wouldn't want to go wandering about with you?

*Goddess* said...

I know you're writing, but have you ever thought about doing anything with your photos? Your portraits of the girls were just fantastic. Maybe you could start a business doing "fun" portraits of high school kids? Sure beats the "posed" pictures I've seen.

CJ said...

So much history there, it's amazing. I love the pictures of those Celtic crosses. The sheep is cute but I wouldn't be brave enough to take it on.

Alex L said...

I'm sure you could have 'taken' the sheep if you wanted. Sounds terribly romantic though.

Shrinky said...

Aw Dan, don't beat yourself up hon, it was a close call (grin).

akelamalu, there are a lot of upsides to living here, although it can sometimes feel like I've been timeported straight back to the 1940's. Not that I would change it.

Hi scott, yeah who is this Reilly guy? He sure leads a charmed life, doesn't he?

Hello katie-jane, you know there is a reason why this place is so verdant and green, they call it rain. Sigh..

Aww, fireblossom, you can come and wonder around with me any day hon. Hugs.

Hey goddess, why do you think I keep kidnapping and shooting other folks kids all the time? I've even gone and got meself police checked (yeah, I did a sweat a bit over that). The are laws over here about photographing school kids, so now I'm cleared I can officially cover proms and sports days (which are often one and the same thing if you ask me). I get the odd booking, not much. Maybe word got out about how I deleted all the photos from the annual geriatrics bowling club prize giving evening. Is it my fault most will expire before winning any other prizes?? (It's not as though I did it on purpose..)

cj, I do not believe for one moment a woman who rides her own motorbike, who can plaster her own ceiling (I didn't say well), and who has also been known to host some outrageous pool parties, would ever be afeared of a wee butt up the bum!

Alex, contrary to any rumours, the sheep and I are just good friends, so there!

imbeingheldhostage said...

What a fantastic excursion! I love the sheep photos-- who am I kidding, I loved all the photos. Love headstones and old churches and grumpy sheep :-)

Sandi McBride said...

Oh how I wish I could have been with you...even to see the ram attempt to pull you over! I know we all appreciate the lovely photos you managed to get...but I love the ram the best!
Sandi

Shrinky said...

Sandi, I hate to say this, but that's no ram, it's a ewe - all the mountain sheep here have horns.. and there is no way I was about to tackle one of the rams! (In this place the men are men and the sheep were nervous until they decided to fight back!)

Hi there imbeingheldhostage, c'mon, bring your camera - I dare ya'!

Mushy said...

That encounter reminded me of the buffalo we passed on our snow-machines in Yellowstone. They stood their ground, head down, as we idled through and around them. They are the most stubborn animals I've ever been close to.

Lovely photos, but the special ones were of you! Nice...looking all young and like a teenager!

BRUNO said...

So, for your NEXT adventure, you'll have to take on a gaggle of geese, to even the odds!

A horn-in-the-bum would, indeed, leave a lasting impression! And a gaggle of pinchin' GEESE ain't no picnic, either...!

Hilary said...

So I misread "sleep" for "sheep" and without the images in my reader, that dialog came across quite differently than intended.

Great photos of a beautiful, history-rich place. That was just a day trip for you, eh? Lovely!

Shrinky said...

Mushy, Buffalo? Like, BUFFALO?? Ye Gods man, and I thought I had it bad - eeeek! (Hugs)

Bruno, behave yourself - horn in the bum, indeed!!

Oh hilary, that's hilarious.. grin.

BRUNO said...

Yes ma'am!!!

I've yet to master the REAL English-language! All I've learned is the "Americanized"-version, tainted with "Red-neck-ese".....!

david mcmahon said...

Sheep with BAAAAAA-D attitude!

Shrinky said...

Hey david, I missed a golden opportunity there, didn't I? (Rolling my eyes)

Maalie said...

Ah! So the Manx sheep have no tails, I see. Interesting.

Sandi McBride said...

Gee Shrink, thanks for clearing that up...not being on a first name basis, I had no idea that the "ram" had no err...well you know...congrats on the post of the day mention....still love that picture, maybe more so now I know she's a "sistah"...
Sandi

Moannie said...

Gorgeous countryside. Lovely pics.

Suldog said...

Those photos just cry out to whatever Irish/Scots/Brit ancestry I've got in me. They make me nostalgic for places I haven't been.

Louise said...

This sounds like a lovely vacation, sheep and all! Excellent post!

Over from Authorblog.

Helena said...

Beautiful photo's :)

*Goddess* said...

Now, see, that's where ya made your mistake. Instead of getting clearance to photograph kids, you should get police clearance to photograph the police:)