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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Stroll Round Craggy Isle

(All Photo's Copy right: Shrinky)


Set upon the hills near the village Laxey rests a giant. Lady Isabella (named after former Lieutenant Governor Hope's wife) is also known as the Laxey Wheel. It was built in 1854, and is the largest working waterwheel in the world. It was used to pump 250 gallons of water a minute from the Laxey mines, which produced zinc, lead, silver and copper. Up until it's closure in 1929, the mines employed over 600 people. I've yet to take the tour (being slightly claustrophobic, I am suspicious of being dragged underground), but perhaps I might - er, one day.

I love the history to this place. 2,500 years ago the Vikings invaded, settled and left their mark here. The Romans by-passed the isle, and the Celtic culture and language was allowed to flourish. To this day Manx is still spoken and taught in all the local schools. There is even a nursery school (a pre-school kindergarten to our American friends) which the Government sponsors, where the children only converse in Manx. Although it is commendable to preserve this heritage, with a population of under 75,000, I can't help but to question the benefits this might ultimately bring, but it does add to the quaintness of this place.
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There is still a strong fishing community, passed from father to son, and generations of families have, and still do, trawl their living from the sea. We are quite famed for our Manx Queenies, crab, and smoked kippers.
I was quickly robbed of a crab bap I bought from the shop in here, I only managed one bite before an unapologetic thug (in the guise of a gull) swooped down to pluck it straight from my hand. When I went back to buy another one, the guy behind the counter said she stalked the place and he was now at a loss as to how to lose her. An orphan, he'd taken pity and semi-adopted her. She's called Megan, and this year he noted she had brought her fledgling along.

Flour is still milled in much the same way as it was in 1860. Sure, certain technological tweaks have been added, machinery installed, but the tradition and methods remain the same. See the flue from the upper window feeding the flour to the tanker?
Having opened this post with the largest working water wheel in the world, perhaps it's only fitting to close with what may well be the smallest transport museum in the world. (Cute, isn't it?)

38 comments:

Marty said...

Yours is a beautiful and fascinating "Isle"... it is fitting that you live there (except for the "Craggy" part). ;D

momcat said...

Cute story about the gull and her baby. What a very quaint and picturesque place. Thanks for the photos.

jinksy said...

Sounds like the seagull is preparing for an update of Alfred Hitchcock's Birds! Fabulous place you live in...

TheWritersPorch said...

Shrinky ..........it's a really lovely place! Enjoyed the history tour! Thanks!

CHEWY said...

Thank God the Romans never intruded.

Do you know anything about the Manx Cat?

Sridhar said...

Truly beautiful place. And seagull thugs to add to the adventure.

Akelamalu said...

I've seen the Laxey Wheel, in fact it features in a post I did ages ago about how we used to go the the Isle Of Man for our holidays when I was a child. You can read about it here if you like.

http://akelamalu.blogspot.com/2007/07/oh-happy-days.html

It's such a beautiful island and I have very happy memories of it. :)

Fletch said...

Nice one!

Darn, but nearly missed the fact the the Transport Museum even has a car park.

Wonders will never cease ...

~Babs said...

Now where else would I learn so much? I really love getting to know about your world,,,and to see it (almost) first hand.
Thank you Shrinky for fabulous posts and photos, I appreciate you!
(and some say Blogging wastes time,,, Humph!)

Shrinky said...

Hi Marty, aw, such a flatterer you are! Thank you hon (smile).

Hello momcat, it was a little like stepping forty years back in time when we first arrived here, but that's something I kind of like about this place.

Hi Jinsky, actually, just off the south of the island is a smaller island which is a bird sanctuary, that definitely has shades of "The Birds"!

Hello Carol, I learned last week we officially have the lowest crime rate and the highest "clear-up" one in the entire UK. It's hardly surprising, like I told the local policeman when he chided me for always leaving the car open with the keys inside - if anyone takes it, where can they go? You would just need to wait by the ferry to reclaim it again..

Aw Chewy, our cat's have no tails. I think it was a genetic defect that was allowed to flourish down to all the inbreeding over here (wink).

Hi sj, sadly the weather over here leaves a lot to be desired, mists and rain tends to surround us most of the year. Sigh. Can't have it all I guess, eh?

Akelamalu, what a wonderful coincidence! Thank you for the link, it made for a fascinating read which I really enjoyed. Back in those days the island was a holiday haven. These days it is cheaper and warmer for the tourists to take off to Spain or France. Most of our economy is now in finance, we are on off-shore tax haven for the UK.

Yeah Fletch, the irony being that the car park is ten times the size of the "museum", grin.

Oh Bab's, you do know how to make my day, girl! Consider yourself well and truly hugged ((x)).

jay said...

I love your craggy island! I did tour the Laxey Wheel, but didn't do the mine .. it was miserable and cold and somehow that made the prospect unattractive!

I like the fact that Manx is still spoken and taught. Language is an important part of our heritage and if we lose one, we lose a lot. And also, those children who are taught a 'second language' so young will benefit hugely from the mental gymnastics, even if they never remember or speak it.

Easybreathingfella said...

Hi Carol,

Having just spent two hours reading your past blogs just to catch up as you might say.
I won't comment on all but as usual your blogs are so well written they are a pleasure to read.
Social Services, don't get me going I agree with you 100% they are a waist of space. Graduates that have left university but know nothing of life and still don't ten or twenty years into the job.
Keep smiling

Keith x

Scott from Oregon said...

Strolling around the island?

Looking for the kid who broke your flagpole, no doubt...

PRH....... said...

Looks like a lot of cottages and buildings smashed up against the water(just like here in the US)...wonder what draws people to the seas?

Do the just love to watch sunsets and smell fish or what?

;)

Daryl said...

Hi! I keep seeing you over at David's and mean, honest, to stop by and say hi .. so finally I did .. hi!

Liked this post a lot, I had no idea| Manx was a language ... :-)

Robin said...

beautiful! i was going to comment and say you forgot to tell us the what the weather is like and then i read your reply to a commenter; but you didn't say what your average temperature forecast is for each season!

sounds like just the place...except for the rainy part. sigh.

Shrinky said...

Hi Jay, yes, like in Wales where they make a concerted effort to preserve the Welsh language, all our street signs are in both English and in Manx.

Hi Keith, long time no see! Hope life is treating you well. Nice to see you have been catching up.

Ha, yes Scott, how did you guess?

Well Pat, I'd hazard a guess it sure ain't the smell of the fish that draws 'em in..

Hey Daryl, good to see you here! I know, it's hard to keep in regular touch all the time, it's great you stopped in to say hi (smile).

Hello Robin, ah the reason this isle is so lush and green is because it's so wet! We don't get too many extremes in tempature though - it rarely snows, and in Summer it usually only reaches as high as the 70's.

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Dropping off some freshly picked nose-hugs.

:@}

Hehehe!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Oh boy, Dilly will luv that dragonny looking boat!!

Jules~ said...

That is wonderful to see all the culture, heritage, and tradition. I too wonder though about giving so much room for it to flourish. It is wonderful to keep all of the tradition and culture.....i think as long as they are also encouraged to move forward.

Thank you for sharing. I wonder what the tour is like. You may have to get super brave sometime and share it with us. ;-)

Blessings to you today.

david mcmahon said...

Isle be there one day.

Fascinated by the three-legged logo on the front of the water wheel ....

Shrinky said...

Bob, you are too, too kind (yeuwch)! Yes, Dilly should really come over and check this place out, she'd love it!

Hi Jules, yes, I do think there is a place to preserve the Manx language, but I would personally rather encourage our children be taught fluency in a more widely spoken European tongue.

Oh David, you and your puns! Smile. The three legs are incorporated into our flag - the motto being, which ever way I fall, I shall land standing.

C. Michael Cox said...

Came here through Jules Stone...I love the story of the gull. It's probably a "trained" gull that steals the crab baps - good for business, you know. wink, wink.

Shrinky said...

Hi Michael, welcome to my humble abode! Ha, yes - you may well be right there (wink)!

Eddie Bluelights said...

Hi Shrinky, Just dropped in again to say,"Hi" and to say I enjoyed your lovely post about Craggie Isle. Eddie

Shrinky said...

Hi Eddie, good to see you again, thanks for the kind words. Smile

ArneA said...

2,500 years ago the Vikings invaded, settled and left their mark here

Well according to my understanding the Vikings came to this area in 8th century ac.
2,5 k years ago the ancesters to the Vikings came from the areas around azerbadjan as we call them Asers here in NOrway.
Math is difficult, but your post is nice.

Shrinky said...

I stand corrected Arne, blame the Manx tourist site where I took the information from.

Moannie said...

What a terrific walk through one of our lovely Isles...showing us our quaintness.

A well deserved POTD

Shrinky said...

Aw, thanks Moannie, I didn't post any scenic shots here, just a few of the more out of the usual places. It was fun to write.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Wonderful photos!!!! Fascinating post!!! You certainly deserve the commendation that David gave!!!! I love this! So very interesting, and so well-done! Congrats!

The Things We Carried said...

As an American (whose country is very young), I have such appreciation for those who live in countries with such history! Lucky you to live in a place so beautiful!

Pouty Lips said...

I found the photo fascinating of the flour pouring from the flue into the tanker below. And what a good photo! I believe a gull taking food out of my hand would have startled me a bit; kind of spooky. The native Navajo Indians are trying to preserve their language here in the states. It seems like a shame not to try to preserve languages for future generations if it can be done.

Shrinky said...

Aw, sniffles and smiles, you are so kind - thank you hon (smiles).

Things we carried (what a great blog-name!), how lovely to see you in here. I think I do appreceiate this place more because it is my adopted isle, I never want to take it for granted.

Hi Pouty, yes I like that photo too, it was pure chance I happened along at that moment. It is important to preserve our heritage, this is true.

Debbie said...

I saw a comment you left at Meridith Teagarden's blog and just wanted to come over, say hi, and meet you.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Dearest Shrinky, Thank you for your wonderful visit, and sharing your parenting experiences...I feel you are a kindred spirit! And thank you so much for your encouraging words...you are so kind...I am honored by your visit, and was so thrilled to have had the opportunity to take a "stroll round Craggy Isle," with you...It is absolutely beautiful...and your words bring the place from the page and settle it in my heart!

Shrinky said...

Hi Debbie, I am so glad you stopped by. Reading Meridith's insightful post touched a deep chord in me - she has grown into a remarkable woman, hasn't she?

Suldog said...

I love stuff like this - a look at interesting sights and stories from a culture very different from my own, yet totally accessible should I choose to access it. Makes for great dreaming about travel. Thanks, Shrinky!