I finally got around to taking the tour yesterday. It gets kinda' crowded in season, best to wait for the right atmosphere to enjoy something like this.
Yesterday being a dull and damp, mid-week, and off-season day, with hubby having booked a few days out from work, and with the kids (who refuse to be seen out dead with their parents, thesedays) off at school, it seemed the perfect time to take a stroll around there.
The village is not a reconstruction, it is the real thing, restored and fully functional, with costumed guides working at the various crafts which helped to support life back then, in this traditional early 20th century Manx crofting village.
It's a living museum, everything in it is fully functional, and as we were lucky enough to be virtually the only two visitors there at the time, we had one-on-one guides to talk us through everything, as we roasted ourselves next to the open peat fireplaces. I liked they were far from intrusive, we were left to wander where we pleased, only meeting with anyone if we decided to pop our heads round their door. When we did, they seemed genuinely glad for our company, and proved a veritable treasure trove of fascinating details about the place.
Here is one of the permanent residents we encountered, she spends most of her days in her favourite cottage, lying on the freshly woven pile of garments that her friend produces. Manx cats have only a little nub for a tail, it's a genetic flaw inherited by centuries of in-breeding (I'll step away here from cracking any cheap jokes at the locals expense, seeing as how I don't fancy being run out of town).
The museum employs a skilled blacksmith, carpenter, several farm-hands, plus various spinners and weavers to demonstrate their crafts.
This lady admitted to cheating a little, using Alpaca wool imported from Sheffield to wind on her spindle, in place of the traditional sheep fleece the actual crofters would have used. She is also using a more up-dated version to work it on, than from the original spinning wheel you see behind.
The church is still well attended and holds regular services throughout the week. These windows are relatively new as, sadly, the original windows were destroyed when a tragedy befell the area. A massive explosion, which also damaged every roof in the village, showered debris down from over a mile away, out at sea. At the turn of the century when a ship hit distress, the men of the village were amongst the first to rescue nine out of the twelve members on board. The following day when they went back to salvage what they could from the vessel, it erupted with it's cargo of dynamite, killing the entire salvage crew of twenty-four, which comprised virtually all of the men folk who lived in the village. This may explain why the village eventually expired, leaving it to be taken over for posterity, as it was.
On our way home, we called off for a brief visit along The Sound to pay our respects.
Once home, we decided to light the living room fire, and spread out a simple feast of crusty french bread and cheese. This we shared over a bottle of wine, as we polished off the remainder of the afternoon by watching a two part, pre-recorded drama of Wuthering Heights.
It's not often we take time-out like this.
Just as the first of our Cherubs was due to return, I, wisely methinks, left hubby to deal with the scrummage, sloping off upstairs for a much needed and very well appreciated snooze.
Wonder where our feet will take us to tomorrow?