Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Making Hay

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?


Suldog said...

First, let me say that, for some reason, that last shot of you is dead sexy! I mean, you're a good looker, anyway, but something about your posture or the setting... anyway, very nice!

Now, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Manx cats. I suppose when they're on their native island, not so bad for them, but when they're the only kitty without a tail for miles and miles, they usually end up getting into too many fights for their own good. They're tremendously friendly fellows, though, from my experience. I've never met a manx that didn't have a gentle disposition. Your mileage may vary, of course!

Sunshine said...

Shrinky Love your post... quite interesting.. & specially love the village pic .. Felt like you had great time... Take Care
Love Sabi

SJ said...

No burning witches at the stake? What kind of village is that!

Leslie: said...

Oh I adore those historical villages. I visited the one in Wales, one in Plymouth USA, and just south of Ottawa Canada. I really enjoy seeing history come alive and I'll make a note of the fact that there's one on your island. I've itchy feet these days, wanting to travel again.

mrsnesbitt said...

Lovely stuff! A place we must visit next June. All booked up, it is Port Erin again! Gosh 3rd time...I remember telling you ages ago we were coming for the first time, so must have known you m
now for over 2 years! Time flies eh?

Shrinky said...

Aw, Suldog, stop making me toes curl, you ol' sweet-talker, you! I had no idea you had Manx cats over in your part of the world. You are right about their temperament, well, you are if this one is anything to go by, she loved being around people, and had the loudest purr I've ever heard.

Hi Sunshine, yeah, it's good to get out and explore what's on you own doorstep, isn't it? (Smile)

Aw sj, it's this darn recession, they've cut back on the burnings and hangings to only on a Friday and Tuesday now.. giggle.

Hey Leslie, what a little globe-trotter you are! Ireland also has some great places like this, I had another great day out with the family touring a reconstruction of a Viking village there, not so long back. I'm sure you would find tons of stuff to interest you if you make it over.

Goodness Denise, two years already? Time has this scary way of flying faster as each year goes by, doesn't it? You seem to be a seasoned visitor to our shores by now, I can see the pair of you finally retiring over here at some point, is that something you have considered? That's how I came over here, by visiting my sister - I just fell in love with the place.

Casdok said...

Looks realy interesting and a great way to spend some quality time together.

BRUNO said...

That cat seems to be dangerously-close to that loom, wouldn't you say?

Hey, maybe THAT'S where the TAILS went to, over the generations???

jay said...

Oooh, I loved Cregneash!! I have some lovely pictures I took that day, but on film, not digital. It was one of those glorious blue sky days, which showed off the white walled cottages to perfection.

Thanks for the memory!

Anonymous said...

Where are the photos of you making hay?

TechnoBabe said...

What a place to call home, in a village such as this!! I loved taking the tour in this post. So glad to hear of the time you and your hubby are having together this week.

Novice Writer said...

Wow, such a beautiful little village!:-) Seems you had a great time:-)

Shrinky said...

Casdok, in truth, aside from the spectacular beaches and scenery here, there are limited places to go and see on the isle, so yes, it was good to find a place I haven't been to before.

Bruno, you may well be on to something there, y'know!

Aw Jay, how lovely to think of you there, and especially on such a perfect day for it!

Chewy, you are always so literal, aren't you? Swat!

Cheers Technobabe, though the village has no plumbing, gas or electricity there, so you might change your mind about living there full time! The "residents" only occupy the place during opening hours, they go home to their own houses at the close of day.

Shrinky said...

Hi Novice Writer, yes, it was nice to take some time out, we often forget to.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

What a superb post, Shrinky! Your photos are amazing! You wield your camera as well as you do your pen!! I wish I could pop over for a visit...your day off sounds so lovely! I'd love to take a ramble with you... Oh,and I must also tell you that you are so very, very photogenic!! Love to you~Janine XO

Shrinky said...

Oh Janine, the door is open, my friend (hugs)!

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, dearest Shrinky (Carol)...I'm sorry I have comment moderation because I have received crazy spam in the past...but I want you to know that in each of your comments, you communicated with your words something unique and so very encouraging to me. And so I have published all three...and when I go into surgery again in 1 1/2 weeks, I especially will be rereading and carrying your words with me!!! Love you so much! ~Janine XO

~Babs said...

So enjoyed going on your adventure with you, it's a wonderful village!
Each photo so interesting.
(even yours, haha,,kidding, you look great!)
I had a manx cat as a child, and had assumed he lost his tail in a cat fight before he found us.
I was so fascinated to discover he was meant to be that way.

I posted about a little local-ish trip today too.

Shrinky said...

Oh Janine, (blush) now everyone will know what they've always suspected, what a ditzy dingbat I am! (eyes skyward, shuffling feet..)

Oh my goodness Bab's, you had a Manx cat? Hahahaha, too funny!

Akelamalu said...

I love places like that. We used to holiday in Douglas when I was a child, it must be 50+ years since I was last there.

Nancy said...

Hi, just catching up. So glad you found just the right night gown - as I feel the same way about mine. I have cloned it by buying before they discontinue.

Loved the little tour - terrible how the town's men were wiped out. You would think they could have warned them about the dynamite!

Shrinky said...

Oh boy, Akelamalu, I'll bet you would find it a little changed from when you were last here!

Hi Nancy, yeah, I am a happy bunny to have tracked another down (smile). And I agree, so tragic that accident was entirely preventable.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, Shrinky...I'll take them down, if you like...I'm sorry...You are ANYTHING but dizzy!!!! You are witty, smart, loyal, compassionate and a true friend!!!!

And so I thought I'd just stop by to see my dear friend!!! Hope you are well!!! Sending my love~Janine XO

CJ said...

That looks like a very interesting place to visit. We have a couple of "living museums" here in Massachusetts, one of which has something to do with a group of folks who landed here a few years back on a sail from England. Unfortunately, they did not bring any pubs with them on their journey and so we must make due with chain restaurants that sell crappy beer. I want a local here in Ludlow that actually sells something other than Bud Lite in cans.

Shrinky said...

Oh CJ, what you guys call beer, we call Lager - real ale is a different animal altogether, it's pumped straight from a keg and is a clear dark brown, not yellow. Um, it's pretty strong, too - grin.

CJ said...

Shrinky - I want one. Or maybe two.

Shrinky said...

Ach, sadly the posties here are on strike, otherwise a pint of Marston's Best would be speeding on it's way even as I type.. honest!