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Entries from April 1, 2009 - April 30, 2009



I'd hoped for a fast open country drive today to get my hand in at "making progress" and was happy to be paired up with Noel for today's session.

We headed out through Foxdale to the Round Table, making progress at over 100 mph in parts and then dropped down the Sloc and drove back through Ballabeg and Ballalsalla.

In the afternoon we went out to Tynwald Mills and Peel



I had my eighth IAM session today and it was my second time out with a Police Class 1 driver. I didn't feel so nervous this time. Aster a brief chat before we started I drove out to Braaid crossroads, then turned right down to Glen Vine and back to Braddan bridge, where we turned left and went up to the Greg ny Baa. I missed an obvious overtaking opportunity before brandish; I was expecting the car in front to have accelerated once we were in the de restricted zone and when it didn't I dither too much about whether to pass it. In the end I waited unti, after the corner and then accelerated up to 100 mph before slowing and turning off on to the back roads at the Creg. I then did my usual steady and smooth driving on the back roads rather that point and squirt followed by heavy braking for the corners which makes my wife car sick.

At the end of the session we had a demo drive in the unmarked Police Ford Focus. Christ that car was quick! I didn't realise they had a 2.5 litre turbo engine and the police driver certainly knew how to use it.

We had a debrief after the demo drive. The policeman said I was a safe, smooth driver with plenty of vehicle appreciation, I just needed to pick up the pace a bit where applicable. It seems odd having a policeman tell me to drive faster.

As it was a glorious sunny day now my wife and I went to Tynwald Mills again, I bought three Rohan shirts for my upcoming holiday in Egypt; a t shirt, a polo shirt and long sleeve shirt at a total cost of £117. Gulp, these shirts are damn expensive. I consoled myself by parking on Peel breakwater and having another crab baps and Bovril.


Shoes and Crab Baps

The Porsche was really filthy from Easter trip so washed and hoovered it. I then took it to Tynwald Mills where I bought two pairs of shoes. After the disappointment of trying to get shoes to fit me in Carlisle at Gretna it was nice to find somewhere local that sold exactly what I was looking for.

I drove on to Peel and as I'd heard good reports about the cafe on the breakwater I thought I'd try it. I fancied something different so I had a crab bap and Bovril.

Ribblehead Viaduct

I had another big breakfast and then we tidied the lodge prior to checking out. I didn't really get to see the Ribblehead Viaduct when we went over it on the Carlisle to Settle train trip we'd done so we decided we had time to visit it before going to Heysham for the boat back to the Isle of Man.

The motorways were fairly quiet; I'd imagine they'd be a lot busier towards the end of the day as the long holiday weekend drew to a close. Once off the motorway the minor roads were quite busy, especially with the queues behind the ever present caravans.

The road by the viaduct was quite busy, with plenty of parked cars as people set off for a walk, took in the views or simply stopped for an ice cream or snack from the busy van set up at the roadside. I took a few photos but being concerned about the time ad traffic I didn't set off on the walk to the viaduct itself, that would have to wait for another opportunity.

We arrived in Heysham in good time and we were the first car on to the boat. Considering the sailing was full I was very surprised to find that there was only the two of us in the Blue Ribband / Mannanin Executive lounge so we had a nice comfortable and relaxed crossing back to the Isle of Man.


Gretna and the Solway

We had a slight lie in this morning, nothing too excessive but we'd had early starts the last two days. I had another big breakfast and then we went in our car to the Gretna Outlet Village as someone had suggested that I may be able to buy the shoes I'd wanted there. They had the range of shoes I wanted, but apparently only in sizes 3 and 11, which wasn't much use to me. I tried a few other shops and then gave up and we went to Gretna Green to but some more whisky and glasses form the excellent whisky shop they have there. It was a lot busier than last time we were there in January, which was only to be expected. I couldn't resist the temptation to try another tasting of haggis, taties and neeps.

Photo: Highland Cattle, Gretna Green

As it was a nice sunny day we took the top down on the Boxster and headed back through Carlisle and out through to Bowness on Solway, Cardunock and on to Siloth. We both had an ice cream at Siloth and then we headed back to the Tranquil Otter to relax with the Sunday papers, a few whiskies, a fine meal and another soak in the hot tub.