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Entries from December 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010


New Year's Eve

So that was 2010.

Christmas was a bit crap; instead of going away for a Christmas / New Year break as we'd done for the past few years my wife was on call (she works at our main hospital) so I'd had a boring few days at home.

We were going away for a long weekend New Year break just tog get away for a couple of days. We'd booked the boat weeks ago but had held off booking a hotel as we weren't sure about the weather and we ended up booking a De Vere hotel at Daresbury, near Warrington. My wife had stayed here before while attending an A&E conference through work.

The boat sailing was very calm; the sea being like a mill pond (or milk pond, as someone at work used to say) and you could see England while we were still sitting in the harbour in Douglas, Isle of Man. We were a bit early to check into the hotel at Daresbury so we went into Warrington for a look around the shops.

Booking in to the hotel was a novel experience as a couple were already in bed in the room we'd been allocated so after a trip back to reception we were allocated a new room. As it was New Year's Eve the main dining room was booked up so we had our meal in the hotel bar, which probably suited me better.


Santa Train to Tinseltown

We decided to take the Santa Train to Tinseltown today. Isle of Man railways were running their steam trains to Castletown, which had re branded itself Tinseltown in the run up to Christmas, and there was supposedly a Christmas Market in the town square.

In the morning I went to the train station to try to get some tickets but the two guys inside the closed ticket office were studiously ignoring me and several other people trying to obtain some tickets. We eventually got the last two tickets for the 13:50 train from the Villa Marina office . I managed to get a park right outside the train station and we were in the first dozen through the turnstile so we picked some seats in the first class carriage and settled down with another family and some excited kids for the trip down to Castletown.

Photo: Manx Saxophone Ensemble in Castletown SquareA free bus transfer from the station soon had us in the town square but the market was very disappointing; just few stalls, a small carousel and the Manx Saxophone Ensemble playing Christmas music. My wife set off to visit the shops instead and I had a roast pig bap and then headed off to the Glue Pot (Castle Arms) for a double whisky and to be entertained by the antics of the regulars there that afternoon.

I met my wife back in the square at the agreed time and we were soon back on the free transfer shuttle bus back to that station. The train left within minutes of us boarding and this time we had one of the regular compartments that usually hold sixteen people to ourselves.

Photo: C H Wood as Thomas / Santa Train at Douglas station

Although the outward train tickets were for specific train departures there was no such allocated system for returning so I guess so some of the later trains were likely to very full.