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Entries from March 1, 2009 - March 31, 2009

Thursday
Mar262009

Tadpoles

I checked our small pond today and was pleasantly surprised to see how many tadpoles had made it through the cold spell.

The shallow end was a mass of tadpoles. I'm slightly worried that they won't all find enough to eat and will start eating each other soon. I tried a little flaked fish food, but I think they're still too young to eat that yet.

I tried videoing the mass of tadpoles with our little Flip MinoHD camera. I wasn't too happy with the result; the close up focus wasn't too good, so I re-shot it with my Canon 5D Mk II.

I think the tadpoles were massed in the very shallow water as it would be warm from the sun. I noticed that later in the day, when the sun had gone down a bit, they had mostly moved away into the deeper water.

Sunday
Mar222009

IAM (VI)

I had my sixth IAM session today; this time with someone new to me, Alan. We drove to St Johns, then took the Poortown Road to Peel, the main road back to St Johns then though Foxdale and back to base. It seemed to go OK; Alan says I'm test ready although I'm not too sure myself. One thing I learned with Alan
 
In afternoon drove back to peel with my wife and parked at Fenella beach. I walked around harbour while my wife read a book in the car. It looks like the Peel marina scheme is bringing some life back into Peel and the pedestrain bridge over the water retaining gate near the harbour mouth makes it a lot easier to move between the promenade and the castle and breakwater.
 
We had to go back through Foxdale again as the main road was closed due to an accident at Crosby.



Sunday
Mar222009

Dreams

I often have vivid dreams and can sometimes remember them quite clearly when I awake. Last night I had three very vivid dreams and though I'd note them down.

Dream 1 - We were in Las Vegas, trying to get through a casino to our cruise ship, which then turned into a huge Zeppelin like airship and floated off above the resort city.

Comment - I think this is made up of two experiences. On our first visit to Las Vegas we sometimes found ourselves in one of the large casinos struggling to find our way out. For example, after booking show tickets in Caesar's Palace it took us about 15 minutes to find and exit. The other component of this dream would be from our recent cruise when we were in L'Orient in France and we tried to walk back to the cruise ship. We were slightly lost in the dock area and found ourselves having to retrace our steps and try a different route sometimes. I've no idea where the airship part came from.

Dream 2 - I was in a Manchester hotel, packing my suitcase for a holiday in Egypt. My clothes were hanging on the shower rail and kept getting wet.

Comment - I'm going to Egypt at the end of May and I assume the dream was simply based on my usual indecision over what clothes to take and my worry about forgetting to pack something. Stopping off in Manchester overnight is quite common for anyone travelling from the Isle of Man.

Dream 3 - I was on holiday in Egypt, on a tour in Cairo. We were in some sort of open topped taxi (almost like a mechanised rickshaw) and there weren't any seatbelts to put on. I motioned to the driver about the lack of seatbelts and he said "they were in to post".

Comment - I've booked a tour of Cairo on our upcoming Egyptian holiday. In my dream I didn't understand what was meant by the seatbelts being in the post, but I woke up soon after and was chuckling to myself as I realised it was a variation on the old "tax disc in the post" claim. How could my subconscious dream tell me a joke that I didn't understand when I was asleep, but then I understood it when I was awake?

Also on the same night I woke in the small hours and wondered if Jade Goody was still alive. Although I'm not a fan of her, or any of the "reality" television shows, I feel sorry for any one with cancer. When I checked the news that morning I found she'd died in the early hours of the morning. I've no idea why I'd awake wondering if she was still alive about the same time she died.
Sunday
Mar152009

IAM (V)

Today was my fith IAM lesson and my third with Mike Dunn. It was very straightforward; we drove over the mountain to Ramsey and then back the coast road. In the afternoon I drove back over the mountain again with my wife and I stopped to walk to Albert Tower. On the way home we stopped to visit my father's grave in Bradan cemetary.

Sunday
Mar082009

IAM (IV)

I had my fourth IAM session this morning, this time with a policeman, Dave Kneen. I wasn't really expecting to be out with a police driver so soon and needless to say I was quite nervous.

Dave told me that he wouldn't really talk much during the drive, but would take notes, both good and bad, during the drive and we'd have a debrief afterwards.

After saying that I'd done my POWER checks first thing this morning and doing a basic "cockpit check" I set off and remembered to do the rolling brake test. We made our way up to the mountain road and I was just settling in for a drive to Ramsey when Dave told me to turn off at the Creg Ny Baa and take the back roads to the Whitebridge. We then spent the rest of the session driving around Douglas.

At the end of the driving part of the session we had the debrief. I knew I'd made a few small mistakes during the session, which Dave had noted, and I was still having a problem with avoiding overlap braking. Dave also noted that I needed to pay more attention to my mirrors. I had tried a commentary during the drive but it was pretty dire. It's easy to do it in your head, but I found actually saying it to another person a lot harder.

I was also asked why I'd held third gear in town instead up changing up to fourth and I told Dave that I was told to do that in my first two sessions. He had a chat with Mike, the group Chairman about it and Mike confirmed that I had been advised to say in third gear in 30 mph areas.

Dave then took me for a quick run in the police Range Rover; a short trip out to St Marks and a quick squirt up to 90 mph in the de restricted section between Braaid cross roads and and the Lhergy Crippertry junction.

After the session I went for a drive up on the mountain road to clear my head and make a "bit of progress" on my own. It was the first time I'd driven this road since the car was "run in" and was able to use revs more and reached 112 mph on some sections were there was no other traffic.

At one stage a car coming the way flashed his lights at me and I was wondering why. I soon realised why, a police Range Rover was behind him just around the corner.

I gave a little wave just in case it was Dave...