Isle of Man day 5 0


A lovely summer’s day which considering that we were off on a trip on the Manx Electric Railway was somewhat of an anomaly. I have years of family photos taken in front of the MER station building in Laxey clad in waterproofs and huddling together for warmth.

Today was different. The sun shone benevolently, bringing satisfied smiles to our faces as we gazed up blindly, eyes closed, taking in the heat. It was only Joe and I, the others preferring retail therapy to trains.

The MER is somewhat of a pilgrimage for me. At the tender age of eighteen I found employment there for the summer holidays before fleeing the coop and heading off to university.

Every year I bring up the same old stories and point out the same old stagers who were there when I was a conductor. They wouldn’t remember me, if nothing else because time has changed my shape, but also as I was only there for the one season, a fleeting eight or ten weeks.

The money was great but at the end of the summer I had saved nothing and ended up finding a low paid labouring job on the Highway Board for a month to try and amass some cash.

Anyway we made our memory filled way to Laxey and alighted for a wander round. I bought an Isle of Man teatowel in the souvenir shop on the way to the big wheel. Then we had an early lunch at Browns Teashop on Ham and Egg Terrace. Browns has a very good reputation but now milks this with high prices. The original owners moved on some time ago.

We caught the 12.25 back to Douglas sitting on the outside carriage so that we could take photos en route. I always tell the story of how one day I was conducting on Number 1 with Gordon as driver. Number 1 is the oldest functioning electric tram in the word. On this occasion we only had a couple of passengers and we hatched a plan for lunch.

Gordon made the 30 minute journey to Douglas in only fifteen. We then stopped the tram about half a mile short of the terminus and just around the bend where we could not be seen. I then ran in to the Port Jack Chippy and bought a couple of fish and chips. The tram made it in exactly on time and we ate our lunch in the depot with the same element of excitement as under age drinkers. Beer never tasted the same after my eighteenth birthday. Happy days.

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