New beginnings

Hello everyone, I’m back again. I know its been a while but I have been busy settling into the new home and then looking after a poorly Karen.

I did have to go back to work at some point and Karen was kind enough to share some of her breakfast whilst on the train. Well, I say kind enough to share, it was more a case of I helped myself.

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Its just as well we did go back to work as it was Karen’s 10 year work anniversary – yes, that’s right, 10 years since she started at Barclays. The team even made her a little picture and I like that the orange man is at the forefront.

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The next day Karen was being a bit secretive and wouldn’t let me look in the extra bag she bought to work but I made sure I snuck in and had a look, although not sure it helped me that much.

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It all became clear later on that evening as Karen had been organising a team games night.

I rather liked it as there was a bit of an orange theme with the games. First there was Belisha, an old card game from Karen’s Grandma, which happened to have an orange back.

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Then there was the ever favourite Connect 4 where the red and yellow counters make orange.

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They did also play Rapidough but I wasn’t allowed out at that point in case someone tried to mould me by mistake.

Although the weekend was a mix of doing things and relaxing, it wasn’t very interesting or many photo opportunities. There was a great moment on Saturday evening though which was a sunset. What’s special about that I hear you ask? Well, what was particularly special about this one was that it was the first time we could sit in an armchair at home and watch it in comfort. So lucky to be able to do that.

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So you have been warned, more sunset pictures to follow!


January Joy

I know its been a while since I last blogged but I’ve been rather busy so this is the first weekend I’ve had a chance to write one.

The beginning of January brought its usual going back to work and, although I’d been working from home in-between, I had to do the early starts again and get the train into London.

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But there was something more exciting about to happen – a new home in Margate for us. Karen got the keys on 6 January and so we visited at the weekend. Whilst she was cleaning, I sat and looked out at the lovely view which was taken from the lounge facing towards Margate (you can just see the harbour arm in the distance).

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I’m really not sure why she expected me to help, after all, the cleaning products and tools are all bigger than me.

We weren’t ready to move straight in and had to go back to work, so I did try to help Karen get her bag ready but it turned into a game of hide and seek because I blended in with her notepad. I think I hid quite well, don’t you?

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I then wanted to listen to some music so I had something to entertain me on the journey, but got a bit tangled up in the headphones.

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Whilst I was in Canary Wharf this week I came across these rather lovely angel wings which changed colour.

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The weekend came and then it was our first proper one at the home without having to spend the whole time unpacking. It all went rather well and the place is looking lovely now.

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I even got time to go out and have some fun on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we wandered into Westgate and, although its not much further than Margate, I did need a sit down to rest my little legs.

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On the way home from Westgate, there was a superb sunset (I don’t think any other words are needed).

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Then on Sunday it was lunch at The Hoy and I was even allowed a taste of the fruit cider Karen had.

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No pictures of the food though as Karen’s phone had run out of charge taking all those photos at home but, don’t worry, its back to normal now and you’ll be seeing a lot more of the new place and me!

Christmas 2016

After it looking a lot like Christmas, it was Christmas – who knew that was going to happen?!

It started at work with me hanging off some stars. I did, of course, have some help so that it was a surprise when Karen got back to her desk.

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Sadly, it couldn’t stay like that as it distracted her from her work (boo, hiss). The stars were switched on each day later in the afternoon when it started to get dark, but I didn’t do any more hanging off of them.

Fortunately, the very talented Julie gave Karen a gift for Christmas which she was allowed to open early and I was able to get the benefit, so that distracted me from distracting Karen.

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As I was feeling arty and liked the lights in the dark, I went to see the very pretty Canary Wharf by the ice rink and even sat on a lit up bench. It wasn’t quite my colour though.

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We went for an informal team lunch and, not only did Karen have some orange food for me to make up for the colour of the bench, but I also got to display a couple of the cracker contents.

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Later that same day was another feast and I rather liked the serviettes, particularly the one that came with dough balls (not that they were mine).

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On Friday, we headed to the hotel in Windsor where we were staying over the Christmas weekend. I made myself at home quite quickly and was rather cosy in the dressing gown.

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However, afternoon tea called as I hadn’t had lunch and that was rather tasty. It wasn’t proper afternoon tea, just a scone, but it filled the gap until dinner.

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In the gap until dinner, I took the chance to explore and it was rather festive in Windsor. First there was the hotel Christmas tree.

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Then there were the street decorations and the tree outside of the castle, all of which were rather regal.

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Back at the hotel, there were lots of Malcolm sized toys for me to play with, including guardsman and post boxes. I wasn’t too sure about the head made of stamps though as it wasn’t Malcolm sized.

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I did enjoy riding the stags even if one of them did cover me in glitter.

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As we were in Windsor, it would have been rude not to go to the castle so we did that on Christmas Eve and then saw the other entrance on Christmas Day. Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed inside the castle which was a shame, particularly as there was a rather lovely Christmas tree with a corgi underneath it. Not sure where the monkey was though, just glad I wasn’t on the top of the tree or in the tower for misbehaving!

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Christmas Eve dinner was quite pretty and I got to join in the games, which also included a Malcolm sized pack of cards.

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Christmas Day bought even more fun and games with sprout roulette and, as you may have noticed, I do love sprouts. There were even party hats provided although they were a touch big for me.

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I did also have fun with the party poppers and a bit too much fun for some, so the ear warmers didn’t stay on for too long.

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After all those festivities, we had to get some fresh air on bank holiday Monday, so had a wander round by the river. There were also some very nice gardens, one of which had a royal maze in it.

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I even managed to find some orange trees too which was rather unexpected.

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To round off our Royal Christmas, we went to see the Queen’s steam engine which is kept at the station, although isn’t functional now as she has a newer one she uses.

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So that was all rather lovely but it was back to real life and work between Christmas and New Year.

Thankfully, it did mean I got some more fresh air and exercise and I was back where I belonged – at the seaside.

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I even made my own seaside party hat.

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Whilst we were out during the day on New Year’s Eve, there was a glimmer of sunshine which Karen captured just at the right time.

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Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I bet you’ve got that song in your head now – sorry!

Its my first Christmas and I didn’t know too much about it, but Karen kindly gave me a bit of a tour. I first saw Santa’s Grotto in Canary Wharf, although it was a bit early to see him (time wise, not date wise).

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I was chatting to Lucy and trying to find alternatives for advent calendars that weren’t made out of chocolate and Karen had seen a sprout that you could peel. Sarah then chimed in with the suggestion of elf on the shelf, who’s meant to watch over you and make sure that you are good. So, of course, a Christmas shelf was born.

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I did eventually get an advent calendar although some of the windows were quite hard to open as I’m only little.

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Had a little bit of a break from Christmas at the weekend, even though I did have to help Karen finish her Christmas shopping. It was a beautiful day in Margate and saw a lovely sunset on the way home. It was so fabulous to see the beach in daylight.

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I even found some antlers and tried to do my reindeer impression but not terribly successfully as they were a touch too big for me.

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Then it was another work week and, although I am a home monkey really, Karen made me go in a couple of days as there were some surprises for me.

The first one was that Paula made me my own personalised bauble which I absolutely loved – even the writing was my colour. I was a bit naughty and did my Miley Cyrus impression (wrecking ball), although not for long, of course, as I was at work after all.

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Wednesday was wonderful as we had lunch at Harrods with Maria as a little treat. It was a really beautiful restaurant and so calm and quiet, the food wasn’t bad either.

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Thursday was the official party day and I even got dressed up.

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At the restaurant there were crackers and everything. The hat matched my badge, which Karen had actually stolen by that point but, even better, the gifts were orange (and you know that’s my favourite colour).

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I even made a couple of new friends, one of whom lit up (and so did the other I found out afterwards).

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The rest of the party was just for grown ups so I was safely stowed away in Karen’s bag so that a youngster like me wasn’t led astray.

We haven’t had a picture of the week for a while, mainly because its more dark than light, but here’s another lovely one of the sunset from last weekend.

Have a good week and take care of yourselves.

Malcolm x

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Bath plus

Did you miss me last week? Well, don’t worry, not only will I be telling you about my trip to Bath but also what I was up to the previous weekend.

Before I can tell you about all of that, I have to tell you that the mean Karen made me go to work. Not only did I have to get up in the dark but I had to travel on the train too. It was really quite exhausting so I really very much deserved that cup of tea (even if it was big enough for me to swim in!).

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Fortunately Karen was a bit nicer at the weekend and I was able to get some fresh air. There was even some sunshine which was rather glorious. Glad I’m made of wool though as it was rather chilly.

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We then popped along to the hairdressers and I thought about getting my nails done but remembered that I don’t have any nails to do. I did get given another cup of tea though.

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Sunday was another relaxing day with a walk along the front followed by a hot chocolate and some reading in a local cafe. Whilst walking, we were lucky enough to see a tall ship although you probably can’t see it in the photo.

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So then came another Monday and no work but a trip to Bath instead for a few days holiday. Not sure if this means you work one week and then get the next week off? It was a couple of train journeys away so needed a cup of tea when I arrived which was accompanied with a couple of locally made biscuits.

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There was also a complimentary box of chocolates which were demolished and then I had a rest after that on the rather large (for me) bed.

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The first day was really rather wet so didn’t get out too much, although had a nice autumnal moment in the park followed by some hot chocolate (yes, another one).

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Fortunately Wednesday was a bit drier so able to get out a bit more. Saw the famous abbey and Roman Baths, both of which were very impressive. I even found my own monkey sized bath just for me.

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I then had a wander along by the river which was quite fast running after all that rain, so I wasn’t allowed too close.

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On Thursday I was allowed to play in the hotel gardens for a bit after breakfast and even got a ride on a horse.

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The day was then spent doing lots of shopping and getting Christmas presents, so not too many pictures as I had to stay safe in Karen’s bag due to all the people and I’m also not allowed to spoil any surprises. I was, however, allowed out for a famous bath bun and yet more hot chocolate.

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After all that effort and walking over the last few days, I was just ready to collapse so Karen thought it would be a nice for me to relax in the hotel spa and jacuzzi.

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I travelled home on the Friday and managed to get some sun on the way which was pleasant. Karen also treated me to a picture of home which I enjoyed.

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Please welcome Malcolm the Monkey to the world.

I’m an evolution of Monkey and was kindly knitted by a Irena from Latvia, so have travelled quite far to reach Karen.

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After that long journey, I was really quite hungry and needed to be fed so Karen kindly let me have some of her Sunday lunch when she was in Olby’s.

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There was quite a lot to eat so had a bit of a walk home where I was introduced to Margate main sands. Its a good job I’m made of wool as that made sure I kept warm.

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The sea seemed quite far away though as it was low tide and I asked Karen if I could get a bit closer, so I was allowed to sit on the edge of the tidal pool.

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As the sun was starting to go down, it seemed sensible to go inside but not before I saw Westbrook beach which is right by Karen’s new home.

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I do hope you enjoyed the tale of my first adventure with Karen and I look forward to telling you about many more.

New Arrival

I have some sad news and some good news.

The sad news is that I didn’t survive the trip to and from work and, despite Karen’s best efforts, I couldn’t be fixed.

(pause for silence)

Karen missed having me quite a lot so she changed her phone wallpaper which means that I can be with her all the time.

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The “good” news is that there is a new Monkey. He’s only a baby but still someone for Karen to have adventures with.

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I think we may have to give him a name. What do you think it should be?

Here he is learning to type as outside adventures have yet to take place. Hopefully this typing lesson will hold him in good stead for work this week. He should also last longer than me as he’s made of silicon rather than wood. It just won’t be the same though.

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So, that’s quite a short blog and I hope it wasn’t too boring or upsetting for you.

There is one more photo to share with you which is the tidal pool on Saturday. It was amazingly still and looked so beautiful in the sunshine.

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After falling apart, I needed a break somewhere nice and Karen took me to see Debbie and Wayne in Lincolnshire. Getting there, though, was interesting and I was put into a small see through bag with all my various bits and pieces in.

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Got there safely, even if a bit delayed and the last bit in a taxi which the train company paid for. I couldn’t believe that the last connection was at 19.35! That’s real country living.

Things soon transitioned into a holiday, there was even a palm tree which was a present for me and only me. Just like me, it was a bit wobbly.

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On the Saturday, I was rather pleased to be attended to by Dr Debbie who fixed me all up. Yes, I was standing again – hip, hip hooray.

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I did, of course, have to go and do some exploring. I came across some rather wonderful animals (because they were orange) and a pretty orchid.

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There was another animal there, although he wasn’t orange and quite right too as he’s a dog called Blake. He was rather adorable and came for cuddles but was a little big for me so I admired him from afar.

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After a big breakfast on Sunday and before a roast dinner, we entertained ourselves by playing monopoly. I tried to be a piece on the board but wasn’t allowed, but I did sneak on there when they weren’t looking. I was good though and didn’t knock any buildings over or steal any money. I probably should have done that as Karen lost in the end (and by quite a few million).

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Monday meant going back to London and to work. Unfortunately it was all a bit much and I fell apart again during the journey.

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So I think that means I’m permanently disabled now but that’s ok because I have the support of Reach.

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Karen thinks it looks as though I’m cheering her on which helps her to keep going both at work and at home.

Falling Apart

Brace yourself, this may be a difficult one to read.

First off, I was made to go back to work on Monday AND wear office clothes as its now October.

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We were all very busy this week and I couldn’t wait until Friday, I even stripped off before leaving the office.

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We were going to have some team drinks due to a power down but people had more exciting things to do like going away for the weekend so I headed home. I was rather tired so didn’t particularly mind. Even without drinking, I felt wobbly and fell over.

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That was when it all went wrong and you could say I was legless.

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Karen did manage to patch me up a bit on Saturday but I think I need to go to hospital for some medical attention. Sorry readers but hopefully I’ll be back having adventures soon.

Isle of Man

So, off we went on holiday. I made sure Karen had everything with her before we left including her passport. Not sure why I don’t need one, though – I hope its not because I’m being smuggled anywhere.

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We flew from London City and its quite a nice airport as its not too big. Best of all they had Monkey sized safety seats.

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That couldn’t be said of the hotel bed – it was huge. Technically they did cheat as it was two singles pushed together. Not sure you are even able to see me in this picture.

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The view from the hotel room was quite good and I even saw a horse on the first day.

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After a little rest, we wandered out onto the beach at Douglas bay and it was like coming home.

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It was slightly different from Margate and, not just because of the hills in the background, but because of the rocks and slate. I even found a piece large enough to surf on, although not sure it would have stayed afloat, but it was fun trying it out.

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I thought after all that sitting I needed some exercise so I did some rock climbing. Not only did I find an orange rock to climb on, but I found a bright white stone which wasn’t chalk and which I carried up the rock. I thought Karen captured my shadow rather well in this picture and I look a bit like an orb (that thingy on top of a crown).

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Karen then found me another type of exercise – a Monkey suitable high jump (apparently). The only drawback was getting to it, so I managed to escape that one as it was a bit of a long way down.

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After all that frolicking on the beach, I headed inland and came across this rather large telephone.  I certainly would have had to do the high jump to reach the handle.

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I wasn’t able to stay away from the sea for long, though, and was drawn back to the front. I came across a rather nice shelter between two gardens.

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And then just to my left was the sea again, which always makes me happy, despite it being made of water.

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So Monday turned out to be a rather busy day and I was ravenous by early evening. Found a nice steak place called Jaks which I particularly liked as they had a Monkey shaped space. (Actually, I found out later that it was for the sauce pot which just seemed wrong in my opinion.)

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Tuesday was quiet as Karen had to visit Adam & Eve, although that wasn’t planned. We were lucky enough to have dinner with Laura in the evening which was most fun and I felt very much a special guest of honour. That was until the barman knocked me over! Karen and Laura both gasped at that point and he gave us all a funny look.

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The next day, went a little bit further and headed inwards. Found the rather nice Tynwald National Park which was beautifully looked after.

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The rest of the day was spent at Laxey which is famous for mining but I also came across a salmon lake which was rather unexpected, although I didn’t see any salmon.

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It almost felt a bit alpine at times with the chalets and hillside streams. It was quite British in other ways, though, particularly with the rain but the sun did try to come out.

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But this is what I really came for – the Laxey Wheel. It was quite difficult for Karen to get a picture of the wheel and me in it as well, but she just about managed it, although she has cut off the top which has the Manx flag on. I do hope no-one will be insulted.

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After all that effort, it was time for a treat so managed another afternoon tea, some of which went back to the hotel for an evening snack as too much to eat in one go, despite not having had a proper breakfast. What I liked best was the background as it was a Monkey sized wheel and viaduct, although it was roped off so I wasn’t able to get too close.

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Just down the hill was the cotton mill which had some very interesting metalwork figures. Not sure sure what they’re to do with cotton, but I did have fun on the bench with the children and the dog.

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On the final day we went all over the island. The sun was shining a bit more but it was very windy. The first place we visited was Port Erin which Karen said was very beautiful, although I only got to see a bit of it from behind some rocks so I wouldn’t get blown over.

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I was also lucky enough to see the steam railway there which I was pleased about.

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Next to the railway line was the museum so we visited there too and I found a rather unusual weighing machine.

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We then headed south to Sound and I saw even less of that. It was super, super windy so I stayed safely in Karen’s bag. Here’s a picture she took of the Calf of Sound.

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After that, we headed up towards Peel and I was allowed out there a bit more as it was sheltered, but only really around the bay. I came across this rather fabulous rainbow bench. Can you guess which my favourite colour was?

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In the background is Peel castle and here’s better picture of it (if you think a picture is better without me in it).

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That all looks rather calm as it was in the harbour but just around the corner this was taken and within a few minutes of the one above. Just look at the change in the colour of the sky, let alone the waves crashing onto the rocks.

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That brings us to the end of this adventure in the Isle of Man. I’d recommend it as a holiday destination as its so breathtaking and beautiful as well as being easy to get around. Nothing is too far away and you can get most places within 30 minutes if you have a car.

Now, where shall I go for the next holiday? Suggestions on a postcard please!