Hydref 2004 October

Talking Of Bridges . . . .

I could badly have done with one during the week beginning the 13th September when all attempts to return to Carrog from the Isle of Man were thwarted by the cancellation of ferries because of the strong winds. Normally this would have been an inconvenience which one learns to cope with having spent the greater part of ones life ‘clinging to a rock in the middle of the Irish Sea’ (as one reporter described the IOM). However, on this occasion our return was somewhat more urgent as eighteen Manx musicians and dancers were due to arrive in Carrog on the Friday of that week. The majority of them were flying and it began to look as if they would arrive before we could return.

One of the problems is the Liverpool boat leaves at 7.00 am and cars must report one hour earlier. Add half an hour for travelling to the ferry terminal and very quickly you realise you must be up at 4.00 am. This is not bad on one occasion but for three mornings on the run the sense of humour begins to slip. Bearing in mind we should have been back in Carrog around 11.00 am on Monday and finally arrived at 2.30 am on Thursday, the joys of Island life begin to pale.

Prior to the introduction of fast ferries and big ‘roll on roll off’ ferries, the Isle of Man Steam Packet could genuinely be described as a bridge to the Island as the ships were designed for the Irish Sea and always sailed. On one occasion we spent nine hours crossing from Liverpool to the IOM. Christine and I were sea sick for the whole journey and our previous dog, then only a puppy, was also sea sick. Standing up was virtually impossible and windows on the upper decks were stove in by the waves, allowing water to flow through the passenger accommodation. The car deck looked like a section of motorway after a pile up.

Come to think of it maybe cancellation is better than always sailing regardless of weather.

Paul Fisher

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