I've since established that the name of said Laxey cafe is "The Corn Mill Tea Room & Restaurant" - whatever it's called it's certainly worthy of a visit. Somewhat more comfortable and customer orientated than "Browns" at t'other end of the Mines Road.
Next photo opportunity pour moi was a visit to Douglas railway station to record for posterity the preparations for, and departure of the Old Time Music Hall special to Port Erin. However I'd arrived at Douglas with 4 minutes to spare before the final service train of the day was due to arrive in the station. I always try and capture something new in my photos so decided to sneak into the adjacent bus depot. I knew that the pedestrian gate was always open between the bus depot and the train depot so a shot from the gateway was my destination. I casually but purposefully walked towards the gate but stopped in my tracks when I heard the dreaded "can I help you?". Damn it I'd been caught. I turned to find an official from the bus company addressing me. I explained that I was hoping to capture a shot at the gate of the next arrival but he insisted I go and ask at "The Inspectors Office" and pointed towards the door. I walked in and found two Inspectors sitting at their desks. I explained what I was trying to do and fully expected the bums rush ie shown the door BUT what a pleasnt surprise - the lady Inspector said "OK but you need to wear a hi-viz jacket." I explained all mine were in the laundry but she reached towards the coat rack and handed me one of their own. What a nice lady!!! I walked over to assess the location proudly wearing my hi-viz only to find that the view was far worse than my expectations. I was screwed. I couldn't leggit back to the platform as I had the hi-viz to hand back, and then I heard and saw the approaching train - IT WAS BACKWARDS so I gritted my teeth and took my shot. Oh well you win some you lose some. http://evergreen.zenfolio.com/p837044740#h2eb48ae2 I returned the jacket and politely thanked my new found friends and walked briskly back to the platform to find the loco was already propelling the ecs (empty coaching stock) out towards the carriage shed.
Scheduled departure time for the special was 6pm so with my trusty Nikon snapper in my napsack I was able to capture some atmosphere as it departed into the darkness - AND rain! Yes the good weather was disappearing fast as the sun set in the west and care was required to avoid pointing the camera towards the drizzle that was falling from the increasingly cloud filled sky.
An excellent evening meal was enjoyed at another new venue for us on the Douglas Quayside - "14North" - strange name but excellent reports on TripAdvisor http://www.14north.im/ . They didn't let us down.
Sunday morning and as I forced my eyelids open I initially struggled to comprehend what the shiny thing was I could see through the bedroom curtains. The rains of Saturday evening had blown away and amazingly it was all sun, blue sky and white fluffy couds again. HE was on my side today for sure. I enjoyed a hearty breakfast of scallops and bacon on toast - It has to be done when visiting this beautiful island - and I was out to Douglas again to capture a few more sunny photos of the Victorian steam trains. What a bonus!
I was getting increasingly anxious as I waited for loco no 4 "Loch" to back down from the service point outside Douglas shed. There's one thing Manx people do well is chat and I could see the crew chatting with shed staff. Don't they realise passengers want to see the steam locomotive BEFORE they set off on their journey. If hooking on is all done last minute the crew aren't really entering into the spirit of a tourist attraction. Passengers would like to talk to the driver. Its all part of the experience. Anyway as soon as I took my Douglas station shots it was a case of jumping back into the car to drive off to my 1st photo location - the coastal road near Keristal. What a wonderful place this is, superb coastal views, an empty road, except for occasional learner drivers!! and sunshine. http://evergreen.zenfolio.com/p884896302#h22f8c042
Then once it had passed the chase was on, I jumped into the car, and headed off at a brisk pace to try and safely reach the next chosen location. In view of the fact that the train was stopping at Port Soderick I probably had plenty of time if the truth be known but one of those pesky learner drivers certainly raised my blood pressure. A huge thought bubble was clearly visible for miles- "Don't they realise I have a train to catch?"
Santon was my next photo location and what a picturesque place it is set in the middle of stunning countryside - sadly with no potential passengers and in fact not a soul in sight. It's a request stop so I just hoped that my antics as the train approached wasn't thought of as waving the train for it to halt. Fortunately the driver's slow approach soon turned to a steamy departure as he opened the regulator. Onwards..... next photo location I'd chosen was Ballabeg. -----to be continued ------