Only one

Being an only child is a mixed bag. You don’t have brothers and sisters to play with and fall out with. You don’t have to share anything eg dog, parents, toys.

You also end up pretty independent. You rely on yourself for entertainment, you have imaginary friends, you read, you join sports clubs, and you go on holiday on your own.

I was busy sewing away some 30 years ago on the dining room table, as you do, and my mother mentioned to her cleaner that I was taking a week’s holiday on my own to the Isle of Man. [Note, to non-Brits, this is a small island off the west coast of Britain]

Anne the cleaner, was around 40 at the time, and looked horrified. She couldn’t envisage the concept of setting off somewhere on her own. Sad. These days young women set off around the world on their own. All I was doing was jumping on a train to cross the Pennines and then taking a ferry to the Isle of Man.

I spent a week there, staying in the youth hostel in Laxey. As this is 30 years ago I have no idea whether these photos bear any resemblance to the current day Isle of Man or not. I doubt it. Back then, luckily, I labelled my photos on the back, so I know it was May 1982 and where each photo was taken.

The header photo shows some beautiful cows I passed on a coastal walk. Not only was I taking a holiday on my own, I went walking on my own in the countryside in my early twenties. Did I worry about that? Yes, I did actually for a few minutes, and then the grit kicked in and I told myself not to be stupid. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and similar such crap. And – it was a beautiful walk.

In fact the whole island was beautiful. The youth hostel looks like it could do with a lick of paint, but I have stayed in similar looking places that have called themselves hotels and charged a shitload more money. And, it did the best scampi and chips ever. Mmmmmmm. I had my day trips out around the island and then went back, ordered my evening meal, and fell into bed. Brilliant. Can’t even remember if I had the dorm to myself, probably did in late May.

A quick internet search shows me that youth hostel closed only a few years later in 1985. Shame.

What a beautiful place. Now, living in Gibraltar, I see similarities (apart from offshore financial companies), small places, loads of history, friendly people, and such diversity in tiny places.

Castletown brewery – no longer producing beer although the main front building is still there

Peel Castle

Laxey youth hostel

Laxey village

Terraced houses in Port St Mary – not a plastic window in sight

The Queen’s Pier at Ramsay (built 1886)

DT note, the brewery pic came out with an extremely subtle deep red for the colouring, but I loved this warm colour with the cows πŸ™‚


22 comments on “Only one”

  1. It’s a great way to travel!


    • After I was let down by a friend the day before we were due to go on holiday, I realised I could only rely on me. I did travel with other people again, but I also decided I needed to travel on my own. Still have done even within a relationship.


      • Yes, I think it’s a good idea to take independent adventures, even in a relationship. Being an only child too, I don’t know whether that made us more independent travellers back in those days, but now I think about it, there weren’t many solo girls travelling back in the early 70s when I first set out.


        • Well, I was still schooling and universitying in the 70s but I did start solo travelling then. I think it is a totally different world these days. Mobile ‘phones and internet make it seem like a trip down the street. When I set off around the world (with someone else to be fair, although we later went separate ways) we were on our own. One of my major memories is hitting the huge telephone exchange in New Delhi or maybe Bombay (as was) and placing an operator call to my parents to tell them I was in INDIA!! The same in Thailand (Bangkok). Instant communications have taken away the glamour and the adventure so I’m glad I did it way back when.


  2. I’ve only been to the Isle of Man once, that as it happens, was to a Youth Hostel, but with the school.
    No photos though, only memories.

    Being an only one does bring out the independent streak, nothing has ever held me back from doing what I want to do either.
    To the extent of putting the fear of god into my family, when I flew out alone to Australia to meet some total strangers I’d met online, but hey! You only live once πŸ™‚


    • If it wasn’t Laxey it would have been Bradda Head or Ambleside. I know because I am so anal I have looked up closed youth hostels to see how many I stayed at!

      Had an internet pal who did the Oz thing too with someone she met on-line. You know my views about that of old, but I didn’t realise you had done it. I don’t mind the meets, but staying with someone is a whole different ball game.


      • I really can’t remember, all I know it was in Ramsey.
        Going to Oz, I took the attitude, if it didn’t work out, I could aways find some B&B somewhere, hire a motor, and do my own thing.


        • I didn’t notice a hostel in Ramsey. I must go back to the list of defunct YHs!

          Exactly the attitude to take, although sounds like it went ok, you must mail me and tell me about it.


          • I was trying to remember how old I was, so I could pin point a date, then suddenly remembered, we were all singing ‘Johnny remember me’ by John Leyton, which dates it to 1961.
            Does that help your research? I’m intrigued now. πŸ™‚


            • You are right, there was one in Ramsay, 53-73 πŸ™‚
              Damn I’ve shut the link. Anyway it was a wiki one former youth hostels will find it, although as I’ve told you, you don’t need to look πŸ˜€


  3. Nice post – love the pictures. Scanning old photographs is a chore but always worthwhile!


    • Thanks, the scanning is the easy bit in a way. It’s the sorting out afterwards that took the time as I never manage to scan straight, so rotating and cropping and…. resaving in a different file. I actually enjoyed doing these though, it reminded me of the holiday and there was so much to see in such a small place.


  4. I am so behind on so many blogs, but life has gotten crazy busy, even hands-on in our repairwork. Did some painting on the weekend, and am pleased to say that I left all the various pipes and metal bits paint-free, and limited it to the walls πŸ™‚
    But behind or not, this post caught my eye and it is like an oasis of peace and calm in the midst of some busy days, and I enjoyed my visit. I love rural settings.
    Good colour provision by DT! You are brave to travel on your own, and good on you to enjoy, it too. Had to think back to my first trip after high school, and it was on my own – but I would be meeting people at the other end. Still, having done both, it is my preference to travel with others rather than alone. And yet there were some great walks I remember rambling on my own for hours along a river in rural Germany on many an occasion. I was not afraid, and in hindsight not sure if that was foolish or not, but it definitely was lovely πŸ™‚


    • Never mind, you will soon be done and living in a palace. Or a castle. (As in ‘An Englishman’s home is his castle’ or whatever the idiom is}.

      Thanks, I was quite torn between the cows and the brewery, because DT did provide such a lovely deep warm red, but the cows won – something different and as you say, they look so peaceful and content. In fact, apart from the scampi and chips at the hostel, the cows and that walk were pretty much my main memory from that holiday. I do walk here on my own, and in Spain too, but not sure I would be too keen on doing it in the UK 😦 Shame because I think women should be able to walk where they want.

      I’m probably not an easy travelling companion, too independent and more than happy with my own company. Also, travelling on your own means you end up talking to more strangers, or so I have found. I love the excitement of getting into a raliway sleeper and wondering who my companions for the night will be. Or chatting to a Spanish woman on the bus going through the beautiful Cantabrian countryside. Or jumping in a taxi in France with a guy off the ferry to find a hotel and then going out on a pub crawl with him that night. I don’t remember meeting a lot of people on that Isle of Man trip though! Maybe because I was pretty young?


  5. When I was about 10 or 12 I climbed up the steps to the top of the Laxey Wheel – I think it was then that I realised that I didn’t like heights much… Isle of Man – a strange place…


    • Gosh! I’m not a fan of heights either and I remember the wheel. Rather you than me. Um, a strange thing to do perhaps though? Must have been the IoM aura that influenced you to do that.


  6. Very brave, I have just been thinking, I,ve never been abroad on my own 😦 only N.I. but I don’t think that counts πŸ™‚


    • Hey, Isle of Man was hardly abroad, ok, across some water. But if you went to NI on your own, that was independent and that was the real point of my post, apart from pretty pix of IoM.


  7. Like the photos of my house on your site (Axnfell), can I ask you where you got them from as we have nothing from when it looked like this and would like a copy to put on the wall.


    • Hi James. Thanks for your comment and your interest. If you look closely you will see they are my photos Β©KPJ, and they are scanned SLR photos so I’m not sure how well they would work blown up. Although … maybe. At a price πŸ™‚


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