I’m often asked what I do with myself now I no longer have a full-time job.

The stock answer is that I love to get out for a walk each day with Rosie and Ted, my wire fox terriers.

They came from Ballymena in Northern Ireland and it’s hard to believe they will be three in July.

When they were old enough to be able to be collected I went over to Belfast to be greeted by two cute bundles of fluff.

They have certainly developed since then. Rosie is always 100mph wanting to meet and greet everyone and every dog while Ted has settled in to Manx ways and is much more laid back. Both are really good with people and other dogs. Sometimes though they can be a little off putting for some people at first because of their ‘enthusiasm’. One thing they are not over enthusiastic about though is the rain.

They look out in to the garden first thing in the morning and are reluctant to even do their constitutional if it’s raining. Once they have obliged they rush back into the house.

I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of the rain either.

It brings back memories of the Parish Walk when you on occasion have to walk for what seemed hours in driving rain. Having said that I’m equally poor in constant sun and my Celtic skin needs to be smothered in sun cream.

Have you got your entry in yet? Good to see so many people all around the island clearly putting in the training.

While out on our walks each day it is really apparent how much rain we have had since last autumn.

On Good Friday the sky was blue in the afternoon and we walked around Peel and took the time to follow the path around the castle.

There were lots of people doing the same and I always think it is good manners to move to one side to let others pass. When I did and put my foot on the grassy bank I slipped straight over and ended up looking up at those I had moved for who were anxiously making sure the old guy was ok which, of course, I was. Another favourite walk starts in Castletown, sometimes by the Sidings or Duck’s Nest as I remember it.

We did this a few days ago and set off towards Malew Road headed out past Castletown Stadium, Great Meadow and Malew Churchyard then turned right up the hill in the direction of Rushen Abbey.

We then walked along the public footpath towards timeless Silverdale past the historic Monk’s Bridge and as we reached the glen it was really very muddy.

If you are contemplating it yourself make sure you have appropriate footwear. I have never witnessed it quite as gloopy and care was needed not to have a repeat of my Peel Castle escapade.

We walked around the lake and past the old Silverburn Glen Mineral Water Factory and it was lovely to see the playground busy complete with the water-powered roundabout which holds so many memories for generations of children.

I decided discretion was the better part of valour and returned to Ballasalla the road way.

We may have been better walking the rest of the way to Castletown on the pavement but instead chose the Millennium Way from just up the road from Rushen Abbey and once more we were in for wet, heavy going.

Again I don’t recall it being as muddy and once Rosie and Ted got home it was straight in the bath for both of them.

There was some compensation though for the little boy who never grew up as we arrived back at Castletown Station just after 4pm and so I waited for 4.27pm when steam trains from both directions meet in the station.

Maitland heading for Douglas and Loch for Port Erin and both had a fair contingent of happy travellers.

Loch, named after a governor of the same name, was built in 1874 as a small-boilered locomotive and rebuilt as a medium-boilered model in 1909.

Maitland was built in 1905 and named after a railway company director is the longest serving locomotive. Thanks as always to the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association for their ongoing commitment.

Over the Easter Weekend among other sporting events the Easter Athletics Festival celebrated its 60th anniversary.

Peel Hill Race must have been tough going, while the Manx Mountain Marathon, which also held last week, was first contested in 1970.

Competitors take part in the ‘Marathon’ at 50km or the ‘Half Marathon’ at just under 22km.

The conditions must have been as difficult as any in living memory with wind and extremely wet and muddy conditions with most runners, particularly on the downhill sections experiencing at least one fall.

Amazingly there were 123 finishers of the full distance the winner Sam Jones completing the gruelling event in 5 hours 12 minutes 51 seconds and the first female Nikki Arthur in sixth position overall in 5:49:02.

The impacts of excessive rainfall and its consequences whilst it may be an inconvenience or nuisance to me on my walks is a really important matter.

The subject of flood risk management and the impacts of climate change have been considered over an extended period.

On the island the ‘flood risk management bill’ became an act in 2013.

In 2019 an independent report was commissioned following the Laxey River flooding.

The report made 10 recommendations: 1, Greater priority is given to preparing to deal with flood risks and flood resilience in the Isle of Man; 2, The governance of flood risk management across the island should be reviewed; 3, The current provision of resource for flood risk management is reviewed; 4, Greater urgency is given to delivering the National Strategy on sea defences, flooding and Coastal Erosion 2016; 5, An investigation by the Treasury of continuing access to and affordability of flood insurance should be resolved; 6, The consents process outlined in the 2013 Act should be implemented for all works on designated water courses; 7, Management of blockage and debris risks in high risk catchments is improved; 8, Greater attention and more urgency is given to existing plans to deal with surface water flooding; 9, Review and improve practices of flood forecasting and warning; 10, Recognising the impact that flooding can have on well being, open a dialogue with the National Flood Forum to explore whether their services can be extended to the Isle of Man.

I know work will have been taking place since then by the various agencies concerned with flooding in the island and an update and assurances relating to this serious matter would be welcome.