This week’s Blog is slightly different as I managed to take a few days off with having family visiting us this week.

It was also a week of real mixed emotions with the Isle of Man TT showcasing the very best we have to offer as an island, but also the raw emotion when the Isle of Man morns the loss of one of its own…..

The 2018 TT got underway last Saturday and the Isle of Man certainly enjoyed a wonderful bank holiday weekend with some fantastic weather, a great open night of practising, and not forgetting some outstanding entertainment.

It definitely felt like the whole of the Isle of Man had taken the opportunity to get out and about over the weekend, with Hooded Ram and the Bushey’s Beer tents completely full, especially in the evenings.

Personally, I had a quiet weekend other than undertaking a couple of Constituent meetings on Sunday relating to parking and a housing issue.

With the weather so good on the island at the moment, we took the opportunity to get into the garden early on Bank Holiday Monday. At lunchtime I took Ellen over to the Grandstand for lunch and to look around. The set up in and around the Grandstand area is fantastic, with plenty of choice when it comes to food and drink.

I had to respond to a couple of emails, but the rest of the afternoon was spent chilling and enjoying the weather and the atmosphere like the rest of the island.

The Isle of Man was definitely one of the best places to be last Monday – there are very few things that can share the spotlight with the Isle of Man TT Festival, but lead singer from Take That, Gary Barlow certainly gave it a good go with the first of two concerts at the Villa Marina on Monday evening.

Tuesday was the first day of my holiday, and although I still needed to deal with a few issues throughout the day, Ellen and I took the opportunity to have breakfast in town, along with calling into M & S.

At lunchtime we drove to the airport to collect Ellen’s sister, Eve, who is visiting the island this week. In the afternoon Ellen and Eve went into town, so I took the opportunity to send a few e-mails and to deal with a couple of Constituent matters.

I also spent a couple of hours on Tuesday afternoon going though the draft Area Plan for the East.

In the evening, we met our brother-in-law, Stewart, who travelled over via the Steam Packet as he had brought his bike over to do a few laps around the course.

The Isle of Man was still rocking and enjoying the fine weather as Gary Barlow preformed his second concert on Tuesday night. The popular singer took the opportunity to look around our island on Tuesday and posted some amazing messages on Social Media, which could certainly give a major boost to our tourism sector.

Despite being off it was still an early start (7am) on Wednesday as I needed to respond to a couple of urgent emails received regarding our Homestay services, along with making a couple of calls.

From there we enjoyed the rest of the day with a trip to Peel and St John’s, which included crab baps and ice cream…..

In the evening we headed to the Grandstand to watch the practising, but little did I know what was about to unfold.

Unfortunately, the practice session was red flagged shortly after starting and it was around 21.00 that we received the devastating news that local rider and Onchan resident, Dan Kneen had died following an incident at Churchtown, just outside Ramsey.

I guess there are very few words one can say at a time like this, but my thoughts and prayers are with Dan’s family and friends.

There was also an additional crash involving another top rider, Steve Mercer who was flown to Liverpool on Thursday morning having received multiple injuries after being involved in a crash with a safety car.

Again, my thoughts are with Steve and his family at this time.

The TT event can certainly be a difficult sport for everyone involved at times and after such a successful start to this year’s TT event, I am not entirely sure that we can recover from such tragic news, especially involving one of the best loved local riders, Dan Kneen.

I guess we just need to get through this event now and remember fondly a brilliant local rider with a massive amount of talent – he will be missed by so many people.

I was up early on Thursday to answer a few items of correspondence.

For various reasons I wasn’t able to take Thursday off, but mainly because I had scheduled a meeting with the Director of Hospital Services at Noble’s, in order to discuss a matter that was brought to my attention by an Onchan Business a couple of weeks ago.

I went into the office for 9am and Ellen and Eve headed up to Ramsey for the day, while Stewart headed out on his bike.

Once in the office I took the opportunity to draft a couple of letters and to sort out a few things. Just before 10am I went downstairs to meet some students from Onchan Primary School.

Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for a few minutes as I needed to get to Noble’s Hospital for 10.30am. I was extremely grateful that the Director of Hospital Services was able to find some time to discuss the issues being raised.

I was back at the office for 11.45am and I then spent the next hour or so carrying on with some of the personal tasks that I have been wanting to complete over the last couple of months.

At 13.30 I went back upstairs to meet a second group from Onchan Primary School. I left the tour at 14.45 and after sending a few emails I left the office at 15.45 to collect Ellen and Eve from the MER station in Douglas.

In the evening I took Stewart up to the Grandstand to watch some of the racing, which was excellent.

Finally got home for 20.30.

Back on holiday on Friday as we headed south on the tourism trail with a visit to the Old House of Keys and Castle Rushen.

There was also plenty of TT entertainment going on in the square, which we enjoyed while having lunch.

On the way home we called to to Murray’s Bike Museum, which is a beautiful museum located in Santon.

In the evening we went to the Views Restaurant for something to eat.

A very enjoyable week taking some time off, but I still needed to keep an eye on emails, which included taking various phone calls throughout the week.

On formal duty on Saturday escorting the Governor during the opening races of this year’s TT Festival, which includes the RST Superbike TT Race and the Sidecar TT Race.