IN more than sixty years, I have tried every possible way to get my head down while on the Isle of Man..

I have stayed in many of the top class hotels and also slept in my "specially equipped" car behind the Grandstand..
I have Homestayed, and I have slept in a draughty van in the Paddock..
I have tried to sleep with rain water cascading through a waterlogged tent on a campsite near Hillberry and sweltered in a cricket pavilion in Ramsey..
I have slept on the beach in Port Erin, and in a large drain pipe near Laxey and also in a church vestry near Sulby...
I have slept in a beautiful farmhouse near Ballaugh Bridge.....

One year, for one night (or for what was left of the night), totally plastered after my friend had won a silver replica, I slept in the Casino toilet !!!!!!

I enjoyed every minute of every occasion !
There are some tales I could tell you that I dare not put on the internet..
(but ask me about the curry when you next see me !)
I have been party leader, organising and taking over complete hotels, and have travelled over solo..
Fortunately, I do not stay solo for very long because I like to mix and in this way I have built up a huge group of friends who get together year after year at this festival.
Nowadays, in my considered opinion, "Homestay" is probably the best way because you can store your belongings and return only to the house to sleep, bath and eat.
Homestay breakfasts are superb and your hosts will bend over backwards to make you welcome and take other pals in the future.
Being over six feet tall, I appreciate a large bedroom and large bed instead of some of the pokey rooms in the sea-front hotels.

I remember meeting my friends Doug Randall and Shaun Harris on the prom a few years back and them complaining to me that the pair of them had to share a "box room" where both beds touched, with hardly any cat-swinging room round them...
A tiny window which would not open fully and lights that had to be put out before getting into bed did not help either.
No good places to hang leathers or suits..

I was Homestaying in Onchan with friends and I took Doug and Shaun up to see if they could stay there as well.
Not only could they have a huge bedroom each but they could use the garage to prepare the race bikes.
When we compared the cost of the sea-front hotel they nearly stayed in, with the homestay it was a wonderful money-saving move in.
We had great food, super days on the sea-view lawn and some very alcoholic nights with asparagus, watching the stars go by over Port Jack Chippy..
It all depends on what you want out of the TT.
Many people camp and it is fairly well planned out so long as it is on a proper campsite.
Unfortunately some people try to cut corners and come a cropper before they even go on the TT course.
LOOS are essential as is running clean water--
People who just plant a tent in a field are asking for problems.

One year I came to the TT without a place to stay as a journalistic experiment.
I telephoned Manx Radio who put out an appeal for a couple of rooms.
In less than an hour we had a place which was our annual stay for four or five years subsequently.

Then I decided to see how the riders did it and arranged with permission to stay in the Paddock.
The facilities are pretty good with showers and the like but the noise !!!
Riders should get some sleep if they are racing the next day.
However there is always someone testing or welding something during the night.
Plus the fact that the eating houses are down in Douglas and this causes a continuous stream of people returning to the Paddock having walked back.
The sound of belching (and worse) tended to make that years stay one to forget !

Now with regard to hotels I miss the Dougie Bay and the Villiers and others which have been flattened or taken over by the finance sector.
The Dougie Bay was something else and we all met up there in the Texas Bar.
Oh how we miss it !!!
I remember watching Ron Haslam flying his model helicopter on the back lawn.
I had some great evenings with Bill Smith, The Dugdales, The Carters, Mick Chatterton, Bob Cox, David M-M and all the reps, journalists and barons of the TT.
Bob Cox (Renolds Chains) and I set up a results service in the hotel car park so visiting riders could see their practice times on a big blackboard.
When the DB came down we moved en masse to the Casino and the Round Bar which became the next best place to meet up with everyone.

We took over a farm a few years back and we were a big group to start with.
As we met other friends coming off the boat we took them to the farm and got permission for them to stay as well.
Now THAT was a PARTY !!!

I now have the perfect homestay just off Kirk Braddan which I found purely by accident. The family with whom I stay, look after me like I was part of their family...And the food is excellent
Thank you kind people....Hope to see you soon !!!