In our regular feature, authors from different walks of Manx life offer a personal perspective on #MyBiosphere. This month, Jennifer Wood writes:
For a 200-and-something square mile island, the Isle of Man is crammed with culture, creativity and independent businesses – and I love that!
Even though I grew up here, I’m still uncovering more about my heritage and finding new places to explore.
The Island is growing all the time and that makes it a fascinating place to live. I feel very proud of our community spirit and the way everyone works to reduce waste, keeping our villages beautiful and protecting the wildlife and our UNESCO Biosphere status.
Last spring kicked off with our village litter pick, one of many Island-wide community efforts which shows how the environment is at the forefront of our minds.
I’ve always lived in the sunny north of the Island, growing up in Sulby. It will forever be my favourite place here, filled with nostalgia and history. Remnants of railway tracks run right through the village and at its heart is the woollen mill where my nana worked in the office as a girl.
I grew up in the same house as my dad had grown up in with his parents, two brothers and sister, but that was only by happy chance. The house was no longer in the family, but when my parents spotted it for sale 25+ years ago they jumped at the chance to buy it.
In the more recent past, my dad used to race motorbikes in the TT through Sulby, and I remember the amazing atmosphere. The village would be swarming with people from all over the world and the bikes would rocket straight past our living room window.
I’m so grateful to have grown up in the countryside where every day was an adventure, and the outdoors is a common theme to all my favourite childhood memories.
Summers in Sulby were for playing in the river, building dens down at the Claddagh and spending hours wallaby hunting in the Curragh. In winter, if it snowed, we’d hike up Primrose Hill (Cronk Sumark) and sledge all the way down, dodging the gorse.
After finishing my Art and Design diploma at the Isle of Man College (now UCM) I moved to Liverpool to study for my degree. Those three years gave me a new perspective on Island living.
Liverpool is a fantastic city but I realised I’m more ‘traa-dy-liooar’ than I’d thought. I missed being near beaches, plantations and glens where I could plod along at my own pace. When university came to an end, I was happy to return home to the Island and start my career.
Years later, I now have my own home, not too far from Sulby, where I run my graphic design business, Grose Design. I love being part of the Island’s thriving creative industry.
Local independent businesses are popping up all over and I feel very lucky, having experienced life both in the city and the country, to now have the best of both worlds right here on my doorstep.