Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Recognize this?

To visitors travelling on the Steam Packet this is a very familiar sight -- the Sea Terminal building in Douglas. Locally known as the "Lemon Squeezer", it has been found to have unacceptable levels of asbsestos and there is talk of pulling it down. I hope they replace it with something equally as tasteful :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Victory at Wanganui in New Zealand on Boxing Day

In June last year, Shaun Harris cheated death in the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race, crashing his 1000cc Suzuki at 230km/h on the final lap on the 37-mile (60km) circuit.

Race officials and medics who came to his rescue at the time didn't give him a chance and their feelings were echoed by doctors at the hospital.

He broke both arms, both legs, some ribs, his pelvis and lost his front teeth in the smash and was in a medically induced coma for several days.

Read this article in the New Zealand Taranaki Daily News about Shaun's latest race in the Southern Hemisphere's verson of the TT. Click on the photo to go to the Manx Radio site.

Learn Manx in 2009

I've mentioned this site before but now is a good time to round up those good intentions and start on your Manx lessons in time for the Homecoming. This page has "The American Inheritance" - read and learn what this means: Ta Juan as Kirree goll dys Doolish ayns gleashtan Yuan. (Juan and Kirree go to Douglas in Juan’s car. )

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Manxmen climb Himalayan peak

MANX walkers waved the Three Legs of Mann flag at the summit of a 21,000ft peak in the Himalayas. Four Islanders took on the 17-day trek to Mera Peak in Nepal. Among the party were Parish Walkers Roey Crellin and Sean Hands along with Mike Gellion and Paul Young. Roey, 52, from Peel, said it was an exhausting but exhilarating experience tackling the climb to Mera Peak which is around six miles from Everest.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dolphins celebrate Christmas off the Calf

THERE was a further sighting of dolphins off the Isle of Man on Christmas Day. At least 100 bottle nose dolphins were spotted off the Calf on Christmas Day. It has proved a busy week for dolphin spotting. Two sightings were reported on Tuesday morning - one in Douglas Bay and one in Niarbyl.

A spectacular image of a bottlenose dolphin in Manx waters captured by photographer Tim Moolman earlier this month.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Hunting the wren

It's St. Stephen's Day, or Boxing day in the English parlance, and in the Isle of Man they will be hunting the wren (this links to the Manx Radio site reporting on today's hunt the wren with a video link) This links to a photo montage at iomtoday.com

This is how it came about (please note we use fake birds now!) this information is from the redoubtable Manx Society, Volume 16:


George Waldron, who wrote his Description of the Isle of Man about a century and a half ago, ' says, " On the 24th of December, towards evening, all the servants in general have a holiday ; they go not to bed all night, but ramble about till the bells ring in all the churches, which is at twelve o'clock; prayers being over, they go to hunt the wren, and after having found one of these poor birds, they kill her, and lay her on a bier with the utmost solemnity, bringing her to the parish church, and burying her with a whimsical kind of solemnity, singing dirges over her in the Manx language, which they call her knell, after which Christmas begins.

This custom of " Hunting the Wren," has been a pastime in the Isle of Man from time immemorial, and is still kept up on St. Stephen's Day, chiefly by, boys, who at early dawn sally out armed with long sticks, beating the bushes until they find one of these birds, when they commence the chase with great shoutings following it from bush to bush, and when killed it is suspended in a garland of ribbons, flowers, and evergreens. The procession then commences, carrying that "king of all birds," as the Druids called it, from house to house, soliciting contributions, and giving a feather for luck; these are considered an effectual preservative from shipwreck, and some fishermen will not yet venture out to sea without having first provided themselves with a few of these feathers to insure their safe return. The " dreain," or wren's feathers, are considered an effectual preservative against witchcraft. It was formerly the custom in the evening to inter the naked body with great solemnity in a secluded corner of the churchyard, and conclude the evening with wrestling and all manner of sports.

The custom is not peculiar to the Isle of Man, for we find it mentioned by Sonnini in his travels, that " the inhabitants of the town of Cistat, near Marseilles, armed with sabres and pistols commence the anniversary by hunting the wren, and when captured is suspended, as though it were a heavy burden, from the middle of a long'pole borne on the shoulders of two :men, carried in procession through the streets, and weighed on a balance.

Crofton Croker, m his Researches in the South of Ireland, 1824, mentions this custom as prevailing there, and in Hall's Ireland (vol. i p. 23, 1841) it is also recorded, to which is added the air to the song as penned by Mr. Alexander D. Roche, as also a spirited woodcut of the wren-boys with their garland. The air is also given in Barrow's Mona Melodies, 1820.
Various versions of this song are to be met with, the following was taken down by me from a company of " wren-boys" in 1843:-





We'll away to the wood, says Robin to Bobbin;
We'll away to the wood, says Richard to Robin.
We'll away to the wood, says Jack of the Land;
We'll away to the wood, says everyone.

What shall we do there? says Robin to Bobbin;
Repeat these lines as above.

We will hunt the wren, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

Where is he? where is he? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

In yonder green bush, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

I see him, I see him, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

How shall we get him down, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

With sticks and stones, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

He is dead, he is dead, says Robin to Bobbin.,
Repeat, etc.

How shall we get him home? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

We'll hire a cart, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

Whose cart shall we hire? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

Johnny Bill Fell's, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

Who will stand driver? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

Filley the Tweet, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

He's home, he's home, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

How shall we get him boil'd? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

In the brewery pan, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

How shall we get him in? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

With iron bars and a rope, says Robin to Bobbin
Repeat, etc.

He is in, he is in, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

He is boil'd, he is boil'd, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

How shall we get him out? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

With a long pitchfork, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

He is out, he is out, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

Who's to dine at the dinner? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

The King and the Queen, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

How shall we get him eat? says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

With knives and forks, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

He is eat, he is eat, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

The eyes for the blind, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

The legs for the lame, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

The pluck for the poor, says Robin to Bobbin.
Repeat, etc.

The bones for the dogs, says Robin to Bobbin
The bones for the dogs, says Richard to Robin;
The bones for the dogs, says Jack of the land;
The bones for the dogs, says every one.

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
We have caught, St. Stephen's Day, in the furze;
Although he is little, his family's great,
I pray you, good dame, do give us a treat.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

John Caley is a talented Manx artist and this watercolour was selected for the Manx National Heritage Christmas card, which has been produced to mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of Harry Kelly's Cottage to the public and the creation of the first open-air folk museum in Britain.

Harry Kelly was a fisherman and native Manx speaker whose family had lived in Cregneash for several generations in the now famous cottage known as Harry Kelly's Cottage. His family generously gave the cottage to the Manx Museum, which opened it to the public in 1938.

So to all of my loyal blog readers: Have a happy, safe and healthy Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Manx Christmas - Past and Present

Click on the photo to go to the IOMToday.com page that shares Christmas stories from old and young, including a video of Vera Nuttall here singing "Silent Night". It is a part of the Tell Me project. In its first year, the innovative Tell Me project has published nearly 60 interviews undertaken by Manx primary and secondary pupils which record the memories of the Island's over-60s.
The project is sponsored by H&S Davidson Trust and AXA Isle of Man in partnership with Age Concern Isle of Man and the Department of Education, with the support of Manx National Heritage, Manx Telecom, Manx Radio and the Isle of Man Newspapers. The Tell Me 2008 book costs £10 and is available from Waterstone's, The Manx Museum, The Lexicon Bookshop, Age Concern Isle of Man and the Isle of Man Children's Centre. For more information please visit www.thetellmeproject.com
I think what I find the most telling difference is that the older generation believe in Christmas as a religious festival and the younger folk see it as a social occasion. I have read that Europe is largely a post-Christian society and this record would suggest there is some truth in this. (Although I think the IoM is not quite as far along as the rest of Europe!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

In 1881 Tynwald approved the Election Bill and delivered the first instalment of women’s right to vote in parliamentary elections within the British Isles. This step also made the Isle of Man the first country in the world to give women the vote in national elections. Now the Old House of Keys is offering its visitors an opportunity to step back in time and participate in this most momentous moment of Manx political history. Read about it here.

The Election Bill was introduced into the Keys on 5th November 1880 and proposed to extend the vote to every man of full age who was not subject to any legal incapacity such as bankruptcy. However, the ‘Manchester National Society for Women’s Suffrage’ reasoned that by deleting the word ‘male’, women would also receive the vote. The Society organised public meetings on the Isle of Man to promote the issue and public and press support grew to the extent that at the last such meeting, a resolution proposing the extension of the vote to women was approved unopposed.

Public support proved crucial in persuading the House of Keys in favour of the Isle of Man becoming the first country in the world to legislate to give all women the vote in national elections. The Keys were widely applauded and campaigners in the United Kingdom voiced the hope that ‘the House of Commons will not be less just in dealing with the claims of women ratepayers - than its sister assembly, the House of Keys’.

However, when the Bill was sent to the Island’s second chamber, the Legislative Council, on UK Home Office instruction the Lieutenant Governor, advised that they could not endorse the Keys decision because it would never receive Royal Assent. After political posturing the Keys submitted to the Council and accepted limited franchise for women, but took the unprecedented step of approving the following resolution unanimously;

‘Resolved; that whilst accepting the proposition of the Council to confer the electoral franchise on female owners of real estate, and to exclude female occupiers, this House considers it right to record that their agreement to this proposal is solely with the object of securing the partial concession made by the Council towards female suffrage - and that the opinion already expressed by the House, that male and female occupiers are equally entitled to vote, remains unaltered’.

Thus, in the Isle of Man the right to vote was extended to unmarried women and widows who owned property.

HAT TIP: Jack Kermode

Happy Birthday Robin

Today is Robin Gibb's 59th birthday. I'm sure it's a bittersweet day for him as he is, of course, a twin and his brother. Maurice, passed away in 2003. But we all wish him many happy returns of the day. (That's a British expression if you haven't heard it before!) Here's a before and after pair of photos to celebrate!

Local artist

This is a nice picture of Castletown Harbour from Des Clague, a local artist. Learn more about him at his website. www.desclague.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees has released a track in aid of the Manx Hospice. This is a very popular local charity and does great service to the community. This image is from the video for his gospel-inspired Homecoming Mix of Manx ballad Ellan Vannin. It is now available to download as an audio track for £1.49 - or £1.99 including the video shot in the St Thomas Chapel at King William's College – with all profits going to the charity.

It will also be included on a DVD due to be launched in early 2009 to coincide with the Bee Gees' 50th anniversary, featuring Isle of Man artists performing Bee Gee hits.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New racing stamps coming out

I know we don't bother much with F1 in the US, preferring Nascar to the sleek lines of the high octane international racing event, but in deference to the rest of the world, the Isle of Man Post Office is to issue stamps to mark Lewis Hamilton's Formula One world championship win. Given the Island's motorsport connections, it was decided the star was an appropriate subject for the set of six commemorative stamps.The stamp collection is entitled Lewis Hamilton – Formula One World Champion and includes a first day cover, presentation pack and special sheet folder. The packs will be issued on January 15. Go to the IoM Post Office site for details of how to order. (He is a very cool dude although Jimmy Johnson he ain't!)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ancestry Centre gets go ahead

The new "roots tourism" lure, the Manx Ancestry Centre, just rode through Tynwald on a 30:2 vote. (Quentin Gill and Juan Watterson of Rushen voted against.) I received this in a letter from Stephen Harrison who is still head of Manx National Heritage, addressed to organizations that were helpful in bringing about this move:

"Many thanks for all your help and support with this project so far. A number of Members of Tynwald commented on how good our presentation and information was, as well as how important the project itself was, and this undoubtedly helped us to get it through. So this continues the MNH record of never having lost a capital project debate in Tynwald. It also means that we have another strong and important project to focus on over the next two years. The building work on the old Government Analyst’s building will start in January and take just over a year, but there is a large amount of work also involved in preparing the digitization of the various layers of the national archive for final electronic delivery. It would be much appreciated if you could continue your excellent efforts in giving the project publicity internationally. I am sure there is still much fun to be had with this project! I wish all involved great continued success, and look forward to the opening in 2010. This is a nice way to bring the year to a close.

Stephen was kind enough to send me a brochure of the Centre which was embargoed until after the Tynwald presentation. I will send it to Jim Kneale to put on our website. The news article is here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Standard and Poors and Moody’s the external ratings agencies, have both today confirmed that the Isle of Man has retained its ‘AAA’ rating, the highest rating that either agency awards.
Despite recent events in world financial markets Standard and Poors note that “the Isle of Man government's overall robust financial position and policy flexibility should enable the Isle to weather the ongoing challenges in the global economic environment.”
With respect to the recent decision by Tynwald to make up to £150 million available under the revised Depositors Compensation Scheme, Moody’s note that “this is clearly manageable against free reserves and projected capital spending without significantly weakening the current finances of the Government.”
The Treasury Minister, Allan Bell MHK, reacted to both announcements by stating “I welcome the fact that Moody’s and Standard and Poors have reviewed their ratings and have both concluded that the Isle of Man is well placed to ride out the recent storms and will be able to withstand any future global economic downturn. We continue to attract global investment precisely because of our stable public finances and ability to respond quickly when required.”

The Triple AAA rating provides access to cheaper borrowing, acts as an important marketing tool for inward investors, and promotes a positive national identity and reputation for the Island.

HAT TIP: IoM Government

Monday, December 15, 2008


A letter from Dot at the IoM Post Office
Hi Kelly
Good range of gifts on www.iomgifts.com from Isle of Man Post Office
Hope you are well
Regards, Dot Tilbury

Short but sweet and she's right, there are lots of nice gifts on the site -- quite a lot from our Immediate Past President's company "Manx Inspirations" as well as stamps and coins, mugs, jewelry, soft toys and a gazillion other things. I guess if you're the Post Office free shipping is a cinch and it certainly makes this an attractive offer to people overseas - LIKE US!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Made to measure kilts from £295.00

How do you fancy a kilt for Christmas? Celtic Gold sell them through their shop in Peel. It's at this website, although for the life of me I don't know why Manx companies don't use the .im domain. The blue kilt follows the color scheme:

The blue for the sea, green for the hills, gold for the gorse, purple for the heather and white for cottages.

The new "hunting tartan" claims this for its theme:
Dark Grey: The rocks, the heart of Ellan Vannin
Grey Green: Her rugged valleys, hills and moors
Clear Blue :The sky above the land of Mannin
Grey Blue: The sea around here shining shores
Bright Gold: The gleam of cushag flowers a-blowing
Pure White: The mist that lingers for a while

Friday, December 12, 2008

Great news

You know - that potato did look rather red - and yes it's a YAM! So the IoM is still the World Heavyweight defender with Kenny Sloane's whopper knocking the Lebanese contender back against the ropes. Let's hear it for spuds an' herrin'! Check this.

Hat Tip: Jim Kneale

Three Legs of Man - Brian Kneale

Only 100 of these miniature "Three Legs" sculptures were made. Visitors to the IOM airport will recognize it immediately, it's the large bronze triskellion made for the queen's Silver Jubilee. Well, there are still some available. They cost £1,000 (no VAT for overseas purchases), you may have to pay shipping. Check the website for details. This is what it says:

Special gift available to buy: 'The Legs of Man' - a limited edition sculpture by Bryan Kneale, RA (b. 1930) - Manx Museum Heritage Shop, Douglas. Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. For further details & an order form, please click here. Or you can call the very helpful shop, on +44 1624 648000.

Commissioned by Manx National Heritage, ‘The Legs of Man’ is a beautiful representation of the Isle of Man’s famous national symbol and provides a wonderful opportunity to own a distinctive piece of Manx art by this acclaimed sculptor. An original production of 50 sculptures were made, of which 38 have already been sold, with all profits raised going towards the enhancement of the national art collection at the Manx Museum.

Bonkers in go-karts.

This site has a bonkers video of a POV camera in a go-kart zooming around Peel. In the rain (naturally).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

For people in the Washington Area

Lily Neill & Cartier Williams at The Velvet Lounge this Saturday, December 13 at 6 p.m.!!

This show was previewed in the “Washingtonian” magazine’s entertainment issue now come see Lily Neill and tap dance extraordinaire Cartier Williams in person! Lily just returned from debuting new material in a U.K. and Ireland tour which included dates on the Isle of Wight, in London at the Royal National Theatre and in Ireland in Dublin City and Carrig-on-Bannow. Cartier recently earned great reviews in D.C. with Savion Glover’s “Bare Soundz”. Check out their combined creativity and revel in the percussive trade-offs at the Velvet Lounge this Saturday, December 13 at 6 p.m.

The Velvet Lounge, 915 U Street NW, Washington, D.C. Phone 202.462.3213 - http://velvetloungedc.com/

We don't have that separation of Church and State thing going on over there

LOOKING THE PART: Boys dressed up as shepherds at Ballasalla Primary School (MIKE WADE)
LOOKING THE PART: Boys dressed up as shepherds at Ballasalla Primary School (MIKE WADE)

From www.iomtoday.com
11 December 2008
CHILDREN across the Isle of Man have been putting on their Christmas plays, nativities and pantos. And Isle of Man Newspapers photographers have been present at many of them to capture images for our school plays picture special which will be appearing in the Manx Independent Christmas edition, on sale on Wednesday, December 24. However, if you cannot wait that long, click the links below to view a selection of a few schools that have caught our eye.
All pictures are available to buy at www.photostoday.co.uk

>> Arbory School

>> Auldyn School

>> Ballasalla School

>> Buchan Nursery

>> Kewaigue School

>> Manor Park School

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New coins

In the forth of its "Twelve Days of Christmas" series, the Isle of Man has released its Four Calling Birds 50 pence coin, 2008. The first was the Partridge in a Peartree. See more at Pobjoy Mint. In the carol, the four calling birds refer to the four Bible gospels.

Apparently, the tradition of celebrating the 12 days of Christmas, starting on Dec. 25 through to the morning of Epiphany on Jan. 6, is based on a sequence of verses in the Bible and the belief that the Three Kings took 12 days to travel to Bethlehem after first seeing the Star of Bethlehem.

It was also medieval tradition to celebrate 12 days for Christmas, starting on Christmas Day with the Yule log being dragged in on Christmas Eve and kept alight for 12 days. It was thought to be bad luck if the log went out within the 12 days.

Manx record smashed

With this whopping great spud, Khalil Semat trumped the heaviest potato in the world record previously held by K. Sloan of the Isle of Man which was 7lbs 13 ozs - as big as a baby. This monster weighs 24.9lbs. (Who is K. Sloan?)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Charity calendar bares all

Goodness - they'll catch their deaths. It's freezing on the Island at the moment! This is the December picture for a charity calendar, featuring the Airbase Flight Support check in girls from the airport. Money raised from the calendar will be donated to the company's charity of the year, Wish Upon A Dream, which grants wishes for terminally ill children in the Island.
The calendar costs £10 and is available from the airport ticket desk and Douglas-based businesses Wessex Garage, Spill The Beans, the Rovers Return and Making IT Easy. Click here for the full story.

Maggie Sansone

I went to the concert I have been promoting featuring Maggie Sansone and her hammer dulcimer. She and her group, who accompanied her on Irish harp, wooden flute and guitar, gave a wonderful Christmas concert of Celtic and Appalachian American music. As she had been promoted here she kindly added a segment of Manx music to the program and told everyone about the Isle of Man and where it is and how it is a Celtic nation. Sadly, I was the only GWAMS or NAMA member there but thanks to Maggie's programming at least 400 people now know more about the IOM than they did before the concert.

Their music is fabulous. Although it's boisterous and decidedly Celtic, the smoothness of the tone and the perfect integration of the sounds brings to mind the easy listening of chamber music - albeit with way more toe tapping! I strongly recommend it. Last night was in a church but I'm thinking a pub would be a better setting.

She is doing three more concerts around the DC area, including a New Year's Day one in Annapolis. Check out her website for more details. http://www.maggiesansone.com

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vel Gaelg ayd?

Well this is interesting - a journalist from Canada is writing about Manx (the language). Her name is Rita Marshall and this is her site. She points her readers to the Ynsee Gaelg website (learn Manx) hosted by Manx National Heritage. This is indeed a great site with lots of useful Manx expressions. They have recently posted a PDF full of Christmas greetings which might be useful while you're writing your Christmas cards. To be helpful, I am listing some here:

Nollick Ghennal - Happy Christmas
Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa - Happy Christmas and a Good New Year
Lesh yeearreeyn share - With best wishes
Lesh yeearreeyn share son y Nollick as y Vlein Noa - With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year
Lesh yeearreeyn share ec yn imbagh casherick shoh - With best wishes at this holy Season
Shee as Boggey erriu - Peace and Joy to you
Lesh Shee as Graih - With peace and love
Hee’m oo ‘sy vlein noa - See you in the New Year
Shee erriu car ny bleeaney shoh çheet - Peace to you throughout the coming year

Some other phrases worth knowing:
Christmas Card - Kaart Nollick
Christmas Carol -Carval
Christmas Day - Laa Nollick
Christmas Drink - Jough y Nollick
Christmas Eve - Oie’ll Voirrey
Christmas Tree - Billey Nollick
Father Christmas - Jishag y Nollick
Snowman - Fer sniaghtee

For more information about the Manx Language visit: www.learnmanx.com

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Great story about Edward VIII and the "Yorkshire Yogi", Dr. Alexander Cannon.

Apparently, the Establishment became worried that the King was falling under the spell of the Doctor and an allegation about the matter was made in a letter from a vicar to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Cosmo Laing.

The Archbishop began an investigation into the claims and alerted the prime minister about his concerns. The Lambeth Palace documents detailing all this have been studied in detail by the programme's reporter, Sean Stowell, and Roger Sims, an archivist at the Manx Museum who has led the research into Cannon.

I heard about this in an email earlier today:

Dear Kelly,
Brian Stowell's son Sean is assembling a programme for Radio 4 which is about a "mystery man" named Dr. Alexander Cannon who lived in Mannin during the war. He was a "magician." I attended one of his magic shows at the Douglas High School for Boys when I was a pupil there. We youngsters were very impressed with his hypnotism and levitation illustrations. What the masters in our school thought about his show was not revealed to us!
Lhiats, Terry Mc Caffrey (Vancouver Manx)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Manx Radio webcams

If you go here: http://www.manxradio.com/webcams.aspx you will find a selection of webcams. When I clicked it was a sunny day in Douglas -- but it looked mighty cold.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch

Following last week’s record of over 150 Bottlenose dolphins frolicking across Douglas Bay on the Isle of Man, the same pod were again spotted yesterday afternoon between Gansey and Port St Mary. This is the biggest single group seen off the Island since records began, and it is incredibly unusual for them to be sighted this frequently, indicating that they are obviously enjoying their stay!
Whilst it is rare to see such a large pod of dolphins, it is not uncommon to spot dolphins on the Isle of Man. There were approximately 604 reported sightings of whales and dolphins during 2007 alone with 1,700 sightings of animals in total. Visitors to the Island can also expect to see basking sharks, seals and porpoises.
Further information on whale and dolphin watching can be found on the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch website www.mwdw.net

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Dec. 6 ( This Saturday)- 7:30 pm. An Evening of Celtic and Christmas Music. Featuring: Maggie Sansone, hammered dulcimer, Irish singer Pat Egan on vocals and guitar; Sue Richards on Celtic harp and Laura Byrne on Irish Flute. Adults: $18, Seniors & students: $10/Under 13-$5.Tickets and Information: (703) 765–4342,St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 8009 Fort Hunt Road, Alexandria VA 22308. http://www.saintlukeschurch.net/newsfeed.asp?choice=ACNS

If it's not Manx, it's just a cat.

This is a nice site with lots of details about Manx cats with some stunning photos although I didn't see the tale explaining why he has no tail. Apparently, Manx cats are grumpy and reluctant to do what they are told. When Noah was loading the animals on the Ark, Manxie was too busy chasing mice to come on board. well, the rains started, and Noah and the lads were pulling up the aft hatch when right at the last minute, as the hatch slammed shut, Manxie dove through the gap cutting off his tail. And God left him that way ever since as a caution to other animals to do what they are told.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hi Longtale Fans,

We're back after a six month stint down at Guantanamo Bay where we were held as prisoners of conscience. The CIA released us on the condition that we made a Christmas Special and also released a DVD...
Watch the trailer here:
Buy the DVD here:
The Christmas Special goes out next week.. watch this space.
take care out there,
Longtale TV.com


Great introduction to Manx art on the Manx National Heritage website.
It really gives you a good grounding in Manx artists, the different styles, eras, etc. Enjoy delights such as this from John Miller Nicholson.

Also, Washington Manx member, Tom Sweeting, has some great IOM photos on this site: http://tomhere.smugmug.com/Travel/646751

Sunday, November 30, 2008

An Isle of Man company is to develop a casino in Taiwan. AMZ Holdings PLC (Amazing) is a property development group involved in the establishment of a Casino hotel resort in the Pescadores (locally know as Penghu). The company is registered in the Isle of Man. Until recently, the Pescadores was off-limits for development during the martial law era, but since the rapid democratization of Taiwan, conditions have improved and Amazing is now in a position to take advantage of this pristine location as the first major beach front development on the islands. The company intends to build a world-class casino resort with the following specifications:

Initial phase will consist of 100 room luxury hotel

If gaming legalised, facilities expanded to:

600 room luxury hotel

Multi-level casino over 130,000 sq ft

Slot machines, games tables, race & sports books
Excellent location

27 acre beach resort

250 ft beach frontage on Fongkue Beach

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Norton set for return at TT 2009

16 years is a long wait but it's great news for the TT. Norton will be back next year with a new bike a famous name rider, Michael Dunlop, the son of the late TT legend Robert "Joey' Dunlop, who will ride the Norton NRV 588 on its TT debut in the senior race. The owner of Norton Racing, Stuart Garner, has brought the marque back to Britain after a few years in the US. BBC

Photo: Rem Fowler won the inaugural TT in 1907 riding on a Norton

Friday, November 28, 2008

Isle of Man Céilí Band at the All-Ireland

The Isle of Man Céilí Band from Laxey, Isle of Man, with a hornpipe. This is the first occasion that a band from the Isle of Man competed in the Senior Céilí Band competition at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, held August 2008 in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
Watch it here: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=nXbfQbd9yi8&feature=email

Members are: Katie Lawrence, David Kilgallon, Adam Rhodes, fiddles; Rachel Higham and Patrick Knight, flutes; Rebecca Hurst, concertina; Mary Molloy, button accordion; Russell Cowin, double bass; Kirsty Lawrence, piano and John Ryan, drums.

More info and videos at http://comhaltaslive.ie
Or subscribe via iTunes at http://tinyurl.com/comhaltas
Hat Tip: Illiam Cassidy

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Another great IoM wartime story

...We left next morning also for Liverpool but our ship was a much smaller one. It was the ferry to the Isle of Man. Very few of us even knew that there was an island in the Irish Sea and all sorts of rumours arose about our destination before we actually docked at Douglas on the Isle of Man. Armed guards escorted us with fixed bayonets to a square in the centre of Douglas. A double row of barbed wire had been erected around three streets. There were twelve houses each facing the lawned green square and the third row of houses backed on to one of the rows facing the square. All the houses were identical and were typical Edwardian houses built as boarding houses for the summer visitors. All rooms had double beds and with very little other furniture. The kitchens were basically equipped and there was a through downstairs drawing / dining room. There were no black out curtains provided but all the glass in the windows had been painted dark blue and the electric light bulbs were bare but painted a shade of orange. This was so no bright light could be seen from the air. ...From the Daily Telegraph. Click for the whole story.
One of my friends in the Manx Fire Brigade was interviewed with some of his colleagues for a project that has them training fire brigades in Eastern Europe. There is a chance I might join them on their trip to Romania next May.

I think this link should work for you if you are not on a mac: http://www.manxradio.com/audiovault/HeadsTUES-2.wma You can find it under Tuesday, Talking Heads 2 here: http://www.manxradio.com/listenagain.aspx

Feel free to pass this on.

Take Care,
Tom (the US Firefighter)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Brazil 0 Isle of Man 1

Manx a lot, says Blatter

In a shock announcement this lunchtime, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has annulled Brazil's application to host the 2014 World Cup, giving the rights instead to the Isle of Man...

Check out the Onion Bag

Hat Tip: Jim Kneale

Monday, November 24, 2008

New recruitment company for over-50s

Graham Shaw, former owner of Mannin Foods, technically retired and realised what we all knew all the time, that he wouldn't be able to rest his a*se, as he's been a really hard worker all his life. Anyhow, he has now created a recritment agency for the over 50s. Mannin Recruitment caters for the 8,000 retired people on the island. Apparently, ten per cent of retired people in the UK now work part-time for an average of 14 hours per week to supplement their income, (according to a recent study by insurer GE Life). So, if you're thinking of retiring there...

Aer Arran to launch Isle of Man-London City services

24 Nov 2008 - Great news!
Aer Arran is to launch three-times daily services between London City Airport and the Isle of Man from 19 January 2009. The service will compete with daily flights operated on the route by VLM.

The airline plans to use the 72-seat ATR72-500 aircraft for the service, (see photo) the first time that the aircraft will have been used at London City Airport.

Hat Tip: Illiam Cassidy

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Read the Government’s response to the Lifeboat spectrum issue

Ofcom has been consulting on introducing spectrum pricing to the aeronautical and maritime sectors. We are doing this because radio spectrum is a scarce and valuable resource and lots of different users want to use it. It’s important that it is managed as efficiently as possible, because then society as a whole can get the most out of the finite amount available.

One of the ways that we try to achieve this is by charging users for the spectrum - or airwaves - they use. This already includes a huge array of public and private sector users, including MOD, NHS, ambulance, police and taxi firms. But we recognise the special position of safety of life charities, which is why they receive a 50 per cent discount on their current fees.

What we are proposing in the maritime case is simply to change the ways fees are worked out so that they aren’t based on the admin costs of issuing a licence, but on how much spectrum is used. Under our proposals the RNLI might actually pay less than they do now. We estimate that they could pay around £20,000 compared to the £40,000 that they currently pay.

The consultation closed at the end of last month. Ofcom will now take stock of the responses, and any updates will be posted on the Ofcom website (www.ofcom.org.uk).

Ahhh, isn't he sweet...

...well he will be until he's been trained to take down a villain. Bodie is 10 weeks old and one of 10 dogs in the Manx constabulary force. As Sergeant Kelly said: 'Fully-grown German shepherds are physically imposing and their mere presence can help to restore order when incidents are threatening to boil over.'
I remember back in the 1970s seeing a headline in the Examiner that read, "Police dog strength doubled" and on reading the article discovered that they had bought another one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Manx are coming!

Plans are underway to come to the US and explain what good guys we are to the new Administration. I'll let you know more when I know. Maybe we can have a meeting with them ourselves? It'll be the top flight delegation.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

David Drew Howe

Some of you may be familiar with David Howe. Today, he made the IoM papers with a response to the ongoing Kaupthing bank saga from Iceland.

s website http://www.royaltyofman.com contains information regarding his claim to be the de jure King of the Isle of Man (he has been crowned by an archbishop according to his website). Googling him is fun, too as there are lots of different opinions flying around about him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Come on guys - get busy!

OK, you all know that my regard for the RNLI defers to no man. Well get this. It's mental.

The background: (From the Daily Telegraph...)

LIFEBOAT crews fear being scuppered by crippling new charges for using their radios from Ofcom, the communications regulator. The RNLI could see the price of using its VHF emergency frequencies rise to £250,000 under plans to charge the full commercial rate. The charity, which saves hundreds of lives every year currently pays an annual £48,000 at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. It relies on donations and fears the move will have a disastrous impact on fundraising. Peter Bradley, RNLI operations staff officer, said: 'It's a lot of money when you think in terms of lifeboat days and little old ladies collecting pound coins.' 'We could buy several inshore lifeboats for the same amount.' 'The Government rely on us to provide this search-and-rescue service, at a cost of £124 million a year, but they want to charge us for doing it!'

Ofcom has set out plans to bring 'market forces' into maritime and civil aviation communications in a policy it calls Administered Incentive Pricing. £250,000 represents an awful lot of charity collections, even more so in the current economic climate so, if like me you feel strongly enough about this, please sign the petition below.


Please forward to anyone you think might help by signing the petition.
Hat Tip: Marion

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Island at War

The story about the American bomber made me start thinking about WWII and the Isle of Man. The BBC collected wartime stories together and you can find all the ones that relate to the IoM here. There are some good ones.

The IoM was also an internment camp for civilian aliens (under British control) and there is an interesting page about their lives here. In WWII, existing property, which was mostly requisitioned bed and breakfast places, were cordoned off and used as camps - different camps catered for different nationalities - women and children were housed around Port Erin and Port St Mary in the south which had controlled access from the rest of the Island; UK Fascists and Italians were interned at Peel, and a section of central Douglas promenade was cordoned off for use as a series of male camps.

Photos:Ramsey, Knockaloe Camp & Douglas Promenade,