Sunday, August 31, 2008

Manx Fishermen's Evening Hymn

This hymn is greatly loved in the Isle of Man and is - if you get what I mean - very popular at funerals. I just came across a bizarre website that has over 7,000 hymns played on a very irritating but rather authentic sounding chapel organ and it has words and music to this lovely hymn. Admittedly it has stripped out all the emotion of the great work by William H. Gill who compiled the Manx National Song Book Vol.1 in an attempt to save some Manx music for posterity. He adapted this version from a local hymn. (Yes, Andrew - from Peel.)

Trains - and Bikes

Thanks to the Times of India for this sweet travel report. Their reporter traveled up Snaefell to be transported back to childhood.

And Mark Cavendish was having a great week until he hurt his hip in an accident. He won three stages and three Waterford Crystal trophies but came in 47th overall. Check out the Manx Radio report.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Miscellany - mostly Canadian

You have to go to this Canadian woman's blog -- it is very compelling. What a great feat. I decided not to disabuse her of her understanding of the Tower of Refuge which she seems to think of as a place of personal retreat whereas it is in fact a place of safety for sailors whose ships are brought down on the rocks in Douglas Bay. It was built by Sir William Hillary, founder of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, the volunteer organization that rescues people in peril on the sea. It is also completely funded by "private subscription". As a result of it not being hamstrung by government budgets it is a formidable organization with state-of-the-art equipment. It is considered a great honor to be "on the Lifeboat".

I don't know if you have a pre-teen or teenage girl in your family but news of this movie being launched today in Toronto might interest her. Called "Me and Orson Welles" it stars Zac Efron, a current adolescent heartthrob. They shot scenes depicting Welles's Mercury Theater in New York in the Gaiety Theatre, Douglas. This picture has him sitting in the stalls.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Green T.T. in 2009

The 2009 Isle of Man TT will host the world’s first clean emissions Grand Prix. Dubbed the Time Trials Xtreme Grand Prix by its creator, Azhar Hussain, it will be an open-formula series of races around the Isle of Man Mountain Course with only one rule: no harmful emissions.

In possibly the only time I'll give a link to Hell for Leather Magazine I hope you find the article interesting!

Mike Bellis is coming to Boston for surgery

You may remember an e-mail I sent out about a chap called Mike Bellis who has a rare brain tumor which is so unusual that the only place in the world that thinks it can remove it is in Boston. Mike is from Peel and due to an amazing response by the Manx public (and maybe some of us) he is coming to the States.

Mike, a 28-year-old plumber, from Douglas, had a consultation with world-leading neurosurgeon Dr Peter Black in Boston last month.

Dr Black is prepared to operate as soon as possible to remove the tumour and begin radiotherapy to tackle the astrocytoma – a cancer affecting the nervous system – Mike was diagnosed with in the spring.

If you check out the article you will see that the fund raising is being conducted by Geoff Gelling, the IOM Bank's Head of Retail Banking and the son of NAMA's friends, Joan and former Chief Minister, Donald Gelling.

Donations can still be made by contacting Mike via email on or by sending cheques, made payable to Mr M. T. Bellis, 3 Robert Cubbon Close, Douglas, IM2 6PT, British Islands.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Manx Culture - At Home and Abroad

Some interesting news from the IOM Newspapers site.
Manx Gaelic Business Guide
For a language that was pretty much dead when I was a kid the resurgence of 'the Manx' is a fantastic achievement and an inspiration to other languages facing extinction. There is a great effort on the IOM Online website with a video* or two to help you learn some Manx over the internet. Did you know that we now have mother-tongue Manx children? And here comes a guide to the business community.

Back Door Slam
The boys have extended their US Tour. The full article is online and details the venues. Their website is full of other information and tells you more about them. They also have a Facebook page if you're hip to all that.

*HAT TIP: Marshall

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tin Bath -- update

4,000 people turned out in the pouring rain (well, it is the Isle of Man) to see Lee Cain winning the Tin Bath World Championships
on Saturday. Click the link to IOM newspapers for more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Need a cold one Down Under?

Prairie Hotel - Parachilna

Check this place out. Prairie Hotel, Parachilna is a luxury hotel in the Outback of Australia. Parachilna has a population of seven but it's got a hotel with a bar that's been voted one of the best in the world. And it's run by guys called Ross and Ian Fargher - check out the beer label!

Monday, August 25, 2008

View across the Irish Sea

I found this fabulous picture on Flickr. You know how people say you can see 7 Kingdoms from the top of Snaefell? (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Man, Neptune and the Kingdom of Heaven) - well, this is the view of the Island from the Whin Rhigg in Cumbria. Great shot, isn't it?

It's from a collection by "Hdentist" and on this roll of film he has some splendid shots of the hills, lakes and moors of northern England.

Friday, August 22, 2008

World Tin Bath Championship tomorrow - Port St. Mary Lifeboat standing by.

The annual battle for the World Tin Bath Championships organized by the Castletown Ale Drinkers Society (CADS) will be wetly contested in Castletown harbor tomorrow afternoon. Now in its 37th year, the contest attracts competitors from all over the world. Americans may want to cheer for Gary Duchars, the Yank in a tank. Also featured will be Man-powered flight - the record is still 6ft 3 inches before the tape sank.

Follow it on the Isle of Man Newspapers site:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Harry Kelly's Cottage

If you've been to the Isle of Man you've probably been to Cregneash; if you've watched "Waking Ned Devine" you've definitely seen it. Well, this year is its 70th year of being open to the public. It's one of the Island's most famous tourist attractions and a great tribute to the authorities who decided to protect it and the rest of the village. (People still lived there when I was a kid!)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fire at Ronaldsway --- 3,000 years ago

Check out the latest from the Ronaldsway Airport excavations. The airport is extending its runway but before they put down the blacktop, archaeologists are uncovering all sorts of interesting things about our Manx past. Ronaldsway has already thrown up Viking artifacts (well its name is Norse) and now we're getting information about the Bronze Age. Check out this great article at the IOM Newspapers site.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Witches Mill

I found this fabulous link to a description -- and refutation -- of the Castletown Witches Mill story. Beware: there is shocking news about the Fairy Bridge, too.

No luck this time.

The Isle of Man is still medal-less at the the Olympics. Four-time Tour de France winner Cavendish and his partner, two gold medal winner, Bradley Wiggins finished eighth with the Gold going to Argentina.

Silver went to Spain and Russia took bronze. Nice try, Cav. Better luck next time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

NAMA Youth Award is the NAMA Youth Group site on Facebook - please ask under-21s that you know to go there and talk to other Manx connected youth and also to think about the 2010 NAMA Youth Award.

The NAMA Youth Award is a piece of special Manx black limestone carved with the three legs of Man emblem. It is awarded every two years (even numbered) by the Isle of Man Department of Education to a student or group of students in the US or Canada, 18 or younger, who makes a contribution to maintaining an awareness of the Isle of Man and its culture here in North America. (NAMA gives an award in the IOM for Manx kids.)

And if the rock's not enough, the North American Manx Association has just decided to award $200 to the 2010 winner(s) as well as free lifetime membership to NAMA.

The winner must demonstrate an interest in Manx culture or history by sharing their knowledge through essay, art, multimedia, performance art, etc.

Nominations will be accepted via the internet or by snail mail. Each nomination must be in the form of a short description of the nominee's work that explains how this relates to the Isle of Man. Photos or video of the original work should accompany the nomination (soft or hard copies) . Nominees must provide contact details for themselves and one reference that may be used by the judges to discuss the work and its authenticity. All initial contacts should go to who will pass them to the Youth Award team.

Congratulations to Becky Billman of Minnetonka, MN who won the 2008 Award with this traveling exhibition about Tynwald.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What the heck is the Madison?

Manxman Mark Cavendish will be in the Madison race on August 19th.
Eighteen teams of two riders race around a banked, wooden track for an hour of handoffs, sprints and bumps.
You are not allowed to knock your rivals off the track but in the Madison you can expect to see a lot of elbowing and shoulder barges as the riders fight to get in the best position.
The event is named after Madison Square Garden in New York where cycling around an indoor track was made popular at the end of the 19th Century.

If you look at the photo, try and follow these rules:
RACING LINES: The black line on the inner part of the track marks the shortest distance around the velodrome. Above the blue 'stayer's line' is where Madison riders will be when not actively in the race. Here, Peter Kennaugh is seen dropping down below the blue line to be thrown into the race by Mark Cavendish. The two are pictured on their way to victory in the 2008 British Madison championship at the Manchester Velodrome, UK.

Full story and credits to:

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Christmas is coming...

... and the pound is finally falling against the dollar.

So if you want to buy some quality Christmas gifts from the Isle of Man - why not buy them from our immediate Past President? Laurence has a great company called Manx Inspirations and he ships all over the world. His website has some fabulous items - my personal fave is the leather journal with the three legs on the front -- but he has amazing Christmas cards featuring snow on some of our most beautiful landmarks, great calendars, Fair Trade gifts and much, much more.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Mark Cavendish -- New stamps

The Isle of Man Post Office pays a Postal tribute to Manx-born Team GB Beijing Olympic hopefuls Mark Cavendish and Jonny Bellis.The Isle of Man Post Office issue this special sheet of stamps on the 9th August 2008 - the day of the Beijing Olympic Road Race - to wish Manx-born riders Mark Cavendish and Jonny Bellis all the best of luck in their quest for Olympic glory.

Other links of interest:


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Anna Goldsmith

Thanks to Carol Hunter, Head of Communications at IOM Government, I can now tell you that the lovely voice on the Freedom to Flourish Space video is Anna Goldsmith. Check her out here:

Her website:
You Tube

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Larry, Curly and Moe

Back Door Slam -- Live from the Isle of Man

I don't know if you guys like blues/rock but whatever your taste you have to accept that Davy Knowles, the lead guitarist here, is a guitar god. The band hails from the South of the Island and is currently on tour in the US.


And listen to them on Youtube:

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Isle of Man is now a global leader in Space Commerce

The Isle of Man has an expanding range of services to the satellite and deep space industries. Currently it offers a spacecraft register, financing expertise, insurance capability and many other allied services. This is promo video the Space Commerce people are using at conferences and exhibitions. It's a part of the IOM Government's forward-looking plan to be a part of the next wave of change in the e-commerce and space industries.