Friday, October 31, 2008

Fire in the kitchen - what not to do.

What with Hop tu Naa and all, I have been writing a lot recently about flames so I thought you might all appreciate a little reminder of how dangerous an oil fire in your kitchen can be. This is a British Fire Brigade's video of a classic chip-pan fire (fries to you) and how the correct way to extinguish it is by turning off the heat source, soaking a tea cloth and wringing out the excess moisture and covering the fire. Never water.

Why not water? Well, the water, being heavier than oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out.
Also, do not throw sugar or flour on an oil fire. Apparently, one cup creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite. Watch the video and don't forget what you see. It's probably not good for small children to see this.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


In the land of a thousands TV channels this might not seem such a big deal but there is a debate raging in the IOM: Border or Granada.? The UK's independent (i.e. advertising funded) stations have consolidated and the Border channel that carried Manx news has been absorbed into the North East region's Tyne Tees station. Granada is a powerful North-West station which always used to have much better programming. But the big deal is the News. Will the East-Coasters give a hoot about an island hundreds of miles away in the middle of the Irish Sea? Will big, busy Granada (HELL’S KITCHEN, NANNY 911 and RAMSAY’S KITCHEN NIGHTMARES ) care about our footling announcements from Tynwald? In my experience the difference between them is that on Border you got sheep prices and announcements about coffee mornings in church halls in Dumfries (yawn), and on Granada you got the latest Manchester drugland death toll (eek). Manxies have until November 21 to make the call to the IOM's Communications Commission.

New international representative for culture and heritage

Following my post about his leaving Manx National Heritage, I got an email from Stephen Harrison telling me what he's going to be up to next. The Chief Minister has invited him to become the Government’s international representative for culture and heritage.
"This new designation means I will be able to spend more time developing and assisting the cultural heritage dimensions of links all around the world, and especially of course, in America. Could you please let all your contacts know that I am willing to act as an enabling conduit for all international cultural heritage matters and will help with the development and delivery of projects whenever possible."
I know the new NAMA Museum will be all over this like white on rice. Leave any other suggestions here and I'll forward them to Stephen.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Politicians pick up paintbrushes as school classrooms get a new look

I saw this headline somewhere and followed the link. "Staff of a primary school will be picking up their paintbrushes over the half-term holidays this week to give a bright new look to the rooms used by reception class pupils. Headteacher Adrian Shorthouse and staff at Scoill Vallajeelt, Braddan, will be joined by parents and by Douglas South MHK Bill Malarkey and his wife Carol, a Douglas Councillor. They will spend the week putting the finishing touches to a refurbishment that will see the reception classrooms fitted out with new equipment, furniture and flooring. It is the latest in a series of community initiatives that are benefiting the school’s 235 pupils."

Then I looked at the website and I thought you might be interested to see how education is typically conducted on the IOM. Click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The snow's on the mountains, the snow's in the gill

A picture of Snaefell in an unseasonable fall of snow today. The words in my title are from a very miserable Manx folk song "Ny kirree fo Niaghtey" -"The sheep under the snow". The whole flock is lost on the mountain under the snow and the shepherds go out with haste, lanterns and staves but the sheep are all dead. Great tune, though. (Manx National Song Book Vol.1 first song.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Head of MNH to retire.

Some of you may know Stephen Harrison, he's been the head of Manx National Heritage for a while and greatly instrumental in its development into the worldclass organisation it is today. Well, he's retiring. During his directorship, MNH won a series of international awards including winning the British Museum of the Year Award twice and gaining a special award in the European Museum of the Year competition. Check out their website - if you were a kid you could get a free turnip this week.

And this is only part of the photo...

Go here to find out more about this shot from the top of Snaefell looking towards Wales.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween vs Hop tu Naa

Having been raised on turnip lanterns I have a preference for them and the sweet smell they exude as the candle cooks them from inside. And it's way harder than the girlie pumpkin version to carve. So, in advance of Friday's trick or treat extravaganza I give you: A Guide to Carving a Turnip. All you need is a turnip, a strong knife, string and wrists strong enough to rip a Yellow Pages directory in half. Dads come into their own at Hop Tu Naa.

Appropriate for Breeders' Cup weekend

THE MANX "DERBY." The original Derby was Manx. Oh yes, it was.
(From Mona Miscellany - the Manx Society

"The hardy race of Manx small horses has been mentioned by various writers on the Isle of Man from an early date. This breed is still to be met with in some of the upland farms, and are renowned for their fleetness, as well as being sure footed, and capable of enduring any amount of hard work.* Their mettle was often tried in the race from the church on a bridal morning, in the contest who should arrive first at the bridegroom’s abode, and have the honour of breaking the bridecake over the head of the bride as she entered the house. (Sounds fun!)

James, the 7th Earl of Derby, "The Great Earl," succeeded to the royalty of Man in 1627, instituted races on the island on a piece of land extending rather more than a mile across the peninsula of Langness, and a record in the Rolls’ Office states that he gave a cup to be run for at these races, thus establishing the "Manx Derby," the precursor of that now celebrated race "The Derby," or the " Blue Ribbon" of the turf. These races were continued by the 8th Earl by command as follows:

It is my good will and pleasure yt ye 2 prizes formerly granted (by me) for hors runing and shouting, shall continue as they did, to be run, or shot for, and so to continue dureing my good will and pleasure.—Given under my hand att Lathom ye 12 of July 1669.
DERBY (8th Earl).
To my governor’s deputy governor, & ye rest of my officers in my Isle of Man.

The first English "Derby" was run for in 1780, and won by Diomede, belonging to Sir Charles Bunbury, "whose ardour for the turf was conspicuous to his last hour." By this it will be seen that the "Manx Derby" was the senior of its now more renowned namesake, by about a century and a half. The Kentucky version followed another hundred or so years later."
Check out the link, it's fascinating. The winner in 1687 was called "Loggerhead".

* There are no indigenous horses any more. This from Wikipedia:

Manx horses also went extinct c. 1820-1830. Of them Thomas Quayle said,
"THE island had formerly its peculiar breed also of ponies, fine boned, sure footed ; blacks, greys, and bays: from neglect this breed also has become nearly extinct. Still less care than with regard to horned cattle and sheep, has been taken to replace the indigenous breed by the introduction of good draft-horses. In the uplands a small breed is yet to be found, kept at slender expense, rarely housed in winter. When wanted, they are fetched home in the morning, and after a feed of sheaf-oats or hay, worked all day, and in the evening, after another feed, dismissed again to the pasture. The animal thus treated must be unequal to the spring-ploughing ; but from the cessation of work in summer, gradually recovers."

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Do you know what a mhelliah (mell-yah) is? It's a celebration of the harvest and usually it's nowadays tied in with a fund-raiser. Here they're auctioning off the homegrown foods for local charities. I love a mhelliah - usually the most successful ones are in a pub but that's not really in keeping with the Methodist tradition (now largely eroded) of teetotalism and lots of mhelliahs were in rural church halls where Methodism was strong. This was in a church hall in Dalby.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wildlife Tours with an expert

I got an email from Steve at Isle of Man Wildlife Tours. They look great. The pictures are some of the critters you can see on his tours. There's a tern, a chough, a hen harrier and a dolphin - cool, eh? It takes a long time to get this level of knowledge about habitat so why not go with an expert local. (Although having the domain when a perfectly good Manx .im is available beats me.)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

CIA World Factbook

The CIA World Factbook says there is .95 of a man to every 1 woman on the IOM. Well, that explains a lot. I see we're only reproducing at 1.65 births and they say our export commodities include: tweeds, herring, processed shellfish, beef and lamb but I think our herring exporting days are pretty long gone. Just the odd kipper these days. The tweeds are great however. And it says we have no outstanding transnational disputes. Tell that to Bernie Moffat.
Erieversible This personal site describes how to move from the Isle of Man to Erie, PA from the point of view of a family planning just that. Today, they are looking at the difference in weather.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Prince Andrew visits IOM

Prince Andrew, the UK's special representative for international trade and investment, visited Swagelok in Tromode and opened Manhattan Aviation's new training center at the Freeport, Ballasalla. That's him on the right.

The Isle of Man operation of
Swagelok Company is their largest manufacturing operation outside the U.S. It is an industry leader in fluid system technology and services. From the Isle of Man facility, Swagelok supports its piping and regulator product offering for the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries. They employ 190 people making it one of the largest of the 52 manufacturing companies on the Island. Manhattan Aviation is a recruitment agency supplying contract labor to the aerospace maintenance industry as well as training courses for people in the industry.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wild Target

Actor Bill Nighy, a regular visitor to the island and a great supporter of Isle of Man Film, is joining Martin Freeman, Rupert Grint, (Ron Weasley from Harry Potter) Rupert Everett, and Emily Blunt as filming begins for a new comedy called Wild Target.

Victor Maynard (Nighy) is a middle-aged, solitary assassin, who lives to please his formidable mother, Louisa (Eileen Atkins). His professional routine is interrupted when he finds himself drawn to one of his intended victims, Rose (Emily Blunt). This leads to a whole host of chaos, and mayhem ensues. The production has started its London shoot and is headed to the Isle of Man three weeks. Wild Target will be the fourth film made on the Island this year, joining ‘A Bunch of Amateurs’, ‘Me and Orson Welles’ and ‘Heartless’.

Pride in Mann

It's all rather heart-warming. The Pride in Mann awards, there are 11, paint a picture of a small community sticking together, looking out for each other and uniting in their pride in the island and its residents. Overall, Mark Cavendish, the cyclist was the Pride in Mann winner and along with his trophy he gets free flights on Flybe -- which I'm sure will make a huge difference to his expenses! He is on and off the island all the time. But some of the other winners make you smile because they do things that only small communities care about and it great to know they are being recognized by the other members of the community.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Random things of interest

Have you ever played conkers? There's a nice story about the social life of people from Foxdale here.

And you'd think that these people at the Belfast Star would know the IOM's not in the UK, but maybe they were distracted by the story. What were the art organizers thinking?

You know I never like to miss a Royal National Lifeboat Institute story well they just released their figures for the first six months of this year and the IOM lifeboats rescued 56 people. The Lifeboat is entirely funded by public donations and is not funded by the government and the crews are all made up of volunteers. Three cheers for the lifeboatmen!!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Treasury Minister Meets Financial Leaders in Washington – Announces Plan to Help Developing Small States

WASHINGTON DC, October 13, 2008 – Treasury Minister, Allan Bell, in Washington to attend the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings, held informal meetings over the weekend with the leaders of the international financial institutions and with ministers and officials of both industrialised and developing countries. Of particular note was the Minister’s lengthy and helpful discussion with OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurria, who has recently characterised the Isle of Man as a model for its openness and cooperative stance towards other jurisdictions.

On Saturday, the Minister was the keynote speaker at the Small States Forum hosted by the World Bank where he met its President, Robert Zoellick. “The president had just come from a tense G-7 finance ministers meeting and discussed the more coordinated international response to the global financial crisis that has emerged over the past few days. He stressed that now is the time for governments across the world to start putting in place improved regulatory and other policies rather than waiting until the crisis has run its course.”

This is the first time that a delegation from the Isle of Man has attended the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank and follows the election of the Island as the first Associate Member of the Small States Network for Economic Development. In his statement to the Small States Forum, the Minister announced a major new initiative that will leverage the Isle of Man’s financial sector expertise to benefit of other small states, many of which are amongst the poorest countries in the world.

An innovative executive education programme run by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School will enable some 25 officials a year from the central banks, finance ministries and regulatory bodies of small states to improve their ability to manage their financial sectors and engage more effectively with the global financial system.

The initiative will bring together leading professors from Oxford, Harvard, and other universities, along with practitioners from throughout the world, including several from the Isle of Man, to engage with 25 small state officials each year for a two week highly participatory programme using the facilities of the Isle of Man International Business School, starting in September 2009.
Any good at animation? Get a job in the Isle of Man.
Nine jobs are to be created at a new animation studio being set up by Magic Light Pictures in association with CinemaNX and Isle of Man Film. The guys in charge have come from Aardman, the company that gave us the glorious Wallace and Grommit.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The IOM Post Office will launch its new Christmas stamps on October 20th. They are really sweet. A set of six stamps costs £3.69, the presentation pack £4.44 and the first day cover £4.39. The Jolly Christmas Postman books, by Allan and Janet Ahlberg. The Jolly Christmas Postman and The Jolly Pocket Postman, successors to The Jolly Postman, have sold more than five million copies worldwide.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Royals to view Manx shot film

'A Bunch of Amateurs', a feature film shot in the Isle of Man this year has been chosen as this year's Royal Film Performance which the Queen will attend.

The film, a comedy drama, was shot in the Island in February and stars Burt Reynolds, Imelda Staunton, Sir Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond. DTI Minister David Cretney says he's absolutely delighted 'A Bunch of Amateurs' has been chosen for such a prestigious occasion. The film goes on general release on December 19.

Tackling the Irish Sea by Canoe

These guys canoed from Ulster (Northern Ireland) to the Isle of Man in 38 hours. Rather them than me but they were doing it raise money for Crohn's desease. It was recorded for Ulster TV and you can see the story in the Ulster Star.

US upsets Mr. Bell

The IOM is famous for its efforts to become the "cleanest", most transparent and cooperative financial jurisdiction. Well, when representatives of the International Monetary Fund visited the Island last month Treasury Minister, Allan Bell said that while dialogue was constructive he finds criticism of the Island from the USA to be without substance. He told Manx Radio:

"We've been working full tilt for the last 12 months, improving our legislation and improving the quality of our regulations to get a clean bill of health from the IMF. "The visit would appear to have gone quite well although it will still be a few months before we get the full report back.

"But it is galling when we are constantly criticised by politicians in the United States about the lack of transparency, the lack of cooperation, and the poor regulations that the Isle of Man has, when the United States itself has refused to have a similar assessment done by the IMF of its own regulations."
Phil and Chris Wedgwood restored this fabulous steam wagon. They are a father and son team, descendants of THAT Wedgwood.
Phil said: 'It was a wreck when we got it. The cab drifted around in a very light breeze and when I climbed on the back to take some rubbish off the rubbish stayed where it was and my feet went through the floor. 'We had to do quite a lot of work on it, including getting a new boiler made.'

Other work included a new engine and bodywork and painting it in its original owner's colors. Chris said: 'The wagon was made in 1934 and was originally owned by a brick company in Accrington, so it was made for carrying brick products and possibly terracotta piping. 'In its latter days it worked on the docks in Liverpool shunting around the dock area taking the goods off the boats into the warehouses, until the 1950s when it was scrapped.'

Friday, October 10, 2008

Interesting Blog

This blog has a great item on Manx Genealogy. If you're into your past, I recommend you check it out.

Some good news and some bad news

Andrew Duncan one of the IOM's young athletes arrives in Pune, India to compete in the Commonwealth Games. This is their Games site where you will discover that the honour of hosting the 2011 Youth Games has gone to the Isle of Man.

Glummer news follows on the heels of the collapse of the Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander bank. This Icelandic bank had been assured of its soundness right up until it failed and there were very worried depositors at the meeting held in the Gaiety theatre. The IOM Government has convened an emergency session of Tynwald to pass legislation to protect depositors. The Treasury Minister, Allan Bell, MLC, believes the Isle of Man is well placed to weather the effects of the current global financial storm. He spoke after an emergency sitting of Tynwald - the first for over 40 years - that passed a package for depositors which increased the guaranteed compensation for individuals from £15,000 to £50,000. He also said that the Isle of Man's economy is currently far stronger and more diverse than it was during previous downturns: "Regulation and the tax changes and everything we've brought in over the last few years, I believe leaves the Isle of Man now in a far stronger position to fight off any potential recession in the future.
"There will undoubtedly be a downturn later on this year and into next year, we can't escape it, we are not immune from the international situation.
"But I do believe the Isle of Man will still remain strong, we will not go into recession, and I do believe we will be well placed when the storm clouds finally clear and we can get back to normal business again."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Manx National Heritage and the new millennium

Chairman of MNH, Martin Moore explained: New Publications detailing the work of MNH

The detailed colour publications review Manx National Heritage’s major achievements on behalf of the Manx community in recent years.

Since the new millennium, MNH has welcomed over three and a half million visitors to the Story of Mann Heritage sites around the Island, with visitor figures rising from 360,000 in 2001 to 489,000 in 2007 – a rise of over 35%. The new publications detail MNH’s work during this period of significant visitor growth including the organisation’s engagement in a wide range of community projects and programmes supporting both residents and visitors increasing desire to further understand the importance of the Island’s unique heritage legacy.

The publications acknowledge the invaluable practical and financial support of Government, Tynwald and of the Manx people including over 6,000 members of the Friends of Manx National Heritage who between them make much of this work possible.”

Specific highlights include:

1. Manx National Heritage welcomed over three and a half million visitors to the Story of Mann Heritage sites around the Island between 2000 and 2007.

2. Visitor figures rose from 360,000 in 2001 to 489,000 in 2007 – a rise of over 35% (despite falls in tourist numbers to the Island, MNH has seen a significant increase in visitor numbers each year in the new millennium)

3. Four historic national heritage sites were saved for the nation, including key historic properties and two of the most scenic parts of the Island:

• Rushen Abbey (opened 2000) – the Island’s most important religious site.

• The Old House of Keys (opened 2002) – a major national heritage site

• The Sound (opened 2002)

• Niarbyl (opened 2005)

The latter two developments have created thriving new businesses for the local community and provided two additional all-year-round facilities for the Island. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Championship -- and individual protection

Even Aussies are Manx when they live in Peel. Andrew Pitt just won the Supersport World Championship in France. Well done!

Allan Bell, Treasury Minister today announced that he would extent the individual banking protection to £50K per IOM depositor. This is in response to the world collapse of the financial machine. The IOM remains optimistic about its situation.

Live from Dubai! Gotta love the internet.

Monday, October 6, 2008


The Victorian/Edwardian era was a heyday for the Manx tourist industry. Many very interesting structures were built including this attractive waterwheel in Groudle Glen, near Laxey.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mananan's Cloak

You know how I go on about how brave the Lifeboat volunteers are? Well, the guy who left the comment below appears to be one of these brave souls. And like many other multi-talented Manxies, he's a good photographer as well. Check out his blog Ramsey Ramblings ( Ramsey seems to make them want to click away - remember last week's lovely black cat shot from Babooshka?

The hare and the tortoise - hare wins, longtails perish

What carbon footprint? I love the Isle of Man. This week, two teams from Bike Magazine set out to see if they could complete a 24-hour endurance test (a bit like Le Mans except on real roads with roadkill). Apparently the teams covered over 2,000 miles, used $1000-worth of petrol and completed 58 laps. See the story here iomonline or read the whole thing in Bike Magazine on October 29th.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

QEII visits IOM for last time

Early risers on the Island saw the Cunard liner pass by Douglas harbour in the wee hours on her farewell trip of the British Isles. Passengers on board heard a prerecorded message from Chief Minister Tony Brown, welcoming them. You can hear it on Manx Radio's website.

Friday, October 3, 2008

New Tourism website

The Isle of Man has just launched its latest aid for tourists, the revamped
You'll love it. It's in loads of languages, has great photos and videos where you are introduced to Manx residents, new ideas for vacations, themed trips, booking assistance -- everything.

New resource for lawyers

Well, here's a thing. You can now check up on all Manx judgments online. There are some who may find this interesting for property disputes and maybe other genealogical reasons -- or maybe just because you're nosy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Letters Home - 90th Anniversary of the End of World War One

Isle of Man Post Office is pleased to present a set of six stamps to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of World War 1 and the personal contributions of a selection of local soldiers.

The Stamps
30p – Second Lieutenant Roy Corlett lived at 21 Burnside Terrace, Douglas. Upon the outbreak of the war he was studying for entry to the Civil Service. After serving with the Inns of Court OTC in 1916, he was commissioned into the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and posted to the 2nd Battalion in France. He was badly wounded in an attack in November 1916 and taken prisoner by the Germans. He spent the remainder of the war in a POW camp at Bad Colberg.

31p – Second Lieutenant John W Lewis was a native of Devon but attended King William’s College on the Isle of Man. As war broke out Lewis was commissioned into the 8th Battalion Devonshire Regiment, but kept in touch with his Alma Mater via letters to the ‘Barrovian’, the magazine of King William’s College old boys. He went to France in 1915 and took part in the Battle of the Somme and died of his wounds on July 15, 1916.

44p – Pte Joseph Killey was born in Ramsey, the son of a carpenter. In 1915 he enlisted in the Lancashire Fusiliers. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion and was soon serving with them in Belgium. He was killed in action on July 8, 1915 during the Battle of Boesinghe where British troops had taken over a stretch of front line from the French.

56p – Lieutenant Colonel W.A.W Crellin was born in Ramsey and attended King William’s College. He was commissioned before the First World War into the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) and travelled with them to France in 1914. He was wounded but soon returned to action. He was killed in action in October 1918.

81p – Lance Corporal Thomas Quilliam of 2 Laureston Terrace, Douglas was born in 1890. In September 1913 he enlisted in the 3rd (Prince of Wales’s) Dragoon Guards. He left British shores in March 1915 serving mainly in France until February 1918 when he was wounded. In the resulting operation to remove shrapnel it was necessary to remove his left ear drum. Although he was expected to live only three weeks he lived with his wife in Douglas until his death in 1973.

94p – Pte Robert Oates was born in Douglas. He enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in 1901 and saw service in South Africa during the closing stages of the Boer War. At the beginning of the First World War he had left the army but was still a member of the Army Reserve. He was recalled and sent to France in late 1914 and was wounded near La Bassee.

Clan of Man

Known as the "Clan of Man," the Crenshaw children -- Carlos, 19, Thomas, 18, Jared, 17, Sydnee, 16, Caleb, 15, Robbie, 14, Brent, 14, Alex, 12, Zack, 12, Michaela, 10, Meredith, 7, Austin, 7, and Madeline, 6 -- are scheduled to give their fourth annual performance at the Chesapeake Celtic Festival at the Furnace Town Living Heritage Museum in Snow Hill, Delmarva this weekend. Check out the link for more information about this very interesting family.

Winners of the NAMA Youth Award in 2006, all these young people are members of the Washington Area Manx Society.
If you go:
WHAT: Chesapeake Celtic Festival
WHERE: Furnace Town Living Heritage Museum in Snow Hill
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Clan of Man will perform "When Pigs Fly" at 3 p.m. and an informal folk presentation at 4:30 p.m. on both days.
COST: Adults $12 per day, Children (ages 2 to 18) $3 per day

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Institute for Space Commerce

The Island beat off a number of competitors including, Tokyo, Paris, Los Angeles and Toronto to become home to the International Institute of Space Commerce.

Creation of the IISC project has been a joint initiative between the International Space University (ISU) based in Strasbourg, France, and the Manx Government. The ISU wanted to become more global and wanted to establish a number of associated international institutes around the world. The first of those institutes to start up is the Isle of Man's IISC. It will offer a 'global masters programme' for students in space commerce.It will have its official opening on Saturday.