Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More on the Manx Basso

You should be able to click on the newspapers to get them to open in a separate window which will make them easier to read.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Remember the Chinese photographer?

From the blog in January:
Mr Guan Xing started taking photographs in 1994. He particularly enjoys photographing everyday city scenes and stage performances. During 1997, 1998 and 1999 he was nominated ‘Best Photographer of the Year’ by ‘China Photographer’. The photographs being exhibited were taken between 2004 and 2007 on the streets in Guangzhou (in Southern China) and in Changchun (in Northeast China). The pictures are records of moments in life. The Isle of Man’s Honorary Representative in China, Richard Hewitt, said:
‘In the past two years, Tynwald Day Celebrations in China have showcased the work of local artists from Guangzhou in a way that linked with the Isle of Man. A dance based on the 3-Legs theme was commissioned and these photographs were displayed as they were destined to be shown on the Isle of Man at Chinese New Year.’

Well, here are a couple of his photos.

Oops - not a league table we want to top.

Seems we are number one in the teen binge drinking league. The news is based on a report of a Europe-wide survey on alcohol and drug use by teenagers. Denmark and the Isle of Man led the 35 nations surveyed. The complete report covers surveys conducted in 32 European countries in 2007. It's interesting that all the teens I know always say there's "nothing to do" on the IoM. As an adult I can think of tons of things but maybe the proposed skating rink and bowling alley can't come a moment too soon. An in-depth TV report here.


Signing of 12th TIEA with OECD countries places the Isle of Man at the forefront of tax co-operation

The Isle of Man signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with France on March 26th. The agreement between the two governments is the 14th TIEA the Isle of Man has signed, the 12th with an OECD member country. This latest agreement, signed 7 years after the Island signed its first TIEA with the USA, demonstrates the Isle of Man’s long standing commitment to tax transparency and effective exchange of information. The Island has signed over a quarter of the 51 TIEAs in existence globally.

Also signed at the ceremony was an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation with respect to enterprises operating ships in international traffic. This builds the Isle of Man’s network of shipping taxation agreements, and will further enhance opportunities for the Island’s highly regarded shipping sector.

A letter from Myrra Johnson

My Dad was known as "The Manx Basso" (bass-baritone soloist) in those days and did much professional work around the Chicago area in the 1920's-1960's. He won a radio contest sponsored by WGN in the early 1930's as the best male vocalist in Chicago. This really started his career in early radio as well as other areas of music around Chicago. He was the first bass soloist to sing on a coast to coast (later known as network) radio show. He also sang in a group that performed at President Hoover's inauguration. I have a lot of his newspaper clippings and reviews which are rather fascinating to read. He used to give a lecture on the Isle of Man with glass slides and a lecturn. He was later sponsored by Mrs. Walgreen of the Walgreen Drug Stores. Perhaps you saw the showing of the old Manx slides at the last NAMA convention. For many years he was President of the Chicago Manx. I still have a program of a dinner and meeting that was held at a YMCA on the west side of Chicago. My Dad was in charge of the first Manx Homecoming in 1927 (I believe). At that time he met my mother and they were later married. He had to go back to wed her the next year! Well that's all for now. His life is fascinating reading. If you'd like any more info at a later date I'd be glad to supply it.
Just a sidenote regarding the Chicago Manx......when they held their meetings, Bob Kelly, Florence Prendergast and I (who were just kids then) used to have a wonderful time playing in another room or romping ariound while the grown-ups had their meeting. Of course this was back in the late 1930's-40's!! I have such happy memories of those great days!

Best wishes

Myrra (Stevenson) Johnson

King Magnus Haraldson.

King Magnus Haraldson.
King of Man and the Isles.

Died: circa. 977 AD.

The use of the name Magnus Haraldson may cause confusion as it is not used by any of the historians who have recorded the events to which we are to allude. Most of these historians seem to have gleaned their information from Sacheverell’s Account of the Isle of Man published in 1702. Wm. Sacheverell was Governor of the Island from 1693 until 1696; describing the succession of Manx kings he refers to:-
Macon, or Macutas, who lived about the middle of the 10th century, and for refusing to do homage to our glorious Monarch Edgar, lost his kingdom, but was afterwards not only restored, but made Admiral of that prodigious Fleet of 4800 sail of ships with which twice in the year he sailed round the British Isles to clear the seas from Rovers, especially the Danes and Normans, who about that time miserably harassed the seacoasts of Europe.
Sir Henry Spelman calls him ‘totius Anglise Archi-pirate’, which in another place he interprets ‘Prince of Seamen’ and from him it is probable the ancient Bearings of the Island comes [sic] - a ship in her ruff sables with the inscription 'Rex Manniae et Insularum'.
Among other marks of honour paid to this Prince by King Edgar, his attendance on him in that solemn passage over the Dee is not the least, where he, accompanied by a vast number of his Nobility in boats, was rowed over that river in a stately Barge, prepared for that purpose, by eight of those Kings, who paid Homage to his sovereignty, he himself holding the rudder, to testify his superiority over them all, amongst whom Macon had the third oar, to give him precedence of the other five; and when that Monarch made the memorable Confirmation of the Charter of Glastonbury, Macon subscribed to it immediately after the King of Scotland. How long this great Man governed (who must always be reputed among the Heroes) is uncertain.

Other historians referred to Magnus Haraldson as Hacon:- Joseph Train starts by calling him Macon and then says he should ‘more properly be Hacon, King of Man and the Isles’. But he reduces the number of ships in the fleet to 3600. Train also provides the additional information that ‘ . . . By the Irish annalists, Hacon is called the son of Aralt or Harold and grandson of Sitric ...’ He also introduces the name Maceus into his writings.

A.W. Moore in his History of the Isle of Man tells us that 'Maces MacHarald, or Haraldson, a grandson of Sitric, King of Dublin, was styled in the Irish annals as Lord of the Isles, and also refers to his sailing around Ireland with a numerous fleet in 972 AD or 973 AD accompanied by the Lagmanns of the Islands which indicated that he, as chief of the isles, was making his circuit with the ‘lawmen’ or judges to dispense justice according to Scandinavian custom.

The Annals of the Four Masters (an Irish historical work) records that he was slain in 976 AD by Brian Boroimhe (Boru) but another source claims he was killed in battle in 978 AD.

The more detailed account of the row on the River Dee was recorded by Simeon of Durham in his early 12th century Chronicle which is derived from Florence of Worcester who drew heavily on Anglo-Saxon annals. In his account Simeon gives the date as 973AD and refers to ‘Maccus, king of many islands’. Another English historian, Roger of Wendover, in his Flowers of History written about 1237 AD refers to Macone, King of Mona and numerous isles.

The memorable Charter of Glastonbury which is mentioned by Manx historians is believed to be a 971 AD Charter to Glastonbury Abbey and although considered spurious by certain authorities it is signed by Mascusius archi-pirata confortavi.

With all these conflicting names to describe the same person the help of Dr. David Wilson of the Department of Scandinavian Studies at University College, London was sought and he, after consulting several colleagues, came down strongly in favour of the Irish Annals which described the King as Maccnus McArailt - the nearest to which in Norse would be Magnus Haraldson.

The Isle of Man Post Office commemorated his achievements by the issue of two stamps in 1974, one showing the row on the River Dee and the other the mighty fleet of ships commanded by him and his coat of arms.

G. Victor H. Kneale, CBE, MA (h.c.):

Various Manx history books.
Professor David M. Wilson, Department of Scandinavian Studies at University College, London
Somerset County Record Office.
British Museum.
G. V. H. Kneale. Article in Manx Life, September 1974, ‘Researching our stamps’.

Send in by Dollin Kelly

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Parliamentary Flag

The Blue flag with the representation of a Viking warship was adopted only relatively recently in the history of Tynwald.

The design of the ancient arms of the Kings of Man depicted a ship with sails furled. This heraldic device with the motto Rex Manniae et Insularum was adopted by King Maccus, who commanded a powerful fleet for which a ship was an appropriate symbol, after he and several other regional kings agreed with the English King Edgar not to attack each other on land or sea. The agreement was symbolised by rowing a small ship on the River Dee in 973 with Edgar, who was only slight in stature, taking the rudder while the other kings rowed.

In heraldry, the usual device to show a maritime connection is a lymphad galley. This device was included in some of the seals used by later Kings or Lords of Man, and can be found carved in the detail on the Speaker's chair in the House of Keys, as well as in the design incorporated in the rear windows of the chamber.

However, this bore no relation to the ships used by the Viking Kings of the time or later. Such royal warships (since Godred Crovan's time no one other than the king was allowed to have 26 oar ships) had crews provided by those who supported, and were given positions of importance by, the King of Man.
Warships would be used by the King of Man to enforce his authority and defend his territory, as well as for loaning out of the ships and crews to other regional Viking kings for their purposes, usually for a cut of the spoils and profits. As subservient (at times) vassal kings, in times of great conflict the suzerain King of Norway required the kings of such regions, including the King of Man, to provide a minimum number of warships and crews to aid Norway's throne and its ambitions.

The appearance of the Viking warships on the coasts of disputed territories would strike fear into the coastal inhabitants,and would become such a strong symbol that it would survive in writings and folk tales in the centuries that followed up to modern times.

So when in the late 1960's the Tynwald Ceremony Arrangements Committee decided that an appropriate flag should be flown at the annual Tynwald Day Ceremony, it was decided that it should incorporate an authentic Viking Warship in full sail.

The Legislative Council Chamber has such a design in its rear window, and the reverse of the Manx 10 shilling/50p notes of the time provided such a design drawn by Mr John Nicholson, who was consulted concerning the emblem for the flag.

Wing Commander Roy MacDonald MHK had made the original suggestion for the adoption of such a flag when MHK for Peel in 1966, and his contemporaries would often refer to the flag as the (Roy) MacDonald flag, though it should not be confused with the symbol of the Scottish (Mac)Donald clan. The ship design used by the latter is a nyvaig or birlinn, only one third the size of a Viking warship, incorporating a rudder rather than the Viking steering oar.

These two types of ships would come together to decide the fate of part of the Isles off Scotland. In the confined waters of the Sound of Islay a night-time sea battle was fought between the numerically superior, but in naval terms inferior, force of birlinns of Somerled, King of Argyll, and Godred, King of Man, in January 1156.

Somerled, who was married to the daughter of Olaf, the former King of Man, was attempting to replace Godred with his own son. The battle saw the forces fight to a standstill, and, though Godred remained King of Man, that part of his kingdom known as the Islay and Mull groups were lost to Somerled, whose descendants would style themselves "Lords of the Isles".

The Viking warship would remain a powerful instrument of the power of the Kings of Man until the battle of Largs in 1263, where King Magnus of Man went to aid the Norwegian King. Due to storms, the combined fleet was severely damaged and the Norwegian fleet retreated to Orkney, only for the Norwegian king to die there. Magnus did subservience to the Scottish king only to die a short time later as the last of the Norwegian derived Kings of Man in 1265.

As Manx historian A W Moore would put it "Thus came to an end a momentous epoch in Manx History,and one in which Man was, comparatively speaking, more important than either before or after it".

The Parliamentary Flag of Tynwald harks back to those times, the enduring symbol of the Viking warship is particularly fitting as Tynwald has survived as the world's oldest continuous parliament, many aspects of which have their origins from the Viking Age.

At Tynwald Hill the flag has flown along the processional way on Tynwald Day, and outside the Legislative Buildings in Douglas on sitting days, since 1971. It was introduced into the Tynwald Chamber in the 1980s, but is now in everyday use as it flies outside the new entrance of the refurbished Legislative Buildings opened in 2006.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Manx visitors to Washington

MLC member, Alex Downie (left) and senior civil servant, Tim Craine are in Washington this week attending the Satellite 2009 conference and exhibition. As loyal readers of this blog will know, the IoM is a major player in the satellite world as a register, insurer and financier as well as being home to a number of space-related manufacturers.

Sadly, the team were so booked up I couldn't get to organize an event with the local Manx but they do promise that they'll make more time on their next visit.

SNAFU over railways

Trams and rail to be cut back this year
as tourism bosses struggle to balance the books.

The Steam Railway and Manx Electric Railway will be running again from Monday April 6, with the Snaefell Mountain Railway operating from the beginning of May.

A delay in publishing the 2009 timetable has come under fire from enthusiasts who claim the Isle of Man could have lost some invaluable free publicity as details of services were unavailable for inclusion in a guide to heritage railways produced by Ian Allan Publishing which gives out 100,000 free copies via their Hornby Magazine and Railways Illustrated magazine to readers all over the UK. Which means -- more room for the Homecomers in July!

Monday, March 23, 2009

New family complex planned by Sefton Group

Scheduled for opening in 2011 there will finally be a replacement for the eyesore at Derby Castle if the Sefton Group get their way. IomToday
Tourism Minister Martyn Quayle said the development could include multiplex cinemas, ten-pin bowling, exhibition areas which can also accommodate skating with separate areas for casino and bingo, conference and function facilities, and a selection of restaurants and bars.
'The Wave will provide a new destination venue for all age groups from tots to teens and beyond and fulfills the department's objectives for the site,' he said.
'Clearly this is a very significant step forward in a long-held ambition of the department to see a state-of-the-art, family-friendly facility to replace Summerland with what would be a fantastic iconic building.'

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cav wins

Milan-San Remo race-- Mark Cavendish won it's everywhere the British papers, ESPN, everywhere.

Milan-Sanremo or Milan-San Remo, la classica di Primavera ("the Spring classic"), is an annual cycle race between Milan and Sanremo. It is the longest professional one-day race at 298km. The first was in 1907, when Lucien Petit-Breton won. Today it is one of the 'Monuments' of European cycling, and part of the UCI ProTour until 2007.

Milan-Sanremo is often called the sprinters' classic while its sister Italian race the Giro di Lombardia held in autumn is the climbers' classic.

Mark Cavendish became only the second British rider ever to win the Milan-San Remo classic when he sprinted to victory this afternoon. Official result of the 298-km Milan-San Remo Classic race in Italy on Saturday. 1. Mark Cavendish (Britain / Columbia ) 6hrs 42mins 31secs"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who wants to be a millionaire?

treasury Minister, Allan Bell here with a fistful of pounds. Just some of the £56 million in circulation on the Island. That's £10 million up on last year and therefore an extra 10m quid load to the government. But what are happening to the notes? Are they stuffed under mattresses?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who is our patron saint?

Sue Woolley's fascinating article in the paper yesterday made a compelling case for St. Patrick being the patron saint of the Isle of Man seeing as how he's credited with banning snakes and bringing Christianity to the IOM where it still pretty much survives. (Meetings of Tynwald still open with a prayer and that's fairly unusual in Europe.) I confess I always thought St. Patrick was our patron saint,. But she says we don't have a patron saint so I looked at Catholic Online and found this:
Patron Saint of the Isle of Man: St. Maughold
Feastday: December 28
Irish bishop converted by St. Patrick, also listed as Macull and Maccaldus. Originally an outlaw, he was spiritually changed by St. Patrick and performed penance and entered the religious life. Maughold was told to leave Ireland as part of his penance and set sail, landing on the Isle of Man. There he evangelized the people and was elected bishop.

Anyone have any thoughts or information on this?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Abu Dhabi Yacht Show and the IOM Super Yacht Registry

Abu Dhabi is obviously the place to be. Not just me, but the IOM Shipping Register representatives, including The Hon David Cretney, MHK, Minister for Trade and Industry at the invitation-only Abu Dhabi Yacht Show.

The Isle of Man Ship Registry will be the only flag to exhibit at this week’s inaugural Abu Dhabi Yacht Show. The invitation-only event, which is being held now, is aimed at the world’s highest net-worth individuals. The event represents a perfect showcase for the Manx flag, which already boasts 100 of the world’s 500 most prestigious super yachts within its 1,000-strong fleet. The Island has developed its reputation for high quality service, strong safety standards and fair fees largely through word of mouth recommendation to date, but shows of this calibre provide an opportunity to reach a wider audience. [One of the guys in the office here got an invitation to the official cocktail party tomorrow -- everyone was jealous -- it is THE place to be.]
A representative of the Isle of Man ’s fast-growing Aircraft Registry will also be in attendance in recognition of the fact that the owners of super yachts can normally be expected to have their own private or corporate jet.
Despite the current economic climate, the super yacht industry is showing little signs of slowing down and the exclusive event will feature some of the world’s outstanding yachts ranging in size from 30 metres to 100 metres. It will also represent the largest gathering of super yachts ever seen in the region. I saw some -- they are AWESOME!

Did you know that the IoM is the only country allowed to have its symbol on the Red Ensign? The British Red Ensign is the flag that is normally flown on Manx yachts. However, registered owners resident in the Isle of Man may, if they wish, fly on their British yachts the Red Ensign incorporating the "Three Legs of Man".

No blog tomorrow as I'm off home. CYA.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Can someone help?


My name is Jeff Curtiss. I'm an heirloom seed saver/grower in Shelbyville, IN and a member of Seed Savers Exchange. I just finished reading a couple articles on the Manx Marvel tomato, including in your Washington D.C. newsletter. Could you please get me in contact with the person who has the Manx Marvel seeds to distribute to growers. I'd like to grow some and offer seed to other heirloom gardeners after harvest.

I have Jeff's address if you can get in touch with me, I'll let you have it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A talk by our old friend John Quirk on the Manx giant, Arthur Caley, made me think that you would like to know more about this 7' 11" man from Sulby. John will have a book out on him in a few months but for now some confusing reports from Manx Notebook which reveal that John will have his time cut out solving all these old mysteries: [taken from Chapter 9 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901 and added comments]

ARTHUR CALEY (b. 1829, d. 1853)

Was born at Sulby. Both his parents and grandparents were of ordinary stature, and he had numerous brothers and sisters, none of whom were remarkable for their height. At the age of 22 he was 7ft. 6in., and weighed 21 stone, and it is said that he grew slightly after that age. He was well built and so strong that he could lift a sack of flour with one hand and toss it into a cart. Early in 1852 he went to London, where he was exhibited. Soon afterwards he was engaged for exhibition in Paris for twelve months. It is said that the sumptuous living he indulged in that capital had such a bad effect upon him that he died of surfeit. The man who engaged him had insured his life for £2,000."

A.W.Moore's version seems based on an account in the Manx Sun 15 Jan 1853 plus a following letter confirming story 12 Mar 1853 from Anne Caley. The original story of his death in Paris would appear to have been fabricated by Etienne Lefevre and Arthur went to join his sister Margaret Gelling in America where he appeared for Barnum and Bailey as Colonel. Ruth Goshen (or Goshon). The Manx Sun of 9 Mar 1889 picking up on an article in the New York Sun headlined a small paragraph 'A Manx(?) Giant's Funeral' - possibly this is where LaMothe picked up his story though Serjeant did not appear to have been aware of his comments. Possibly the 'wife' in LaMothes photo is his sister Margaret though Arthur had an adopted daughter Frances.

Goshen occurs in the Biblical account of Joseph's stay in Eygpt - Harrison here comments that the Land of Goshen was equated with the land of plenty - in a gloss on the story of Arthur Caley, (Manx Millenium 2000AD pt 8 August 1999, & pt 9 Sept 1999) Terry Cringle credits George Broderick with pointing out that there were two Goshen fields in Sulby between St Judes and Sulby Bridge close to where Arthur came from.

Go Zoe

News from the BBC. Zoe Gillings has reached the quarter-finals of the penultimate FIS World Cup event in La Molina, Spain. Now sixth in the World, a good performance in the next round could move her up into the top three.

The 23-year-old qualified with the sixth fastest time out of 32 competitors over two runs. Manx Zoe is reckoned to be one of the best chances for Team GB at next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Indian terrorist threat in Isle of Man

Well it's not often we mention an Indian paper (although not unheard of) but this article in the Organiser out of New Delhi, refers to another Isle of Man, this time in the Andaman Sea. The Indian government is worried that the island along with others along its vast coastline will be used by terrorists to invade the mainland. I can't find a picture but it seems that the Andamans have perfect beaches, great surf and wonderful scuba. Just like home - aside from the 40 degree temperature difference.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A Fine Cauldron of Fish

Hmm, tagged as a coffee time romance with humor, I quote from its blog:
"A Fine Cauldron of Fish" It's a funny, fast read about a leanan sidhe. On the Isle of Man you can find the vampiric spirits known as the leanan sidhe, dwelling in sea caves where they keep a red cauldron filled with the blood of their human lovers. Mortal men cannot resist them, they enchant and enslave them by their beauty alone.

In the story, it's summer on the Isle of Man and Andrew is looking for hot girls and good times. So when he meets the dreamy and seductive Margaid, he thinks he's hit the jackpot. There are only a couple of minor problems: Margaid lives in a cave under the sea, is invisible, and thinks that only Andrew's blood can save her from turning into a kelpie! But hey, whoever said love was perfect!?"

Ever the spoilsport, I left the following comment on their blog at Eternal Press: "Lhiannan Shee would be your Manx vampire siren. Leanan sidhe is Cornish - another Celtic race but not island bound. The kelpies are Scottish or sometimes Irish; in Manx a sea (water) horse is a cabyll-ushtey. And Margaid -- well, that is Manx -- and yes some of the women are pretty feisty."

Royal Navy visits Douglas

HMS Walney, hot from clearing mines in the Arabian Gulf (where this is being typed!) is in Douglas to promote the activities of the Royal Navy. It is one of two navy vessels in Manx waters. The other is fast patrol craft HMS Charger, which arrived in Douglas Bay on Sunday.

They are supporting members of the Royal Navy Presentation Team who gave a free public talk on the role of the Royal Navy which, given that we're surrounded by water makes some sense. During the visit, the ship will be visited by schools, members of the House of Keys, Lieutenant Governor Vice-Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks and Douglas Mayor, Dot Pitts. The crew will also be presenting a check to the children's hospice, Rebecca House. There are more details here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Looks like fun - maybe the Homecoming visitors might like to do it!

On Monday 23rd February, Manx National Heritage launched a new children’s ‘Discovery Trail’ at the Manx Museum in Douglas. The Manx Museum was bustling with families throughout half term week with children having fun and learning about Manx natural history, Celts and Vikings, Victorian holiday makers and more. The trail is aimed at children aged 5 to 11 years old and provides a fun way of learning about their Island’s past. Each child completing the trail receives an “I’ve travelled through time at the Manx Museum” sticker and a colouring-in sheet along with the answer sheet.

Alan Kinvig, Museum and Sites Manager at the Manx Museum, commented:

A family enjoys The Manx Museum Discovery Trail.“The Discovery Trail is a great activity for families during the school holidays and on Saturdays during term-time. For anybody who missed out during half term, the ‘Discovery Trail’ is still available from the Museum Reception from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is completely free of charge.”

‘The Manx Museum Discovery Trail’ can also be used for organised trips to the Museum by primary schools and youth clubs. If you are interested in arranging a group visit, please contact the Manx National Heritage Group Bookings Officer on 01624 648000.

Manx National Heritage thanks families and children who have already taken part and encourages them to keep their eyes and ears open, as new versions of the ‘Discovery Trail’ will be issued at the Manx Museum through the year. And look out for trails at other Manx National Heritage sites this season!

'I've travelled through time at the Manx Museum!' stickerManx National Heritage seasonal sites across the Island open on Saturday 4th April at 10am. These include The Grove Museum in Ramsey, Peel Castle, The Old House of Keys, Nautical Museum, Old Grammar School and Castle Rushen in Castletown, The Great Laxey Wheel and Mines Trail, Rushen Abbey in Ballasalla and The National Folk Museum at Cregneash.

For further information on the ‘Manx Museum Discovery Trail’ and other Manx National Heritage events and exhibitions over the Spring and Summer months please visit the Manx National Heritage website www.storyofmann.com or telephone 01624 648000.

Monday, March 9, 2009

New home for fossils

No surprise there - the IoM has always been an excellent home for the two-legged variety of fossil. But this is a bit different. These little beggers are over 300 million years old and come from an earlier period of global warming when the Irish Sea was sub-tropical rather than perishing cold. After 70 years they now belobg to the museum after a very long loan period.

Manx is Great!!!

Manx dead? It's alive and kicking butt in Bunscoill Ghaelgagh where the children have something to say about UNESCO's premature obituary for the Manx language. See here where five scholars have written to UNESCO, in Manx, inviting it to send representatives to the school to watch them learn and communicate in the Isle of Man's native tongue.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Hi Ho Silver lining!

Davy Knowles (not Tony as I had it yesterday who is Davy's dad and has told me he WISHES it was him!) from Port St. Mary is going to tour with Jeff Beck, has already announced a string of festival appearances, under the name of Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam, for the summer, and on June 30 he will again be supporting Chicago blues great Buddy Guy, this time at Summerfest in Milwaukee.

Davy has also been busy working on a new album with another legendary guitar player, Peter Frampton. IOMToday I guess it's going to get more and more expensive to turn up and fly the flag!

Jeff Beck will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame on April 4.




Saturday, March 7, 2009


OK - I'll give the guy a plug even though I have no clear idea of what steampunk is in a literary (or any other) sense. But it seems to have its fans and is available over the internet and this one "The Devil in Chains" by Adam Christopher is set in the Isle of Man. Here's the blurb:

December 14th, 1861. Queen Victoria dies from typhoid fever. A distraught Prince Albert instigates a coup and takes direct control of the Empire. A patron of science, he steers the path of progress down a dark and dangerous road, antagonizing the forces of magic and the occult as he strives to bring his queen back from the other side. As the 21st century dawns, the world is trapped in a Victorian caricature, industry powered by sun and steam. And nearly 150 years since the death of his wife, Albert still fights to bring her back, his lifespan unnaturally extended with steam power and black arts.

When journalist Jackson Clarke is sent to the Isle of Man to investigate the tale of a talking animal, he unwittingly steps into a battle between mankind and an ancient evil imprisoned beneath the peaceful island. Charged with treason and cut off from the mainland, can Clarke defeat the Devil in Chains?

Well, can he? iPod owners can discover more for just $2.99.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

First online Manx casino

CELTON Manx Limited has become the first Manx company to be granted approval by the Isle of Man's Gambling Supervision Commission to launch a live dealer online casino. E-gaming is rapidly becoming a big contributor to the island's bottom line. Apparently, online casino players in Asia enjoy seeing the games take place in a casino environment with real dealers rather than playing against a robotic number generator. Who knew?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cabaret at the Gaiety

Sam Barks is homegrown and came to fame on a British TV reality show where the winner took a role in a West End musical. Sam didn't win but stole the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret and this week the star studded cast opened in Douglas after already having been in Manchester. More here and throughout IOM Today over the past year.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Ahhh and Boo and the Manx

A couple of stories today as I won't be posting tomorrow as I'm off to the Gulf on a job in Abu Dhabi.

There's a cool story here about the wild wallabies of Ballaugh. Apparently some escaped from the Wild Life Park and now there are about 100 in the wild.

And over at the Gaiety at ghost tour seemed to have the desired effect and a mysterious man was spotted by the visitors.

From John Quirk

When his great uncle, Leslie Quirk, died five years ago, Manx-born writer John Quirk was ashamed that a promise he’d made as a young man had not been kept. Leslie was one of the foremost exponents of the Manx language and John had promised he’d learn the language. For one reason or another, it never happened. Until now. In a new monthly column, Manx Tails will follow the adventures of John, wife Emma and son Ryan as the Quirk family attempts to go native:

Cha nel fockle dy Ghaelg 'sy veeal echey*

I’m not psychic, but I know what most of you are thinking.
What on earth does that headline mean? Up until five minutes before I started writing these words, I didn’t have a clue either. You see, me and languages have never been comfortable bedfellows.
At school, I studied French and German until 14 and then chose German at O-level (yes, I am that old). I failed miserably, although there were extenuating circumstances, yet even if I had been focused and on the ball, I’d have been happy to scrape a pass. I wasn’t too bad at the writing; it was the oral – my French and German accents wouldn’t have been out of place in ‘Allo, ‘Allo.
By the time I was out of education and working, I knew I’d made a huge mistake in not trying harder at languages. I wanted to speak them – I just didn’t have the self-discipline to work hard enough.
One afternoon in the early 1990s, I was at Uncle Leslie’s home in St Jude’s sampling one of his cups of tea – I can’t use the word ‘enjoyed’, as Leslie used to stew his brews over an open fire; cremated, as opposed to brewed – when he asked if I’d ever thought of learning to speak Manx.
I admitted that I’d not given it much thought. ‘You should,’ he said, with that ever-present twinkle in his eye. ‘The language needs young Manx men to speak it. If it is to survive.’
A few months after Leslie died, I attended a tree-planting ceremony in his honour in the gardens behind the Forestry Board Office in St John’s. It was an emotional day, with children from Bunscoill Ghaelgagh, the Manx Language Primary School, singing songs and reading out their memories of Leslie.
Of course, they did all this in Manx. And as most of those present were also Manx speakers, I felt like I didn’t belong there, which wasn’t helped by the fact that I knew I’d let Leslie down during the 10 years that had passed since that afternoon in his cottage.
I had every intention of keeping the promise, but as so often happens, life got in the way, which is about as feeble an excuse as anyone can give for putting off something for so long.
Last autumn, our young lad came home from Arbory School, singing a Hop-tu-naa song. In Manx. He even knew what it was all about, whereas I couldn’t understand a single word. That was the final straw. Ryan is five-years-old. If he could do it, so could I. So, here we are, fifteen years or so after I made the promise. Better late than never, I imagine Leslie would say.
I’m under no illusion that this is going to be easy. I’m sure Ryan will embarrass me with how quickly he picks up the language. Emma too, no doubt. When I told a colleague at work about this little experiment, her cutting response was: ‘Quirky, it’s going to be difficult for you. Speaking Manx doesn’t just mean adding “yessir” to the end of every sentence...’ Ouch.
There are three aims with this column – first, to help promote the Manx language; second, to investigate its ongoing revival; and third, to have some fun along the way.
I’ve roped in Adrian Cain, the Manx Language Officer, who has promised to be a hard task master and he’ll be keeping a close eye on our progress. Adrian has just started running a weekly Manx for beginners course on a Friday lunchtime at the Manx Museum, which I’ll be attending.
Feel free to email me any questions, or indeed suggestions for the coming months. We have several plans in the pipeline, including a visit to Bunscoill Ghaelgagh (see photo), but new ideas are welcome.
*Now, if you’re still reading this and wondering about that headline, it says: He doesn’t know a word of Manx. Let’s put that right, yessir.
John can be contacted at johnquirkbooks@gmail.com
www.manninmedia.co.im (for Manx Tails)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Manx-trained chef wins award for Vinegar

Alan Coxon makes old style vinegars. It's taken ten years to bring them to market but they are now all the rage in fashionable kitchens. His range of historic Vinaigres are recreated from centuries past and reproduce the flavors and ingredients that once adorned tables of the mighty Roman Emperors, Medieval Knights and Ancient Greek temples.

Prepared using traditional and natural production methods, these unique products are stored in bottles created and designed by Alan himself.

Alan was born in Derbyshire but moved to the Isle of Man at 15. He went to Douglas High School before studying catering at the Isle of Man College. He left the Island at 18 to work as a commis chef at the famous Loews Hotel in Monte Carlo. But in 1990 he returned to the Isle of Man and bought the harbourside Taste of Magic restaurant in Port St Mary. Two years later he left the Island to become head chef at Disneyland Paris's four-star Newport Bay Hotel. His TV shows include BBC2's Ever Wondered About Food and Coxon's Sporting Feast and he has also published award-winning cookery book Ready in Minutes. Alan lives in Worcestershire with his wife Thelma and three children Katie, Samantha and Oliver, but his parents Ted and Rita live in Douglas.

Alan received the Midlands Business Innovation Award 2009 last month, just two months after the vinegars won two awards at the Excellence in Food and Drink Awards. More at iomtoday

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sailing for the Disabled

Dear Kelly,
Over the last few weeks I've been attempting to contact the Manx Association Secretary by e-mail to discuss with her what Sailing for the Disabled' wishes to foster good relations with Manx Societies around the world. Please see attached, the e-mail letter being sent to all societies with an e-mail address.

We will be publishing our regular newsletter in a short while and I will e-mail a copy to the same list of societies. Based on response and your advice we may then consider what hospitality we can extend to members visiting I.O.M., and if anyone is disabled how we may offer to them the sailing experiences we provide to our own disabled members.Do visit our web-site www.sftd-iom.com for further information. I do hope this action continues to foster the good relations you've constructed and nurtured over the years amongst your members.

Yours truly,

Martin Sewell
Funraiser and P.R.Officer
Sailing for the Disabled
I.O.M. Charity no 325

Martin Sewell, Consultant and Coach.
Causing individuals and teams to do things differently and better!

5 Grove Mount Ramsey I.O.M. IM8 3HQ
TEL 44(0)1624 813708 and 44(0)7624 491785
e-mail (unchanged) martinsewell@manx.net

Letter from Martin:

We have a shared interest in a place in common and help all forms of disabled I.O.M. folk to experience the release and enablement of sailing around our glorious coast and in the Irish Sea. When I realised there are over 40 locations worldwide in which an active interest in I.O.M. matters is maintained, I thought we should extend our own horizons and embrace each Manx Society in the World, and, at very least provide you with periodic updates of our exploits, and at best enable any of your members enjoy a similar sailing experience whenever a ‘homecoming’ presents the opportunity! We are an entirely volunteer driven Manx based Charity with a big heart and a professional soul, providing a yacht, skippers and crew to enable disabled folk to experience sailing usually with a smile that’s priceless! This year we’re able to extend our horizons to include a number of longer cruises to Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, not only to keep smiles on more faces but also to provide respite for loved ones, carers, relatives and friends. It seems perfectly natural to extend our communication network even further and keep you informed of what we do. Who knows, your members may like to fund raise for us and share in the ‘smiles’, visit us and see the smiles first-hand, or even have a smile yourself as a result of sailing with us! Whenever and however the links are forged we’d like to remain ‘in touch’ telling you of yet another activity that is enjoyed by more people each year in I.O.M, and of involving you in our activities; inputs in the form of funding, and outputs in the form of fulfilling dreams for the disabled of the I.O.M. I’d be delighted to respond to your e-mail in this , our 25th year, providing you with more information about us, initially by e-mail, but ,who knows possibly in person when you’re next in the I.O.M. !
Yours truly,
Martin Sewell