Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Luss ny Graih. A Manx Play in Two Acts.

I found this: Here

By CHRISTOPHER R. SHIMMIN, Author of "Illiam Kodhere's Will," "The Charm," &c.


Miss Nellie Corkhill, Post Mistress and Shopkeeper
Juan James Daugherty A lazy Beggarman Cæsar Clucas, H.K. (Country Gentleman) Member of House of Keys.
Ned Cubbon Skipper of small fishing boat
Mrs. Cubbon His Wife Rev. Ferguson Fallows
Thobm Shimmin A Blind Man
Johnnie Kewley A Boy about twelve years old.
Ffinlo A Boy about six years old.

Round-leaved Sundew.

ACT 1.

The Scene is Nellie Corkhill's shop, which is the General Store and Post Office for the village and neighbourhood. Nellie Corkhill is an unmarried woman 35 years of age. She comes into the shop from the living room, and going behind counter, exclaims


bannee mee! nearly eight o'clock and I've never looked at the letters yet. If Kelly the postman took them away without me putting a lil sight on them, I wouldn't have no rest all day. One day last winter I was put off, so that I hadn't a chance to examine a letter, and I declare I had the newaish for a whole week. I'm not a skeet, but a body likes to know what is going on, as the man said be-fore now. I'll read the post cards first. (Reads). Aw, yes, Big Johnny sending for more oil cake. I really believe the man is feeding his childer on oil cake.- "Messrs. Singer & Co., Douglas, kindly send at your earliest convenience half a dozen No. 5 sewing machine needles." That one, writing on a post card so that every- body will know that she has got a sewing machine.

Luss ny Graih is a plant - aramanth or sundew in English.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chartered Herring Acoustic Survey to take place in Manx Waters

The HavilahThe Northern Irish ‘supertrawler’ the Havilah, is undertaking an acoustic survey of the Manx herring stock, which is currently spawning on the east coast of the Island. The Havilah, being used by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) from Northern Ireland, will be commencing its survey off the North East coast and will then proceed in a clockwise direction around the Island.

The vessel is currently situated in Laxey Bay where it is undertaking a calibration process of its equipment prior to commencing the survey. The vessel will be travelling at a surveying speed of some 10 knots, though that will be dependent on the weather conditions that prevail.

The purpose of the survey is to estimate the distribution, abundance and population of herring in the Irish Sea through a process called “echo-integration” and also by taking samples of herring during the survey period.

Herring surveys have been undertaken in the Irish Sea area in previous years. However, this particular survey is to focus predominantly on Isle of Man coastal waters and Scottish coastal waters. The Havilah will be undertaking mid-water trawling during both daylight and darkness. Trawl catches, which will consist of both herring and sprats, are to be sorted into species and size with samples taken from each catch for scientific recording purposes.

Minister for the Department, Phil Gawne, MHK said “This annual survey is useful to the fishing industry in order to ascertain if stock recovery is being enabled through quota limits. After very serious overfishing a few decades ago Manx herring appear to be recovering well, and I look forward to seeing the results of the survey in the near future.”

Further AFBI surveys are expected to take place in late September, October and November on both the research vessel ‘Corystes’ and a chartered commercial vessel.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crime down

CRIME has reduced by 35 per cent over the past four years, according to Isle of Man police records. Police this week released figures comparing the total numbers of recorded crime for the first half of this year, March-September with those for the same period last year.

'The figures show crime is 12.2 per cent down on this time last year,' said Superintendent Paul Cubbon, 'and over the past four years we have seen a 35 per cent decrease. Full story here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

To boldly go...

ASTRONAUT Dr Leroy Chiao and cosmonaut Colonel Vladimir Titov were among a number of experienced space experts at the press launch of the Excalibur Almaz space project held at King William's College on Saturday.

The two men, who are among the most experienced of all space travellers, talked to the media and to college students about the Excalibur Almaz space capsule that is on show at the college. Story.

Dr Leroy Chiao is a veteran of three Shuttle missions and one Soyuz mission to the International Space Station (ISS), most recently serving as commander and NASA science officer of expedition 10 aboard the ISS from October 2004 to April 2005. He has logged 229 days in space — more than 36 hours of which were spent doing spacewalks.

Dr Chiao left NASA in December 2005 to pursue his interests in the private space flight sector, following a 15-year career with the agency. His responsibilities at Excalibur Almaz include overseeing spacecraft development, crew training, spaceflight operations, and all other aspects of spaceflight management.

Colonel Titov is an adviser with Excalibur Almaz and one of the world's most experienced astronauts. His career began in the Soviet Union in the 1970s and flew four missions as a cosmonaut including becoming the first man ever to spend a whole year in space.

That year was spent in earth orbit on board the Mir space station but after the Soviet bloc collapsed he went on to take part in NASA Space Shuttle missions and perform a spacewalk.
His list of honors includes two Orders of Lenin and he is also a Hero of the Soviet Union.

Keep the Manx flag flying!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I forgot to mention...

...only two singers have ever performed direct to the International Space Station. Music legend (at least in the US) Jimmy Buffet and Back Door Slam. Let's hear it for Slam Fans everywhere.

Jonny Bellis in coma

Jonny Bellis is often overshadowed by Mark Cavendish, but Jonny is a great cyclist. Sadly, he suffered serious head injuries in a motor scooter accident on Saturday morning near the town of Quarrata in Italy. He is in an induced coma and his condition remains stable. The 21-year-old Saxo Bank pro rider is in intensive care but doctors are more optimistic about his condition than they were over the weekend.

Later today the medical team caring for Jonny at the CTO Hospital in Florence will meet to discuss how to proceed with his treatment. Full story here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Nicole and Davy Knowles

It looks as though there will be another chance for me to catch Nicole get launched. She is on the roster for the STS-133 launch next September -- Good for her!

But right now she's on the ISS. And Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam went to Houston to the Space Center to talk and sing to her. Look at this YouTube:

Anyone know the Tippers?

We received a letter -- can anyone help?


I am the former editor of the Isle of Man Examiner, Isle of Man Times, the Manx Star, Manx Life and sundry other Manx publications.

I am researching the history of the Island's media and Manx influence on the media elsewhere and it is the latter aspect of my research that has led me to the names of Lillian and Frank Tipper (both snr and jnr).

I believe Lillian Tipper was prominent in the Los Angeles Manx Society in the early 20th Century and probably an official in NAMA.

This is why I am writing to you. My hope is that you can point me to someone who has access to NAMA records that will help me identity the right Tippers.

My interest is primarily the two Frank Tippers (father and son) who were prominent animators in Hollywood. Lillian Tipper was either the wife of Frank Tipper Snr or was related to him in some other way. My educated guess is that her maiden name was Marrion and that she originated, like Frank Tipper Snr, from Douglas, Isle of Man.

My hope is that NAMA may have published an obituary about Lillian or even Frank Tipper Snr.

Do not concern yourself if you cannot help me. My query is simply a long shot.

Meanwhile, thank you for your time,

Regards, Robert Kelly, Onchan, Isle of Man (not your Association President Robert Kelly!)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Washington Vikings

The Greater Washington Area Manx had a great day out at the Longship Company's Marina Dock in Dowell, MD yesterday. What a beautiful day and the Vikings gave us a grand time. Jim Kneale, GWAMS President, hand carved some wooden cleats as a thank you gift as well as bringing the Kneale Family salsa made from delicious "Manx Marvel" tomatoes -- the best tasting tomatoes in the world. Thank you Vikings!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Manxman makes exhibition of himself

LEZAYRE resident Mike Bathgate is one of the 2,400 people selected to appear on the empty fourth plinth in London's Trafalgar Square as part of Antony Gormley's One & Other project.

He spent his hour in the limelight promoting the Isle of Man and persuading onlookers that the UK should be administered by the Island. Mike thanked Flybe who provided 15 free tickets in the form of paper aeroplanes he launched from on high. More here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It was twenty years ago...

The Dog's Home
The pub called time 20 years ago and we still miss it - even Marks and Spencer, which was built on the area it once occupied, doesn't compensate for its loss.

Knocked down in August 1989, the pub is still very much alive in the minds of its former regulars. Built in 1857 and officially named the Victoria Tavern, the Drumgold Street pub was frequented by every kind of drinker under the sun — from binmen to bankers. Its long-time landlords were Peter and Muriel McAleer, who ran the Douglas drinking hole for 23 years.

The McAleers, along with their son Robert and daughter Sharon, welcomed thousands of customers into their oak paneled pub to enjoy the coal fire and friendly atmosphere.

'There was a farmers' market out the back and farmers went in to the pub for a drink and left their dogs tied up outside so it just became known as the Dogs' Home,' said Robert. 'My parents regularly won the newspaper award for best pub. They were the best known publicans on the Island.'

Robert, 56, ran The Creek Inn in Peel after buying it in 1976 and is now the landlord of the current Victoria Tavern in Victoria Street. He said: 'It was a fantastic atmosphere. Everyone knew each other. It was absolutely diverse. There would be someone drinking half a bottle of champagne next to someone having half a bitter.'

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's snowing in Argentina

MANX snowboarder Zoe Gillings finished 10th in the opening LG Snowboard FIS World Cup Snowboardcross competition of the 2009-10 season in Chapelco, Argentina over the weekend.
This is a credible placing after the Ronague woman was forced to take evasive action when world number one Lindsey Jacobellis (USA) crashed just after the start of the race.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Bishop of Sodor and Mann, an MHK and the President of Tynwald sing out

Geoff Corkish MHK, Tynwald president Noel Cringle and Bishop Robert Paterson raised over $3000 for singing 90 songs in 90 minutes for the Save the Children charity. What a great idea for a fundraiser.

Manx officer wins Military Cross for killing Taliban.

Bravery story from the IOM in The Daily Telegraph.

Lieutenant James Adamson, who is from the Isle of Man, was awarded the Military Cross after killing two insurgents during close quarter combat in Helmand's notorious "Green Zone".

The 24-year-old officer, a member of the 5th battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, revealed that he shouted "have some of this" before shooting dead a gunman who had just emerged from a maize field.

In a graphic description of the intense fighting in Helmand, the officer told of the moment killed the second fighter. He said: "It was a split second decision.

"I either wasted vital seconds changing the magazine on my rifle or went over the top and did it more quickly with the bayonet. "I took the second option. I jumped up over the bank of the river. He was just over the other side, almost touching distance. "We caught each other's eye as I went towards him but by then, for him, it was too late. There was no inner monologue going on in my head I was just reacting in the way that I was trained.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A funny thing happened on the way home from school.

In response to the Examiner headline from the outbreak of WWII came this, a childhood memory from the war. It's long, but I think you'll agree it's worth it as it paints a picture of a way of life so remote from ours that you can hardly credit that it occurred within someone's lifetime. As a parent I have drawn sharp looks from other, more protective parents because I regularly let my young roam around DC on the Metro and have dispatched my young teenagers on unaccompanied transatlantic flights (where they missed their connections) but even I get the shivers over this story...

A funny thing happened on the way home from school: with a record of some happenings and changes since.

            It has long been a standing joke in our family that after 3rd September 1939 and the declaration of war by Britain on Nazi Germany any parents of young children in the UK having any connections, however tenuous, with the Isle of Man, dispatched their offspring with great rapidity to brothers, sisters, aunts, grandparents, cousins - even mere friends - who lived in the presumed peace and tranquility of an island the Germans would not bother to bomb.
            That, actually, is not the joke.

            The joke is that our mother sent my brother, Euan, and me in the opposite direction: perhaps she had a hidden message for us which our juvenile subtlety was too immature to recognize. Anyway on the 18th September we found ourselves being escorted by our mother to, and deposited in, The Royal Masonic Institution for Boys (Junior) School, Bushey, Hertfordshire - about thirteen miles north of Piccadilly Circus and, on a clear day with the wind behind it, almost within the sound of Bow Bells. When the wind was in the other direction we had a very clear stink from Benskin’s Brewery at Watford, a mile to the north.

            For the sake of this tale, I’ll ‘fast-forward’ to our journey home for the Christmas holidays in December 1940.  By this time we were hardened war-veterans, having experienced the introduction of our school to high explosive and incendiary bombs, dropped by the aforementioned Germans, plus the various sentiments that go with sleeping on the floor - three bodies to two mattresses - in one of two reinforced ground floor rooms (‘play box’ and ‘boot’) while the orchestra of falling bombs, answering ack-ack fire and the continuo of droning aeroplanes, played its lullaby above our otherwise peaceful rooftops. Also Euan and I had been part of the contingent of about one eighth of the school whose mothers (we were all fatherless) had opted to have us stay at school for the entire summer holiday because it might be ‘ . . . too unsafe in our own homes’. We, therefore, also had seen the most northerly skirmishes of the Battle of Britain fought over our heads during the memorably hot days of August and early September, 1940.

            In those days most children were shown a new journey once. After that they were expected to be savvy enough to undertake the same trip on their own or with their peers without expecting an adult to accompany them, particularly if they were only travelling between their school and home. If a nine or ten year old wanted to buy a bus, train or boat ticket, no one questioned it and the term ‘unaccompanied child’ had not yet been invented. That December, five Manx boys left Bushey in one party for the longed-for sanctuary of the Island and for Christmas at home. We were: Jimmy Taggart, aged 12 from Ramsey and his brother John, aged 11, both of whom also had spent the summer holidays at school; Saul Cregeen, aged 10 from Onchan; my brother Euan, celebrating his eleventh birthday, and I who was 9 years old at the time. All went well until we arrived at the Princess Landing Stage at Liverpool where the Victoria was lying alongside with no signs of having steam up ready for departure. The term ‘customer relations’ had also not been invented in those days but a typical Steam Packet crewman was at the bottom of the gangplank (and here my 78 years of memory might now be subject to a little colourful exaggeration) shouting to anyone who dared approach the ‘boat’ (as Steam Packet vessels were always referred to until the coming of the first ro-ro) ‘Clear-off! The boat isn’t sailing today! German aircraft mined the Mersey this morning and the navy’s now sweeping it. Phone tomorrow at noon and we’ll give you further orders’. Steam Packet crewmen never left anyone in doubt as to who was in charge.

            The Ramsey boys said, ‘Oh, we’ve got an auntie in Liverpool. Goodbye’ and immediately disappeared leaving no forwarding address. I asked Cregeen if, perchance, he might have an auntie in Liverpool but answer came there none. Even for those days, I suppose, it was a bit tough for a boy celebrating his eleventh birthday, a ten-year-old and a nine-year-old to be abandoned on the landing stage in this way and I don’t consider today’s children are mollycoddled when carriers give them special protection.

            Fortunately, Euan and I, before the war, had stayed in Liverpool with Mr. & Mrs. Will Scott, acquaintances of our parents who had particularly befriended us after our father died. We had stayed with them at their house in Derby Lane, Old Swan. Both of us knew the way and that the number of the tram which would get us there was 19. We suggested to Cregeen that he come with us. I hope his mother was for ever grateful afterwards that he accepted our offer of the Scott’s hospitality.

            It is, perhaps, worth considering what we might have done had Euan and I not known the Scotts. We definitely would not have made a drama out of the event and the one certain point is that we wouldn’t have died. We would have revealed our plight to the nearest passing stranger or nearest policeman - neither of which solutions would, I’m afraid, appeal to many of today’s children taught by their parents to be terrified of the former and mistrustful of the latter.

            Mind you, it would have taken huge bravery on our part to have approached the seaman at the bottom of the gangplank.

            Children’s perceptions, of course, are different from adults’: it was only quite a bit later in life that it occurred to me that the Scotts were pretty prosperous members of the merchant class. They owned several sweet shops throughout Liverpool and one at the Four Roads, Port St Mary. Part of each was a post office where Will was the designated sub-postmaster though, obviously, others did the work. (Manx post offices were still a part of the British GPO in those days.) The Scotts did not own a motor car (as we did) but they did have a holiday cottage attached to the Port St Mary shop and a weekend retreat in North Wales. Their house in West Derby never struck me as being anything special as there were, and still are, hundreds of houses like it in the Isle of Man. We called them boarding houses or, even, private hotels but the Scotts’ four-storey-plus-basement double-fronted Edwardian end of terrace edifice with large front and back gardens was a private house. They mightn’t have owned a car but they did have a coach house and stable (disused) and were the only family I have ever stayed with which had a butler; and an intercom phone system in every room in the house.

            Accompanied by oohs and ahhs and lovely, warm hugs they welcomed we three orphans of the storm of war. We were fed and watered, our mothers were contacted and we were shown where we would be sleeping - on mattresses on the floor of their cellar to which the family had been reintroduced just the night before after months free from any bombing at all around Liverpool! Bombs fell heavily that night, sending their familiar shudders up through the floor, and the accompanying ack-ack provided a comforting feeling of déjà vu to help us settle. We yarned and played board games till around midnight when Mr. Scott took us up to the billiard room which was under the eaves and had a fairly large skylight. He told us that we would remember the sight he was showing us for the rest of our lives: Saul Cregeen and my brother Euan are dead long years ago but Mr. Scott was right; I remember that sight in detail even now.

            At least half of the horizon visible from that window was a distant mass of flame with the sky to a great height reflecting a violent orange. Mr. Scott explained that the targets which had been successfully hit were the Liverpool Docks. When we did eventually take the tram to the boat for home we saw that a goodly number of downtown properties had also been hit. Despite Liverpool’s having been the City of Culture just recently, many of those buildings are still derelict.

            I think we probably arrived in Liverpool on a Tuesday. During the war only one boat operated the Douglas/Liverpool route so there was only a boat in either direction every other day and, of course, no boat on Sundays. (Just like the IOM railways, Sunday boat services were unknown until about the 1960s, though there was a Sunday rail service from Douglas to Kirk Braddan and back for the celebrated morning open air church services which in the summer season were attended by thousands of holidaymakers.) Around 11.0 a.m. the next day the sirens mournfully groaned into action as the Luftwaffe were once again over the Mersey. Distant explosions were heard but, as instructed, we duly phoned the Steam Packet agent, Thomas Orford Ltd, at midday. ‘The Mersey’s been mined again: the navy is out again trying to clear the channel. Phone again, same time tomorrow.’

            That night and ‘the same time tomorrow’ the story was the same, and again during the following twenty-four hours: bombing raids by night and mining raids by day. The Scotts were wonderful but what about the people in the Island? The Mersey was paralysed: no passenger or cargo boat from Liverpool since the previous Saturday; things must have been becoming desperate.  So too at the Liverpool end: the Steam Packet must have been really keen to get the mails, newspapers and perishable goods normally carried by the Victoria over to the Island, not to mention all the extra people converging on the port en route for their Christmas holidays, so on the Friday Orfords said, ‘Try again later’, which the Scotts duly did and eventually tentative directions were given to make for the Pier Head ready for a provisional 7.0 p.m. sailing.

            I think that that was actually about the time when the boat did finally sail. It was absolutely crammed with people. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, men on their own, women on their own , families with babes in arms and everyone of us looking worn out as we crammed together wherever we could find somewhere to stand. I don’t even remember where Euan was for most of the journey. The crowd’s momentum had propelled me down into the aft well-deck where I recollect being ring-fenced by three or four chaps in khaki when, suddenly, not ten minutes after departing the pier, there was a tremendous crash, the boat shook, then shivered and all the already ‘blacked out’ lights of wartime went out, then on, then out again - exactly like film makers were later to portray such scenes in the multitude of war films which are still shown on our TVs today. The women hadn’t stopped screaming before two more enormous explosions - in very quick succession - rocked the boat but, mercifully, the lights came on within a matter of seconds and, slowly, following a good few relieved exhalations of stifled breath, conversation was resumed and shortly after, normal behaviour as the realisation dawned that we didn’t seem to be sinking and, in fact, the Victoria was steaming on without so much as a pause.

            That’s it, really: the rest of the journey was uneventful. We arrived at the Edward Pier somewhere around midnight. The water was at full ebb on a spring tide but we soon picked out our grandfather and our mother amongst the faces peering dangerously over the precipitous edge of the pier which was high above deck level. Euan and I both delved into our strong carrier bags obtained in Liverpool to hold aloft the bargain of bargains we had jointly acquired on a shopping expedition into town. In the middle of a war where bombs were regularly dropped on railways, docks, homes, shops, factories and anything else Jerry thought it worth having a go at; where millions of tons of shipping were being destroyed in half the oceans of the world simply to starve Britain into submission, what had we been able to buy for sixpence each that we were so keen to show our nearest and dearest? It
defies belief but it’s true. What we had bought were three (the third for our sister, Ealish) newly imported, live tortoises!

            We learned later that the explosions came from acoustic mines. A vessel was not actually required to come into contact with these weapons as they were detonated by vibrations from all the various noises caused by a powered vessel moving through the water.

            The Victoria’s  reciprocating engines were possibly noisier than average for in detonating our mines somewhat prematurely she had been relatively undamaged and was able to take the next morning’s nine o’clock sailing from Douglas to Liverpool. However, coming down the river on the following trip home, just one mine detonated and the vessel was holed. The captain beached her on Wallasey beach and passengers were taken off onto two fishing boats. Thereafter there were no more sailings from Liverpool for the rest of the war; they were transferred to Fleetwood. Over the Christmas period adverts appeared in the local press (Manx Radio didn’t exist then) acquainting Islanders of this change, and the ever-gracious Steam Packet included the phrase that return tickets to Liverpool would be honoured on the Fleetwood route.

            Another detail about that period which is worth recording is that tickets then were made of cardboard and measured about two inches by one inch (landscape). They named the departure and arrival ports and return tickets had a left and a right half (each differently coloured). What they did not record was the name of the ticket holder. At the conclusion of the outward journey the purser would snap the ticket in half and keep the outward journey part for the accountants’ records. If the boat had sunk in the middle of the Irish Sea there would have been no company record of who had bought tickets or who had been lost; in those days no one seemed to think that a passenger list was necessary.

The names of all the children in this article have been altered but all the characters mentioned are or were real people and the events all actually happened as described.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Aer Lingus - great deal

I just got this from Aer Lingus. It's a great deal if you can go in the dark months, can drive on the wrong side of the road with a stick shift, don't mind the rain and have a few hundred bucks lying around. And remember, Aer Aran flies to the IOM from Dublin if you can manage to add a day or two.

Ireland 3-City Package from $699*

Discover hidden gems, witness spectacular sights and experience the world renowned Irish culture and personalities that this small country is famous for. This package will take you from the bustling and cosmopolitan capital city of Dublin to the naturally beautiful counties of Kerry and Clare.

Package includes:
Round-trip airfare to Dublin
2 nights Maldron Cardiff Lane, Dublin (4*)
2 nights Scotts Hotel, Killarney (4*)
2 nights Old Ground Hotel, Clare (4*)
Weekly manual shift car rental with unlimited mileage
Book this package by September 30, 2009.

Travel Period 12/01/09 - 2/11/10

New York $699

Boston $819

Chicago $819

* Restrictions apply, taxes and fees add'l. See terms & conditions. More here.

Cosmonauts to visit Isle of Man in space tourism promotion

AN Isle of Man-based company aiming to take tourists into space in 2013 is to show off one of its spacecraft at King William's College later this month.
Excalibur Almaz Limited, which has its headquarters at 15-19 Athol Street, Douglas, has acquired several Reusable Return Vehicles, or RRVs, that were part of a top secret Soviet programme in the 1970s.

The RRVs were designed for flying cosmonauts to the former Soviet Union's secret Almaz space stations and the Manx company has bought two of the stations as well.

The Manx emblem appears on a British ensign on the side of the Excalibur Almaz space capsule. The so-called ‘defaced ensign’, that is one with a symbol added to that of the Union Flag, is used as the flag of origin flown by vessels on the Isle of Man ship registry.

Full story here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

'ISLAND offers sanctuary to 14,800 children'.

Interesting story I missed last week on the anniversary of the outbreak of WWII.

This was the lead story in the first Isle of Man Examiner of the Second World War, 70 years ago.

The newspaper reported that boarding house owners had offered places for thousands of evacuees in response to a British government appeal. Much more at the website link above.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Good news from the ioM and Missouri

Positive article here about the IoM on Wired A quote, "The tax haven has enjoyed 26 consecutive years of growth. It has no national debt, an unemployment rate of just 2.2 per cent, and has avoided the recession. Per capita income, 24 per cent lower than Britain’s in 1996, is 18 per cent higher. “It’s the greatest economic success story nobody has ever heard of,” says Chris Corlett, head of the Department of Trade and Industry."

MARK Cavendish won a motorbike as a prize for taking the opening stage of the Tour of Missouri on Monday - but it's his rivals who will need an engine if they are to beat him in a sprint.
The Manxman's latest victory made it a half century of pro wins since he first joined the paid ranks with T-Mobile in 2007.

The victory was his 22nd in 2009.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Food's good and space smells funny

Nicole (waving here) is finding space life very different from training. For a start, space smells and the food is great as there are so many nationalities up there is a galactic smorgasbord. Story here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Nicola stops the trams

More here - great photo!

Jake Brockman dies in bike crash on Isle of Man

Sad news for Echo and the Bunnymen fans. Keyboard player Jake Brockman was killed today. Jake was a big bike fan. It's Manx Grand Prix week on the IOM and lots of visitors are over to watch the races which have been blighted by foul weather - a legacy of Hurricane Bill that was a big rainmaker. More at NME

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Spacewalk of STS-128 Mission Complete

Image above: Spacewalker Nicole Stott works outside the International Space Station during the first spacewalk of the STS-128 mission. Photo credit: NASA TV

Mission Specialist Danny Olivas and Expedition 20 Flight Engineer Nicole Stott completed the first spacewalk of the STS-128 mission at 12:24 a.m. EDT Wednesday. The astronauts began the spacewalk at 5:49 p.m. Tuesday. During the spacewalk, shuttle Commander Rick Sturckow and Mission Specialist Pat Forrester guided the spacewalkers through the procedures. Pilot Kevin Ford and Flight Engineer Bob Thirsk operated the station’s robotic arm.

MANX Flag flies on ships worldwide

The Isle of Man Ship Registry, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, has announced the addition of the “Caly Manx”, a £21.7 million bulk carrier, to its fleet. The ship, commissioned by LT Ugland, will be unveiled and transferred to sail under the Isle of Man’s Red Ensign Group flag on 30th September.

The present-day Registry was established in 1984 and now has 452 merchant vessels and other commercially operated vessels. The registry has amassed a combined tonnage of ten million gross registered tonnes. That's only seven million less than the UK.

Dick Welsh, director of the Isle of Man Shipping Registry said: “In the last year, we have seen growing interest from China and elsewhere in the Far East, and this is the perfect opportunity to communicate the benefits of registering with the Isle of Man.”

As well as the right to fly the Red Ensign (with the Three Legs), the Manx Registry promises the support of British consular services and Royal Naval protection world-wide, low costs, and with a favourable tax regime.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Manx not dead

Global cultural body UNESCO has agreed to change its classification of Manx Gaelic following protests from the Island led by Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK. The Chief Minister's Office has now received a letter from UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Culture, Françoise Rivière, accepting the points made on behalf of Manx and confirming that its classification will be changed from 'extinct' to 'critically endangered'. Well done everyone!

Space talk and walk
Nicole has a blog. Let's hope she puts up some spaced out thoughts soon. She's doing a spacewalk later today.

From NASA: Flight Engineer Nicole Stott and Mission Specialist Danny Olivas are spending the night inside the Quest airlock at a lower air pressure to force nitrogen out their bloodstream. This prevents astronauts from getting decompression sickness during a spacewalk. Stott and Olivas are set to begin the first STS-128 spacewalk Tuesday at 5:49 p.m. EDT.