Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hop tu Naa -- A really Manx tradition

All over the Isle of Man today there are events taking place to celebrate the ancient tradition of Hop tu Naa.
The Isle of Man Steam Railway is running a ghost train from Douglas to Castletown, followed by a ghost walk around the former capital.
The Great Laxey Mine Railway is also running a ghost train through its 'haunted' ghost tunnel, with a number of special effects installed for the occasion.
And everybody is welcome to go to Cregneash and learn how to carve one of the traditional turnip lanterns. (Manx Radio)

And then they can go door to door singing this traditional song as I did when I was a kid. Not sure what the mouse had done to deserve it!

Hop tu Naa
Tra-la-laa
Jinnie the Witch
Jumped over the house
To fetch a broom
To beat the mouse
Hop tu Naa
Tra-la-laa

Gnome mystery grips island

THIS gnome is a long way from home! Perched on a gatepost near the Gooseneck, he was one of several spotted by motorists driving on the Mountain Road in recent weeks.

Ramsey Police said they had no idea where the gnomes had wandered off from.

IOMToday

Your Comments

Whilst Bernard has not been very well of late this has raised a smile. Could it be Happy or have the Constabulary failed to make an identification. Maybe specialist help is being flown in from the Gnome Office even. If no progress is made on the case things could begin to look Grimm.
BERNARD MONTGOMERY WILBERFORCE, UK

Presumably they are in Gno-mans land
HAPPY

It is probably the work of the GLA (Gnome Liberation Army). They were very active on the big island until a few years ago. They rescue gnomes from gardens during the night and set them free in the forest. They are not native to the Isle of Man and the Ferrish do not want them and tie them to posts so that they can be recaptured
GRW

Friday, October 30, 2009

Manx Radio officially has the highest weekly audience reach of any station in the British Isles.

In the latest quarterly survey by Radio Joint Audience Research, the industry standard for compiling listener statistics, the Island's national broadcaster recorded a figure of 54%.
The RAJAR statistics show the number of listeners in that percentage figure has grown for the 4th quarter in succession, rising to 36,400 in the latest survey from just over 33,000 this time last year.The growth relates to listeners in the Isle of Man and is attributed to the 'audience retention and growth programme', initiated in the past 18 months between programming and business development.

In order to secure further audience growth, Manx Radio recently launched a completely new audio and visual brand, along with a heavily revised programme schedule. The station says it provides a more contemporary look and sound to attract new listeners from a younger demographic, while not disenfranchising its established audience.

Story here.

Runs like a Manx watch, yessir

Roger Smith, of Roger W Smith Ltd watch, clock and chronometer makers, runs a unique business in Ballaugh producing handmade timepieces. The watches produced are true works of art and continue a long tradition of English horology. Roger W Smith watches sell for anything up to £51,000 each.

Seen here: Roger W Smith Series 2 watch
Full story here.

Foot Report welcomed by Isle of Man

TaxNews.com: The British Crown Dependencies have welcomed the findings of the UK government's review of the dependencies, published on October 29, which recognizes their economic benefit to the United Kingdom, and efforts to achieve compliance with international standards.

The report, authored by Michael Foot, examines the opportunities and challenges facing the British Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and Jersey) and six Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands), with regard to:

  • Financial supervision and transparency;
  • Taxation, in relation to financial stability, sustainability and future competitiveness;
  • Financial crisis management and resolution arrangements; and
  • International co-operation.

Commenting on the release of Foot's findings, Financial Secretary to the UK Treasury, Stephen Timms stated that:

“I welcome Michael Foot’s report which comes amidst a real step change in the international determination to tackle tax and regulatory havens under the UK’s leadership of the G20."

He continued: "This report sends a strong signal to overseas financial centres that they must ensure that they have the correct regulation and supervision in place, while also ensuring their tax bases are more diverse and sustainable to withstand economic shocks – this is essential to their long term stability.”

In his report to HM Treasury, Foot highlighted that:

  • The Crown Dependencies make a significant contribution to the liquidity of the UK market, providing net financing to UK banks of USD332.5bn with Jersey by far the largest net contributor;
  • The Crown Dependencies’ decisions to build up reserves in recent years of growth has increased their resilience;
  • The Crown Dependencies have good frameworks for tackling money laundering and terrorist financing, as recognised by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF);
  • All Crown Dependencies had met the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) standard for tax transparency by the G20 meeting in April 2009, and are encouraged to continue to negotiate further TIEAs;
  • The UK should call on all EU member states and third party countries to move to automatic exchange of information under the EU Savings Tax Directive, and so enable Jersey and Guernsey to introduce automatic exchange by ending the current transition period;
  • The UK should take the lead internationally in encouraging improvements to international standards and transparency of beneficial ownership;
  • The UK ‘tax gap’ due to suspected tax avoidance is significantly lower than previous estimates – rather than GBP11.8bn previously claimed, this is now estimated to be no more than GBP2bn globally (with any avoidance through offshore centres being an unidentified component of this);
  • Jurisdictions should consider whether an Ombudsman scheme is justified;
  • Jurisdictions that propose to offer protection to retail depositors must ensure that compensation schemes can be understood by those depositors.

Responding to the report, the Isle of Man’s Chief Minister, Tony Brown, applauded the findings as a “positive, constructive, and independent assessment".

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Changes to Douglas urban landscape planned

THE long-awaited proposed development of the former bus station site in Douglas lurched one stage closer to realisation at the end of a Tynwald evening sitting on Tuesday. MHKs (Members of the House of Keys) approved the broad terms for agreement between the DLGE (Department of Local Government and the Environment) and developer Askett Hawk to enable the scheme to continue.

A four-star 124-bed hotel on the former Lord Street bus station is planned along with flats, shops and restaurants overlooking North Quay to complete the development forming part of the Island's gateway for visiting tourists. The site is also to provide 150 parking spaces.

A 999-year lease of the site was approved in March 2008 but a similar motion to agree terms with developer Askett-Hawk was withdrawn from Tynwald last January pending the outcome of the DTI's retail study.

The message to members from Treasury Minister Allan Bell was: 'Get off the fence and stop avoiding making a decision. Send out a positive message and address the issues.' Mr Bell said anyone rejecting the offer of £70m investment needed their head examining.

'We are not being asked to make a decision today. It is just to move it on to the next stage. One of our biggest handicaps developing new business has been things like poor quality retail, poor quality hotels, restaurants and night life. We have struggled to get investors to come to the Island because of these issues and if this continues we can write off any stimulus of new economic growth in the future. I despair for the future if we carry on dodging making a decision,' he said.

But there were lots of objections and even a joke from the Chief Minister in the debate in Tynwald. Local politics at its best. More here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

TT lovers -- read and weep

Brilliant review of the TT over the past few years by a REAL fan here.

Hat Tip: Sebastian

Dan Karran

This young photographer is from the Isle of Man although he currently lives in London. He has some very nice photos, including this one of the Herring Tower at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/londondan/tags/isleofman and coming soon at: http://www.dankarran.com/photography

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nicole talks to Island school teens from space

A lucky group of pupils from the Island's secondary schools enjoyed a live video link to astronaut Nicole Stott on the International Space Station. It's the first time such a feat has been achieved on the Island. Nicole, who is married to Manxman Chris Stott, the president and chief executive of ManSat, was wearing an Ellan Vannin T-shirt and floating around in front of a Manx flag.

Manx Radio here.

Celtic Concert in California

The Antelope Valley Community Concert Association will host its community concert at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center featuring a performance by Golden Bough. Golden Bough will take the attendees on a musical tour through seven Celtic lands. Join the tour and visit the musical stylings of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, French Brittany and the North of Spain (Galicia).The Golden Bough features an assortment of musical instruments including the guitar, harp, violin, ace-fiddle, accordion, penny whistle, and the mandolin. The concert will take place at the LPAC on Tuesday October 27th at 8:00pm.

The Antelope Valley Community Concert Association has been a staple of music lovers in the Antelope Valley for the past 61 years. Each fall and spring a new concert series is brought to the Valley offering an array of musical talents. The Golden Bough is just one of the amazing concert tickets in town, and not the last of this season’s series. Check back often to learn about other shows!For more Information contact the Antelope Valley Community Concert Association at http://avcommunityconcerts.com/. Or the LPAC
at 750 W. Lancaster Blvd. • Lancaster, CA 93534 Tel: 661-723-5950 •

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Manx cat on display in Noo Yoik


Orva Rossman is a Manx cat breeder who had a booth at a "Meet the Breeds" show in New York City. Along with the Manx cats she had a display of info regarding the Isle of Man, some of it supplied by the Washington Manx. Here is a long-tailed Manx, sorry, full-tailed Manx (longtails are something COMPLETELY different on the IOM) that she can't "show" in the US although they can compete in Europe.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

100 years in December



Hat Tip: Sue Black

Here's a request from a Manx Americaphile

I am looking for an official Maquette of the Iwo Jima statue made of solid bronze that is an exact copy of the famous USMC Memorial at Arlington. The sculptor, was a man called Felix de Weldon who died in 2003. His signature was engraved on a number of maquettes (quantity unknown ) and it is one of the originals that I would very much like to acquire.

There are lots of copies available made in different materials but these are not what I’m looking for. I hope I am not asking for the moon, but an authentic, signed maquette, its got to be !

If anyone knows where we could find such a thing -- please leave a comment or email me at the address above.

Christian company living up its ideals

WHEN the Ramsey company AFD Software Ltd reached its 25th birthday, managing director David Dorricott and his wife Alison pondered how to celebrate the occasion. Black tie dinner perhaps? Champagne reception? No, they decided to buy an aircraft – yet they won't even fly in it.

The Kodiak 100 – with a breathtaking price tag of £1m – will be given to Mission Aviation Fellowship to deliver life-saving aid and workers to remote parts of the world.

The shiny new aircraft, fresh off the production line at Idaho, has now hopped over the Atlantic and over the weekend it was set to be put on display to the public at Andreas on Saturday and to be dedicated at a service due to be held at Hangar 5, Ronaldsway, on Sunday.

'It won't be shiny for long,' said Hilary Brown, the representative from MAF, adding that the plane is destined for Kalimantan (formerly Borneo) in Indonesia.

She explained: 'MAF programmes vary with need because of the geographical challenges. This is suited to short stops, which is what they have at Kalimantan. The aircraft there needs to be replaced and this ticked a lot of the boxes.'

The plane's seats can be removed, making it flexible and suited for many requirements, such as transporting goods, medicines and food and building supplies, as well as carrying local government officers doing air surveys.

This is vital because of the dense rainforest and mountainous terrain, Hilary said, adding of the country: 'A 10-mile journey in a plane is three or four days' walk. It is really vast and very varied.'

Being given a plane – meaning MAF now has a fleet of 121 aircraft operating in 30 developing countries – is 'an answer to a prayer', she said, adding: 'We really appreciated David and Alison's support and they share in the vision to go out to the people who seriously are living in inhospitable conditions. Flying is a lifeline for these people, it surely will be put to good use.'

David has supported MAF for 20 years and it is a very appropriate donation to celebrate a milestone for a company whose very foundation is not on making money (any profits go to worth causes), but in promoting Christian ideals. He said the donation of the plane is 'quite an exciting chance to be involved in taking the Christian gospel with relief to the parts of the world you can not get to'. Full story here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Warning of fresh move on passport controls

THE BRITISH Home Office is to make a renewed effort to impose passport controls on travel into Great Britain from the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The effort was criticized by a succession of TDs (Irish members of parliament) and representatives from the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands at a meeting in Swansea yesterday of the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly.

So, in a couple of weeks the UK government has axed the IOM/UK reciprocal NHS program, announced a £90 million reduction in Common Purse/VAT funds and is preparing to tighten up the passport controls. I have a few theories concerning the Big Picture here -- what's yours?

Irish Times

Manx at Meet the Breeds Show, NYC

Hi Jim!
Thought you and the guys in the Manx Society would like to know that our Manx booth won First Prize as the Best Cat Booth at the Show. We won $500.00 for our Breed Council.
Orva

Island can rise to challenge of change in revenue share - Chief Minister

Chief Minister Tony Brown MHKTHE Isle of Man can manage the consequences of change in its revenue sharing arrangement with the United Kingdom, Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK told Tynwald today (Tuesday October 20, 2009).

But he warned that some ‘very difficult decisions’ will be needed to come through a situation which he described as unprecedented in the Island’s recent history.

In a statement to Tynwald the Chief Minister revealed that revision of the sharing arrangement will result in an annual loss of revenue to the Isle of Man Government of at least £50 million from April next year, rising to £100 million from April 2011. Added to revenue reductions already projected, due to the UK economic performance and lower VAT rate, this means the Island faces an estimated total loss of £90 million in the 2010/11 financial year and £140 million in subsequent years.

With overall net revenue spending estimated at £572.1 million in the current financial year, the Chief Minister said a potential loss of £90 million next year had ‘serious implications’. Nothing would be excluded in considering how to deal with the situation.

Government would examine how it could raise revenue, reduce spending and use reserves in the short-term to overcome the ‘substantial shortfall’ in income. In the coming months Government would be looking at all budgets to see how spending could be contained within total income. Government’s priority would be to secure the most important services provided to the community and safeguard the future. Less critical services would be examined, with the possibility of public sector redundancies.

The Chief Minister confirmed that the Customs and Excise Agreement (under which the revenue sharing arrangement is made) was being retained.

He concluded:

‘Government is confident that the present re-adjustments within the Sharing Arrangement, whilst causing serious initial budgetary and public service pressures, especially due to the short notice of the changes, will be managed in an orderly fashion and will ultimately leave us stronger and fitter for the future.’

HOP TU NAA CELEBRATIONS AT CREGNEASH

As the rest of the British Isles prepares to celebrate Halloween, the National Folk Museum at Cregneash will stage a traditional Manx Hop tu naa celebration starting at 10am on Saturday 31st October.

There will be a free turnip and candle with every ticket purchased during the week commencing 26th October and on Saturday 31st October children will be able to make and decorate their own turnip lanterns to take home, for Hop tu naa. There will also be a variety of children’s activities associated with the festive occasion.

Historically Hop tu naa has been considered to be the Celtic New Year, marking the end of the summer and the beginning of winter. It was traditionally a time when people would celebrate the fact that the harvest had been safely gathered in and all the preparations had been made for the long cold winter ahead.

Traditionally the boys would go from house to house singing the Hop tu naa song and hope to be rewarded with apples, bonnag, herring and if lucky given some sweets and the odd penny as well. The girls would stay at home and try to discover who they were going to marry. They hoped that by eating a salted herring or a soddag valloo (dumb cake) of flour, salt, eggs (shells and all!) and soot, they would dream of their future husband. Not all of these traditions have survived but many children still go out with a carved turnip lantern singing the Hop tu naa song around the streets.

Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History commented: “The Hop tu naa event at Cregneash is an event for the whole family and a great opportunity for everyone to find out more about the customs and traditions of Manx Hop tu naa. Visitors will be able to make and decorate their own turnip lantern to take home and they will also be able to learn the Manx Hop tu naa song and dance.”

All the activities will take place under cover at the National Folk Museum at Cregneash, so visitors do not need to worry about the weather.

Everyone is welcome to come along and join in this customary celebration of our Manx heritage at The National Folk Museum at Cregneash from 10am to 5pm, standard admission fee applies. Please note that Manx National Heritage Seasonal Sites close on 31st October 2009 and reopen at Easter 2010 on 2nd April, however the Manx Museum and the House of Manannan remain open throughout the winter period.

Image Caption: Children at Cregneash holding a Carved Turnip Lantern

Monday, October 19, 2009

It should have got a Gold...

Manxies who attended the Homecoming or recent NAMA and GWAMS events will know how delicious Manx cheese can be. Well, the Garlic and Chive Mature Cheddar cheese won bronze medal at this year's British Cheese Awards. The flavoured cheese is one of many produced by the Isle of Man Creamery in Tromode.

Gordon Smith, the creamery's sales and marketing director, said: 'This is fantastic news for the creamery. Winning a bronze medal at the British Cheese Awards is a tribute to the craft and dedication that our cheesemakers put into making our range of award winning cheeses.'

The British Cheese Awards, created in 1994, were held in Cardiff Castle last month. Here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ellan Vannin by Robin Gibb

Even in space -- the women clean the fridge

Nicole also cleaned out the MERLIN (Microgravity Experiment Research Locker Incubator) Galley fridge, removing all of its contents to temporary stowage. Afterwards, a 24-hr bake-out of the unit will be commanded from the ground, to help prevent moisture getting into the sensors. [MERLIN is used for cold storage of crew food and drink.] NASA

September Money Media

I received this from the Manx Government -- it might interest some of you.
http://www.moneymedia.co.im/online/sep2009/

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The times they are a changin'

A Dept of Health and Social Security report into the ending of the reciprocal health agreement with the UK – which will go before Tynwald this month – says we're on our own after the current arrangement ends on April 1 next year. The report recommends that it will be entirely the responsibility of Manx residents to pay National Health Service charges for ongoing treatment if they fall ill or have an accident while visiting the UK. Isle of Man residents will have to pay NHS charges personally or ensure they have taken out travel insurance.

The ending of the agreement will also affect visitors to the Isle of Man, including TT racegoers, who will have to pay if they require ongoing hospital treatment at Noble's. Initial ER treatment will remain free, as will treatment for patients referred to UK hospitals by the Island's NHS. Anyone who has paid 10 years of national insurance contributions in the UK is covered, as are students studying in the UK.

The DHSS report notes that the recovery of funds from patients is expected to fall below the contribution – of around £3 million – currently given by the UK for the treatment of visitors to the Island. There is concern about the impact of the withdrawal of the agreement on older people with pre-existing medical problems – believing that they will have difficulty obtaining travel insurance.

********************

The UK government is to review its Value Added Tax sharing agreement with the Isle of Man, which currently accounts for over half of our government's income.

It is feared that between £50 million and £100 million of government revenue per year could be in jeopardy under any move to tighten the revenue sharing arrangements under the Customs agreement between the two countries.

The Manx Government's current net revenue spending is £572 million.

With the UK public finances deteriorating rapidly, Gordon Brown's administration is anxious to find new sources of tax revenue. It is understood that one area coming under pressure from the UK is the Customs agreement with the Island, which currently provides more than half — over £300 million — of the Manx Government's income.

Under the terms of the deal, the UK could give two years' notice to terminate the agreement.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Manxie on the plinth in Trafalgar Square

The Guardian: After 100 days, 35,000 applications and 2,400 people who succeeded in becoming living works of art, rain, hail, thunder, scorching sun and bitter dawn chill, the people's occupation of the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square came to an end three minutes late as one last bunch of red balloons – marking the Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough stadium 20 years ago – drifted into the London sky.

"The question 'but is it art?' is totally irrelevant," said the artist Antony Gormley. His One&Other brainchild caught the imagination of millions worldwide who logged on to watch the likes of 21-year-old Paul Skinner, an unemployed website designer in a top hat, try and fail to complete the Times jumbo crossword, or 84-year-old Gwynneth Pedler, the oldest plinther, signalling in semaphore from her wheelchair.

"The proper question is did it work as a celebration of our national diversity, an extraordinarily precarious mixture of those who just wanted to do something that was fun, and those with a burning cause for which they wished to serve as living representatives – and I think it did.

"I've just come back from National Day in China, and how did they mark it? With an awe-inspiring parade of uniformity where none of the serried ranks of marchers could vary in height by more than 5 millimetres. This was a celebration of exactly the opposite."

Gormley hugged Emma Burns, the 2,400th plinther and a medical photographer from Darlington who, since nobody was arriving to follow her, was afforded the unique privilege of three extra minutes so that she could finish reading the list of the 96 Hillsborough dead.

He gazed up reverently at the second last plinther, Michael Brownsdon, originally from the Isle of Man, 6ft 4ins in his socks, at least 20ft tall in his breast cancer awareness feather boa, pink cowboy hat and cloud of pink balloons. "You were splendid!" Gormley said. Brownsdon blushed a matching shade of pink.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jonny Bellis out of coma

Jonny Bellis has come out of a coma and is slowly recovering from the serious injuries he suffered during an accident while riding his scooter in Italy on September 19.

According to British Cycling, doctors at the intensive care unit of the Florence Careggi hospital have gradually brought Bellis out of his coma in the last few days. He is still being medicated but is no longer sedated.

Contrary to reports, Bellis is still on a ventilator. Doctors tried to allow him to breath naturally on Monday afternoon but he will remain on the ventilator for two or three more days as he gradually recovers.

The 21 year-old Isle of Man rider, who turned professional with the Saxo Bank team this year, crashed heavily while riding his scooter near his Italian base in Quarrata. He was wearing a helmet but suffered serious head injuries.

Bellis is expected to stay in the Florence hospital for at least three more weeks before being transferred to the Isle of Man.

Bellis's father is still in Italy. British Cycling, Max Sciandri and Mark Cavendish have been assisting Bellis's family and visiting the hospital every day.

Story from Cycling Weekly

Monday, October 12, 2009

At last -- John goes digital




Finally, and in time for holiday shopping -- Laxey Woollen Mills is online. Check out their neat site here: http://www.laxeywoollenmills.com

Manx Lessons

It's been a while since we looked at the lingo -- here are some Manx classes from Phil Kelly - recommended by Jim Morrison. Personally, I can't open them for some bizarre reason maybe my programs are too old, but there are instructions about how to download a program (which I have also failed to do -- but you may have better luck. )
For more Manx lessons and information about the language, have a look at learnmanx.com

http://www.mylanguagenotebook.com/learn_manx.aspx

Friday, October 9, 2009

Astronauts Build Stephen Colbert's Space Treadmill


Staying fit in space is about to get easier now that astronauts on the International Space Station have finished building a new zero-gravity treadmill named after TV comedian Stephen Colbert.

Dubbed COLBERT after the host of Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report," the new exercise treadmill is now awaiting a series of tests to make sure it's working correctly before astronauts can begin running on it.

"It's done, and we're looking at it right now," space station flight engineer Nicole Stott said Monday via a video link.

The $5 million space treadmill was unpacked on the orbiting lab in September, but took about 20 hours for astronauts to put it together from more than 100 pieces. Four of the station's six astronaut residents wore broad smiles as they piled onto the treadmill for an impromptu "test run" last week, but spun their legs in weightlessness since the exercise machine was not yet ready for full operations. Full story here.

Manx extremists

Roger Rawcliffe's new book "No Man Is An Island" may be a bit of an eye-opener for many as it describes a turbulent period in the Isle of Man's history.

Mr Rawcliffe, who has years of experience in the Island's finance sector and is a respected lecturer and historian, was commissioned by the Manx Heritage Foundation to write an account of 50 years of finance in the Isle of Man. Mr Rawcliffe describes the evolution of the Fo Halloo movement which emerged in the 1970s as Manx-born residents came to resent the presence of rich 'come overs' who were not here to work but to take advantage of tax benefits.

To those who supported Fo Halloo, which is Manx Gaelic for underground, the abolition of surtax had brought wealth to some but increasingly the Isle of Man was becoming a retirement home to the rich who often bought Island properties as investments. Full - and interesting - story here.

I'm not sure which shocks me most, the sentiment, the hair or the cig!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Celtic story telling in Peel

TWO of the UK's most accomplished storytellers, Nick Hennessey and Simon Heywood, will be performing at Peel Centenary Centre on Saturday. (I wish I could see this.)

They will bring a new piece of storytelling and music for adults, with special relevance for audiences in the Isle of Man due to the story's connection with the Celtic sea god Manannan mac Lir, on what will be the final night of a tour. The Middle Yard is an evening of music and storytelling based on an ancient story about one of Ireland's greatest heroes, Lugh Lamfhota.

The event, which is presented by the Isle of Man Arts Council, features music on harp and guitar and original songs in a folk music-style blended with a story of family loyalty, ambition, war and a magical quest.

The story has been passed down through oral traditions since the earliest times.

It was written down in the 11th Century and has been re-imagined by these two storytellers who are steeped in Irish mythology and its evocative stories.

The tale has particular relevance for the Isle of Man, as Nick Hennessey, one of the storyteller/creators explained:

'In mythology, the name Man originated from Manannan, the sea god. Manannan is the foster father to Lugh, the central character of our story. His impact is felt throughout the story and he could even be said to be the motivating force behind all of the action. The story follows Lugh as he returns to Ireland with the heavy weight of prophecy on his shoulders. He is said to be the only man who can save his people from a tyrant king, although as the story evolves he gets perilously close to becoming a tyrant himself.

Three brothers are also at the heart of the action, sent on a magical sea quest to the four corners of this world and the edges of the next, to atone for a murder and satisfy Lugh's demands.

Sounds great doesn't it? I wonder how much it would cost to get them over here? IOMToday

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Caly Manx launched in China

The chief minister has been reflecting on an important event in the development and expansion of the Isle of Man Ship Registry.

Tony Brown recently returned from China, where he led a party on a trip which saw singing star Samantha Barks perform the naming ceremony for a Manx registered vessel at a shipyard near Shanghai. The ship is called the 'Caly Manx' and was built at a cost of £22 million.

Mr Brown hopes the association will signal the start of a fruitful relationship: Manx Radio link here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Doctors to bring Jonny Bellis out of coma

CYCLIST Jonny Bellis remains in an induced coma at the CTO Hospital in Florence but doctors are hoping to lift him out of the coma in the next few days. The Saxo Bank professional rider, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, was with friends who alerted the emergency services immediately after the accident.

He had an operation to relieve pressure on his brain a few hours after the accident and has been in an induced coma ever since. Doctors have since carried out operations to remove a blood clot and his parents John and Lynda have been visiting their son in hospital every day.

Bellis won a bronze medal at the under-23 World Championship road race in 2007 and represented Great Britain in the Olympic road race in Beijing last year.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Project to establish Irish Sea conservation areas

RECOMMENDATIONS about Irish Sea conservation zones are being sought by the UK government as part of a project which aims to establish protected marine areas by 2012.
The objective, which is contained in the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill, is to give environmental protection to ensure a healthy and productive future for the coast and waters of the neighbouring seas and oceans.Story here.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Harry Manx on Radio Heartland by Dale Connelly, Minnesota Public Radio

Harry Manx dropped out of high school to work as a sound technician in blues night clubs in Toronto. Harry was born on the Isle of Man, but was raised in Canada. His exposure to the blues heavily influenced his songwriting career. There is a good story and a sound file here.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Wow! Now this is efficient, 25 weeks ahead of schedule

JOHNNY Watterson's Lane reopens today (Friday) after completion of a major improvement scheme. The road closed for the work to start on August 3 and was scheduled to remain shut for 34 weeks but more efficient working practices have allowed completion in just nine weeks. (See before and after photos.)

Transport Minister David Anderson MHK said: 'The department was able to accelerate the programme by introducing new working methods, including a shift working system and plastic kerbs. 'This project has demonstrated that by using modern working practices we can deliver a more efficient service and reduce disruption to the travelling public and residents.' Here.

Mark Cavendish withdraws from Paris-Tours sprint classic

Great Britain's Mark Cavendish has brought the curtain down on a phenomenal 2009 season which has resulted in 23 wins, including six on the Tour de France, by formally withdrawing from the Paris-Tours sprint classic on Oct 11. Telegraph

Thursday, October 1, 2009

SCHOOLS GET HIGH TECH BOOST


Prior to the project, the Department of Education’s IT network was the only part of the government’s activity which wasn’t part of the Island- wide Connect Mann network. Early in 2008, the Department of Education sought Tynwald’s approval to renew its information communications technology infrastructure. A new network was needed which would be faster, more secure, and which would be able to cope with the increasing demands placed on it by the Island’s teachers, pupils, and educationalists.

The size and scope of the project was considerable. The new network needed to provide around 1,000 teachers and 12,000 students with email, internet access, administrative processes, and educational applications, plus link together all schools and other educational locations. In all, the project involved linking 35 primary schools, 5 secondary schools, plus some 24 other offices and locations, such as youth and outreach centres.

“‘While we have undertaken projects of this size before, said Manx Telecom Project Manager Dave Minay, “we had a very short window in which to complete the work.” This meant that we had to undertake a considerable degree of advanced project planning to ensure that we utilised every minute, when the schools were closed. There was no margin for error or delay, everything had to be installed, and working when the students returned.”