Friday, December 31, 2010

OBE for Alex Downie

Regular readers of this blog will know how fond I am of Alex Downie and how much I admire the zeal with which he pursues the best interests of the island wherever he is, whomever he talks to. I especially love the story about him cutting through the bureaucracy involved in getting to meet the head of a middle eastern state by standing in line with the locals after Friday prayers. So imagine my delight to discover he has been recognized in the Queen's New Year's Honors list. Congratulations, Alex, this award is well deserved.

ALEX Downie MLC was quick to praise his colleagues after being awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours list. Here

He has been involved in politics for 25 years - firstly as a Douglas councillor, then as a Member of the House of Keys and now as a Member of the Legislative Council.

He said: "I have had the privilege of working with a good team of people."

He acknowledged the hard work of Tim Craine, director of the Business Development Agency, Brian Johnson, director of Civil Aviation,  Dick Welsh, director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry and Garth Kimber, head of E-gaming Development - all who work for the Department of Economic Development headed by minister Allan Bell MHK - as well as businessman Bill Mummery, who is the former Director of E-gaming Development.

Mr Downie said he was honoured and pleased to share it with those he has worked with and said it was recognition for the Isle of Man.

"It's an Isle of Man honour," he said.

Mr Downie recently retired from 40 year service with the Coastguard - 20 years in the UK and 20 in the Isle of Man, and was awarded the Coastguard Medal 20 years ago.

He has been involved with Manx National Heritage for more than 20 years and is president of the MSPCA.

"I thoroughly enjoy my work," Mr Downie said, "work to me is a great pleasure, it is never a burden. I always get up every morning looking forward to what the day brings."

Two other residents were also awarded:

Mrs Jean Buck has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to wildlife and conservation in the Island.

She has been heavily involved with the Manx Wildlife Trust for many years, carrying out projects for the organisation and raising funds.

Former Strix chairman Dr John Taylor is an inventor - his most famous invention is the cordless kettle.

Many of the hundreds of patents that he holds are connected with domestic appliances, thermostats, and electrical equipment.

Dr Taylor created the Chronophage clock which is on display at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge where he studied in the 1950s.

It is in the Taylor Library which he largely funded and the library is named after him.

Professor Stephen Hawking unveiled the unusual clock in 2008.

Dr Taylor with the Chronophage
Dr Taylor is a former King William's College student and returned to live in the Island 30 years ago.

Friday, December 24, 2010


IN the days of our grandmothers, Old Christmas Day, the fifth of January, was believed to be the true Christmas. On Black Thomas's Eve, which was the first day of the Christmas holidays, the spinning wheels all had to be put away, the making of nets ceased, and no work of any kind must be done until after Twelfth Day.
But there was once an old woman named Peggy Shimmin, at Ballacooil, and she was bent on finishing some spinning that she had begun, so on Old Christmas Eve she said to herself :
'The New Christmas is pas' an' surely itis no wrong to do a bit o'spinning to-night,' though she doubted in her heart if she were not sinning. So when Himself and the rest were in bed, she called her young servant-girl, lil Margad, and said
'Margad, me an' you will finish the spinning to-night.' Margad was frightened, terrible, but she got out her wheel and sat beside her mistress. The two began to spin, and they were spinning and spinning till near midnight, and behold ye, just before midnight old Peggy saw the flax she was drawing from the distaff grow blacker and blacker till it was as black as tar. But Margad's flax did not change colour because she had only done what her mistress bade her. Peg dropped the flax quick, put away her wheel, and crept in fear to bed. She knew now which was the true Christmas Day and never more did she spin on Old Christmas Eve.
Margad was left alone in the kitchen when her mistress had gone to bed, and at first she was trembling with fright; but she was a middling brave girl, and she took a notion, as there was no person to stop her, to see if all the things were, true that she had heard about Old Christmas Eve.
'They're saying,' she thought, 'that the bees are coming out, an' the threeyear-old bullocks going down on their knees, an' the myrrh coming up in bloom.' Then she says to herself :
'I'm thinking I'll go out an' watch the myrrh.' So she put a cloak round her and crept out at the door into the cold frosty moonlit night, and midnight had just struck as she put her foot outside. She stooped to look on the spot where the myrrh root was buried, and as she was looking, the earth began to stir and to crack, and soon two little green shoots pushed up to the air. She bent closer to see what would happen, and to her great wonder the leaves and stalks grew big and strong before her eyes, and then the buds began to show, and in a few minutes the lovely white flowers were in bloom and the garden was sweet with their fragrance. Margad could do nothing but stare at them at first, but at last she dared to gather one small piece of the blossom, and she kept it for luck all her life. Then she went to the cowhouse and peeped through the door. She heard a groaning sound and there were the young bullocks on their knees, moaning, and the sweat was dropping from them. Margad knelt down, too, and put up a bit of a prayer to the Holy Child that was born in a stall. But the wonders were not over yet, for as she went silently back to the house she noticed that the bees were singing and flying round the hive-they were inside again, when she shut the door of the house behind her.
Always after that, when the neighbours would ask her if she believed in the wonders of the Old Christmas Eve, she would say:
'I know it's true, for I've seen it myself.'

[From Manx Fairy Tales, 1911]

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Earthquake felt on IOM

A small earthquake has hit Cumbria and surrounding counties.
People described hearing and feeling the earth moving for "well over a minute" just after 2300 GMT on Tuesday.
The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 3.6, was felt in locations across Cumbria and in Lancashire, south-west Scotland, parts of Yorkshire, Northumberland and the Isle of Man.
Police say there are no reports of injury or damage so far. The tremor was picked up by the US Geological Survey.
People have contacted the BBC to say they felt the tremor in places including Barrow, Sellafield, Cockermouth, Windermere and Penrith.
Cumbria Fire and Rescue service has also confirmed the quake.
A spokesman said: "We have had no requests from members of the public. At the moment, we don't believe there is any structural damage."
'Very frightening' Data from the British Geological Survey (BGS) showed the location of the quake as Coniston, in Cumbria, 9km (5.6 miles) south-west of Ambleside and with a depth of 14.3km (8.9 miles).
David Galloway, a seismologist with the BGS, said: "We've not had any reports of any damage and it's probably unlikely that there will be damage.
"We do get a few earthquakes in this country and maybe get one of this size every 12 to 18 months, but damage is very unlikely."


Friday, December 17, 2010

Lantern workshops at Scoill Phurt le Moirrey

It's been a long time since my children took part in one of these workshops and parades but it was a very beautiful sight.

THIS weekend there are free workshops to make willow lanterns for a parade through Port St Mary following Santa’s sleigh three days before Christmas.
The workshops take place tomorrow (Saturday, December 18,) (10am-4pm, the last entry is at 2pm) and on Sunday, December 19, (1pm-6pm, last entry is at 4pm) in Scoill Phurt le Moirrey. All ages are welcome – children must be accompanied by an adult.
The workshops, sponsored by the Isle of Man Arts Council, provide all materials, just imagination is required. The parade leaves Scoill Phurt le Moirrey at 6.30pm on Wednesday, December 22 and follows Santa’s sleigh to Paddy’s Market in the quay, where there is a Christmas market

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

'A Star Shone.'

New Christmas Song from isleofman on Vimeo.

Your readers may like to watch two videos of Manx children singing one of my Christmas songs, 'A Star Shone.' Also, 'A Star Shone' is available for download for a small fee on I-tunes - Sung by Katherine Crowe and Ballacottier School Choir

Best wishes

John Rhodes
Ballacottier School

Monday, December 13, 2010


A rare sighting of between 100 and 150 bottlenose dolphins have been seen today in the waters off the south coast of the Isle of Man.
The dolphins were first reported by John Galpin of Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch at around 9:30am at Dalby, only roughly 100 to 200 metres offshore. The dolphins were sighted again an hour later on the north side of the Sound, which is situated on the southern tip of the Island. During this second sighting, the dolphins were split into four distinct groups numbering from 25 to 40 individuaaals, including juveniles and calves.

More information on the Isle of Man is available at or via the Facebook group

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Idiots at the Daily Telegraph say Manx is extinct

Is responsible journalism dead? Does anyone check anything any more? Isn't inaccuracy supposed to be the bloggers' domain?

Honestly: Check out this nonsense from the Daily Telegraph.

Hat tip: Marion

Are the last two days' headlines linked???

Detox unit not needed
A REVIEW had concluded there are no clinical grounds for opening the £1.06 million drug rehabilitation unit for in-patients as originally planned.
In the House of Keys, Social Care Minister Martyn Quayle MHK defended the decision not to open an eight-bed in-patient facility at the unit, which would cost £500,000 a year to run, insisting there was now a better solution.
But Peter Karran (Lib Vannin, Onchan) asked the minister to justify the ‘massive’ change in policy.
Tynwald approved funding of £1.14 million in December 2005 for a rehabilitation and detox unit for patients with drug and alcohol dependency problems. But the unit never fully opened, with no funding being found to staff a round-the-clock in-patient facility. IOMToday

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weirdest headline: Heroin drought may cause death

editorial image Heroin

POLICE fear a heroin shortage in the UK could ultimately lead to deaths in the Isle of Man.
One of the most severe ‘droughts’ of heroin for five years had been reported in areas across the UK, with users being treated after overdosing on heroin mixed with other substances because of the shortage of the opiate across the countrywide.
Detective Sergeant Allan Thompson, of the drug trafficking unit, said: ‘What does concern me is that prices will rise when the drought ends, tolerance will be reduced and the risk of fatal overdoses will increase.’
The shortage is due to a fungus that has infested this year’s poppy crop in Afghanistan, literally reducing it by half. IOMToday
Some users have become unconscious after injecting or smoking the drug, whereas others have reported vomiting, flu-like symptoms and amnesia.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tourism Awards Winners 2010 Announced

Isle of Man Tourism’s fifth annual Tourism Awards presentation took place today, Tuesday 7th December 2010, in the Prince Albert Suite at the Empress Hotel, following on from the success of previous years.

The awards recognise the outstanding customer service and dedication provided by individuals and organisations who support the development of tourism on the Island and make a significant commitment to both quality and service.  A record breaking 2,300 nominations were received from the visitors and residents who were asked to identify tourism organisations that provided an enjoyable and reliable holiday experience.

The judging panel consisted of Gary Roberts, Deputy Chief Constable - Isle of Man Police, Sue Gee, Managing Director - TLC Business Solutions, Paul Murphy, Training and Business Development Manager – Isle of Man College and Helen Byrne, Director – Isle of Man Newspapers.  The criteria used for judging was in line with the tourism strategy and vision for the future of tourism on the Island.

The guest speaker at the event was Gary Roberts who spoke about the importance of the Tourism Awards and how the judges selected the winners from each of the nine categories.

Minister for the Department of Economic Development, Allan Bell MHK, said:

‘These Awards celebrate the Island’s very best tourism businesses and I would like to congratulate each and every one of the nominees and winners in all nine categories.  All of the finalists are winners and they should take pride that they are setting the standards for others to follow.

‘I would also like to extend my thanks to the four judges, Gary Roberts, Sue Gee, Paul Murphy and Helen Byrne, each of whom have a wealth of experience within the service, hospitality and training industries and had the difficult task of selecting the winners.’

Department of Economic Development Member with responsibility for Tourism, Geoff Corkish, MBE, MHK said:

‘We know that in the current climate many businesses are experiencing difficult times and it is more important than ever to provide recognition for the work going on here in the Isle of Man to welcome the our visitors.   These businesses provide first-class products and services and we must not forget how much they assist Isle of Man Tourism to ensure the Island’s economy goes from strength to strength.

‘The Tourism Awards celebrate the achievements of businesses and individuals who represent the very best that the Isle of Man has to offer.  Many congratulations to all our 2010 winners and finalists.’

The winners chosen in each of the nine categories are as follows:

Best Customer Service
HQ Bar & Restaurant , Douglas – Angela McCluskey, Ian Cain, Chris Tomkins

Best Eating Out Experience
Tapas the Spanish Restaurante, Port Jack, Douglas – Manolo Segovia and Jill Lovrich

Best Accommodation of the Year, Hotel
The Welbeck, Douglas – Michael and Irene George

Best Tourist Accommodation of the Year, Guest Accommodation
Kings Guest House, Douglas – Carol Howard

Best Accommodation of the Year, Self-Catering
Laxey Harbour Chalets – Brian and Barbara Quirk

Best Accommodation of the Year, Campsite/Hostel
Laxey Campsite – Susan Jones and Pete Burgess

Best Attraction of the Year
Nautical Museum – Billy Stowell, Visitor Services Assistant        

Best Town or Village
Peel – Commissioners Ray Harmer and Peter Leadley

Best Event of the Year
Easter Festival of Full Length Plays – Michael Lees and Aalin Cunningham

Special Award for outstanding contribution to Tourism
This Award went to Billy Stowell, Visitor Services Assistant, The Nautical Museum in Castletown.  Billy was recommended for this Award by the judges as they felt he was an integral part of the attraction and without him the museum would not be quite the experience it is now.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Incubating businesses on the IOM

People are always asking me whether it's easy to do business on the Isle of Man, or asking for help to explore a new venture that involves the island. Well, now there's a government sponsored agency dedicated to helping, or "incubating" new businesses.  It's at
Business incubation is a term describing a business development process that is used to grow successful, sustainable entrepreneurial ventures that will contribute to the health and wealth of local, regional and national economies. Incubators provide a place for businesses to build their foundations.

The IOMBIC's mission is to support entrepreneurs and businesses to operate on the Isle of Man, helping them realize their growth and success potential and get the best return on their investment. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Potomac Celtic Festival 2011 - Cancelled

Loudon County levied extra costs on the Potomac Celtic Festival -- as well as prohibiting advertising -- and this and the lack of sponsors broke the bank. In addition, the Festival's president and site chair, Hugh G. Colston Jr. sadly passed away in October.

As a result the Festival will not convene in 2011 and will look instead to 2012 and a new, smaller venue under new president, Patty Kloss-McKay.

Thanks to Cheryl Mitchell for the update.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Manx Fudge

BALLASALLA-based The Original Manx Fudge Factory is the latest business to enter the ‘Manx Food Heroes Awards’, organised by Shoprite in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and Isle of Man Newspapers. IOMToday
The family company, run by Peter Birch with his wife Kath and son Owen – when he is back on the Island during breaks from university – produces premium quality fudge, dessert sauces and chocolate on site in their Balthane Industrial Estate factory in Ballasalla.
Peter’s career over the past 40 years reads like a who’s who of the food industry and the chances are you have encountered his work at some point during that period.
If you’re a fan of Jaffa Cakes he happily claims responsibility for creating the ingredient that released the cakes from the conveyor belt.
He’s also worked for leading Dutch food manufacturer Zeelandia and Liverpool-based bakers Sayers.
Closer to home, Peter is known as the man who brought ‘Dinky Donuts’ to the Island in 2004 and former pupils of the Queen Elizabeth II High School in Peel will know him as their food technology teacher between 2001 and 2005.
However, Peter is now hoping that his latest venture will really make his mark in the food world.
Following extensive research, he was confident that he had identified a gap in the market and he began producing premium quality Manx fudge in October, 2009.
The company now has more than 21 varieties including the traditional Butter and Cream and four different Chocfourlate flavours, using the finest Belgian chocolate, as well as the more unusual Sicilian Lemon Meringue Pie, Cherry Bakewell and Bannoffee.
Peter believes that his fudge is the only genuine ‘Manx Fudge’ and he is committed to using only Manx ingredients where possible.
‘Locally-sourced ingredients are really important to us,’ Peter explained. ‘And we use only Manx produced cream and butter in all of our fudge, which helps us to maintain the taste and quality as well as supporting the local economy.’
Peter started his operations by selling to customers in the typical way for a small producer – through the independent stores and by going to the farmers’ markets in Castletown, Ramsey and Douglas – but he has now stepped up his operation and this week his fudge, sauces and chocolates went on sale in Shoprite’s Douglas store.
‘We’ve been in talks with Shoprite for a while and it is a really significant development for our business,’ Peter explained. ‘I was really nervous about going into large stores but the team at Shoprite have helped me with planning and packaging and I’m confident that this will be the start of a long term relationship.’
Fudge isn’t the only product that Peter produces – he is also turning his hand to creating chocolate bars.
However, as you would expect from someone with the extensive knowledge that Peter has gained from more than 40 years of working in the food industry, his chocolate is definitely out of the ordinary.
As well as the slightly exotic ‘ginger’, ‘raisin & wafer’ and ‘mint with caramelised mint leaf’ flavours, he also proudly extols the virtues of his ‘sea salt’, ‘garlic and herb’, ‘rainbow peppercorn’ and ‘chilli’ flavours.

The Original Manx Fudge Factory has already entered the Best Small Business and Best Food Categories in the Manx Foods Heroes Awards while their chocolate is definitely one of the early favourites in the Most Original Product category.
‘The awards are a great way for food and drinks companies on the Isle of Man to get recognition and while you probably wouldn’t have had many entries for this type of competition even 10 years ago, there are now lots of great local enterprises that deserve recognition,’ said Peter.
Entries for the Manx Food Heroes Awards are open until December when a panel of judges, including representatives of Shoprite, The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture and Isle of Man Newspapers will announce a shortlist for each of the categories with the winners being revealed in January 2011.
For more information on the ‘Manx Food Heroes’ awards, entry forms and terms and conditions visit the respective partner websites at,

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nollick Ghennal

I apologize for the spotty postings last week -- the family was in town!

Here are some festive greetings for your Christmas cards:
Nollick Ghennal – Happy Christmas.
Nollick Ghennal as Blein Vie Noa – Happy Christmas and a Good New Year,
Bannaghtyn – blessings /greetings.
Lesh yeearreeyn share – With best wishes.
Lesh yeearreeyn share son y Nollick as y Vlein Noa – With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.
Lesh yeearreeyn share ec yn imbagh casherick shoh – With best wishes at this holy season.
Shee as Boggey erriu – Peace and Joy to you
Lesh Shee as Graih – With peace and love
Hee’m oo ’sy vlein noa – See you in the New Year.
Carval – Christmas Carol.
Laa Nollick – Christmas Day.
Father Christmas – Jishag y Nollick.
Fer Sniaghtee – snowman.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kennedy Centre - New Year's Eve

December 31 Lily Neill
The harp player combines traditional Celtic and Nordic music, eclectic tastes, and classical piano training to expand the voice of the harp.

For more information, call (202) 467-4600.
Sorry, no free parking for free performances.
Take Metro to the Foggy Bottom/GWU station (Orange/Blue) then ride the free red shuttle at the top of the escalators, departing every 15 minutes to and from the Kennedy Center until midnight.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Isle of Man tops Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table

The Isle of Man’s Ship Register has been named one of the best registers in the world after emerging with no potential negative performance indicators in the 2010 Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table, an annual exercise undertaken by leading shipowner groupings on the basis of 19 objective criteria.

Registers are measured on their performance on 19 objective criteria including convention ratifications, designated recognised organisations and fleet age. To give an indication of the impressive performance of the register, only 5 other registers rated the same as the Isle of Man: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece and Norway. The sponsoring organisations say that the aim of the exercise is to provide a general understanding of a flag’s performance and to encourage ship operators to reflect on a flag’s quality before using it.

Minister for Economic Development, Allan Bell MHK commented: “This is a fantastic achievement by the Isle of Man Ship Registry and reinforces our commitment to maintain the Isle of Man as a leading international business centre renowned for professionalism and a longstanding
policy of positive engagement with international standards. I would like to congratulate the team at the Isle of Man Ship Registry for ensuring the Isle of Man remains a world-class location for ship registration.”

Department Member with responsibility for shipping, Alex Downie MLC, said: “This is another very important endorsement for the Isle of Man’s ship register from the international maritime community. Following on from our high placing on the Paris MOU White List and entry to the United States Coast Guard Qualship 21 Scheme earlier this year, I am delighted that we have demonstrated our standing as one of the leading registers in the world.”

Director of the Isle of Man Ship Registry, Dick Welsh commented: “Accolades like this are so valuable as this is the industry’s perspective. Topping the table rewards the staff for all their hard work in maintaining standards, but it also rewards the clients whose quality performance of their vessels is assessed. As long as we maintain the framework and quality approach to allow us to stay at the top, our clients do the rest. It is this partnership which really works well for the Isle of Man.” 


The Isle of Man Ship Registry is not just a register for ships and yachts, it is a centre of excellence, where client focus is paramount, providing a high quality service with significant cost savings over its competitors. The expertise that exists on the Isle of Man, both in the registry team and the private sector, mean that pragmatic and bespoke solutions can be provided for all requirements prior to registry and this relationship continues whilst the vessel is in service to ensure the needs of the client can be fully met at all times
Our Vision is the operation of an international Ship Register which is attractive to Blue Chip Companies, Yacht Managers and Owners and which supports economic benefit.
·       A professional Ship Registry providing a high quality of service available 24/7 with fast response to queries
·       Reasonable costs with no annual tonnage dues
·       The right to fly the "Red Ensign" and access the support of British consular services worldwide and British Royal Navy protection
·       Flexibility in the requirements for registered owners
·       The availability of Demise registry both "IN" and "OUT"
·       Support for ships treated unfairly by Port State Control
·       Full political support for shipping
·       ISO 9001/2008 Accreditation
·       Not designated as a a Flag of Convenience
·       Regular advice bulletins on key issues to help owners respond to them
·       The latest statistics produced by ‘Clarksons’ show that the Manx fleet is:
o   Growing at a rate of almost twice that of the world fleet by GRT
o   Fastest growing register in Europe (GRT)
o   4th Fastest growing register in the world (GRT)
o   7th largest fleet in Europe (GRT)
o   18th Largest fleet in the world (GRT)
o   Youngest register in Europe (Average Age)
o   3rd youngest fleet in the world (Average Age)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crunch time for future of island’s zero/10 policy

It's D-Day for the island’s corporation tax strategy.

The zero /10 policy will be considered tomorrow (Friday) by the European Union group that monitors the code of conduct on business taxation to decide whether it is compliant with rules on harmful tax competition

There has been growing international pressure against the zero/10 regimes operating in the Crown Dependencies and the Manx Government is currently reviewing its policy.

An unfavourable decision by the Code of Conduct group could have serious implications for the island which was the first to introduce zero 10 in April 2006.

A survey of corporate service providers warned that hundreds of jobs could go if zero /10 is ditched.

Treasury Minister Anne Craine MHK insisted the government has not been notified, either formally or informally, of any decision by the Code group ahead of today’s meeting.

Under zero/10, most companies pay no corporate tax although certain sectors, including banking, pay 10 per cent.

Chief financial officer Mark Shimmin said the government was aware the island’s tax legislation was on the agenda at Friday’s meeting.

‘No assessment by the Code Group has taken place to date,’ he revealed. ‘If the Code Group has any concerns regarding the interaction between the Isle of Man’s attribution regime for individuals and the zero /10 corporate income tax system, we would expect the Group to set them out in detail and we will then consider them carefully before determining what course of action, if any, to take: this position has not changed throughout 2010.’

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Appointment of next Lieutenant Governor, Deemster and Attorney General

THE Isle of Man Government is pleased to announce the appointment of Adam Wood as the next Lieutenant Governor of the Island.

Mr Wood, who will succeed Vice Admiral Sir Paul Haddacks in April next year, has recently retired from the British Diplomatic Service after a distinguished career in diplomacy and international development. This culminated in the post of Africa Director at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in which role he advised the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary and managed the network of Britain’s Embassies and High Commissions across Africa.

Between 2005 and 2008 he was British High Commissioner in Nairobi, Kenya, having previously served as High Commissioner in Kampala, Uganda.

Mr Wood, who was educated at Oxford and is married with one daughter, has also worked in Brussels, Bangkok and Washington.
Appointment of Attorney General

GOVERNMENT Advocate Stephen Harding has been appointed to succeed John Corlett QC as the Island’s Attorney General when Mr Corlett retires in April next year.

Mr Harding has been a Manx Advocate for more than 18 years, having been called to the Manx Bar in January 1992. After working in private practice he joined the Attorney General’s Chambers as Government Advocate in February 2002 and has advised the Isle of Man Government on a wide variety of legal issues.

The Attorney General is appointed by Her Majesty the Queen and is the legal adviser to the Crown in the Isle of Man, and to the Isle of Man Government. He is ex officio a Member of the Legislative Council and attends meetings of the Council of Ministers.

The Attorney General is also responsible for the prosecution of offences in the Court of General Gaol Delivery and for the drafting of Government legislation.

The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as the representative of the Crown in the Isle of Man.
Appointment of First Deemster

HIS Honour Deemster David Doyle has been appointed as First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls, succeeding the late Deemster Michael Kerruish QC.

Deemster Doyle, who has been Second Deemster since March 2003, was called to the English Bar in 1982 and to the Manx Bar in 1984. From 1984 to 2003 he was a Manx Advocate in private practice, and in 2002 and 2003 he served on a part-time basis as a Deputy High Bailiff and Coroner of Inquests.

Deemster Doyle commented: ‘I am honoured and delighted that my application for the position of First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls has been successful and that Her Majesty the Queen has approved my appointment.

‘I look forward to building, in due course, upon the solid foundations put in place by my predecessors including Deemsters Cain and Kerruish who have made a massive contribution to the administration of justice on this Island.

‘A fair, efficient and effective legal system in which the public have confidence is an important asset to a civilised and successful jurisdiction. An independent legal system is an essential part of our democratic infrastructure. I believe in democratic values and in particular adherence to the rule of law.

‘I look forward to the continuing support of my judicial colleagues and all those within court administration as I take on the exciting challenges that will be presented to me in my capacity as the Island’s First Deemster.’ 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ree ny Marrey

‘Ree ny Marrey’ (King of the Sea) is an exciting collection of traditional Manx songs with eye catching illustrations by local artist Juan Moore. Presented in both Manx Gaelic and English this substantial publication also incorporates piano arrangements and chords for guitar and keyboard.

This is another book from the Manx Heritage Foundation stable which was so popular when initially introduced in 1994 that it has now been revised and reissued. Although primarily directed at children the book should appeal to anyone, and includes additional material chosen and arranged by Fenella Bazin, providing musicians with countless opportunities to learn more about Manx music in an easy format.

Incorporating translations, descriptions and valuable historical details about their collection ‘Ree ny Marrey’ will have a special appeal for singing groups, choirs and churches. Assistance with pronunciation is also available at the Manx Heritage Foundation’s website.

Priced at £12 ‘Ree ny Marrey’ is available at bookshops across the Island and from the Manx Heritage Foundation.

Valerie Caine
© November 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Life)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chico and Rita

The Isle of Man was involved with the financing of this movie which traces the development of jazz from when Cuban music hit the American scene. I can't wait. It's already won awards -- no wonder -- the animation is amazing but the music, the music, is sensational.

In The Beginning

All the directors were excited by the chance to capture a definitive moment in the evolution of jazz music. Says Tono Errando, Director, “It was the moment when new musicians came along like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie with a new kind of music, that is not for dancing, full of notes, played really fast, a music that now we call jazz. Then the Cuban musicians arrived. Dizzy Gillespie has said many times in interviews, there was a moment for him that was very important, it was the moment he first played with Chano Pozo. Chano Pozo was the first percussionist that played in a jazz band. It’s a new instrument. He brings all these Latin and African rhythms that are very new for these musicians, and this new instrument also changes the way you have rhythms. The drummer has to play in a different way.”

Fernando Trueba

Fernando Trueba is a multi-award-winning writer, director and producer, with a career spanning more than three decades in film, television, documentaries, theatre and music. Belle Epoque, starring ingénue Penelope Cruz, won both the Oscar and BAFTA for Foreign Language Film. Trueba enjoyed a brief flirtation with Hollywood with romantic comedy Two Much, starring Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith and Daryl Hannah, but he returned to his native Spain with films such as La Niña De Tus Ojos (The Girl Of Your Dreams), also starring Cruz, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and netted seven Goya awards.

The Animation Style

One key creative decision for the film-makers was the animation style: how real; how graphic. Explains Errando: “We had to investigate what quality of movement we needed for the film. Live action is very precise. Animation needs to invent another reality. You move a character using other ways, it’s another quality of movement. You have all these feelings that an actor is giving you, on the other hand we want the poetry that animation can provide. We spent about six months discovering the right balance.”

Assembling a team of animators capable of animating Mariscal’s designs was also a challenge. Says Errando: “In a film you need great casting, and in animation the actors are the animators. We chose some of the best animators we could find, all of them had a lot of experience. But then we had to ask them, ‘Hey guys, forget everything that you have done in your life. Here you’re not going to use all the tools that you’re used to. Forget about stretch, squash, anticipation, and start animating in a very different way, in a very new way.’ Some of them reacted very well, and they found it fascinating, and some of them couldn’t do it, it was very frustrating. For us it was hard to tell a great professional, ‘I’m sorry, this is not what we need.’”

Manx National Heritage launch new edition of Living with the Wire: Civilian Internment on the Isle of Man

Manx National Heritage has launched a new edition of one of its most popular books ‘Living with the Wire: Civilian Internment on the Isle of Man’. 

This fascinating updated publication reveals how internment was used in wartime by governments to protect their own citizens against resident foreigners of enemy nationality.  In both World Wars fenced-off camps in the Isle of Man served as secure detention centres. From 1914 to 1919 twenty nine thousand German and Austrian men were held here, and from 1940 tens of thousands of Germans, Austrians, Italians, Hungarians, Finns and Japanese found themselves behind barbed wire stockades.

Yvonne Cresswell, Manx National Heritage Curator for Social History and author of ‘Living with the Wire’ said:
“In the early 1990’s civilian internment on the Isle of Man was an important aspect of Manx history that was slowly fading from the public consciousness.  As each generation of Manx and ex-internees with firsthand experience of ‘living with the wire’ passed away, the subject appeared to be ready to become a lost footnote in 20th Century History”.

Back in 1994, Manx National Heritage staged the ‘Living with the Wire’ exhibition at the Manx Museum, an exhibition which was only possible due to the great generosity of many people.  These included ex-internees, Manx civilian staff, military personnel and all their families, who shared their memories, artwork, documents, craftwork and lives to provide a fascinating insight into life on the Island during the two world wars. 

Yvonne continued,

“I thought that interest would peak in the months after the exhibition, but I was thankfully wrong, and year on year the enquiries from researchers of all ages and levels grew steadily. A significant number of enquiries are also received from the families and descendents of ex-internees wanting to discover what their parents, grandparents or great grandparents experienced on the Island or to generously donate objects, artwork or documents to the collections of Manx National Heritage.  As a result, the rich and varied story of those who lived behind the wire is constantly growing and the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, which seemed so fragmented in 1994, are slowly coming together.  This updated new book is dedicated to all those who have generously shared their part in ‘Living with the Wire’”. 

‘Living with the Wire’ provides a compelling account of life in internment camps on the Isle of Man including full colour illustrations, photographs and internment art. Living with the Wire is priced at only £10 and is available exclusively from the Manx Museum Heritage Shop, House of Manannan and online at

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nancy Corkish Christmas card for IoM Anti-Cancer

Nancy Corkish's stunning Christmas card design for Manx Cancer Help, showing a flock of sheep in the snow against a backdrop of Calf Sound.

MANY of us will face a diagnosis of cancer at some time in our lives. Whether it be yourself, a family member or a friend, it may bring with it difficult and painful feelings. But who can you talk to in confidence? Manx Can cer Help (MCH) is there for anyone who has been affected by cancer and it is launching a new fortnightly drop-in service today (Thursday) at its headquarters, the Lisa Lowe Centre in Woodbourne Road, Douglas, which it hopes will eventually be able to expand to an open door policy.
‘Anybody who’s affected by cancer in any way can come along,’ explained MCH’s chief executive Andrea Chambers.
‘When people come we’ll chat to them and see what they’ll find helpful. They can come for 10 minutes or the whole day.’
The drop-in will run from 11am to 7pm and teas, coffees and some complementary therapies will be on offer.
With the workload of the charity growing all the time there is a definite need for a dedicated base and drop-in centre.
MCH is trying to raise an ambitious £80,000 to fund this. It is hoping that its Woodbourne Road base can become a permanent home and that members of the community – including corporate entities – will support the campaign.
If you or your company can help contact Andrea on 679544 or email
MCH is a self-funding charity that receives no direct government funding.
It does, however, work closely with the Department of Health, which provides assistance in other ways, and with the Isle of Man Anti-Cancer Association.
Two days a month the Association funds visits to the island from Professor Robin Davidson – an eminent Belfast-based consultant clinical psychologist, who holds sessions at the Lisa Lowe Centre.
The charity is now gearing up for Christmas and its charity cards are on sale at £3.50 for 10.
As usual, the card is a Nancy Corkish design, this year called ‘A Snowy Day at the Sound’.
The cards are extremely popular and MCH is hugely grateful that the celebrated artist gives up her time to help the cause each year. The original painting is framed free of charge for us by the The Art Gallery on Buck’s Road and we sell it to the highest bidder,’ said Andrea.
‘If anybody would like to bid for the painting we have it in the office for people to look at and bids can be sent to us at Manx Cancer Help (it usually sells for about £600).
‘We also have 20 signed limited edition prints that we sell for £25 each.’

For further details see

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Zurich Binoculars Bring Wildlife Closer

Thanks to the generosity of the Zurich Financial Services Staff Charity Committee, school children around the Island now have a better chance of spotting wildlife.  Hearing that the Manx Wildlife Trust was in need of some binoculars for children to use during their environmental education and awareness sessions and field trips, the members of the Charity Committee were keen to help out by purchasing 10 new pairs of binoculars for the Trust.

Zurich Financial Services Charity Committee members, Ann Barron and Ruth Camara, were able to see for themselves how much children enjoy using the binoculars when they recently joined in a bird-watching session held by the Manx Wildlife Trust’s Education Officer, Kath Smith, for Michael School children in Years 3 and 4, in the school’s wildlife garden.  Commenting on the Charity Committee’s donation, Ann Barron said, “We are very supportive of the Manx Wildlife Trust’s efforts to engage local school children in wildlife activities and recognise the need for them to have the right equipment available to allow them to do this.  All of the children we’ve spoken to today have had a super time, using the binoculars to spot lots of different birds in the wildlife garden and the nearby fields.”

The Manx Wildlife Trust has a strong commitment to education and is very grateful to the Zurich Financial Services Staff Charity Committee for their support.

Through the work of the Trust, every year, over two thousand local children have the chance to get closer to nature and as a result of this first-hand experience, gain a greater understanding and enjoyment of the natural world and our place within it.  All of the Trust’s education activities have links to the National Curriculum and have been evaluated for safety. Sessions are full of fun, as well as being fantastic learning experiences.  For more information on the Manx Wildlife Trust’s environmental education work and wider activities in respect of the protection and conservation of local wildlife, please go to its website

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cooish Inter-Gaelic Festival

Lovers of Manx music and dance are in for a treat at the Cooish Inter-Gaelic Festival. The event, which also promotes the Manx language, starts on Saturday (November 13) and runs until Saturday, November 20.
As well as a week of opportunities for learners and speakers of the Manx language to get together there are three events which should not be missed.

The first is the Arrane son Mannin night at the Masonic Hall, Peel, on Friday, November 19 which is a chance to catch two of the best Manx bands around – The Mollag Band and Mactullagh Vannin.

Song entries to represent the Island at the Pan-Celtic Festival in Dingle next year will also be aired for the first time. It starts at 8pm and is free.

On Saturday, November 20 the Cooish welcomes Dr Rob Amery who will give the Ned Maddrell Memorial Lecture at St John's Mill.

Rob is an expert in Australian indigenous languages. He'll be talking, in English, about his research into the maintenance and revival of these languages with particular emphasis on the Kaurna language of the Adelaide Plains which is being re-learnt using 19th century materials.

The talk is free and starts at 2pm and includes the launch of a new novel in Manx by talented young Manx writer Chris Lewin.

The Cooish then takes itself to the Centenary Centre in Peel for a final evening of music, again on Saturday, November 20, with musicians from Ireland and Scotland.

Dingle's "genial giant", Breanndán Ó Beaglaoich will be performing alongside his great friend, former Boys of the Lough member Malcolm Stitt, who is now resident in Ramsey.

Accomplished on both accordion and voice, Breanndán first toured with Boys of the Lough as a guest in the 1980s in the USA and has been a full-time member since 1997.

The festival is organised by Yn Cheshaght Ghailckagh, the Manx Language Society, with support from the Manx Heritage Foundation, IoM Arts Council, Long & Humphrey, Cains and Manx Telecom.

Anyone interested in learning Manx – even just a phrase or two – should check out

More information on the Cooish can be found online at: or email for an electronic version of the programme.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Shuttle Launch - The next shot

Greetings from Houston!

Wish I could be sending you a note from the space station, but unfortunately it didn’t work out that way!  I wanted to thank everyone for coming to Florida to see the launch and for hanging out as long as you could as we encountered delays.   I hope you all enjoyed your time in Florida.

Right now we are targeting a new launch date of Tuesday, November 30 at 4:05 am EST (yep, 4:05 in the morning).  Our launch opportunities extend through December 5th.   We have a beautiful night launch to look forward to!


Manannan’s Cloak: An anthology of Manx literature

Manannan’s Cloak brings together a range of texts in the Gaelic language of the Isle of Man from the earliest writings to the present day, along with their English translations. Written Manx arrived comparatively late, and the size of the Island’s population was not conducive to the widespread development of Manx literature.
Nevertheless, the amount of Manx literature collected here may come as a surprise. The texts in Manx are linked by a narrative which places them in the context of Manx history, and includes observations about the language and the people who used it by a number of officials and visitors to the Island, like George Borrow.
In recent years there has been a positive attitude to the language which has led to the development of a modern literature in which books are produced professionally to meet a growing demand.
The book has been edited by Manx speaker, broadcaster, musician and author Robert Corteen Carswell and produced with the financial assistance of the Manx Heritage Foundation.
An important book for anyone interested in the Isle of Man, its people and language.

Manannan’s Cloak: An anthology of Manx literature ISBN 978 1 903427 49 1 £16.99 paperback

Manannan’s Cloak is the second volume of Francis Boutle’s Lesser Used Languages of Europe series, which includes anthologies of literature in Breton and Galician. In preparation are anthologies in Basque, Scottish Gaelic, the Norman language of the Channel Islands, Esperanto and Occitan.

Visit for a list of their books in print.

Aer Arann should live to fly another day

Good news could be imminent for struggling airline Aer Arann.
It’s thought the Irish company, which operates routes from Ronaldsway to Dublin and London City, could come out of examinership, an alternative to liquidation, by the middle of next week.
Aer Arann's prospect of survival has been under threat as it tries to turn around a 13 million Euros deficit, after being hit by the global economic downturn and disruption caused by the Icelandic ash cloud.
The expected approval of a Scheme of Arrangement would safeguard all 320 Aer Arann jobs and more than 200 indirect jobs in regional airports.
Crucially for the Isle of Man, it would also ensure the service to London City, a key route for the capital, could continue. Dublin's High Court will be asked to set aside next Wednesday, November 10, as the ‘effective date’ for the airline to return to normal trading, with more than six million Euros being invested. The airline's chief executive Paul Schutz believes the news means Aer Arann is very well positioned for the future.

Story at Manx Radio
IOMToday has "upgraded" its website and it's now too hard to access stories as they take an age to download -- and find. So we'll be looking for other sources. Please feel free to email your contributions.

Friday, November 5, 2010

View from the mirror as we leave town - photo from Nicole's friends

Peel Three

Keen local amateur historian Fred Palmer was a well known character in the town of Peel, remembered for his popular publishing business and his long term involvement with the ‘Peel City Guardian’.

Over many years Palmer collected numerous stories and anecdotes about Peel and its people, which he subsequently published in a selection of volumes during his lifetime. But upon his death Palmer left a wealth of untouched material, some of which has now been transcribed and edited by the curator of the ‘Leece Museum’ Roy Baker and published under the title ‘Peel Three’.

Compact, but informative, this latest volume covers just a small area of the town, exploring yesteryear and evoking rich memories of a bygone age, with the promise of more to come in subsequent volumes.

Published in conjunction with the Manx Heritage Foundation and with the blessing of Palmer’s sister Emilie Pugh, the book is priced at £5.00, with proceeds invested in refurbishment of the ‘Leece Museum’. ‘Peel Three’ is available from various outlets in Peel including the ‘Leece Museum’ situated on the East Quay.

Valerie Caine © November 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Life)

The Kneales of Mona

From Stephen Holmes in Douglas.

My mother (Marion Ruth nee Clague) didn't have Florence Prendergast's date of birth on a 'family tree, so I did a bit of research on, - I found the date "? 1921" and Ford County, so I think I got the right Florence Elliott Kneale.  Then I found a "bunch of Kneales" at a place called Mona Township in Ford County, Illinois. What is the collective noun for the Kneale family?

Many of us know about Laxey Cemetary in Wisconsin, but Mona seems to have eluded us.

From the 1880 United States Federal Census
Census & Voter Lists Preview
Name: Jane Kneale
Home in 1880: Mona, Ford, Illinois
Age: 32
Estimated birth year: abt 1848
Birthplace: Isle of Man
Relation to head-of-household: Wife
Spouse's name: William Kneale
Father's birthplace: Isle of Man
Mother's birthplace: Isle of Man
Occupation: Keeping House
Marital Status: Married
Race: White
Gender: Female

Sitting in Cape Canaveral

Currently they're fueling but they have found a hydrogen leak, It's the same one that canceled two launches last year. Oh, and the winds are high so they may cause a scrub. I've now spent nearly two weeks of my life in the hope of seeing a launch so I am used to having my hopes crushed but I'm not hopeful. So instead of being all bitter and twisted I'll share this nice photo of Roman, Chris and Nicole's son landing the Shuttle. Just heard it was scrubbed again. And now we have to go home. Boo hoo.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Manx Signs

The Shuttle launch has been moved to Thursday.

Signage is now a daily part of our lives, commanding our movements and providing useful information. It’s also an ongoing challenge to the Manx Language Officer, Adrian Cain, in his quest to see more of the Island’s native language visible to the general public.

He commented, “Signage is important from a minority language point of view as it lends credibility and visibility to languages, which are often quite hidden”.

Recently though the promotion of the language has suffered one or two setbacks with the downplaying of Manx Gaelic on the Island’s buses, downgraded after a number of complaints from customers, although it still remains a feature of the new timetable. ‘Bus Vannin’ operates under the wing of the recently formed Department of Culture and Community.

Adrian’s disappointment was compounded by the recent re-branding exercise undertaken by ‘Isle of Man Creameries’ when the Manx language was unexpectedly dropped from their milk cartons.

Despite this minor fluctuation all is not lost with the recent introduction of some new ‘No Smoking’ (Jaaghey Meelowit) signs in Manx Gaelic positioned at the entrance to the Strand Shopping Centre. Adopted as part of an on-going project to promote a Manx identity for the shopping centre, Adrian remarked, “It’s always good to see the language being used in innovative and exciting ways. Not only does it get people thinking, but it also demonstrates that the language can be used in a wide variety of contexts”.  However, Adrian may still have some work to do as a number of shoppers thought that ‘Jaaghey Meelowit’ was actually Polish!

Valerie Caine © November 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To boldly go -- Go Nicole!!!!!

So here we sit, in Florida at Cape Canaveral, waiting for Wednesday afternoon and the launch of Space Shuttle 133 which will be Nicole Stott's second space launch. As the launch has been delayed by two days, the NAMA Secretary and 2nd V.P. are sitting it out on fishing pier bars and at seafood joints. 

In case anyone out their lives under a rock or worse, doesn't read this blog, Nicole is Manx by marriage. Her husband, Christopher Stott is the head of ManSat, a key space company and he's also the IoM's Honorary Representative for Space Affairs (and super nice guy). Yesterday -- in true Manx fashion -- we bumped into Brian and Liz Stott, Chris' parents, in a restaurant. 

They say the Manx can't go anywhere without meeting a countryman. It's certainly true for me.

Photos to follow if the NAMA press corps can stay focused long enough.

The STS-133 crew members are Commander Steven Lindsey, Pilot Eric Boe and Mission Specialists Alvin Drew, Michael Barratt, Tim Kopra and Nicole Stott.

Discovery will deliver and install the Permanent Multipurpose Module, the Express Logistics Carrier 4 and provide critical spare components to the International Space Station. This will be the 35th shuttle mission to the station.

Mission Details:

STS-133 mission patch
Launch Target:
3:52 p.m. EDT - Nov. 3, 2010
Mission Number:
(133rd space shuttle flight)
Launch Window:
10 minutes
Launch Pad:
Mission Duration:
11 days
Landing Site:
51.6 degrees/122 nautical miles
Primary Payload:
35th station flight (ULF5), EXPRESS Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4), Permanent Multi-Purpose Module (PMM) 

Friday, October 29, 2010

RIP Ron Quayle - Past President of NAMA and Co-founder of the Greater Washington Manx Area Society

A letter from Ron's daughter Jill.

Ron Quayle passed away today, Thursday, October 28, at 3:45 p.m. at home surrounded by Mom, Rob (son), and me (his daughter Jill) as he passed.

Know that we are relieved that he is at peace after putting up a strong, brave struggle against the cancer.  We are thankful for two wonderful years with him after his diagnosis.  We will miss him dearly but know that he’ll watch over us.

We thank everyone for your kind words, love, and support through Ron’s battle with cancer.  

We are so fortunate to be blessed with wonderful friends and family.

Ron will be cremated and be released into Casco Bay in the future – along with Mom when she’s ready to go.  We expect to have a Celebration of Life for Dad in Northern Virginia.  No date or place has been set.


Margaret, Rob, and Jill

I'll post more when I know more. In the meantime may I extend the sympathies of the Manx community in North America to Margaret, Rob, and Jill. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Ron was a lovely man and will be missed by all who knew him. I invite readers to submit their best memories of Ron, especially any from past NAMA Conventions.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


CAN I say 'I love the Island?' No, of course I can't. It's too much a part of me.
That sort of thing is said only by visitors and comeovers. To say it myself would be like saying I love my own sense of touch, sight or hearing.
It would be like praising birds for flying, or the tide for ebbing and flowing.
But adjusting to living back here again, after years away in London, has been, for me, a strange experience.
Not because of the obvious differences – the lack of distracting lettering everywhere (except shop fronts and road signs), or the way people walk more slowly, and think more slowly, and generally live more slowly (except certain drivers).
I never lost touch with all that during my years away, because I came back often on visits.
No, what feels strange is that the place I remember from years ago is weirdly overlaid on the place it is now, like a double exposure on a film.
Streets that once were cobbled suddenly aren't. Shops have new names and are painted a different colour, or even rebuilt. It's all disconcerting, like being in one of those dreams where a familiar road ends up leading somewhere you've never seen.
For instance, I'm always surprised that the railway bridge over the road between Upper and Lower Foxdale seems to have vanished.
On Douglas's promenades, where did the Rendezvous Restaurant go? And opposite the foot of Broadway, what happened to the Red Pier with its bollards boys used to leapfrog over?
Of course, this multi-layered quality, this sense of the past being somehow still present, explains why the Island remains peculiarly rich to me.
Of course, the scenery is beautiful, but beautiful scenery is not uncommon. In Britain alone, Cornwall has coastlines as craggy, Yorkshire has fine sheep-dotted moors, and Skye has peculiar and dramatic mountains.
But here, to me, places contain memories, even long histories.
That restaurant used to be a dance hall and, before that, a sawmill.
There's the building where the good citizens of Peel hurled apples at John Wesley. Then the rock off Kitterland where 29 local residents were blown up while looting the shipwrecked brig Lily.
The point of all this is, of course, that the important thing about the Island is not the place, it's the people.
As I said, the Manx live slowly. To a city-dweller, they may seem to expect little of themselves and their lives.
But that's only the reverse side of choosing a placid, calm existence over an active exciting one. And I've got more sense than to make sentimental generalisations about the nature of the Manx character, like poor T. E. Brown did in his day.
Which in turn brings me, I suppose, to the Manx culture.
On the whole I can't say I'm a great fan. The folk music and the folk dancing, for instance, seem poor and derivative compared to those in, say, Scotland or Ireland. (Who was it said that the reason most folk-songs are so terrible is because they are written by the people?).
But this is hardly surprising. You might as well expect any town of about the same population as the Island – Reading, for instance – to have a flourishing culture of its own. The main thing is that people keep enthusiastically trying. As we do.
And then there's the language. The careful reader will have noticed that so far I've used not a word of it.
I haven't spoken of going up the river to see if the croaghan are biting, or reminisced about summer evenings sitting on the scrissag to watch for the keimagh.
This is because the purpose of language is to communicate, not to be the secret code of a small society and while learning Manx might be a diverting hobby, with English we can communicate with the world.
But I feel myself getting cantankerous (an old Manx characteristic).
All I can say in apology is – yes, it turns out I do love the Island.

Ean Wood is a Manx-born author, recently returned to the Island to live after many years in London. His most recent book, Headlong Through Life, which is a biography of the dancer Isadora Duncan, is published in April 2006.