Wednesday, March 31, 2010

They got the business

Remember I told you a couple of weeks ago that Alex Downie and Tim Craine were in town? Well, their work here went very well indeed. Working with another familiar face on this blog, Chris Stott of ManSat and his team, the Isle of Man's space race ambitions have received a big boost. Three of the world's top satellite operators have confirmed they are to join the Isle of Man-based Space Data Association. The Washington Conference at National Harbor was huge, with over 9,000 delegates. And during it, three major satellite players, Telesat, Eutelsat and GE Sat came on board the SDA.

In November last year, the global -- and huge -- satellite operators SES S.A. Intelsat Ltd and Inmarsat plc, together with Island-based ManSat, announced they had founded the Space Data Association (SDA).

SDA, which is expected to become fully operational this November, is a non-profit company that is the first such body dedicated to sharing critical operational data in support of satellite operations, improving flight safety and preserving the space environment. IOMToday

The announcement was a highlight of the Satellite 2010 conference that took place in Washington DC this month. Some 9,000 business leaders and industry professionals from around the world attended the event.

The Manx delegation comprised of Alex Downie MLC, Treasury member with responsibility for space, Tim Craine, Director of Space Commerce, ManSat chairman and CEO Chris Stott, ManSat finance director Ian Jarritt and Greg Jones, partner with KPMG.

Official: Crown Depencies are democratic, self-governing communities with free media and open debate

Following on from the news that the IoM is looking at whether the BBC Licence fee is worth it, the BBC has another Manx and Crown Dependencies related article today.

The relationship between the UK and crown dependencies needs to be clarified, according to a report by the UK's Justice Committee.  It investigated the relationship and its administration, which is carried out by the Ministry of Justice. The report said it supported the unique constitutional position and independence of the three dependencies; Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. However, it said more needed to be done to foster mutual understanding.
Tony Brown, the Isle of Man Chief Minister, said: "It is particularly helpful that the committee stated, in strong terms, that the UK Government has a duty to represent our interests on the international stage, even when our interests are not the same." 
Crown's responsibilities to island:
Ultimate responsibility for "good government"
Ratification of legislation by Royal Assent
International representation
Ensuring the islands meet international obligations

From the lovely Breesha Madrell via Alex Downie

The sound of festivals is ringing in the air with Shennaghys Jiu Celtic Youth Festival 1-6 April ( and the International Celtic Congress 5-10 April. In fact, you’re likely to see and hear Manx musicians and dancers out and about a lot from now right through to the autumn. Perree Bane dancers are jetting off to northern France but not before dusting off some Morris moves for the premiere of ‘Morris: a life with bells on’ at the Centenary Centre on Wednesday 31st March. Cruinnaght Aeg youth competitions and concerts start in May, with an optional Bree boot camp to shape up those musical entries.

April’s Kiaull Manninagh Jiu details all of these events and also includes reports on a whole host of happenings – the release of a new Ballagroove compilation, a new song to learn and a calendar full of things to attend. Best of luck to Falga and Cabbyl Ushtey who will be representing the Isle of Man at the Pan-Celtic Festival in Dingle, Co Kerry, next month.

If you have something to include in next month’s KMJ, please email me by Friday 23 April.

Bea as slaynt – best wishes

Breesha Maddrell
Oaseir-lhiasee kiaull Vannin ~ Manx Music Development Officer
Undinys Eiraght Vannin ~ Manx Heritage Foundation
Thie ny Gabbyl, Ynnyd yn Ollooscoill, Shenn Raad Valley Chashtal, Doolish, Mannin IM2 1QB
The Stable Building, The University Centre, Old Castletown Road, Douglas, Isle of Man IM2 1QB

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Getting to the IOM

FLYBE has launched a new four-times-a-week service from the Isle of Man to Bristol. This is interesting because there are direct flights to Bristol from Orlando and New York.

The airline's summer timetable, which began on Sunday, also sees the return of seasonal flights to Southampton and a four times a day service to Liverpool, from 7.10am to 6.50pm. (KLM connects through John Lennon Airport to Amsterdam-US, see picture.)

Flybe's summer routes from Isle of Man operate to Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London Gatwick, Liverpool, London Luton, Manchester and Southampton.

The connection through London is always vile so avoid doing it on the same day. If you can't, try and stay awake and spend a day in London and use the London City Airport evening option.  Or, get the coach from Heathrow to Gatwick or Luton. Both airports are a million miles from Heathrow so leave lots of time. 

You can fly through Dublin but Aer Lingus is the least tricked out airline across the Pond. I once got flea bites on a flight on a plane they'd borrowed from another airline.  BA stands for Bloody Awful because the staff really don't want to be there. Virgin is nice and if you're loaded and travel Upper Class, will take you by limo to Gatwick. All the American airlines are good in my experience so if you go to Gatwick you can transfer to a flight to the IOM (although you may have to recheck your luggage). Gatwick has direct flights from Las Vegas, Vancouver, Calgary and Charlotte, NC.

Monday, March 29, 2010

You know, I wondered why the BBC coverage of the IoM had got better recently...

TYNWALD TELLY: The BBC's online Parliament 
TYNWALD proceedings could be broadcast on the BBC Parliament channel.That was one of the suggestions for improving the broadcaster's service to the Isle of Man made by BBC executives giving evidence to a Tynwald select committee. The Tynwald select committee has been set up to examine whether the TV licence fee offers value for money for Island viewers and to assess what the impact would be of withdrawing from paying the fee.

Giving evidence at Wednesday's hearing, the BBC's head of external policy Wilf White and head of new media, nations and regions division Laura Ellis said they were keen to hear new ideas for improving the service to the Island.

Ms Ellis said it would be 'fantastic' if Tynwald coverage could be provided on the BBC Parliament channel. Mr White told the Manx Independent, after giving his evidence, that he believed there would be interest in Tynwald coverage but it would be for Tynwald itself to decide whether it wanted to be televised. He told the committee that he had hoped the Island could get its own local TV, provided as part of the BBC's website.

But he said the BBC Trust had rejected the idea of creating such new local TV stations, ruling the impact on commercial operators would outweigh the public value. Mr White said the BBC received an estimated £4.5 million in revenue from the Isle of Man.

First Manxman to become President of the Oxford Union

From Radio Vannin: An Oxford undergratuate from the Isle of Man has been elected to one of the most prestigious student positions in Britain's universities. Twenty-one-year-old James Kingston from Port Soderick believes he is the first Manxman to become President of the Oxford Union.
The union is well known for hosting lively and controversial debates, attracting heavyweight speakers from every aspect of public life. Previous presidents include Boris Johnson, Benazir Bhutto, Edward Heath and Tony Benn. James says it's an institution with a proud history.  James Kingston is studying history and politics at Oxford.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bree Fiddle Workshop 2010

Local fiddle player Katie Lawrence hosted the annual Bree Fiddle Workshop in the Atholl Room at the Centenary Centre, Peel, focusing on traditional playing techniques, ornamentation, arranging and performance skills.
Open to secondary school pupils, fiddle players tackled Manx tunes, waltzes and reels from further afield and a selection of Katie’s own compositions. Students then gave a short performance at the close of the workshop for family and friends.

Peel based Katie Lawrence holds an MA in traditional music performance from the University of Limerick, and is a primary school teacher who also teaches fiddle, whistle and piano. In her spare time Katie performs with local folk-rock band ‘The Ballaghs’, Manx singer-songwriter Katherine Crowe and as a duo with her sister Kirsty Lawrence.

Bree was established by the Manx Heritage Foundation to give opportunities for young musicians, singers and dancers interested in Manx traditional culture. Meeting each month for informal music sessions at Green’s Restaurant in Douglas, if you would like further information about ‘Bree’, or attending educational workshops throughout the year, contact Chloë Woolley at or telephone 695784.

Valerie Caine © March 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bradda Illuminations

A headland on the Isle of Man will glow for the first time as its historic tower is lit up.
Milner's Tower on Bradda Head will be illuminated by the Manx Electricity Authority on Thursday night. The energy firm, which will use solar power to light up the tower is keen for feedback from local residents.
If the response is positive, the authority's chairman, Chairman Quintin Gill, MHK, says it could become a permanent fixture. Milner's Tower was built in 1871 as a view tower in memory of William Milner, a maker of fire-resistant safes and a local philanthropist. His tower is built in the shape of a key and lock. bbc

Hyperbaric Chamber

Based behind the Fire Station in Douglas the hyperbaric chamber helps to improve the lives of countless people with a variety of medical conditions, but a lack of funding has prompted potential closure of this much needed facility. 

The offer of a hyperbaric chamber followed the death of Manxman Kevin Gray, a commercial diver in the Middle East, more than 25 years ago; had a chamber been available at the time it would have saved his life. Kevin’s employer donated the facility to the Isle of Man Government on the understanding it would be available to divers from around the Irish Sea area.  Previously casualties were flown to Northern Ireland for treatment, but now they could be treated inexpensively on the Island.

With the advancement of medical science it was acknowledged that the administration of pure oxygen could help other medical conditions successfully, and over a period of approximately six years the Manx based chamber completed a staggering 10,000 treatments in what was then a very small chamber.

Despite these achievements conditions for both patients and staff were far from ideal. Housed in a shipping container with only basic facilities they were visited by Bill Scholl seeking treatment in the chamber. Subsequently the Scholl Foundation provided the building we see today allowing improved working conditions and a more relaxed atmosphere for patients.  It was also time to replace the actual chamber and with the help of local Hyperbaricist David Downie we now have two chambers which are in constant use.

Although usually associated with divers suffering with decompression illness, the hyperbaric chamber can also help many other people struggling with a myriad of problems. It’s by no means a quick fix with a long term commitment necessary from patients, but the results are worth it. Currently patients attending the chamber here are not compelled to pay for their treatment, but if consistent, long term funding does not become available in the foreseeable future this policy may have to change.

Valerie Caine © March 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

That's more like it -- Cav wins

MARK Cavendish's troubled early season finally came good on Tuesday when he won stage two of the Tour of Catalonia in Spain. The HTC-Columbia was the clear winner in a slightly uphill finish at the small town of Banyoles, crossing the line a couple of bike lengths ahead of SaxoBank's Juan Jose Haedo.

'More than relief I feel pride because the team never lost their confidence in me,' said the 24-year-old Manxman after the completion of the 182.6 kilometre stage from Salt. 'The lads gave it 100 per cent and despite it being a young team here, they were full committed and never lost faith. Without them, I wouldn't have won.'

Cav is seventh overall in the five-day event having produced a strong ride in the opening short and technical 3.6km prologue in Lloret de Mar on Monday – the same town where he took one of the earliest sprint wins of his career in a stage of Catalonia in 2007.

Nepotism -- Go Manx

Washington Manx Society member Honora Finkelstein (the co-author of the Ariel Quigley novels) has a grandson called Tiernan McCulloch (age 6) who has made it into the finals of the Heinz Ketchup creativity contest. This is an art contest for K-12 children where the public votes for the winners -- whose work then appears on ketchup packets. They also get a $1000 and a chance to win $5700 dollars in the Grand Prize. Tiernan's picture is of King Kong and Godzilla
fighting over a bottle of Heinz Ketchup (Godzilla has fries!) and is the middle one under K-1st Grade on the page of pictures. You have to vote for all of the categories, I think, but they're all really cute.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Well, Liverpool is close to the Isle of Man...

Social networking puts people and jobs together

A website encouraging Manx graduates to return to work in the Isle of Man was praised during a presentation by Isle of Man Champion PDMS (whom we have praised before.) The website,, was created by PDMS in September 2008. It links students and graduates looking for jobs in the Island with local employers looking to recruit. The presentation, at the Claremont Hotel in Douglas, was sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry. It was opened by Trade and Industry Minister David Cretney MHK, who said the website was a great way to build the Manx economy's skills base.

PDMS managing director Chris Gledhill said the site had exceeded expectations since it went live in January 2009. It had attracted 944 registered individual users and 69 registered employers as of February 18 this year, he said. He added that the wide user profile rendered the site's name 'something of a misnomer' as more Manx professionals than graduates were registered.

Guests heard the system was based on social networking principles, geared towards the Manx employment market and responded to the Island's business priorities.

Mr Gledhill said: 'Manx Graduates is software as a service – a neutral environment built on a secure platform that can be used to build lasting relationships.'  Manx Graduates embodied the Freedom to Flourish philosophy as it was about 'building something collectively', he added. IOMToday

Monday, March 22, 2010

Is it a house, is it a blood wagon?

The ambulance service has taken delivery of a vehicle to provide a base for treatment at major events. It will also serve as an ambulance command and control unit at major incidents and will be used for health promotion purposes at large events.

Chief ambulance officer Steve Sieling said: 'There has been a great deal of interest in the new vehicle which, although new to us, was in a former life a mobile Job Centre.

Many useful ideas have come forward on its potential use from several other services as well as ourselves and, as we are keen to develop new partnerships, working with other community health care staff.'

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Calvin Quayle R.I.P

Calvin King Quayle is a Past President of NAMA and a former genealogist for the Association who was noted for being thorough and exacting. I hope that members who knew him better than I will contribute to this all too brief obituary which is the best I have been able to solicit so far.

Calvin was born July 22, 1927, in Logan, Utah to Joseph L. Quayle and Mabel Hillman Quayle. He died early Saturday, March 13, 2010 at the age of 82.
Calvin loved to read and learn and share what he had learned. He excelled at his studies and belonged to the National Honor Society. He received his Master's Degree from Utah State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He taught at Preston, Idaho, high school, at Chico State College in California, at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He was head of the Speech and Theatre department at the university here. He had a great love for the theatre. He acted in plays in high school and college. He designed sets for, acted in and directed plays in college. He contributed to the arts in the community.
Calvin was cadet major in the ROTC and served in the Army in Coburg, Germany, from 1945 to 1947.
He belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served as teacher, clerk, President of the young men's program, president of the Sunday school, bishop, high council member, and regional welfare agent. He and his wife, Virginia, served a mission for the Church in Australia in 1986-1987. They also were called to serve in the Menomonie branch.
Calvin and his wife started one of the first storage businesses in Eau Claire - CQRT Storage on Mondovi Road. His son, Gordon, wrote a computer program to help with accounting. After selling the business, Calvin helped Gordon sell his software and offer support for those who bought it. On the side, Calvin split, stacked and sold firewood for many years.
Calvin was always generous with charitable work and contributions. He served on the Eau Claire arts council board, was secretary on the Senior Center board, worked at the free clinic, and helped with Mended Hearts after his heart attack in 2001. He visited heart patients and their families to inform them of what to expect and to ease their fears.
Calvin was preceded in death by his grandson, Aaron Price, and his parents. He is survived by his wife, Virginia (Winget); their children, Susanne (Daniel) Price, Pamela (Keith) Warren, Gordon Quayle (Shelly); 13 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren and another on the way.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ducati is back in the TT

Italian manufacturer Ducati is set to return to the Isle of Man TT with a fully supported effort for the first time in seven years. Michael Rutter will ride Ducati machinery in four of the five solo races for his British Superbike team Rutter who won the 1998 Junior TT said he was delighted to be returning to the event with Ducati."I'm really excited and optimistic about our chances," he said. BBC

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Whoops! Cav goes down.

Manx cyclist Mark Cavendish continues to struggle for form as he prepares to defend his Milan-San Remo title on Saturday. Cavendish suffered cuts and bruises on Tuesday when he crashed in the final stage of Tirreno-Adriatico in Italy. The crash is the latest setback in the Manx rider's preparations after dental problems caused the 24-year-old to delay the start of his 2010 season. In 2009, the HTC-Columbia rider won the Italian classic on his first attempt. BBC

Celtic Festivals

As the Celtic festival season gets into full swing Manx musicians and dancers are getting ready to represent the Island both at home and abroad.
Across in South Wales Manx groups will be sharing the stage with fellow performers travelling from Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall and Wales at ‘Cwlwm Celtaidd’ in March.

Settling into their new base in the Grand Pavilion, at the seaside resort of Porthcawl, ‘Cwlwm Celtaidd’ promises a riotous weekend of concerts, dancing, workshops, sessions and a colourful ‘Parade of the Celts’.

The Isle of Man will be represented by two groups from the Island. Local traditional band ‘The Reeling Stones’ is no stranger to this festival and class themselves as one of the young bands at the forefront of Manx music.

Led by fiddle master Tom Callister both he and other band members Luke Melvin, Caz Dougherty and new guitarist Paul Rogers are influenced by a variety of musical genres as well as other Manx musicians, which filters through to their performances. The band never misses an opportunity to promote Manx traditional music, but with a new line up feel it is time for a change of name.

Accompanying our talented musicians on their journey to Wales is the Ballasalla based dance group ‘Perree T’, an all female Manx contemporary dance team who have been performing original and traditional dances since 1996. Previous visits to ‘Cwlwm Celtaidd’ have made the dancers popular favourites as they combine both modern and traditional influences in both their costume and dance displays.

Back on the Isle of Man local festival ‘Shennaghys Jiu’ takes place 1 – 6 April. Based predominantly in the north of the Island ‘Shennaghys Jiu’ is designed to bring young musicians together in a non-competitive environment and give them the opportunity to enjoy music informally.

A family friendly festival with a range of events to choose from including ceilis, concerts, music workshops, acoustic concerts and music sessions, there’s also opportunity to hear a selection of local traditional groups and individual musicians.

A selection of visiting musicians will also be on hand to bring their own traditional songs and tunes to a Manx audience, with an exhibition of artwork created by local school children on display at Ramsey Town Hall. For up to date information about ‘Shennaghys Jiu’ please see the festival website.

Valerie Caine © February 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Isle of Man to host six-discipline Adventure Race in June

Plans have been announced for what is believed to be the first event of its kind in the Isle of Man – an Adventure Race covering six separate outdoor disciplines.

The man behind the project is Keirron Tastagh, Director of Adventurous Experiences and organizer of the well-established Isle of Man Adventure Week.

He said: ‘This is something I have wanted to host for a long time but now some of us have got together and designed a special format which will be the climax to the Adventure Week in June.
‘It will be a new concept incorporating a lot of different activities put together and varies from the triathlon where you have three definitive disciplines.  An Adventure Race is a mixture of adventure sports and there is no doubt it will be physically challenging but is aimed at amateur sportsmen who will come here, have a look at the Isle of Man, and compete in a fun way.
We are not looking to attract professional athletes, but rather people who are keen to train and give something a go.  The event is for teams of four and we have already had expressions of interest both from the Isle of Man and the UK. Adventure Week has been expanded to include activities such as coasteering, sea kayaking, gorge scrambling, abseiling, rock climbing and sea fishing, all with the intention of introducing visitors to the attractions of the Isle of Man.  As far as the Adventure Race is concerned I would be happy to receive entries from around 15-20 teams in the inaugural year and then build on this in the future.’

The race will be spread over the last two days of the Adventure Week (June 26th and 27th) with three disciplines each day.  These are: a 1km sea swim,  a 12km sea kayak race, a 12km mountain bike course, 8km hill run, 80metres rope ascend and 800metres of coasteering. Two members of the team have to compete in each event, apart from the sea swim where only one is required, although they can enter more team members if they wish.  The intention is also to accommodate individual competitors who are not members of any team but would like to take part in some of the racing.

All aspects of the race will be professionally recorded by Manx Timing Solutions under the sport indent formula where each competitor is equipped with a micro-chip. A prize presentation takes place after the second day of competition with awards based on the total time taken.

The format for the race will feature the sea swim, sea kayaking and mountain biking on the first day, followed by the hill run, rope ascending and coasteering 24 hours later, although the order may be changed depending on weather conditions.

The entry fee is £60 per person which includes insurance and lunch each day. The location of the Adventure Race is a closely guarded secret for the moment but an announcement will be made nearer the time so members of the public can go along and watch.
Press Contact: Keirron Tastagh – Director of Adventurous Experiences.
Tel: 01624 843034 or e-mail:
Editors Notes:
Adventure Week was launched in 2005 to promote the Isle of Man as an outdoor adventure playground.
In 2010 it will run from the 19th June to 27th June. It will begin with a two day kayak fishing competition. Prizes will be on offer for the longest fish and the most species caught as well as special awards for the best photographs and ‘the most bizarre wildlife encounter!’ This has also been turned into a competition for the first time as; previously, sea kayak fishing only took place as part of expeditions around the coast.  The competitive aspect originated in the United States but is now an accepted sport in its own right.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

3FM radio -- one of the most popular radio stations on the planet!

3FM radio on the Isle of Man has recently launched an iPhone and iPod Touch application and it’s been downloaded so many times that has it jumped straight into the Top 100 music applications across the globe. The application, which is available from the Apple iTunes store, has overtaken large media organisations from all over the world making 3FM radio one of the most popular radio stations on the planet!
Max Hailey, 3FM’s Managing Director said, “It’s just amazing that a radio station that broadcasts to an small island of 80,000 people has been so popular. To get inside the top 100 music downloads is amazing and shows what a small company can do using the power of the Internet. We’ve had a great response from all new listeners, especially those from other island nations, we even made the top 60 downloads in Jamaica! It must be an island thing”.
The 3FM iPhone / iPod touch application is sponsored by Manx Telecom the leading supplier of iPhones on the Isle of Man and the fastest mobile data speeds on the island’s ONLY 3G/HSDPA network.

Story from Official Wire.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Manx Class and Guest

We held our class to learn how to order a drink in the pub -- in the McCarthy's attic bar in Alexandria where we hold our twice-monthly classes. Please note all the authentic props!

 Visit for more details of the class itself.

We were delighted to welcome Alex Downie who was very interesting and told us all about how the Manx Government is based on a tri-cameral system and talked us through some recent developments such as the Super Yacht and Airplane registries, the growth of e-gaming and our space industry.

Update: Alex was waiting for news on the vote and heard this morning that he was re-elected to the MLC.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Milntown Café

When we have the 2014 convention in the IOM -- we're going here! We covered it here in January.

The long awaited café and restaurant extension at the historical ‘Milntown House’ is now open to the public and is sure to be a tempting stopping off point on the Lezayre Road travelling into Ramsey. Sympathetically grafted onto the main house with views of the surrounding gardens, food grown within the grounds has now been granted organic status and will be available on a seasonal basis in the café, with menus incorporating home grown salads, vegetables and fruit. Manx produce will be used wherever possible and all food preparation will be undertaken on the premises.

Open 7 days a week 10.00am – 5.00pm between now and the end of October ‘Milntown Café’ will be run by Jen Monro and Simon Child who have watched the project evolve over the past eighteen months. Both Jen and Simon come with hands on experience within the catering industry and have brought their own designing skills to the interior of the building.

Early birds will be able to sample morning tea and coffee with a variety of home made cakes on offer, before heading into an extended lunch break with the opportunity to tuck into a selection of light meals, or something more substantial. But visitors in the afternoon will also have the chance to sample a traditional afternoon tea with a selection of sandwiches, home made cakes served on tiered stands, and scones with raspberry jam sourced from the gardens when seasons allow.

Bookings can be made for large parties and with seating for 60 indoors and over 40 more outside there’s plenty of room for everybody. From 13th March the facility will also be available for booking as a restaurant and will initially concentrate on having themed evenings on Friday and Saturday nights, but with scope available for other events during the week. Additionally diners can also book the original dining room in the house itself which can seat a further 14 people.

With a strong emphasis on home made, organic and fair-trade there will be a large variety of teas available, and customers can also buy a specially blended ‘Milntown Coffee’ to take home. Photographic artwork by Manx artist Vicky Harrop will also be exhibited within the new café.

The extensive gardens at ‘Milntown’ will also be open to the public, but if you just want to visit the café and wander amongst the gardens another time that’s not a problem.

Valerie Caine, © February 2010,  (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Another great reason why Alex Downie should be re-elected to the MLC.

Alex Downie, MHK, and Tim Craine, the top civil servant in charge of e-business and space will be in the Washington metro area next week for the Space Expo. I have seen this team in action and they leave no stone unturned in their determination to bring home business to the Isle of Man. They are great patriots as well as superb ambassadors for the Island. I'm not sure this is realised back home but if you look at Mr Downie's achievements: IOM Film, his work on shipping, e-business and space I think everyone will agree that he has opened up potentially huge areas of business that add balance to our finance-heavy economy.

THE e-business sector has seen massive growth, an independent report has confirmed. The Treasury commissioned research on the value of the Isle of Man's e-business sector from PKF (Isle of Man).

In the survey, financial data was obtained from a sample of 14 substantial companies covering a range of activities from software development, telecommunications, data hosting and e-gaming. Data obtained in relation to 2007 was compared with data supplied by participating companies in 2008.

More recent data are not available. Results from the survey showed growth in a number of areas:
  • Gross turnover of the companies surveyed rose by nearly 36 per cent from £454m to £758m.
  • The number of staff employed by the respondent companies in the sector rose by 23 per cent from 690 to 848, and increased by 14 per cent for like-for-like companies who were operating in the sector in both years.
  • Total annual wages paid rose by 37 per cent from £30m to over £41m, which means that the average annual salary in this sector is £48,800. The like-for-like comparison showed an 18 per cent increase.
  • ITIP and National Insurance contributions rose by over 44 per cent from £7m to £10m. The like-for-like comparison showed a 21 per cent increase.
Alex Downie MLC, Treasury member with delegated responsibility for e-business, said: 'The growth in e-business during the period clearly demonstrated the growing importance of this sector to the economy, in terms of wealth generated, jobs created and exchequer benefit.'
Tim Craine, government's director of e-business, said: 'These figures help to demonstrate the success of government's policy of economic diversification. Government took the strategic decision to develop the e-business sector back in 2000 and the benefits of this policy initiative have now been clearly demonstrated.'

Philip Dearden, PKF managing director, added: 'The research results demonstrate a high growth rate over the two year period. 'The sector is making an increasing contribution to the Island's economy. As well as the sector making a significant contribution to the Treasury there are a good number of high earners who benefit the economy as a result of their high disposable income. If the sector were to continue to grow at anything like these rates it would become a highly significant part of the Isle of Man economy.'

In 2004, government undertook an exercise to project how the Isle of Man economy would look, 10 years ahead in 2014. The exercise was called 2014 – The Can Do Economy.  The exercise involved looking at how the existing sectors of the Isle of Man economy would change over the next 10 years looking at worst, average and best scenarios. The exercise also attempted to identify brand new sectors that could emerge during the next 10 years. E-business was identified as one of the sectors with the most growth potential.

The 2014 report concluded that the e-business sector was likely to witness significant growth (by 2014) to become potentially the second largest sector after banking.

It also stated e-business offers the greatest potential for the future and that GDP growth within the sector was anticipated to increase five-fold.

A DTI spokesman said that sector performance data, such as the PKF research, was vitally important for economic planning purposes, so that government can assess relative sector performances and then prioritise future resource allocation to where the best returns in terms of job and wealth creation can be obtained. IOMtoday

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tweeting in Manx

If you’re a fan of The X Factor, (it's currently only in the UK but it's coming our way soon) you’ll know how enjoyable it can be to see Simon Cowell blast an act in a way only he can.

At Isle of Man Twestival, there's the opportunity to judge the performances of budding singers as they join Manx band Red in an effort to awe and woo the crowd. But this year Adrian Cain, the Manx Language Officer for the Isle of Man who is responsible for the promotion and development of the Manx language in all aspects of Manx life, is getting involved. With Adrian’s support, and a few flashcards with apt Manx phrases, you will have all the tools you need to submit your judgment of the live performance in-person or by joining the global Twestival Twitter feed and spreading the Manx word across the Twittersphere. You might just pick a few words and phrases up to amaze and impress your workmates the next day.

If you are interested in learning Manx in more detail than phrases for judging live acts, take a look at the Learn Manx site and be sure to follow Adrian himself on his Twitter tag, @greeinyder.

Twestival is a global event where people in hundreds of cities around the world will come together offline to rally around the important cause of Education by hosting local events to have fun and create awareness. Twestival (or Twitter Festival) uses social media for social good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Proposals for offshore wind farms being viewed

Interestingly, islanders are being invited to view the proposals for offshore wind farms in the Irish Sea.  Interesting because the power that could possibly be generated by these windmills would be routed back to the UK. The Comments section under the news item makes interesting reading.

Centrica Renewable Energy, the company which was awarded development rights in January, will be attending the Department of Trade and Industry's Energy Expo at the Isle of Man College on March 19 and 20. The company, part of British Gas, will provide information about its plans for the wind farms, which could be situated about 12.5 miles from the Island's coast.
Trade and Industry Minister David Cretney MHK said: 'I hope that people will take the opportunity to view Centrica's proposals. We are grateful to them for considering the views of the local community as part of the public consultation process as well as offering to outline their proposals and to answer any queries.'
The Irish Sea zone, nine miles off Anglesey, North Wales, covers an area of 2,200 square kilometres and could house a number of wind farms. The area has the capacity to produce 4GW, which is enough to power about three million homes. Site selection will be based on a number of factors, including water depth, connection to the electricity grid, existing marine activities and any environmental constraints. It is one of nine zones around the British Isles granted a licence by the UK Government as part of a £100 billion project designed to usher in a new era of green energy for Britain.

For more information go to

Monday, March 8, 2010

Jonny Bellis gets back on his bike

Jonny Bellis is targeting a return to competitive cycling in the next two to three months after half a year out. He remains hopeful of entering the Road Cycling World Championships in September, or the Commonwealth Games. The 21-year-old Saxo Bank rider came home to the Isle of Man at the weekend, six months after a scooter accident in Italy left him with serious head injuries.
He spent four weeks in an induced coma.  Jonny says it's been a slow process and he's delighted to be back on the bike again. There's an interview here.

EuroTalk CD-Roms

Now the Manx business community has the opportunity to employ a new CD-Rom from ‘EuroTalk’ which has been specially designed for use within this sector. Aimed at speakers with a basic grasp of the language, ‘Talk Business’ gives the businessman, or woman, the chance to apply even a limited knowledge by using basic requests, or moving into the realms of more advanced discussion.

‘Talk Business’ has been designed to work in a similar way to ‘EuroTalk’s’ other recently produced CD-Roms using the Manx language, ‘Talk More’ and ‘Talk the Talk’, teaching phrases and dialogue which can easily be adapted to fit individual needs. The only difference here is that the vocabulary used is specifically geared towards the business user. With ten topics to choose from ‘EuroTalk’ will soon have a student discussing business meetings, trading, IT, the internet, advertising, careers, negotiating, banking, marketing and business phone calls.

Incorporating three levels of achievement, as do the company’s other CD-Roms, games and puzzles are used to test an individual’s skills in a relaxed way. It’s also possible to take part in dialogues featured on the disc, record a person’s voice to compare with native speakers and print a valuable phrase book in conjunction with what you have learned. Although ‘Talk Business’ is classed at an intermediate level this shouldn’t put off aspiring students, who can take advantage of a number of other Manx language CD-Roms supplied by ‘EuroTalk’.

‘Vocabulary Builder’ is aimed primarily at young school children, but is inevitably enjoyed by adults too, particularly if their own children are learning the language. Providing a good grounding before heading towards ‘Talk Now’, a true beginner level disc for adults, the principle behind this CD-Rom is to learn in a more natural way by listening and learning to recognise words, before progressing towards speaking and practising pronunciation, with the advantage of downloading vocabulary to an MP3 player.

‘Talk the Talk’, however, is aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults with appropriate vocabulary, although it is at the same level and similar in style to ‘Talk More’.

All discs are both PC and Mac compatible and can be used with the latest operating systems including Vista.

Based in Fulham, London, products from ‘EuroTalk’ are used all over the world and their extensive list includes both lesser spoken and endangered languages. In 2002 the company won a ‘Queen’s Award for Innovation’ in recognition of the company’s contribution to interactive language learning.

(Courtesy of Money Media)

Valerie Caine © March 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

"Gee as Giu ayns Gaelg / Eating & Drinking in Manx"

Come on down!
William says, "Bee jough vie as cooish ain - Hee'm shiu ayn!
We'll have a good drink and a chat - see you there!"
Event: Gee as Giu ayns Gaelg / Eating & Drinking in Manx
What: Study Group
Start Time: Sunday, March 14 at 3:00pm
End Time: Sunday, March 14 at 5:00pm
Where: 1006 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA

To see more details and RSVP, follow the link below:


I am a YL and my callsign is K3LEG.
I just found this blog for the Isle of Man Amateur Radio Society (they're having a Bring and Buy on the 9th and I wish I could go) and it made me wonder how many other Manxies are radio hams.

Let me know.

73s and 88s

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Boys are back in town!!!!

BMW are set to make an historic return to the this year's Isle of Man TT.

The German manufacturer will be contesting in the Superbike and Senior races in 2010, further increasing the number of manufacturers participating in this year’s event.

German ace Rico Penzkofer, an official test rider for BMW, will ride a full Superbike-spec in the two six-lap TT races.

BMW has recorded 30 TT wins since their debut in 1937; the company last contested at the Island in the late 70s, with riders Helmut Dahne and Hans Otto Butenuth.

Penzkofer, 34, made his TT debut last year, when he achieved a personal best lap of just under 120mph, leaving the Island with two bronze replicas. He commented:
“To be representing BMW on their return to the TT is a tremendous honour for me and after my debut last year I can’t wait to return to the Mountain Course. Riding the Superbike will obviously present a new challenge but the bike is superb and that, combined with my own improved knowledge of the course, should see us able to make a good impression. Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus have proved in World Superbikes that the bike is competitive and we hope to do the same at the TT.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Ta my haagh crowal lane dy astan

 I just found a very cool website.
Check it out and you'll discover what this headline means at the bottom of the list of Manx phrases.

Staa CD Launch

‘She Lhong Honnick Mee’ is a long awaited and much welcomed CD release by Peel based folk group ‘Staa’. Well known on the local traditional music scene for their distinctive portrayal of Manx tunes and songs as a family group, the title of the CD takes its name from the first song on the recording, which tells the story of how the sea separates two lovers.

Led by talented guitarist and vocalist Greg Joughin ‘Staa’ has been entertaining audiences for twenty years, but remarkably this is their first CD release. It may have been a long time in gestation (two years), but well worth the wait.

All of the material on this initial CD was sourced from the infinitely resourceful ‘Kiaull yn Theay’ music books, gathered by the late Colin Jerry, another well respected musician who lived many years in Peel.

A relatively gentle recording incorporating viola, fiddle, guitar, harp and assorted vocals, the eye catching glossy insert reproduces the words of the songs in Manx Gaelic and is easily identifiable by its distinctive black and white images of Peel. This is an uplifting collection of music, despite stories of hardship at sea and tragic loss, and is unlikely to disappoint those who have already experienced ‘Staa’ at a live session.

Copies of the CD are available from Manx National Heritage by contacting  
Valerie Caine © March 2010

Island on lookout for giant pumpkin

A former soldier from Wales is hoping to raise thousands of pounds for an ex-serviceman’s charity by sailing a giant pumpkin to the Isle of Man.
Alwyn Williams of Anglesey served in Afghanistan and says he wants to raise the cash for colleagues who were injured or lost their lives.
He works for his father Medwyn Williams, ten times gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show, so he’s no stranger to the massive veggies.

Manx Radio has an interview.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Manx National Heritage on Facebook

Message from Lynsey Radcliffe:Our page on Facebook can be found under Manx National Heritage (screen shot here, so you can see how this looks....)

The page is extremely popular and we would particularly encourage anyone interested in finding out about the Island and the Manx National Heritage sites, along with events and exhibitions at the sites.  There’s a Director’s Blog in the Notes section and the opportunity for site users to start discussions on areas relevant to the Island under Discussions (although this hasn’t been used as yet!) Later this year we will also be announcing new developments including a new online facility for researching Manx family history. As lots of American Manx are interested in their Manx family tree, this will be a great resource.

PDMS - A great Manx company

If you look carefully on websites for Manx organisations, one name is going to keep coming up: PDMS. This Island-based software and IT development firm has become so successful it's had to move its 60+ staff from its gorgeous converted chapel in Castletown to new premises in the Isle of Man Business Park. They are a terrific company and just the thing for the Isle of Man as they have clients all over the world and are a substantial local employer. We need more like them to withstand the cold economic wind blowing over the Island and we wish them the best of luck with their expansion.

Manx lessons going well

Laa mie. Kanys ta shiu? Shoh Kelly, reporting on the second meeting of Kiarkyl ny Gaelgey, the Manx study group in the Washington, D.C. area. On Sunday we learned how to greet and introduce each other. We’re using Bun-choorse Gaelgagh, the introductory course by Brian Stowell, and it is very user-friendly. I strongly urge other groups to get together and learn. Of course, we're lucky because our class leader, Bill Cassidy can speak Gaelg and he helps us through it.

Our next meeting will be in the McCarthy's bar on March 14th and in preparation for St. Patrick's Day we will focus on the important business of ordering food and drinks. We will also have a guest, Mr. Alex Downie, who is in town for the important space convention at the new Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor, just across the river. As you know, the Isle of Man is a major player in the new space industry and I can vouch for the fact that the Isle of Man delegation of Mr. Downie and Mr. Craine, work their socks off at these events forging links with space players from all over the world. The Island should be proud to have such a hard working and far-sighted team who are responsible for bringing home a great deal of bacon to contribute to the Manx coffers during these difficult times.

So Washington Manx, come to the lesson, you can learn the important skill of ordering a pint in Manx. Even if you haven't been to the other classes, don't worry, this will be a stand-alone special!  Check this site for updates: