Friday, April 30, 2010

New movie was shot on the island

Gritty kidnap thriller, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, filmed on the Isle of Man is hitting UK cinemas today to some positive early reviews.

The film which stars Bond Girl Gemma Arterton was shot on the Island in February of last year and has been getting solid reviews across the board already.

It's billed as a gritty kidnap thriller with a major twist in the plot, it also features UK character actor Eddie Marsan, who has starred alongside Tom Cruise and Leonardo Di Caprio, and Martin Compston.

The next film coming out that was made on the Island is Wild Target boasting an all star UK cast headed up by Bill Nighy and Rupert Grint.

Alice Creed is looking like a shoe in for the top ten in the UK box office, but will come up against very tough competition in the form of Iron Man 2. From 3FM

More info at IOMFilm

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kennaugh beats Cavendish

Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh have both been in action in Switzerland's Tour de Romandie. Cavendish finished 18th in Tuesday's prologue time trial, crossing the line nine seconds behind his HTC-Columbia team-mate Marco Pinotti who won the 4.3km race against the clock in 5min 17sec.

Team Sky rider Kennaugh was making his comeback to racing after breaking his collarbone and finished 89th and 18 seconds behind the stage winner. On Wednesday's 175km stage one from Porrentruy to Fleurier, Kennaugh finished in the peloton in the same time as stage winner Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Doimo).

Cavendish finished 132nd in a group 9min 28sec behind.

Going into Thursday's second stage Kennaugh was 66th on general classification and Cavendish 113th. The race finishes in Sion on Sunday. IOMToday

PS Cav was back yesterday but he was a bit rude to his critics.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Celtic Cuisine

The thought of yet another Celtic cookery book has some people cringing at the thought of cooking over an open fire, and the wholesome concept of ‘back to basics,’ when all they fancy is something tasty from their local take-away. However, a recent publication, simply entitled ‘Celtic Cuisine,’ has very cleverly combined the old and the new within a lavish book, which is likely to appeal to both those who are interested in the subject, and others who are just looking for something different.

Refreshingly appealing to the eye and well presented, ‘Celtic Cuisine’ is beautifully illustrated with mouth watering photography, and one hundred and sixty recipes to choose from, collected from the six Celtic nations including the Isle of Man.

Conveniently split into various sections for easy location, including vegetarian, fish, game, poultry, drinks and preserves, the book highlights both traditional recipes and inventive variations for modern day cooks. Incorporating a short introduction and history of Celtic cooking, this book reminds us of the ingenuity of our ancestors as they used what was naturally around them to their best advantage. Hints and tips are liberally scattered throughout the book, together with potted histories of the recipes themselves.

The author, Gilli Davies, is well placed to write about the topic of food, with a passion for the subject spanning thirty years. At the age of nineteen she was running a bistro in Oxford, but later wrote and presented a ten part TV series entitled ‘Tastes of Wales.’ Her interests in the world of cookery are diverse, having previously written ten cookery books based on local food culture in Cyprus and Wales, lately cultivating an interest in organic produce.

Recipes range in complexity. Following the long lost art of seasonality, ‘Celtic Cuisine’ shows distinctly, and not without some pride, how to use produce which is all around us, some of which is available free on the hedgerows and trees of the Manx countryside. The ancient Celts were nothing if not versatile when it came to producing a good, wholesome meal, using available crops and other foods efficiently; wasting nothing.

This book paints a picture of how our ancestors once lived and their awareness of their surroundings, revealing a determined forager who survived well on what we might perceive a frugal diet, exploiting both sea and land.

From a local perspective there are one or two Manx recipes not included within this publication which deserve their own page if the book is revised in the future. Despite this ‘Celtic Cuisine’ is an excellent book, bringing Celtic cookery into the twenty first century kitchen, where it surely deserves its own place on the kitchen shelf.

Published by Graffeg Publishing, it is priced at £14.99. ISBN 978-1-905582-10-5

Valerie Caine © April 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Google starts Isle of Man street survey

WEB surfers anywhere in the world will soon be able to log on and view street-by-street images of the Isle of Man. Internet company Google is currently touring the Island taking photographs for its Google Street View site, which gives a pedestrian's-eye view of towns and cities in the form of a virtual tour.

The vans are expected to be in the Island for a few weeks and images will be downloadable from the Street View website later this year once the complicated process of editing and piecing together the footage is complete. More from IOMToday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mail box for Fairy Bridge

The Isle of Man government is planning to set up new letter boxes, exclusively for sending mail to fairies.

The tiny island, which is steeped in folklore, is famous for its "Fairy Bridge" - said to be the home of fairies - and locals believe it is unlucky not to say hello to the fairies when crossing the bridge.

But Manx government minister David Callister said letters, ribbons and other memorabilia left on Fairy Bridge for the "Little People" had become a dangerous distraction to motorists.

The idea of a letterbox was suggested by Linda Williams, who runs The Fairy Shop in Douglas, the island's largest town.

Mrs Williams said that tourists and locals visiting the Fairy Bridge risked being mown down by passing cars on the narrow road, which like much of the island has no speed restrictions. And she said that the hordes of letters, ribbons and tokens left hanging from the bridge and surrounding trees had become a deadly hazard to passing drivers.
"The Fairy Bridge is a wonderful tradition, and one of the Isle of Man's best known folk tales, but the volume of momentos left by visitors is becoming a concern," said Mrs Williams.

"There are hundreds of letters, tokens, I've even seen bras left on the trees! Something needed to be done before someone was hurt trying to pin tokens to the bridge, so I suggested to the tourist board that a post box in a safe place could be a better idea.

"I've offered to respond to every letter if they put in the post box there. This is a simple, light-hearted solution, which will allow people to continue enjoying the fairy tradition." Here

Saturday, April 24, 2010

John Quirk's new book

As many of you know John from his worldwide Manx tour, here's news of his new book. He agreed to write about the extraordinary life of Arthur Caley after being approached by one of Caley’s descendants, who was becoming more and more frustrated by the inaccurate reports about his famous relative.

Despite this it still took John two years to write this comprehensive biography, although some details are almost impossible to verify. John had been aware of Caley’s remarkable story from childhood and took on the idea with gusto.

John was accompanied by a life size figure of Caley, which dominated the room and encouraged everyone to have a better understanding of what life was really like for the man who was referred to as a true giant.  Not much is known about Caley’s youth, but extensive research on his life has revealed many truths and a large number of falsehoods.

Often billed as the ‘Scottish Giant’ Caley was exhibited in both the UK and Europe, but mystery still surrounds the real reason why Caley left the Isle of Man. His ‘early’ death in Paris after being insured for £2,000, however, was not the end of the Sulby Giant as he reappeared in New York as Colonel Routh Goshen. Now part of Barnum’s empire he continued to appear as the ‘World’s Biggest Man’ for many years until his death in 1889.

Known latterly as the ‘Middlebush Giant’, Caley made a death bed spiritual conversion, confessing also that he was really Arthur Caley from the Isle of Man, but asked for nothing to mark his grave.

Valerie Caine © April 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thanks guys

Well, the universal support for the flag initiative made my best friend Anne very happy:
What an amazing response to my request.  You certainly have a terrific band of members, please pass on my personal thanks to them all. Gold bless the American enthusiasm and pride in their country, something so often lacking this side of the pond!
This is the story behind the appeal. On April 23rd 1945 a B17 flew into the side of North Barrule killing all personnel. The plane belonged to the 533rd squadron of the 381st heavy bombardment group.

In 1995, Maughold Commissioners and the Manx Aviation Preservation Society erected a flag. Every year, to commemorate the event, Manx people climb the hill and fly an American flag.

The flag is tattered. They need another. And now, thanks to NAMA, they'll have one, I shall send it back with my family when they visit in May.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

OK NAMA time to step up.

My best friend Anne Minay wrote to me today:


Last evening I went to the Manx Aviation and Military Museum at Ronaldsway Airport.  A fascinating place, never been before, full of World War 2 memorabilia and info about the Manx Regiment.

The chap in charge, Ivor Ramsden, was telling us all about the crash on North Barrule on the 23rd April 1945 involving American servicemen and, as you may well know, there is a memorial on the top of North Barrule marking the crash.  Every anniversary Ivor raises the American flag on North Barrule and the flag is not in a very good state of repair as it has been used for a number of years.  He has written to the American Embassy requesting a new flag but unfortunately has not received as much as an acknowledgement.

I wondered if NAMA would be interested in donating an American flag for this purpose.  I thought we could get the newspaper to cover it and in so doing raise awareness of NAMA and the Museum.  It is a registered charity and does receive some help from Manx Heritage but the rest comes from donation.

This is the link to the part of their website referring to North Barrule and the incident where
31 American servicemen  died in a crash on their way to Northern Ireland for a period of rest when their B17G went straight into the east side of North Barrule on the 23rd April, 1945. This, the worst air accident on the Island, happened only two weeks before the end of the war.

We covered this story a couple of years ago here

Also: Ivor has some dog tags belonging to one of the American servicemen and they have tried to trace the family from the details on the tags but have been unsuccessful.  They are not on display as he feels they are too personal and should really be returned to the family. I will work on this from my end.

More tomorrow when Ivor climbs North Barrule.

Health care over there: Doctors to take pay cut to save night service

NIGHT doctors' wages will be slashed to save the out-of-hours service, it was announced in Tynwald on Tuesday. In an effort to cut costs, the Department of Health had proposed to scrap the Manx Emergency Doctor Service (MEDS) during its quietest period every night - midnight to 8am.

It costs about £800 a night to cover those hours yet the two GPs available only receive an average of seven calls within that time. But professionals criticised this proposal, saying there are many things a paramedic cannot do that a GP can and that people would have to be brought into A and E unnecessarily.

Scrapping the service would have made the Island the first area of the British Isles without 24-hour GP cover.  Following a consultation period the suggestion has been dropped.
Health Minister David Anderson said: 'The closure of MEDS between midnight and 8am was one of a number of suggested measures to reduce the significant cost of providing this out-of-hour services.'

But he said the clinical lead of MEDS had been consulted and suggested that a reduction in pay for covering those hours was the best way to protect the interest of patients while also achieving savings. Revised rates of payment- which were not disclosed in Tynwald - will take effect from July 1. More.

Update on UK plane situation

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Typical Manx story - nothing happens

The BBC are trying so hard to justify the licence fee that they are reduced to running non-stories like this one, which I admit I love as they are very Manx. "Ooh yessir, did you hear about that bomb they found on the beach?'

Personally, my favourite all-time headlines are "New traffic lights for Ballacraine" complete with full, front-page photo (admittedly, they were about the first on the island) and "Police dog strength doubled" which on closer inspection boiled down to the fact that they'd bought another one. Anyhow, here's the story today.
An unexploded weapon which was found on an Isle of Man beach has been removed by Coastguard officers.
Two people using a metal detector found the ordnance on Laxey beach on Tuesday afternoon and contacted the Coastguard.
Officers inspected the device, declared it harmless and took it away from the beach later that day.
The Coastguard have praised the people who found it and are urging anyone who finds any suspicious object on the beach to call 999 and ask for them.
Officers are trained to investigate and identify such items, and can immediately involve Royal Navy ordnance disposal teams if required, a spokesman said.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

British government said no to women's vote on Isle of Man

Following on from Valerie's post below:

In 1881 Tynwald approved the Election Bill and delivered the first instalment of women’s right to vote in parliamentary elections within the British Isles. This step also made the Isle of Man the first country in the world to give women the vote in national elections. Now the Old House of Keys is offering its visitors an opportunity to step back in time and participate in this most momentous moment of Manx political history.

Visitors taking part in a debate at the Old House of KeysThe Election Bill was introduced into the Keys on 5th November 1880 and proposed to extend the vote to every man of full age who was not subject to any legal incapacity such as bankruptcy. However, the ‘Manchester National Society for Women’s Suffrage’ reasoned that by deleting the word ‘male’, women would also receive the vote. The Society organised public meetings on the Isle of Man to promote the issue and public and press support grew to the extent that at the last such meeting, a resolution proposing the extension of the vote to women was approved unopposed.
Public support proved crucial in persuading the House of Keys in favour of the Isle of Man becoming the first country in the world to legislate to give all women the vote in national elections. The Keys were widely applauded and campaigners in the United Kingdom voiced the hope that ‘the House of Commons will not be less just in dealing with the claims of women ratepayers - than its sister assembly, the House of Keys’.
However, when the Bill was sent to the Island’s second chamber, the Legislative Council, on UK Home Office instruction the Lieutenant Governor, advised that they could not endorse the Keys decision because it would never receive Royal Assent. After political posturing the Keys submitted to the Council and accepted limited franchise for women, but took the unprecedented step of approving the following resolution unanimously;
‘Resolved; that whilst accepting the proposition of the Council to confer the electoral franchise on female owners of real estate, and to exclude female occupiers, this House considers it right to record that their agreement to this proposal is solely with the object of securing the partial concession made by the Council towards female suffrage - and that the opinion already expressed by the House, that male and female occupiers are equally entitles to vote, remains unaltered’.
Thus, In the Isle of Man the right to vote was extended to unmarried women and widows who owned property. The Old House of Keys (shown in the photo) is part of the award-winning Story of Mann.

And further proof that we're all related over there, I have a second cousin sitting in this photo lifted from the IOM government's site.

Sophia Jane Goulden - Centenary

April 22nd marks the centenary of the death of Sophia Jane Goulden, the Manx-born mother and early influence of the famous English political activist and leader of the British suffragette movement Emmeline Goulden Pankhurst. Sophia was a passionate feminist and began taking her daughter to women's suffrage meetings in the early 1870s and reportedly chastised Emmeline for ‘throwing herself’ at her future husband Richard Pankhurst. Sophia was the former Miss Craine born in Lonan to Jane and William Craine. Later the family moved to Douglas.

Sophia was said to be an unusually good looking young woman, bright and attractive, who married Robert Goulden of Manchester at the age of eighteen at Braddan Church on the Isle of Man. It would appear that Sophia’s parents ran a lodging house at ‘Tynwald House, 3 North Quay, Douglas, which is where she first met Robert Goulden. He was the only son of Richard Goulden and Mary Brownridge who began his working life as an errand boy, but later rose to become a calico manufacturer. He is remembered as being an ardent Liberal and a member of Salford Town Council 1870 – 1877.

The newly married couple moved away from the Island to live in Manchester whilst Sophia’s mother went to live in Christian Road, Douglas, before finally moving to Strathallan Crescent also in Douglas.

Robert and Sophia Goulden had a large family of six sons and five daughters although the eldest child, a boy, died at the age of two. Another of their daughters, Mary Clarke, was also an active worker within the suffragist movement.  Sophia was said to have been greatly enthusiastic about securing the vote for women, giving her blessing to the important work done by both her daughters and granddaughters.

Links with the Island, however, remained strong as Robert Goulden owned a house in Douglas to which the family returned for holidays. Previous biographers comment how they spent summers exploring the lanes and glens of the Isle of Man, and visiting their grandmother ‘who plied them with soda cakes’. Their uncle, Robbie Craine, was a well known local character, learned in Manx folklore.

Sophia lived at 9 Strathallan Crescent, Douglas, for approximately forty years and it was at this address that she passed away just two days before the anniversary of her husband’s death. Robert Goulden also died here on the 24th April, 1892. She had been in poor health for some months after enduring a bout of double pneumonia, and although partially recovered Sophia’s general health was weak and she suffered a fatal relapse. Dying at the age of 75 she was laid to rest with her husband in Braddan Cemetery on the Isle of Man.
Thanks to Valerie Caine © April 2010

This is the obituary from Manx Quarterly, #9, 1910


Died April 22nd, 1910.
On Friday afternoon, April 22nd, at 5 o'clock, Mrs Sophia Jane Goulden, of 9 Strathallan Crescent, Douglas, passed away. She had been in poor health for same months. She had an attack of double pneumonia, from which she partly recovered, although it left her very weak. Unfortunately, on Thursday afternoon she had a relapse, which ended fatally, as stated above. Mrs Goulden, who was 75 years old, was the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Craine, who lived in Lonan, where she was born. They afterwards came to reside in Douglas. Miss Craine, who was an unusually good-looking young lady, was married when only 18 to Mr Robert Goulden, of Manchester, and went to live there. Her mother (Mrs Craine), who lived in Christian-road, finally went to live at Strathallan Crescent. To Mr and Mrs Goulden were born six sons and five, daughters. One son (the eldest of the family) died when 2 years old. In. the order of birth the names of the children are: — Walter R. C., of Manchester ; Emmeline, who married Dr Richard Pankhurst, the eminent barrister and jurist. Since Dr Pankhurst's death, about ten years ago, Mrs Pankhurst's career has been well-known as the founder and leader of the Women's Social and Political Union, for the enfranchisement of women. The next are: Edmond B., of Manchester ; Mary, married to Mr John Clarke, of London; Herbert B., of London; Effie, married to Mr F. Bailey, Ramsey ; Robert, Manchester; Ada, married to Dr Bach, London; Alfred Harold, Manchester; and Eva Gertrude, married to Dr Brown, Flixton, Manchester. Besides Mrs Pankhurst, her daughters and Mrs Clarke are all active workers in the, suffragist movement. Miss Christabel Pankhurst, LL.D., one of Mrs Pankhurst's daughters, is a most gifted lady and has qualified for admission as a barrister and is secretary of the movement. Mrs Goulden having herself a vote, naturally approved and was entirely in sympathy with them in the matter, and was greatly enthusiastic to secure the vote for women. Mrs Goulden has lived far about 40 years at Strathallan Crescent, and her husband died there on April 24th, 1892. She was a bright and attractive personality. Her children have all risen up and called her blessed, and it was with great pleasure they visited their mother from time to time. Mr Walter Goulden, owing to indifferent health, lived with her. — The funeral took place on Tuesday morning, at Braddan Cemetery. The mourners were: Messrs Walter Edmund, Herbert, Robert, and Harold (sons), Mrs Clarke, Mrs Bailey, and Mrs Bach (daughters), and the Misses Sylvia, and Phyllis Bailey (granddaughters) ; Mr T. Kelly, Mr James Craine, Mr A. M. Jackson, Mr W. C. Holloway, Dr Faraker (Peel), Mr S. K. Broadbent, Mr P. White, and others. The Rev C. E. Barlow officiated at the church and graveside. Many beautiful wreaths were sent by relatives and friends. — The funeral arrangements were efficiently carried out by Messrs J. and J. Spence and Co., of Athol-street.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Services slowly getting back to normal

AIRSPACE above the Isle of Man will reopen at 1pm today (Monday). is the only operator of scheduled flights who wishes to operate today, although non-scheduled operators – for example, general aviation, air taxi operators – can also fly, provided they can fly visual flight conditions.

Confusion reigned throughout the weekend following last week's volcano eruption in Iceland. But now it seems possible that services could return to normal as early as tomorrow (Tuesday). However, due to the unpredictable nature of the problem, the disruption could continue.

Travellers have been left stranded both sides of the Irish Sea as flights have been grounded since Thursday lunchtime, amid fears particles in the ash cloud from the eruption could cause engines to shut down. A number of teachers were unable to return to the Island after their Easter holidays, which forced education chiefs to yesterday close part of Ballakermeen High School due to staff shortages.

Photo: shows smoke and ash rising from the volcano under a glacier in the Eyjafjallajokull region of Iceland (Pic: BLOOMBERG). Article here.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Looks like we got another American fan!

Nathan Blevins writes:
Freedom isn’t some fanciful creature of the imagination, like Bigfoot. It actually exists, and I’ve seen it. For in the year of our Lord, 2006, I had the marvellous privilege of fulfilling a lifelong personal dream: the dream of travelling to an enchanted place I’d always wished to visit. Well, perhaps I’d not held the dream that long. For you see, it was roughly 6 or 7 years ago that I was reading some smashing stuff from fellow liberty lover, Ron Holland, when I happened upon a trivia question of his that gave me pause:
"What country has the world’s oldest, continuously functioning parliament?"
Wow, talk about being intrigued...and flummoxed. Imagine my dilemma. Here I was, an honor student who recently graduated with a major in history/political-science, and I couldn’t even tell you what the world’s oldest parliament was. So, after sitting at my desk, hopelessly straining for an answer for what seemed like hours (probably 4 or 5 minutes), I swallowed my pride, and clicked on the answer. Thus began a love affair I’ve had with this special land ever since. More Here

Yes, but what does this actually mean?

Moves to include Island inside UK e-border
THE Isle of Man Government is proposing a series of measures to enable the Island to be included inside the United Kingdom’s e-border, its new electronic border security system.
The move would mean that air and sea routes between the Island and the United Kingdom would not be subject to the screening of all travellers under the e-border regime. The e-border system is designed to give the United Kingdom a secure virtual frontier, using technology to monitor everyone entering and leaving the country to help detect criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists.
If the Isle of Man’s legislation was not compatible with the UK system, placing the Island outside the e-border, the UK authorities could eventually require carriers to provide advance information on all passengers travelling between the Island and the UK. This information would be derived from passports or UK ID cards. If the Isle of Man was within the UK e-border, the routine gathering of such information would only be required in relation to direct routes between the Island and places outside the United Kingdom, excluding the Channel Islands, but eventually including the Irish Republic.
Chief Minister Tony Brown MHK explained:
‘Given that the British Government is continuing to strengthen its electronic border around the United Kingdom, the main question for the Isle of Man is whether we should be on the inside or the outside of the e-border. The Isle of Man Government’s view is that to maintain current travel arrangements between the Island and the UK, we need to be on the inside of the e-border and should take the necessary steps to allow that to happen.’
The Council of Ministers has already agreed in principle that the Isle of Man should be included within the e-border. The next step will be to seek Tynwald approval for the extension to the Island of the Immigration (Isle of Man) (Amendment) Order 2010, which strengthens existing requirements for carriers to provide information and for agencies to share information likely to be useful for immigration, police or customs purposes, subject to codes of practice on the sharing and use of such information.

In due course it is proposed there will also be a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Isle of Man and the UK governing the sharing of relevant information between the two countries, and the production of more detailed regulations. Both the MOU and the regulations will also be published in due course with an opportunity for the public to submit comments.

Manx Film opens summit

A FILM featuring a video link between a NASA mission and Manx high school pupils opened an international telecommunications summit in Florida. Out of this World – The first Manx Astronaut features astronaut Nicole Stott, married to Manxman Chris Stott, chatting live from the International Space Station to the children in the Manx Museum lecture theatre.

The hour-long link-up was made possible by staff at the Manx Museum, the Department of Education, NASA and Manx Telecom, which provided equipment and expertise to ensure all worked smoothly.

Having seen the footage, executives of Telefónica – Manx Telecom's parent company – were so impressed that they chose to use it to open their largest customer summit for the bosses of 900 multi-national companies on April 7 in Miami, Florida.  More here.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Braddan Bridge House opening planned

A GRAND opening is planned for disabled holiday accommodation at Braddan Bridge which organisers hope will be nearing completion by TT fortnight. The official opening of Braddan Bridge House by the Jubilee Oak is set for Mad Sunday afternoon on June 6 and will be attended by 15-times TT winner John McGuinness and 26-times winner Joey Dunlop's widow Linda.

An exhibition of the TT trophy collection will be staged on the day on the ground floor of the house and there is to be a barbecue which organisers hope can be attended by television chefs the Hairy Bikers. The house represents the culmination of nine years' work by the Joey Dunlop Foundation and its opening this year coincides with the 10th anniversary of Joey's death at a road race in Estonia in July 2000.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Manxman to be scrapped

A passenger ferry which carried passengers to and from the Isle of Man for nearly 30 years is to be scrapped after campaigns to save it came to nothing. The Manxman, built by the Cammell Laird ship builders in Birkenhead and launched in 1955, sailed between the Isle of Man, the UK and Ireland until it was withdrawn from service in 1982. She has spent longer in 'retirement' than she spent ploughing the Irish Sea for the Steam Packet.

She had been at a shipyard in Sunderland since 1997. Enthusiasts had hoped to save her but their plans came to nothing and the shipyard has insisted that the boat – which is riddled with asbestos – must now be scrapped. IOMToday

Martin Clunes and the Islands of Britain

Jack Cormode sent me the link to the details about a TV show featuring Martin Clunes.

The doctor is in—and out.
The Cornish curmudgeon returns as physician to the citizens of Portwenn. New episodes of Doc Martin begin Monday, April 26, at 8pm on KTEH. Martin's personality continues to abrade the gentle folk of this sleepy hamlet, and the return of his former fiancée adds a whole new wrinkle to the proceedings. Immediately following, let Martin Clunes be your guide to Doc Martin's Islands of Britain, a fascinating three-part look at some of the nearly 6,000 isles of the United Kingdom. The program entitled The West features the Isle of Man. There was much excitement when he visited, he is a much loved actor and was very kind about the island. I'm sure that people who understand such things can work out when this show might appear in other regions.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Manx Names

Cannell(unique to IOM)
Clucas (unique to IOM)
Corteen (Unique To IOM)
Costain (Unique To IOM)
Costean (Unique To IOM)
Cowen (Unique To IOM)
Cowin (Unique To IOM)
Cowle (Unique To IOM)
Crain(e) (Unique To IOM)
Curghey (Unique To IOM)
Curphey (Unique To IOM)
Gelling (Unique To IOM)
Kennaugh (Unique To IOM)
Kewley (Unique To IOM)
Killey (Unique To IOM)
Kneen Knickell
Lawson Lace
Mylchraine (Unique To IOM)
Mylchreest (Unique To IOM)
Mylecharaine (Unique To IOM)
Mylechreest (Unique To IOM)
Mylrea (Unique To IOM)
Mylroi(e) (Unique To IOM)
Mylvorrey (Unique To IOM)
Qualtrough (another site)
Quane (Unique To IOM)
Quine (another site)
Skillicorn(e) (Unique To IOM)

Manx Groups at European Celtic Festivals

The 39th Pan Celtic Festival will be held this month in the picturesque setting of the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland with a selection of local participants representing the Isle of Man.

This popular festival provides an occasion for ceilidhs, street performances, festival club nights and a colourful parade through the streets of Dingle. An extensive range of events include language classes, music sessions, workshops, lectures and an introduction to the food of West Kerry. There’s also an opportunity to take in Irish Camogie Matches, a round of golf, or attend a Celtic Mass at St. Mary’s Church.

The festival has a strong competitive spirit in relation to both music and dance attracting a lot of attention from both the public and the media.

Manx singing group ‘Falga’ with members from the north and west of the Island will be competing in the Traditional Song Competition and hoping to collect a prize for singing ‘Yllagh Ushlagh’ composed by Breesha Maddrell, in the section for a ‘New Composition in Traditional Mode’.

Chloe Woolley and her husband, guitarist Malcolm Stitt, will also sing and play traditional music during the festival, with Chloe joined by Paul Boulton for some of the adjudication.

But the highlight of the festival is the Pan Celtic Song Contest with the Island represented by ‘Cabbyl Ushtey’, chosen as the winning entry in the annual ‘Arrane son Mannin’ (Song for Mann) at the Manx language festival ‘Cooish’ last November. Winning £250 prize money provided by the Manx Heritage Foundation, Andy North’s composition ‘Roihaghyn ny Marrey’ (Arms of the Sea) was translated into Manx by Chris Sheard.

Local representative of the Pan Celtic Festival Fiona McArdle would like to thank the Arts Council for their assistance. If you would like more information about either the Pan Celtic Festival or ‘Arrane son Mannin’ please contact

Meanwhile towards the end of April Manx dance group ‘Perree Bane’ (photo) will be packing their costumes and gorse sticks and heading for an Inter-Celtic festival in Steenvoorde in Northern France.

Situated 15 miles from Dunkirk on the border with Belgium Flemish is still spoken by many of the town’s inhabitants which was once famous for the production of woollen cloth. Nowadays it is home to one of the biggest dairies in France, three windmills and some of the last hop fields in France. Members of the group will also be able to check out Steenvoorde’s traditional candy known as babbelaer.

Steenvoorde is also home to ‘Yan den Houtkapper’ (John the Woodcutter), one of the celebrated traditional European dancing giants.

Costumes, musical instruments and various props will be sent on ahead of the dancers who will sample local hospitality as guests in the homes of others in the region. A total of nine dancers and four musicians, including Tom Callister and Caz Dougherty from ‘The Reeling Stones’, will be flying the Manx flag over an extended festival weekend.

A Celtic camp will be set up for the event with plenty of demonstrations and a special Celtic Market with music and folklore. Highlights for ‘Perree Bane’ will be taking part in the street dancing, annual parade and Grand Concert. (Perree Bane) (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Valerie Caine © April 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

50th NAMA Convention

Jim Corlett tells me that the Chief Minister, the Honorable Tony Brown will be attending the 50th Convention
On August 5th through 8th, 2010, the 50th NAMA Convention will convene in the Denver suburb of Englewood, Colorado. In 1927 the first NAMA Convention was held in Cleveland, Ohio. Seventy- nine years later, the Rocky Mountain Manx Society will be hosting the 50th NAMA Convention. The convention will be held in a Sheraton Hotel that has a view of the Rocky Mountains from each room. Pike’s Peak and the Southern Front Range are visible from the rooms that face south. The North facing rooms have a view of the Rockies from Mount Evans to Long’s Peak.
Come for the convention and enjoy the view!

You've never had it so good.

THE Department of Trade and Industry has helped create about 1,000 jobs in the Island, former minister David Cretney said. Mr Cretney, now in charge of the Department of Community, Culture and Leisure, reflected on the department's successes as it became the new Department of Economic Development following last week's government restructure.

'The DTI, working closely with colleagues in government as well as the private sector, has shown we can develop valuable new sectors which benefit the Island as a whole,' Mr Cretney said.
'As a result, the Island's economy is stronger and more diverse now than at any other time. If DTI had not helped to attract the e-gaming, shipping, aircraft, manufacturing and other business that the Island has won in recent years, which collectively have created about 1,000 jobs locally, then the level of unemployment would be at least double the level it is today.'
The manufacturing sector remains the second largest wealth-creating sector after banking in terms of employment. Over the last five years, it has grown faster than the economy as a whole – more than 40 per cent compared with less than 29 per cent in real terms – generating over 200 jobs.

More than 100 jobs were created in the e-gaming sector last year, and brings the number of workers in the sector to about 550. There are now more than 20 companies with e-gaming licences.

In 2009, The Isle of Man Ship Registry grew by more than 10 per cent – over 1m gross registered tonnes – to a new high of 10.76m tonnes. It also registered its 1,000th vessel.

The Isle of Man Aircraft Registry has now registered more than 225 aircraft and is the fastest-growing register of its type in the world, showing growth of 50 per cent over 2008. During 2009, the aircraft register helped to generate millions of pounds in new income for the Island's financial institutions, lawyers and corporate service providers and valuable new jobs were created as a result.

Isle of Man Film has helped steer the Island in becoming one of the busiest areas of British film production in recent years. Overall, Isle of Man Film has been involved with the co-production and co-financing of over 90 films, television dramas and animation projects since 1995. In 2009, the DTI supported three productions and it is hoped that more will be produced in the future.

An internet shopping scheme was introduced last September to help local independent retailers, and now involves more than 100 companies. Research shows that the scheme has helped to generate at least £250,000 of additional sales to date through direct online sales and increased footfall conversion

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oops; Manx Treasury blamed for extra £2.26m runway costs

Poor communication between Treasury officials has been blamed for adding £2.26m to the cost the Isle of Man airport runway extension scheme.
The £44m project's costs increased because the government failed to buy euros early enough to pay for it.  Exchange rate fluctuations meant the government had to pay more for the currency than it expected.
The Tynwald public accounts committee has recommended the Treasury reviews how such decisions are taken. BBC

Friday, April 9, 2010

BBC: A History of the World

This is really cool, it's the top ten items that best trace Manx history: 
The photo descriptions are "hot" and if you click on them, you'll go to the BBC site.

Manx National Heritage on Facebook

Hugo Dachinger was arrested in June 1940 under Churchill’s policy of the mass internment of ‘enemy aliens’. He was interned first in Kempton Park transit camp, then Huyton Camp, Liverpool and finally in Mooragh Camp, Isle of Man. Although only interned for seven months, Dachinger produced a vast quantity of artwork, of...ten painted on newspaper. Whilst in Mooragh Camp and following his release in January 1941, Dachinger staged exhibitions of his work entitled ‘Art behind barbed wire’. See some of Dachinger’s work in the Manx Museum Art Gallery and hear more about Artists in Exile in our fascinating talk on Saturday 10th April 2010 at the Manx Museum Lecture Theatre (2.30pm). Hosted in conjunction with the Forced Journeys Exhibition currently on display at the Sayle Gallery in Douglas.

Become a fan of Manx National Heritage on Facebook. Go to and enter Manx National Heritage in the Search box. When the page opens, click, Join.

Bank helps out railway

STAFF volunteers from Barclays Wealth have been working hard to give the Groudle Glen Railway a makeover in time for its opening over the Easter weekend. A total of 23 eager Barclays Wealth volunteers and representatives of the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters' Association gathered early to get the project underway.

Work carried out over two days included erecting fence posts and a new fence near to the Groudle Glen cafe area, installing concrete bases for a flagpole and viewing telescope, installing safety signage along the railway and some painting work at the cafe. IOMToday

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day trips to 2010 Isle Of Man TT

Just in case you're on the mainland, Regency Travel has announced the company is to run day trips to the Isle of Man from Blackpool and Belfast International airports during TT 2010.

The trips will be operated by Manx2 on behalf of Regency Travel and will include return flights from either Blackpool or Belfast International, return coach transfers from Ronaldsway Airport to the iconic TT Grandstand in Douglas plus a ticket for the Grandstand or the option to upgrade to the TT VIP Club. Day trips start from £169 per person.

“We are very pleased to be introducing direct day trips by air for TT 2010” Said Richard Howarth of Regency Travel. “A full day trip to the island to sample the TT action is already proving popular with TT fans. It allows those who cannot make it for a longer stay on the island to spend a full day watching what will no doubt be great racing”.

Trips from Blackpool airport will depart on Saturday 5th and Wednesday 9th June 2010 while trips from Belfast International airport will depart on Monday 7th June and Friday 11th June 2010.

Full details of the trips can be found on the official TT Travel & Ticketing website or call 01624 694455.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More on the Celtic Conference

Following on from Val's news piece below, I found this in the minutes from (Yn Cheshaght Gailckagh) on the afternoon of Hollantide* 1918. The rest of the minutes are bleak: there is still war, the island is in a state of unrest, there has been no real advance in Manx literature and the society's much loved secretary,  Miss Sophia Morrison, has passed away.  But there is this:


One of the most interesting events of the year was the Pan-Celtic conference at Birkenhead, which was convened by the National Union of Welsh Societies, and held in association with the National Eisteddfod of Wales. Representatives from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and Mann attended, and a (helpful and illuminating week was spent. A report of the recent work of Yn Cheshaght Gailckagh was read, and was well received. A Celtic Union was formed with the object of united efforts being made for the protection and development of language, literature and nationality in all the Celtic countries, each national society appointing a strong national committee. It is hoped that this union will do good work and stimulate the interest of belts in their sister nations.

And further on, in a report on the Society's accounts, this: Copies are yet in stock of Mr H. P. Kelly's "First Primer," which is intended for juveniles. It is illustrated, and costs only threepence. If anyone has one of these, please contact me. H.P. was my grandfather and I'd love to purchase a copy.

*Hollantide Eve is November 11th. So I'm guessing that this means Hollantide is the 12th. What is significant here is that the tone of the minutes is so miserable "May peace be declared before next Hollantide, and our men home again from their long forced exile!" yet the First World War ended when Germany surrendered on November 11th 1918. Their wish had already come true -- they just didn't know it yetNor, it would seem, when the minutes were written up as they lack any sort of upbeat message.

The International Celtic Congress

The International Celtic Congress is a cultural organisation that seeks to promote the Celtic languages of the nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Formed from pre-existing bodies such as the Celtic Association and the Pan-Celtic Congress, history records that meetings of an Inter-Celtic Congress took place as early as 1838 and 1867.

With a branch in each of the Celtic nations their first meeting was in 1917 at the Birkenhead Eisteddfod; they continue to meet annually in each representative country. The object of the organisation is to “perpetuate the culture, ideals and languages of the Celtic peoples, and to maintain an intellectual contract and close co-operation between the respective Celtic communities”.

Although classed as a non-political organisation the National Party of Scotland (forerunner of the Scottish National Party) sought involvement in the 1920s, and the Taoiseach of Ireland, Eamon de Valera, became their patron during the 1930s.

They should not, however, be confused with the Celtic League which split amicably from the Celtic Congress to pursue political aims, though many people are members of both organisations.

This year it’s the turn of the Isle of Man to host the International Celtic Congress, with delegates arriving from each country to enjoy an extensive itinerary of events during their stay. Each year a theme is agreed upon and this year’s chosen topic will be ‘Inter-Celtic Communications’.

Co-ordinator of this year’s event Dr. Brian Stowell commented, “Some people might say there is no need for inter-Celtic associations like the Celtic Congress nowadays, when so many Celtic activities come under political and governmental umbrellas. But independent, cultural inter-Celtic associations will always have their uses, particularly in helping people retain their identity in a friendly, benevolent way”.

The President of Tynwald, the Honourable Noel Cringle will perform the official opening on Easter Monday at the Claremont Hotel in Douglas, followed by a Gala Dinner.  Most of the events take place at the Claremont Hotel and the Loch Promenade Methodist Centre in Douglas and include lectures from each Celtic nation, tours around the Island and the opportunity to learn Manx songs with Dr. Breesha Maddrell. An Ecumenical Service will be held at the Loch Promenade Methodist Centre.

Members of the public are welcome to attend any of the nightly ceilidhs, lectures and concerts which feature during the week, the ‘Young People’s Concert’ on the 8th April features music from Beccy Hurst, Mike Boulton’s groups and the Bree traditional  youth music movement (£3 admission children free). The main concert on the 9th April includes South Uist’s Sineag Nic an t-Saoir (MacIntyre), who won the Gold Medal at the Mod 2009, Máire Ní Choilm, a sean nos singer from Gweedore, Dublin harp player Brenda Ní Ríordáin, singer Moe Kease (Cornwall), singer-songwriter Tecwyn Ifan (Wales) and the Mollag Band from the Isle of Man. (£4.00 admission children free). Please note that both concerts will take place at the Loch Promenade Methodist Centre starting at 8.00pm.

For further information regarding the International Celtic Congress, or how to join the local branch please contact or phone 623821

Valerie Caine © March 2010  (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Civil Partnership Bill - again

The House of Keys just held a debate on the Civil Partnerships Bill. The aim of the Bill, as explained by Allan Bell who appears to be the spokesman for this issue, is to allow same-sex couples to make a formal legal commitment to each other.

But he stressed a civil partnership was not the same as a civil marriage ceremony. 'It is not gay marriage by another name,' he told MHKs. 'We are not moving to impose an alien lifestyle. It's simply a first step towards providing equality and fairness.'

As the IOM doesn't have a party system with ideological sides, it is interesting to note how the Island's representatives addressed the issue. You can read more about the thoughtful, but often heated debate in an  article in IOMToday  What's interesting too, is that the paper has obviously made its decision on which side of this debate it stands. Usually it remains impartial. It's obviously an issue that's generating heated feelings although as the quote below indicates, there doesn't seem to be a big lobbying group behind this. Civil Partnerships already exist in the UK and there are many same-sex couples who have availed themselves of both a ceremony and a legal way to link assets such as pensions and estates.

But because they posted this photo, I couldn't resist reproducing it here, even if their intention was to make a mockery of Mr. Corkish, who to be fair, does wear pink rather well.

Most critical was Geoff Corkish (Douglas West) who said there was no public clamour for such a change. He said he would stick to his 'fuddy duddy view' that the only 'proper marriage' was one between a man and a woman. 'I don't want to appear prissy but I'm being honest to myself and many people will share my view. I speak as a member of the human race. The Isle of Man is not ready for this.'

Monday, April 5, 2010

Diving for wrecks

NATURAL and man-made treasures of the Island's waters were the focus of the Isle of Man Dive Conference 2010. The morning session was dominated by wrecks, with director of harbours Captain Michael Brew discussing his role as Receiver of Wrecks and the powers it carries for dealing with items recovered from the sea.

Captain Brew told the story of UK-based divers who recovered artefacts from the Romeo, a Second World War wreck lying on the sea bed off Peel. He acted to keep them in the Island so that they could be assessed by experts.

Manx Museum curator Allison Fox explained how Manx National Heritage worked to conserve the items and prevent their deterioration once they had been brought up from the wreck site. The artefacts that are of significant historical importance are now on display at the House of Manannan in Peel, having been donated or loaned by the divers. The possible expansion of the definition of underwater sites as Ancient Monuments was discussed and the audience at the conference unanimously voted to support efforts for increased protection of wreck sites.

The afternoon session was devoted to marine conservation and led by Dr Fiona Gell (photo), marine wildlife and conservation officer for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. She talked about progress towards the creation of a Marine Nature Reserve, urging divers to comment when possible locations for a reserve are publicized later this year.

Fisheries director Dr Andy Read discussed more environmentally-friendly ways of harvesting scallops and also updated the audience on a planned cable reef trial in Port Erin. There was also a raffle which raised £180 for the Hyperbaric Chamber.

The Annual World Bonnag Championships 2010

An appreciative audience sat down in St James’ Church Hall to hear farmer John Kennaugh compére one of the most important events in the Dalby calendar.

The Annual World Bonnag Championships attracts people from far and wide to this small church situated on a remote stretch of western coastline, where former baker Bert Winckle of Foxdale has the unenviable task of choosing the winners of this unique competition.

Bonnag, a  non yeasted, simple bread, shared by the rural community for generations is a cousin of the Irish soda bread. Recognised as an essential part of the Manx kitchen it is made quickly and efficiently by hand using few ingredients, but never without the vital buttermilk, once available on every Manx farm.

John Kennaugh took his audience on a nostalgic trip down memory lane as Bert Winckle set to work, slicing, sampling and smelling the competition entries as the table groaned with the weight of bonnags.

However, a shepherd’s pie supper provided by the organisers took everyone’s mind off the job in hand, followed later by a selection of home-made cakes.

An eager audience enjoyed an assortment of local entertainment beginning with ‘Strengyn’, a competent duo from the Manx traditional music scene who played a mixture of their own compositions and Manx traditional music on a variety of stringed instruments. This was followed by Manx singer Fiona Cain and local poetess Zoë Cannell, and an impromptu performance of ‘The Peel Lifeboat’ written by T. E. Brown and recited by John Kennaugh.

The evening was also an opportunity to hand over fundraising cheques to Namaste Children’s House and the Special Needs Unit at Peel Clothworkers, and to introduce new beneficiaries for 2010; Send A Cow and the RNLI.

In the meantime Bert Winckle had sifted through a mountain of bonnags and made his final decision. The winners were:- Ben Awkal (Children) Alex Beavis (Men) and Fiona Cain (Women) who also took home the ‘Isle of Man Creameries Buttermilk Cup’ as the overall winner.

Then it was time to auction all of the bonnags provided for the competition, a gargantuan task, and sing the Manx National Anthem before heading out into the night.

Valerie Caine © April 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reih Bleeaney Vanannan 2010

The Reih Bleeaney Vanannan is an annual award made by the Manx Heritage Foundation to a person, or group, who has made the most outstanding contribution to Manx culture. This year Joan Caine of Peel was awarded the trophy in recognition of the many years she has spent teaching and encouraging others to learn the Manx language. A large part of this time has been spent as a member of Caarjyn ny Gaelgey (Friends of the Manx Language) and organising a variety of Manx classes from beginners to fluent speakers in St John’s.

She also arranges a number of fund-raising activities and has also served as the secretary of the Gaelic Broadcasting Committee and as a member of ‘Cooinceil ny Gaelgey’ (Manx Gaelic Advisory Council), the official body which provides translations and new terminology in Manx.

A panel of assessors is appointed by the Manx Heritage Foundation which represents a number of Manx cultural organisations. Inspired by Manxman Stephen Quayle of Kidderminster the Reih Bleeaney Vanannan is viewed as the natural successor to the Manannan Trophy and was awarded for the first time in 1987.

The trophy, designed by the late Eric Austwick, displays the figure of the sea god Manannan standing on a sample of Pooil Vaaish marble resting on a plinth. It also contains traces of quartz from South Barrule, one of Manannan’s fortresses, and a brooch of Laxey silver presented by cultural field worker Mona Douglas. Joan will hold the trophy for one year, but will also receive a medal designed locally by Jennie Kissack. She also gets the initials R.B.V after her name, the only uniquely Manx honour that does this.
The award was presented by the Chair of the Manx Heritage Foundation The Hon. Anne Craine MHK who said, “Joan’s efforts have resulted in Manx having a more secure position in the community than it has had for the last fifty years, and it is certain that without her tireless work there would be fewer speakers of Manx Gaelic”.

Valerie Caine © March 2010 Photo: Manx Heritage Foundation

Friday, April 2, 2010

ARAI Helmets & TT

For 2010 and the next two successive years, Arai and the Isle of Man TT organization have chosen a new sponsoring concept: Arai will introduce three limited special Isle of Man TT edition helmets in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. Each run of Aldo Drudi designed TT Series will be limited to strictly 500 helmets only and the Isle of Man TT organization will receive a commission for every helmet sold. 
Arai Helmet has for many years been a proud supporter and sponsor of the Isle of Man TT races. Year upon year Arai course banners and sign posts have decked the world famous track and again this year, as in previous years, Arai will be present on the Isle of Man, supporting the organisation of the Isle of Man TT races.
The first  2010 TT Series will be priced at  € 899 (including VAT – £699.99 GBP) including the free display set and will be exclusively distributed by Arai’s UK importer Phoenix Distribution through their Five Star dealer Crossan Motorcycles. The Isle of Man TT marshals will also use the 2010 TT Series Arai helmet for high visibility and to promote to the public.
There has always been a strong bond between Arai and the Isle of Man TT races. Many competitors and visitors prefer Arai helmets and for many years, Arai has sponsored the event. It was therefore not a big surprise when the introduction of the limited edition ‘’Isle of Man Centennial’’ model in 2007 proved to be a huge success. Over time, Arai has amassed extensive knowledge when it comes to producing limited edition helmets and models like the Joey Dunlop Replica and the Haga Monza underline that success.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool!

Forget Hybrids, think Horses! Shovel Ready Zero Carbon Transit Technology


New Government Structure

The new Government Structure comes into effect today.  The restructuring programme is aimed at producing greater efficiencies within Government through a more coordinated and effective framework of Departments.

There are six entirely new departments plus three existing ones as follows:
Department of Community, Culture and Leisure
Department of Economic Development
Department of Education and Children
Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture
Department of Health
Department of Home Affairs
Department of the Infrastructure
Department of Social Care
Department of the Treasury

And political memberships of the new Government Departments will be as follows:

Department                                           Minister                           Members

Community, Culture and Leisure        David Cretney MHK        Brenda Cannell MHK
                                                                                                     Quintin Gill MHK

Economic Development                      Allan Bell MHK          Clare Christian MLC
                                                                                                  Alex Downie MLC
                                                                                                 Juan Watterson MHK
                                                                                               Geoff Corkish MHK          

Education and Children                    Eddie Teare MHK               Dudley Butt MLC
                                                                                                      David Quirk MHK

Environment, Food and Agriculture  John Shimmin MHK         Tim Crookall MHK
                                                                                                      Juan Turner MLC

Health                                               David Anderson MHK        Dudley Butt MLC

Home Affairs                                   Adrian Earnshaw MHK       Bill Malarkey MHK

Infrastructure                                    Phil Gawne MHK               David Callister MLC
                                                                                                      Graham Cregeen MHK
                                                                                                      Tim Crookall MHK
                                                                                                      David Quirk MHK

Social Care                                        Martyn Quayle MHK         Bill Malarkey MHK
                                                                                                      Bill Henderson MHK

Treasury                                            Anne Craine MHK             Phil Braidwood MLC
                                                                                                      Eddie Lowey MLC