Monday, May 31, 2010

Alex Lloyd 4th in Indy Light

FORMER Island resident Alex Lloyd claimed an impressive fourth place finish at the Indianapolis 500 series in America on Sunday. The 25-year, who has had previous success in the Indy Light series, began the race in 26th but stormed up to third during the 200-lap race as only 14 races completed the event.  Race officials decided to move Lloyd down a place to fourth after he was alleged to have illegally passed Marco Andretti under caution in the dying stages of the race.

The First Manx Homecoming 1927

And I found this too. I have a fancy my grandparents were involved in it.

World Manx Association

I went looking for one of my inherited Manx pieces as I seemed to remember the symbol on the sail was of the Norse sun sign (swastika) and not the three legs. Can anyone tell me when the sign was updated?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

NAMA & GWAMs member and son of Manxmum graduates today, woo hoo!

OK, so it's the blogger's perk to promote their own but in fact I'm too busy to post anything else today as we're off to the Vespers of Graduation at St. Anselm's Abbey School in DC today where Matthew Blower is graduating. Seven years with the Benedictines have given him a great education -- let's hear it for 1500 years of tradition. He's off to read Geosciences at Virginia Tech in August. It's been a long road from the Jane Crookhall Maternity Wing in Douglas to graduation in D.C.

And you know what -- if anyone else has children or grandchildren in NAMA or their local Manx Society who are graduating, or getting married or giving birth -- send me the details and I'll put them up. It's only fair. Let's make this about our members as well as the IOM.

Friday, May 28, 2010

World Manx Association

NAMA received a lovely newsletter from Carol Gray, Secretary of the World Manx Association today.  They enclosed a CD of the late (and lovely ) Geoff Crellin reading passages from T.E. Brown. I'd like to suggest we pass this to the North American Manx Museum along with the accompanying letter as a part of its provenance.  As well as their new website -- which is at  or (not .im I see) they have a FaceBook group and a Twitter account:

This is taken from the Dubai Manx website run by WMA member Gil Costain-Salway:
The WORLD MANX ASSOCIATION was founded in 1911 by the then Chairman of the Castletown Brewery, Mr. Richard Cain, who was inspired by a remark made by the Manx national poet T.E. Brown about Manxmen returning from overseas. During a lecture Mr Brown said "We should welcome them back with a shake of the hand and a clap on the shoulder". Though not founded until after T E Brown's death, the occasion was well documented in a newspaper at the time, the ‘Mona's Herald’, which reported "a gathering of unique character at Rushen Abbey." The meeting was of a number of visiting Manx emigrants from as far away as North America, South Africa and Australia and it was Mr. Cain's idea to make it a formal occasion "whereby Manx colonials and their friends could extend to each other the hand of friendship".

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Terry Cringle's Rock

To hundreds of holiday-makers, the rock went unnoticed. But to Examiner columnist Terry Cringle, it meant much more. As a boy playing on Douglas beach he claimed it as his own and called it Cringle's Rock.

Several years later, he reminisced about the rock in his column and it caught the imagination of the President of Tynwald – one Noel Cringle – who arranged to have the outcrop named after Terry.

The naming ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon and Noel Cringle hopes that it will one day appear as 'Cringle Rock' on Ordnance Survey maps. Terry Cringle is a local columnist and journalist, known for his humorous approach to life.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nice while it lasts

THE weekend was the hottest so far of the year, with temperatures soaring to 25C. On Saturday, the temperature reached 20.4C (69F) at the Isle of Man Met Office, based at Ronaldsway.

It meant it was the hottest day since July 2, 2009, when a sunny 24.1C (75F) was recorded at the airport.  In addition, further inland on Saturday, it reached as high as a scorching 25C (77F). The following day was another warm day, with the temperature rising to 19.5C (67F) at the airport.

It was well above the average May temperature of 17C (62F).

And it smashed the hottest day reached in the Island so far this year. That was achieved on Thursday, May 6, when 16C (60F) was recorded at the airport. Many Isle of Man residents flocked to the Island's beaches to enjoy the warm weather.

But there was bad news for those hoping that the weekend's weather was the start of sunny summer.  On Monday morning, a Met Office spokesman said that the wind direction had already changed. It means that the temperatures forecast for the week are getting increasing cooler, from a maximum of 14C (57F) today (Tuesday) to 13C (55F) by Friday.

There is a chance of rain on Thursday and Friday.


For anyone who is interested, here are the blue books for the IOM Government:

1. The Treasury has released this week the draft Government’s Accounts for the year to 31 March 2010

2. The Accounts released at this stage are the detailed management version compiled to the nearest whole pound and which remain subject to Audit by the Public Auditors. After the completion of the Public Audit later in this year a less detailed financial report style version of the Accounts will be released and formally laid before Tynwald. The audited Accounts are expected to be laid before the October 2010 sitting of Tynwald.

3. The Accounts reveal:

· Treasury income of £570 million.

· Net revenue expenditure of £572 million.

· Capital expenditure of £100 million.

· Revenue deficit of £3 million.

· No transfers to Government reserves.

4. The Accounts show Government has started to respond to the economic challenges it is facing with Departments ensuring their costs remain within Tynwald approvals. The revenue deficit of £2.8 million is £5.5 million less than the authorised out-turn of £8.3 million (surplus of £0.2 million approved in the Budget in February 2009 less the £8.5 million additional expenditure approved by Tynwald during the year for the Department of Health & Social Security).

5. Treasury Income is slightly below the estimate for the year due to reduced interest income. Income Tax receipts off-set a reduction in Customs receipts. Departments have all remained within their approved revenue votes for the year and have absorbed the costs of public sector employees’ pay awards. As set out in the budget in February 2010, no transfers to Government reserves and funds have been made.

6. Copies of the Accounts including details of the departmental spend can be obtained from the Tynwald library or at


1. Net General Revenue Account – Balance Brought Forward

The actual balance brought forward at 1 April 2010 of £41.8 million was £12.4 million more than the "Probable" shown at the Budget in February 2009, with income £11.3 million up and expenditure £1.1 million down. The out-turn for 2008-09 was shown in the audited Government Accounts, which were laid before the October 2009 sitting of Tynwald.

2. Income

Gross income from all sources at £877.3 million was generally in line with the various estimates for Departments and Other Bodies but in aggregate exceeded them by £1.5 million, mainly due to higher Department receipts and lower Treasury income.

Treasury income at £569.6 million was below estimate by £2.7 million. Within this higher Income Tax receipts (up £26.0 million) offset lower Customs receipts (down £25.7 million) and Other Treasury Income (down £3.1 million).

3. Expenditure

Net expenditure at £572.4 million was £8.2 million less than the revised estimate (the original estimate of £572.1 million plus the Supplementary Revenue Vote of £8.5 million for the Department of Health & Social Security). Department Expenditure was within the approved Votes.

4. Net General Revenue Account – Balance Carried Forward

In the 2009-10 Budget it was originally envisaged that the General Revenue Account would produce a surplus for the year before appropriation to reserves of £0.2 million. This estimated surplus was reduced to a deficit of £8.3 million after allowing for the Supplementary Votes approved during the year. However the actual gross income of £877.3 million and the actual gross expenditure of £880.1 million resulted in a deficit for the year of £2.8 million.

The deficit of £2.8 million reduced the balance brought forward of £41.8 million and resulted in a carried forward balance on General Revenue Account at 31 March 2010 of £38.9 million.

5. Capital Expenditure

Total Capital expenditure out-turn for the year was £100.3 million. This compares with the original vote of £126.8 million plus Supplementary Votes of £2.1 million.

The balance on the Capital Fund at the end of the year was £801.6 million and the cash available for capital expenditure was £116.6 million.

6. Reserve Funds

Treasury's investment strategies for the larger funds (which are externally invested) include exposure to equities and, although their market values can and have fluctuated downwards from time to time, the broad and long term trend has been upwards. In 2009-10 the market value of the investments (net of transfers into and out of the funds) increased by £109.1 million to £1,683.9 million.

Within this the market value of external investments increased by £266.6 million, a decrease of 22.5%, net of transfers. Net transfers include transfers to external investments from internal funds, including £30.0 million in respect of the National Insurance Investment Account.

The value of internally invested reserve funds (excluding the Capital Fund) reduced by £28.1 million (net of expenditure and transfers) as transfers out of the funds exceeded transfers into the funds.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chief Minister responds to misleading and insulting comments by Times Columnist

CHIEF Minister Tony Brown has responded robustly to what he calls insulting and unwarranted comments made by AA Gill in today’s Sunday Times (May 23, 2010) about the Isle of Man and its people.

The Chief Minister stated: ‘Although AA Gill is not a news journalist but a satirical columnist meant to entertain through his outrageous comments, I, like all Manx residents, find his remarks to be misleading, unfounded and insulting to every man, woman and child on our Island.

‘Unfortunately, AA Gill has, for some reason, a personal dislike of the Island and its people, as is clear from his latest abusive comments.

‘The Isle of Man is not the country that he portrays. We have a strong anti-drugs policy and a crime rate that is among the lowest anywhere in the British Isles. On the social policy front, the Island gave the vote to women decades before the United Kingdom and we have extended the right to vote to 16 and 17 year olds while many other nations are still considering it.

‘He may like to reflect on the privilege that he enjoys to express his views so freely in the media; it is a privilege that many Manx men and women sacrificed their lives for in considerable numbers, in two World Wars, and in fact continue to do so today by voluntarily serving in Her Majesty’s Forces in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan.’

So what did he say? Referring to Mick Jagger's controversial suggestion about the Island being used as a testbed for the legalisation of drugs, Gill suggested in his Sunday Times column that this was an inspired choice.

'If it all goes wrong, and they become a hopelessly addicted, criminal cesspit, who'd care?

'Indeed, who could tell the difference? The denizens of Isle de l'Homme fall into two types.

'Hopeless, in-bred mouth-breathers known as Bennies. And then retired, small-arms dealers and accountants who deal in rainforest futures. I have never been anywhere that would be more improved by a glut of class A substances. They believe in fairies and fascism.

'This was the last place in Britain to legalise homosexuality. The Isle of Man, twinned with Malawi. Bring on the crack."


The Isle of Man is launching a dramatic bid to put the Island’s heritage firmly on the world stage. It is competing with agencies across the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies in a bid for nomination on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.

Visitors, residents and overseas supporters are being urged to show their support for two groundbreaking bids for World Heritage status, which will be submitted by Manx National Heritage on behalf of the Manx people.  The United Kingdom has opened up bids for the first time in a decade and MNH is racing against time to hit the June deadline.  The Council of Ministers has expressed its full support for the bid.

Tynwald Hill and its importance as the oldest continuous parliamentary site in the world will form the basis of the Isle of Man's first application.  Tynwald dates back to the 9th century, when the Isle of Man fell victim to Viking raiders who eventually settled peacefully to become farmers and traders on the Island. They introduced the Norse system of law-making and open-air assemblies at which laws were promulgated (read aloud to the people), where the ruling elite's authority was displayed and where wrongdoers were punished. The legacy of these Norse Kings of Mann was their founding of the Manx Court of Tynwald, which, as a parliamentary system, predates Westminster and all other forms of Government in Europe.

Bids for World Heritage Status have to demonstrate the international nature of the site. During the time of the later Norse Kings, the Isle of Man was at the heart of a large maritime kingdom, together with the Scottish Hebrides, called the Kingdom of Man and the Isles. This kingdom was ruled by a Tynwald with 32 members: 16 from the Isle of Man and 16 from the Isles of Lewis, Skye, Mull and Islay. During the 12th century, the Isles of Mull and Islay (and their 8 representatives) were lost to Argyll, but Tynwald survived with 24 members.

A World Heritage Site has to offer the world something today. The modern Tynwald continues the Norse tradition as an open-air assembly by holding one meeting each year outdoors at St Johns, on 5 July also known as Old Midsummer's Day, where in the ancient form, new laws are read aloud, both in English and Manx Gaelic. Little is known about the early Tynwald ceremonies, although they are documented in first written history of the Island, the 'Chronicles of the Kings of Man and the Isles' for 1077, which clearly document “...a convention of all the Manx people took place at Tynwald”. The Isle of Man can demonstrate a legislative tradition five times as long as America or France – where the current systems of government were only set up just over 200 years ago.

The Isle of Man's second application will cover the Laxey Valley from Snaefell to the sea, which has a unique and internationally important complex of monuments from the Industrial period. It is an amazing physical record of the growth and decline of industry alongside the growth and decline of a new form of tourism which catered for the workers in the industrial North of England on their holidays. The mines led to the creation of other associated institutions such as the harbour, public houses, the Laxey Coop, the Ruskin Woollen Mill, the Laxey Flour Mills and the Manx Electric Railway. In the 19th century facilities for tourists and local workers were developed such as Laxey Glen Gardens and the Snaefell Mountain Railway.

By the end of the 19th century, the Laxey Mine employed hundreds of men and boys, many of whom worked nearly two thousand feet underground to bring up the valuable lead and zinc ores.  At its peak the mine was hugely profitable, giving dividends to its shareholders that were unrivalled by any other British mine.  It also boasted a unique range of machinery powered by water.  There were turbines, pumps, hoists, man lifts, crushers and much more besides, and the water was collected from all the nearby valleys in a complex system of cisterns and channels, many of which can still be seen today.  The crowning glory of all this inventive use of water was the Lady Isabella, or Laxey Wheel, the greatest waterwheel in the world. It links the two themes of industry and tourism as it was built with a viewing platform and was a popular tourist attraction from the time it was built.

UNESCO looks for evidence of traditions continuing to be relevant to the present day and for sites to be protected. In Laxey, the Manx Electric Railway, the Mountain Railway, Laxey Wheel, Laxey Flour Mill and Laxey Woollen Mill still operate today. There is a Conservation Area in place and the Laxey Wheel is in the care of the Manx Museum and National Trust, the Island’s heritage agency. The Laxey and Lonan Heritage Trust demonstrate the community support for its heritage – even re-opening the Mines Railway with replica engines and reconstructing the Snaefell Wheel.

If successful, Tynwald Hill and the Laxey Valley will join a list of 28 World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom such as Hadrians Wall and Stonehenge and sites throughout the world. 

The Isle of Man's applications will be assessed by a panel of independent experts appointed by the UK Government, with a list submitted to UK Ministers for approval before going forward to UNESCO in 2011.

Help the Island in achieving World Heritage Status by showing your support in writing to Manx National Heritage at the Manx Museum in Douglas, email, or provide your feedback via our links on the Manx National Heritage Facebook page. 


Editor's Notes
UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity. This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
UNESCO's World Heritage mission is to:
·     encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;
·     encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;
·     encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
·     help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;
·     provide emergency assistance for World Heritage sites in immediate danger;
·     support States Parties' public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;
·     encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage;
·     encourage international cooperation in the conservation of our world's cultural and natural heritage.
Our cultural and natural heritage is an irreplaceable source of life and inspiration. It is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tour of California

MODESTO, Calif. -- Italian rider Francesco Chicchi emerged from a mass sprint to upset Manx rider, Mark Cavendish and win stage 4 of the Tour of California on Wednesday, while American David Zabriskie held onto his slim overall lead. Chicchi completed the 121.5-mile ride from San Jose to Modesto in 4 hours, 55 minutes and 2 seconds. The Liquigas rider narrowly held off Juan Jose Haedo of Saxo-Bank and Cavendish, the HTC-Columbia rider who won the opening stage. Both had the same time as the winner.
"Mark and I are rivals on the bike, but we are good friends off the bike," said the 29-year-old Chicchi, who claimed his fifth win of the season. "Winning is always good, but to beat the No. 1 is even better."
Cavendish, who has won 10 stages of the Tour de France the past two years, has more than 60 pro wins and is generally considered cycling's best sprinter.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mick Jagger in Isle of Man drugs legalisation call

Mick Jagger

Sir Mick Jagger* has said on TV that drugs should be legalised on the Isle of Man to discover what impact it would have on society. BBC
Speaking on US chat show Larry King Live, the Rolling Stones singer said the island's "captive society" should be used to "see what happens". The 66-year-old said that the island was already used as a testing ground for trying out new mobile phones.
Manx MHK Bill Mallarkey said the comments were "irresponsible".
I'd be surprised if Mick Jagger could remember where the Isle of Man is
Bill Mallarkey, MHK
Speaking on Larry King Live on CNN, Sir Mick said:

"The whole question of legalising drugs is fraught. You usually try these things out in very small places. You know, like you try a new product out in a small kind of society or an island somewhere.
"In England they always try out new mobile phones in the Isle of Man. They've got a captive society. You should try the legalisation of all drugs on the Isle of Man and see what happens."
Bill Mallarkey, MHK with responsibility for the Manx drug and alcohol strategy, said:
"Jagger's comments are out of order and irresponsible to suggest that people on the Isle of Man should be used as social guinea pigs. I'd be surprised if Mick Jagger could remember where the Isle of Man is, as he's not been here since a concert in 1964 to my knowledge.
"If he does want to come and discuss this any further he'd better not bring any drugs with him as the Isle of Man has a zero tolerance policy on possession of drugs and severe penalties for drug-dealing."
Under Manx law, drug dealers of class A or B drugs can be imprisoned for up to 14 years.
The singer is attending the Cannes film festival for a screening of the Rolling Stones documentary Stones On Exile, about the making of the band's 1972 album Exile On Main Street.

*Younger readers should know that Sir Mick is a musician in an senior citizen's rock band called the Rolling Stones. They were very popular back in the sixties and seventies when your parents were young. Their drug habits are legendary and a member of the band died as a consequence of drug abuse.  That Sir Mick would suggest using the IoM as a test bed for drugs suggests that the mental faculties of the surviving members have also been affected. And as for suggesting we're a part of England....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

£1.8m investment for Ramsey pier in the Isle of Man

Queen's Pier (photo courtesy of
The work will ensure the pier remains stable and stop further deterioration
Ramsey pier is to be made safe, after members of Tynwald agreed to invest £1.8m in the project.
Queen's Pier in Ramsey, which first opened in 1886, has fallen into disrepair. Members discussed various options, including a full refurbishment which would have cost £9.15m. But they agreed an option suggested by Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne, to keep the pier stable and prevent it deteriorating further.
Mr Gawne said: "I am a strong supporter of the refurbishment agreement. Had it not been for the change in government financial position I would have been here recommending the £9.15m full refurbishment. Clearly we can't afford the full refurbishment now. The alternative option offers a solution which makes the pier safe and holds out the prospect of future refurbishment. Doing nothing is no longer an option." 

The BBC is working hard for its licence fee!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Weaver's Tale

Regular readers will know how fond I am of the Laxey Woollen Mills and John Wood who now runs it. They have just produced a marvellous book, which traces the history of the Mill but embraces so much more.  Sue King has done a brilliant job. It's a tapestry of interwoven themes. The book brings together fabulous old photos, a history of fashion,  a review of the industrial revolution as it affected the Isle of Man, a trip down Laxey's memory lane, a look at Manx tourism and an interesting insight into the Wood family. You can acquire it online at the Laxey Woollen Mills website -- yes, finally it has one!

Crime down 38% on Island

Crime in the Isle of Man has fallen by 38% in the last three years, according to statistics released by the island's police force. They say it means the island's crime rate is at its lowest level since 1981.
The figure for the total number of crimes committed on the island from April 2009 to March of this year dipped to less than 3,000. Isle of Man police have also maintained their 50% detection rate, a spokesman said.  BBC

Monday, May 17, 2010

Praying the Keeills Week

‘Praying the Keeills Week’ held in May each year is an annual opportunity to discover some of the Island’s ancient religious sites, and spend time reflecting on their beauty and important role in the rich history of the Isle of Man.

It is organised by a taskforce made up of representatives of each denomination, with responsibility for a specific area delegated to small groups. Local historian Frank Cowin also shares his extensive knowledge on the subject, helping with planning and accompanying walkers during the week itself.

‘Praying the Keeills Week’ is relatively new to the Manx calendar being the brainchild of the then Lord Bishop of Sodor and Mann the Rt. Rev. Graeme Knowles in 2006. As new ideas began to flow the Rev. Peter Robinson, Vicar of the parishes of Arbory, Castletown and Santon established an annual children’s competition and the development of various publications produced in conjunction with this special celebration. The latest chairman of the taskforce is the Rev. Leslie Guthrie, a retired minister from St. Andrew’s United Reformed Church in Douglas.

Keeills were once an important part of life on the Isle of Man serving a variety of purposes as family chapels, wayside shrines, places of retreat and hermitage. Perhaps as many as 250 were scattered across the Island, but recognised sites or remains that survive account for less than half of this number. Small buildings constructed from earth and stone none of the remains are thought to be older than the eight century, although the site itself and surrounding burials can be dated back to the sixth century, or earlier.

The keeills are often situated on a mound surrounded by a circular burial ground and are largely associated with the remarkable cross slabs on public view at various locations across the Island. Many of the keeills are associated with pre-Christian sites and a number were either built over, or transformed into Bronze Age Cairns.

This year’s event will be launched with a service at Ramsey Methodist Church followed by a scenic walk around the coastline to Maughold to visit keeills in the churchyard and St. Maughold’s Well close by. Other organised events will include trips to Sulbrick Keeill, Balladoole Keeill, a prayer pilgrimage to Cabbyl Pherick and a candlelit procession to Tynwald Hill.

Valerie Caine © May 2010

Exhibition visits enhance students’ studies

From the Department of Education

HUNDREDS of students are this month gaining an insight into the lives and artistic talents of World War Two internees.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of the Isle of Man’s internment camps, the Sayle Gallery, in conjunction with the Ben Uri Gallery, the London Jewish Museum of Art, is hosting an exhibition entitled Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain c.1933-45.

Since the exhibition opened, students have been able to further their learning about World War Two and internment on the Isle of Man and witness how internees used the scant materials available to them to express their feelings and continue with their art despite their circumstances.

St Ninian’s High School’s 251 Year 9 students visited the exhibition over the course of a week and it proved a useful addition to work they already do on World War Two, especially the Holocaust. The exhibition also linked in well to the recent Anne Frank [+ you} exhibition, held in Peel, which they visited.

A number of the pupils have been studying internment on the Isle of Man and these studies include a tour of Camp P, better known as Hutchinson Square. St Ninian’s have got involved in a Douglas Borough Corporation scheme to design a memorial plaque to the internees of Hutchinson Square and the visit to the Forced Journeys exhibition has provided them with some ideas.

Year 9 student Jamie Ward said: ‘The exhibition was really interesting and I would not have expected them to have been able to produce such quality work in a camp.’ Steph Foxton, also of Year 9, said: ‘The coloured worksheets, showing the artists’ background and highlighting their time in the camp, were really helpful and explained their different artistic styles.’

The Manx Telecomputer Bus, manned by ICT teacher Alex Townsend, has enabled more than 150 primary school pupils from all over the Island to visit the exhibition and then record their thoughts on an online blog.

The Department of Education and Children bus has also provided a Forced Journeys Roadshow for other secondary schools, visiting Ballakermeen High School, Ramsey Grammar School and Queen Elizabeth II High School.

Ramsey pupil Isaac Newman wrote about Kurt Schwitter’s Portrait of Fred Uhlman: ‘This picture really stands out to me because it is very lifelike. I think it shows how dull life was in a camp. I like how the colours and tone almost blend in with the wall. The artist must have been very talented because it looks very 3D. There is a shining glint in the man's eye and I think it shows how he is trapped. I imagine him being trapped in a room with no door or windows. I suppose that’s what being interned feels like.I really like all the different shades of colours rather than one flat colour. It makes me sad just looking at it.’

Students have also been given copies of a booklet, compiled by the Manx Heritage Foundation to accompany the exhibition, about how life in the Isle of Man changed when war broke out. It was resourced from Manx National Heritage archives and reproduces actual newspaper stories from the era of World War Two, a valuable extra resource for teachers and students alike.
Jo Callister, Advisory Teacher for the Manx Curriculum, said: ‘World War Two and its history and effect on the Isle of Man is already studied in the Islands schools so this was an ideal opportunity for the children to further that link and experience at first hand some of the history from Manx internment camps.

‘The children were fascinated by what the artists used to create their work and all the educational support provided by Manx National Heritage, the Manx Heritage Foundation and the Manx Telecomputer Bus has really added to the experience.’

As well as visiting the Sayle Gallery in the Villa Marina arcade, some schools have made the short walk up to the Manx Museum, past the Sefton Hotel, which in 1940 was briefly commandeered along with other hotels and guesthouses in Douglas and elsewhere on the Island as an internment camp.

At the Manx Museum, Manx National Heritage is providing schools with educational workshops to tie in with the 70th anniversary of the opening of the camps. Children attending ‘The Homefront’ are experiencing rationing, wartime entertainment, life in an Anderson shelter and internement crafts.

Jo Callister and Alex Townsend also produced a 30-minute video tour of the exhibition, in which David Wertheim, who has been involved in the organisation of the exhibition, describes the stories behind many of the pictures for the benefit of schools. The video has been posted onto the DEC’s schools’ website, allowing children all over the Island to see the exhibition.

Forced Journeys: Artists in Exile in Britain c.1933-45 continues at the Sayle Gallery until 23 May.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Manx bees to the rescue

Diseased bees will eat through icing sugar to greet their new queen
Queen bees are to be posted to the UK by the Manx Government's bee inspector to try to bolster the mainland's ailing hive populations. BBC here
A dozen healthy Manx queens will be mailed in ventilated envelopes in a pilot project to discover if they can take over and cure diseased hives.
The island's bees are disease-free after Tynwald passed a law in 1987 to ban the import of foreign bees.
The queens will replace infected ones and may gradually spawn new colonies.
Our bees are among the healthiest in the world
Harry Owens, bee disease officer and inspector
Small matchbox-sized cages containing a single queen and up to five mating drones will be sent individually to UK keepers in Birmingham and Stockport, who have hives affected by debilitating viruses.
Manx government bee disease officer and inspector, Harry Owens said: "Our bees are among the healthiest in the world and it would be nice to see if they could take over diseased colonies."
If successful, it is possible that the Isle of Man may export healthy bees as a commercial venture, he said.
Kill the queen
"The keeper will take out and kill the existing queen and put the cage, which contains a bit of icing sugar, in the hive.
"The diseased worker bees will eat through the icing to release the queen, by which time they will have accepted her as their own," said Mr Owens.
The queen's and drones' healthy offspring will then repopulate the hive over a 46-day period as the last of the diseased bees die off, said Mr Owens.
UK agriculturalists and ecologists are alarmed by the extent of bee population declines because of their crucial role in pollinating crops.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Flag Flying

Hey guys, this is a comment that someone who is insufferably smug and yet insufficiently confident to use their name left on the Chicago Manx post: 

Perhaps someone could lead a campaign to have the Manx Flag flown the right way up. The way it's shown in this photo implies that the Manx nation is in distress. I don't think so. 

Well, I don't know who the "someone" would be. Perhaps our superior poster might like to step up? But I think it's very unfair to snipe in such a snide way at people whose Manx families emigrated three hundred years ago when there was little consensus on how the three legs would rotate. Even in my lifetime we had to bring the police hat badges in line with other government agencies. I'm posting some pictures to show how the census (as shown above) was only recently arrived at. I do find the notion that the Manx flag hung upside down should be a sign of distress laughable (although it is true) as how the hell can anyone work out up from down on such a design?  For the record, the representation of the triskell must be dextrogyrous (turning to the right). Not all flag manufacturers know this which is why so many are produced incorrectly.

Photos: The Laxey Wheel, the Maughold Cross, the Royal Chapel at St. John's.

The Isle of Man flag has a red background with the Three Legs of Man emblem (Triskelion), in the center; the three legs are joined at the thigh and bent at the knee; in order to have the toes pointing clockwise on both sides of the flag, a two-sided emblem is used.
Check out here for Flag Protocol which is very similar to the US Flag Code. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Sefton Hotel wins award

The Sefton Hotel has been awarded a silver accolade for providing top quality and service by Quality in Tourism. 

The prestigious accolade adds to their 4 star grading and shows that the hotel has gone above and beyond expectations with comfort and cleanliness in bedrooms and bathrooms but,  more importantly, it shows that the proprietor has excelled with its standard of service and hospitality throughout the guest’s stay.

Quality in Tourism is the body contracted by Isle of Man Tourism to award the independent grading and adheres to national standards known as the National Quality Assessment Scheme (NQAS) working in conjunction with VisitBritain.  The assessment mirrors the scheme operating in the UK and takes place in the form of an inspector secretly visiting a business for a routine evaluation.  Subsequently the business receives an independent rating and a report is provided containing feedback.

Geoff Corkish MBE MHK, Political Member for Isle of Man Tourism, said:
‘I congratulate and thank the management and staff of The Sefton Hotel for their efforts resulting in this tremendous achievement.   The silver accolade reflects the very high standards achieved in all categories during their assessment.  The Hotel will now be entitled to display the Award and their patrons will be assured of the very best standards.'
 The Assessors were particularly impressed by the warm greeting they received on arrival at the Hotel and friendliness of staff members, the high level of service received by the dinner waiters and the good quality of the food served both at breakfast and dinne

From Our Man In China

Hi Kelly

A Chinese friend of mine studying in Chicago came across a Celtic festival and she took this photo attached. She was told that there are about 20 Manx living in the city. I expect the Chicago Manx Society were rather surprised to meet a Chinese who'd been to the Island - in fact she even wrote an article about the Island for China Southern Airline's in-flight magazine about 6 years ago.


Richard A Hewitt
Honorary Representative of the Isle of Man Government in the People's Republic of China


Treasury Minister Anne Craine has welcomed the continuing fall in unemployment recorded in the latest Labour Market Report issued by Treasury’s Economic Affairs Division. The end of April count saw the number of people registered as unemployed and claiming benefit as 867, equivalent to 2% of the Island’s economically active population.

“The figures are particularly pleasing not just because it is a reflection of how solidly the economy is performing, but also because falling unemployment helps contain total welfare support costs, at a time when the public finances are under some strain”, said the Minister. “Undoubtedly seasonal factors are now coming into play, helping to reduce unemployment in sectors such as construction and hospitality”, the Minister recognised, “but it is significant that the numbers on the register are down not just on a month by month basis but also in comparison with a year ago, reflecting just how resilient the Island’s economy has been in the face of the global slowdown”.

Unemployment fell by 57 in April but perhaps more significantly by 58 over the last 12 months.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tree stump in Sulby valley causing quite a stir

TREE-MENDOUS: Tree surgeon Nick Barlow with the 12ft high carving of a wizard created from a tree stump in a field in Sulby valley. It took him two and a half days to complete the masterpiece, which has since been turning heads.

Tree surgeon Nick Barlow – more at home cutting down trees than preserving them – has performed his magic to turn the dead tree into a carving of a wizard.

The 12ft-high carving is only Nick's second attempt at turning a tree into a piece of artwork. His first attempt was a carving of a face, into a tree stump in the same field, owned by his friends Sue and Gary Quilliam.

Nick, of Old Milestone, St John's, explained: 'It's a friend's tree which has been stood dead for about five years. 'Sue loves trees, and when she saw the face I had done she asked me to carve a wizard. More at IOMToday

Botanists super-excited over lichen finds

AT LEAST ten new species of lichen have been found on the Isle of Man following a visit by members of the British Lichen Society. Island naturalists are excited by new information about wildlife diversity following The visitors explored a number of key habitats around the Island over four days and found at least ten species of lichens new to the Island list.
Lichens are an attractive, but perhaps not widely appreciated group. Each is actually a combination of two kinds of organisms: a fungus, and either a type of alga or a blue-green alga (blue-green algae are actually bacteria). This association is mutually beneficial; the fungus provides a protective structure for the alga component, which in turn contributes food through photosynthesis.
Able to grow on many kinds of surface, including rocks, stone walls, tree bark, fence posts and bare earth, lichens can survive in tough conditions such as sea spray-drenched cliffs and hot, dry heathland. There are even lichens that grow on living limpet shells on the seashore! Lichens were probably among the first colonisers of the land as the ice retreated at the end of the last ice age. They come in a variety of colours: black, greys, browns, greens and yellows, and form crusts, leaf-like extensions or shrubby growths, all on a miniature scale and very beautiful under magnification.

Much, much more here. This snippet is worth noting: One antibiotic produced by lichens, usnic acid, is active against MRSA.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Don Quayle gets Honorary PhD

Pictures of Don Quayle at his commencement ceremony on May 8, 2010 at Utah State University where he was awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters in recognition of his significant contributions to public broadcasting over the span of his career. Don was co-founder and the first president of NPR. Go Don! (Washington Manx Society and NAMA member.) Oh, and the other guy is Danny Glover who is not as famous in Manx circles as Don.

Hat Tip: Bryce Quayle's Facebook page from where I stole all this!
From Brad Prendergast, Chicago Manx and Past President of NAMA: This photo of the Chicago Manx was taken at the recent 14th Annual Celtic Fest sponsored by the City of Chicago. We had an nice turn out, met lots of people interested in the Isle of Man, and a couple that we hope to be able to turn into members. The photo is of my mom, Florence Abbinanti and one of our newest members, Margie Martinson. Both will be at the Convention in Denver. We had a good turn out for the Celtic Festival. My Mom, John Prendergast, Margie, John Wier, Margie's uncle Don, and Tim Prendergast all showed up to work out booth. The Celtic Fest was moved into Millennium Park, so it was pretty easily accessible, and we got to hear lots of good music and see lots of good dancing. We are looking forward to next year, as it is a pretty good source of potential members.

Monday, May 10, 2010

So where will we buy toasters now?

The Isle of Man's chief minister, Tony Brown MHK, is to close the doors on his electrical shop after three decades.

Mr Brown established Tony Brown Electrics in Castletown 29 years ago. The shop is due to close for a final time at the end of this month. He said he was "sad" and that it was a difficult decision to make. However, Mr Brown said it was the right time to sell-up because "the town has moved on and improved" over the past 29 years.


Manx Folk Dance Society on the Wirral Peninsula

I know we have many people interested in folk dancing -- this is for you!

Eighteen members of the local traditional group the ‘Manx Folk Dance Society’ will be flying the Manx flag on the Wirral this month at the invitation of the ‘Mockbeggar Morris Dancers’.

They will be dancing at various venues in the area, including the picturesque Birkenhead Park which is now designated a Conservation Area and a Grade 1 Listed Landscape by English Heritage. During this trip they will be stepping out in full costume at the isolated Thor’s Stone on the summit of Thurstaston, a natural rock feature made of red sandstone reputed to be 230 million years old. The ‘Manx Folk Dance Society’ was last at this venue approximately ten years ago, but with a 5.00am start they’re going to need an early morning wake up call!

Although usually thought of as a masculine activity the all ladies ‘Mockbeggar Morris Dancers’ was founded in 1991 after some of the wives of the ‘Mersey Morris Men’ expressed a desire to start their own group. Adopting the style of English traditional dancing known as North West Clog Morris they elected to name themselves ‘Mockbeggar’ largely because of its association with the Wirral Peninsula.

In contrast the ‘Manx Folk Dance Society’ has been part of the dancing scene for much longer. Formed in 1951 for the Festival of Mann celebrations, and easily recognisable in their colourful and eye catching costumes they have danced in places as diverse as local village halls, the Albert Hall, London, and the Celtic Festival in Barbados!

They have forged links with fellow dance groups all over the world, but are currently busy fundraising in readiness to celebrate the group’s 60th anniversary, which will include a spectacular International Folk Dance Festival in August 2011.

Valerie Caine © April 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

National Mills Weekend 2010

I know most of you can't make this but it's interesting that they are doing this.

National Mills Weekend is an annual celebration of our milling heritage when many of the owners of surviving mills invite the public through their doors to learn more about this once essential trade.

Organised by the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the weekend’s growing popularity demonstrates the importance of this sometimes forgotten industry.

Here on the Isle of Man Canon John Sheen and his wife Elizabeth will be opening Kentraugh Mill. Based in the south of the Island this largely restored watermill was bought by Mrs. Sheen’s father, R. M. Nuttall, in 1965 when he purchased the miller’s house. He thought the mill building was a garage and was somewhat taken aback when he realised what he now owned. During the next five years Mr. Nuttall lovingly renovated the three storey building to its former glory.

Tucked away in the countryside Kentraugh Mill has a long history with the earliest record dated 1506 showing that it was a working mill in the ownership of Robert Qualtrough. But it’s likely that it was a working mill for several centuries. It is believed that the mill was largely rebuilt in approximately 1832, or earlier, and the current machinery installed. Prior to about 1800 everything would have been constructed entirely from wood.

Kentraugh Mill remained within the Qualtrough family until 1904, when the two surviving sisters of William Qualtrough sold the building to another miller by the name of John Woods living in Ballabeg. His family, or tenants, continued to work the mill until 1943, at which point the miller shut the door and left everything untouched.

Local stories relate that when the miller was short of labour he would hang a red flannel petticoat from a bedroom window to alert drinkers at the Shore Hotel!

Members of the public will have the opportunity to join an extensive guided tour of the mill explaining the processes involved and viewing the system in action.

During tours of the mill visitors will also be shown the remains of the miller’s storeroom across the road, which became a temporary home for the Primitive Methodists until the building of the Ebenezer Chapel in 1881. Now known as the Chapel Garden, records dating from 20th September 1851 show that the ‘chapel’ had 16 members, with 83 children and 11 teachers attending the Sunday school anniversary. Previously services were held in one of the Kentraugh Mill cottages.

There are still people living in the area who remember being sent to the mill for oatmeal or barley meal, and others who recall being brought to the mill as children in order to be weighed on the miller’s scales.

There is no charge made for the tour, but there will be an opportunity to make a donation to the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, a mission society of which Canon Sheen is a council member and long time representative for the Isle of Man.

Home made refreshments will also be available at the miller’s house during the weekend.

Anyone wishing to arrange a group booking outside of the National Mills Weekend, or would like further information, or directions, is asked to telephone 832406.

Open Days:-

Saturday 8th May 10.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday 9th May 11.00am – 5.00pm

Valerie Caine © April 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Friday, May 7, 2010

More money for Brussels as Manx Gov moves closer to EU center

CHIEF Minister Tony Brown has welcomed support for plans to open a Manx government office in Brussels. He said a decision on how the office would be staffed would be made within six months.

Mr Brown said:
'We are not part of the European Union but decisions they make can have a big influence on us. 'We are aware of things that happen in Brussels that might affect us long term and having an office there will give us an opportunity to lobby on these issues.'

What's exercising the pundits is that this comes when the EU is having another spat about the crown dependencies' Zero 10 business tax rate and at a time when the IoM is having to cut costs and services. Also if you look at the comments under this article there's a suggestion that this is part of some advance planning for an ambassadorial role. Remember, the IoM is not a member of the EU and is not a part of the UK.

Manx space program

Check this video: Art Dulla and Leroy Chiao talk mostly about the benefits of running a space business on the Isle of Man. You'll see the Excalibur Almaraz capsule in King William's College. Cool!

Hat Tip: James Bennett

Thursday, May 6, 2010

From the California Chronicle

The Island that's a star in it's own right ...

Renowned for its beautiful countryside, sweeping coastlines and pretty seaside towns, the wealth of locations available to movie makers on the Isle of Man have made a great contribution to the very successful and thriving British film industry.

The island has doubled as a Cornish fishing village, Scotland, London, Ireland and even the Caribbean!

Indeed, the Isle of Man itself has been the star of many great films from comedies to action adventures, sci-fi thrillers to period dramas. Whilst touring the island, why not follow in the footsteps of the island's many A-list visitors?

Just two of the number of hit films which have had scenes filmed on the Isle of Man are Miss Potter, starring Renee Zelwegger and Ewan McGregor (see picture below) and Me and Orson Welles, with Claire Danes and High School Musical star Zac Efron.

Oscar-winning actress Renee Zellweger paid warm tribute to the Isle of Man after filming scenes for Miss Potter.

The actress said that she had runs on the beach while on the island. Zellweger, best known for her role as Bridget Jones, said: "It's been great looking across at the ocean and I've gone for daily runs on the beach whenever the weather allowed."

Ewan McGregor added: "I've had a great time here. I've visited the bike museum -- and I've actually bought an old bike to add to my collection. It was my first visit to the Isle of Man and I thoroughly enjoyed it'

The film's publicist, Susan d'Arcy said the cast and crew had made "extensive tours" of the island and were regular visitors to local restaurants and hotels. She added that the Isle of Man museum in Douglas was a favourite visitor attraction with the cast and crew.

More here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Manx traditional tunes pop up all over the world these days, as more of the wider population discover that we retain a thriving and vibrant culture of our own. One man who is now firmly connected to the Island, in more ways than one, has now brought together sixty two of his own original compositions into book form.

‘Tunesmith’ is an appropriate title for the new publication issued by Welsh traditional musician Jamie Smith. Compact and clearly expressed, Jamie’s repertoire includes a large number of tunes reflecting his links with the Isle of Man, both musically and personally. Most of these are easily spotted by the reference notes supplied by Jamie, or a quick glance at the song titles.

Part of the Welsh band ‘Mabon,’ he has visited the Island on numerous occasions to play at gigs and concerts, and although living in Wales has now married a Manx girl.

A talented accordion player, Jamie is also a prolific composer. His knack for writing tunes began almost a decade ago, and his love of Celtic music comes through very clearly. He is unafraid to experiment and happily moves from jigs and reels to Breton an dro and Galician muiñera. However, inspiration is also drawn from other examples of European tradition.

Aimed at both beginners and experts alike, the compositions reproduced in ‘Tunesmith’ vary in difficulty and cover a wide range of keys, tempos and rhythms.

For those people on the Island who are familiar with the Welsh band ‘Mabon’ they may also recognise many of the tunes. Two thirds of the compositions reproduced here have been recorded by the band over the course of their three albums. In view of this they have been grouped together in their respective sets as played by the band.

Jamie has been playing music with ‘Mabon’ for several years, but first started playing the accordion seriously in 1998. Teaching himself using a combination of CDs at home, gigging with the band and accompanying local Welsh folk dancers Penyfai, Jamie took the lead creatively with the band. As their unique sound developed he began to compose his own tunes and now writes most of ‘Mabon’s material. Jamie also plays guitar and mandolin and can also turn his hand to song writing and is noted as an occasional singer-songwriter.

Many of the tunes in this book include explanatory notes giving both a glimpse into the life of a musician and the topic of the tune. Jamie also provides helpful points for the musician in respect of harmony and ornamentation, with tempo and metronome markings. Mp3 recordings of Jamie playing tunes from his book are also available on request, for those who wish to hear how he plays a particular tune.

Married to Gráinne Joughin from Peel, a number of tunes were inspired by her, including ‘On St. Patrick’s Isle,’ a tune composed and played for her to walk down the aisle at their wedding. Gráinne has also designed the cover of her husband’s new book, and is now pursuing a career in the film industry.

‘Tunesmith’ packed with sixty two original compositions is available via the ‘Mabon’ website at £12.50.

Valerie Caine © May 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Coastguard confused by lanterns

Residents in the Isle of Man have been asked to inform the coastguard of plans to use Chinese lanterns, after several were mistaken for distress signals.

The paper lanterns float into the air by lighting a candle inside them and can travel a mile into the sky.

Coastguard teams have been called out to several false reports in recent months, the Manx government said. BBC

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mary Kelly of Wisconsin takes the Manx Marvels lead

Weird, wierd video

This was sent to me from Stuart Kelly, the Honorary Representative for the Isle of Man in Malaysia. Don't be fooled by the opening singing number -- that's just for while you marvel at how skinny these girls are -- the real stuff comes about a minute in. The finale has a Three Legs Dance routine I think Mary, Sally and I should tackle at the Convention!

Take it away the Ross Sisters in 1944