Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Denver Christians

After years of being the recipient of cool letters from people uncovering their Manx ancestry I have come to the conclusion that the Christian families certainly knew what to do on dark nights. The number of descendants for Illiam Dhone is staggering. You should have your own society. Today I received this email from Terry Thompson in Denver who I hope will visit us at our Convention in August.

After 10 years of very rewarding family tree research focused mainly on my Thompson and wife's Cronemiller surnames (New York founders 1620, Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War etc.), I just spent some time fleshing out the direct but non surname specific ancestors on my father's side.  Turns out your Manx Martyr, William Christian, is my twin boys 11th Great Grandfather (my 10th)  AND we live in Denver where your upcoming convention for 2010 will be held.  Looking forward to fleshing out that newly discovered heritage.  Thanks for your postings as they are very helpful.

Photo: The Thompson's of Denver and Fort Collins (twins age 21 at CSU) 11th generation descendants of Illiam Dhone living in Denver and Americans since the year 1620.

Limiting work permits for foreigners keeps Manx people employed

The government's move to tighten up on the issue of new work permits in low skilled sectors has helped to keep unemployment down, according to the latest economic report to the Council of Ministers.
The report - covering the first quarter of the year – notes that the Island's unemployment rate of 2.2% at the end of March (since reduced) compared favourably with the UK rate of 6% and the EU average of 7.5%.

It observes: 'The announcements by the Department of Trade and Industry (now the Department of Economic Development) in February and March 2009, concerning targeting work permit refusals towards new arrivals to the Island in five low skilled sectors where there is a clear availability of suitable Isle of Man workers, continues to limit local unemployment.'

In the 12 months to the end of March 2010, 8,577 work permits were issued, compared to 9,174 during 2009. The report points out that in the five sectors – retail, hospitality, wholesale distribution, construction and office administration – permits are being issued for shorter periods, inflating the total.

It adds: 'In reality the numbers of people who have work permits has fallen more than these numbers would suggest.'

The quarterly report states: 'The Department of Economic Development continues to monitor the number of jobseekers alongside the number of vacancies in all sectors, and will continue to react appropriately if the employment situation deteriorates.'


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Peter Kennaugh claims silver medal

Peter Kennaugh (left) and Geraint Thomas
Thomas takes road race title in sprint finish
Isle of Man cyclist Peter Kennaugh claimed the silver medal in the men's British Road Race Championships in Pendle on Sunday. The 21-year-old finished half a wheel down on team-mate Geraint Thomas after the Team Sky pair broke clear.
The race also marked the return of fellow Manxman Jonny Bellis after a life-threatening crash last September. Bellis did not complete the race but told BBC Isle of Man: "I'm just happy to be on the start line. I've got several races coming up and I will look to improve in each one," added the Team Saxo Bank rider.  

Mark Cavendish, who is one of the favourites for the Tour de France green jersey pulled out of the event at the half-way stage.  BBC

Monday, June 28, 2010

Hat trick for Jock

JOCK Waddington completed an historic Scottish Widows Parish Walk hat-trick on Saturday evening, when he claimed his third straight Parish Walk title. The 2008 and 2009 winner set a good pace despite the weekend's warm temperatures finishing in 15 hours 18 minutes and six seconds, the third quickest time in the 85-mile walk's history.

Story and video here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Get on yer bike!

Jonny Bellis back! On Sunday, the 21-year-old from the Isle of Man will line up for the British National Road Race Championships in Lancashire, returning to elite competition following a life-threatening crash last September. Bellis - a prodigious talent having won bronze in the Under-23 road race at the 2007 World Championships and a three-time European champion on the track - was coming to the end of his first year as a professional with Danish squad Team Saxo Bank when he crashed his scooter at his base in Quarratta, Italy. The Manxman remembers little of the incident which left him with a shattered skull and fighting for his life.
  He said: "I was just on my way home. I remember everything up until the actual crash.
"I even remember falling down, but after that, nothing. "Maybe it's a good thing, I don't know." 
Bellis has now returned to Tuscany - a place which feels as much like home as anywhere else.
Throughout his recovery, which was far speedier than anyone could have predicted, Bellis was spurred on by the thought of riding his bike out on the open road - something he is again doing now alongside fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish.

"To be riding again is just great - it's what I love and it's what I'm born to do," added Bellis, who applied the same dedication to his rehabilitation to that he employs on the bike. I left hospital on March 12, went on the indoor trainer for two weeks, spent two weeks riding on my own and then after that I started to go out with a group back home on the Isle of Man."
Bellis grew up cycling on the Isle of Man alongside close friends Cavendish - now road racing's quickest finisher - Team Sky's Peter Kennaugh and British Cycling academy rider Tim Kennaugh.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Casting sessions for Manx made movies

So this is really just an excuse to put up a picture of the super cute David Tennant, or Doctor Who as he was until the current series. Story from IOMToday.
An Isle of Man based casting agent is looking for real characters to play as extras in two up-coming films being shot in the Island. The Ex-Isle Film Agency is holding casting sessions tomorrow (Friday, June 25) at the Upper Hall of Promenade Methodist Church in Loch Promenade, Douglas, from 5.30pm until 8pm. They are recruiting film extras for the productions which will run from June through to September.

The first production is feature film The Decoy Bride, starring David Tennant. The story is set on a remote Scottish Isle.
Bev Lawley, owner of Ex-Isle, said: 'We are looking for real characters - fishermen and crofters. We also need a male in his 30s with brown hair, 6ft & extremely slim.

'We are also looking for musicians who can play the bodhran or fiddle, and an organist. Ideally they would be male and 40s- plus.'
A second production is a six -part TV crime drama series shot over of ten weeks starting in July.
In terms of casting requirements, Bev explained: 'We are looking for an African-Caribbean male, in his 30s to 50s, approximately five feet, 10 inches, to be a stand-in for the lead actor.
'We are also seeking an 18-month old boy of both Afro-Caribbean and Caucasian origin.
'We are asking any ladies who are due to give birth to babies of Afro Caribbean/Caucasian origin to contact Ex-Isle. Ideally the babies will be anything up to five months old, as they are required to play a newborn.'
Ex-Isle is also seeking a range of characters who are of Mediterranean, Asian, Eastern European & African or Caribbean origin.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Latest News from the Archibald Knox Society

The Archibald Knox Society has celebrated another very successful year with in excess of 37,000 visits to the society’s website within the past twelve months from all over the world. Chairman and founder of the Archibald Knox Society Liam O’Neill said, “This is bringing the legacy of Archibald Knox to an ever increasing number of people of all nationalities”.

A recent innovation has been to move their online purchasing to Connect2Charity with the security of global payments bringing confidence to interested purchasers.

The Archibald Knox Society annual newsletter (free to members) also keeps everyone up to date with important international trends in all aspects of Knox’s work, highlighting the various activities organised by the society. Also available is the second volume of the Archibald Knox Society Journal, an informative academic publication available at the Manx Museum and online from the Archibald Knox Society.

But the highlight for many has been the presentation of the Arts Awards, giving the opportunity for many of the society’s members to be more involved in society activities, including acting as judges at exhibitions in Manx secondary schools. Twelve Archibald Knox Art Certificates were presented together with £600 in prize money. The society also organised the Norman Sayle prize for art in conjunction with the Isle of Man Post Office at the Isle of Man College, awarding three certificates and prizes of £300.

Expressions of interest have also been invited from artists who may wish to be involved in an exciting project to commemorate Knox at the site of the former family home on Athol Street, Douglas. This exciting development is being progressed in conjunction with the Douglas Development Partnership who will be working closely with the Archibald Knox Society, the Isle of Man Arts Council, Dixcart Management (IOM) Limited and Douglas Borough Council. It is hoped that the winning design will give further recognition to the work of Knox and his association with the town of Douglas.

Meanwhile on the 23rd June noted auctioneers Woolley & Wallis will be selling a number of items made by Knox at their Salisbury salerooms. A diverse range of objects they form part of a collection belonging to the late Barbara Morris, author, collector and socialist who helped organise the seminal centenary Liberty exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1975, and wrote the first reference work on ‘Liberty Design’.

Valerie Caine © June 2010

Photo courtesy of Manx National Heritage

Over Half Of Isle of Man's Adult Population is Overweight or Obese

From 3FM:
Survey Reveals High Levels of Obesity on Island
A survey into the Isle of Man's Health and Lifestyle habits has produced some startling results. Carried out a year ago the survey was ordered by, what was then The Department of Health and Social Security.

It has shown that 50.4% of adults are obese or overweight, when compared with the North West of England the Island's figure is a fraction higher. Obesity can lead to a number of conditions, high blood pressure and heart problems being the most prevalent.

Dr Paul Emerson is a consultant of Public Health, he said the Survey has highlighted the severity of the problem, and they must now act to ensure that figures are brought down considerably to avoid major issues in the future.

There's an audio clip on the site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

New aerospace jobs for island

Last week I was fortunate to attend an International Space University event here in DC and met with some people from the space industry (one from the the Isle of Man) who were here studying as a part of the ISU MBA program. (One segment of this is conducted on the Island). Here is more good news from the burgeoning aerospace industry over there.
Isle of Man-based Target Tools has announced the launch of Target Aerospace, a business dedicated to providing tooling solutions and project management for the Aerospace industry. Responding to the growth in demand from the aircraft manufacturing sector, Target Aerospace aims to grow its existing customer base locally and throughout the UK.

Target Aerospace will continue to support projects for Boeing and Airbus aircraft such as Airbus A320 and flagship A380 as well as the latest Boeing 787, among other projects.

As part of the launch, the company will be expanding into new premises in the Isle of Man with the aid of financial support from the Isle of Man Government's Department of Economic Development.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bay festival under way on Isle of Man

The three-day Bay Festival has kicked off on the Isle of Man, with big names such as JLS and The Saturdays performing on the opening night. About 30,000 people are expected at the festival, which runs until Sunday in Noble's Park, Douglas. Fans turning up on Saturday will be able to see X Factor stars Eoghan Quigg, Olly Murs and Ruth Lorenzo. Bands from the island also on the bill include Maldune, A Little Bitta' Rosie and RedGap. The festival is being organised by Jamie Irving, whose father organised the Peel Bay Festival in 2007, which attracted 25,000 people. This year there will be four shows and 30 different artists over the three days. BBC

IOM Today: FOLLOWING months of hype, the Manx Telecom Bay Festival finally gets under way today (Friday).
The three-day festival will see a total of 30 acts – both contemporary and from the 80s –take to the specially constructed stage inside a massive tent at Noble's Park.

Former X Factor contestants JLS, who have since won Best Newcomer and Best Song at the 2009 MOBOs, will be headlining tonight with The Saturdays and Lemar. Tomorrow sees Spandau Ballet, Diversity, The Feeling, Calvin Harris and DJ Ironik.

The Island's Battle of the Bands winner RedGap will also play, supported by their fellow Island Headliner finalists – Little Bitta' Rosie, Maldune and The Heights.

In addition, the organisers are providing a festival taster for young people. Youngsters under the age of 14 can get into the festival for free before 2.30pm during the festival on Saturday if they are accompanied by an adult holding an all day Saturday ticket. The taster runs from 1pm to 5.30pm and includes the Manx Lifestyle Festival, featuring special acts and entertainment such as Vikings of Mann, jugglers, magicians, musicians and stilt walkers.

Aromatherapists, Indian head masseurs, Tarot readers and Manx Bach Flower Remedies will also be featured at the site, not to mention face painting for the kids. On Sunday afternoon from 1pm there is a whole host of acts from The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent lined up. Olly Murs, Eoghan Quigg, Ruth Lorenzo, Stavros Flatley, George Sampson and Signature will entertain the masses throughout the day.

And then the evening, from 6pm, sees the Here and Now best of the 80s show, with three and a half hours of non-stop hits. The line up includes Rick Astley, Boy George, Belinda Carlisle, Kim Wilde, Curiosity Killed the Cat, Cutting Crew and The Real Thing.
Peter Dickson, otherwise known as 'Voiceover Man' and the voice of E4, will compere the festival.

The venue also houses a two-storey inflatable cube with TV screens, couches and a staircase. There will also be four massive screens and licensed bars. There is also the chance to have your photo taken with the Barclays Premier League Trophy in return for a donation to The Children's Centre.

After the festival grew in size, the organisers were concerned that there was a shortage of dressing rooms for the acts. They appealed to owners of Winnebagos, luxury horse boxes and motor homes to get in touch. The first festival – the Peel Bay Festival – was launched to celebrate the centenary TT but was abandoned the following year after a row with the government over funding.

For more information go to

The Saturdays brighten up the Isle of Man in neon mini-dresses

Dressed in tiny, neon mini-dresses and sky-high heels, you could be forgiven for thinking it was just another day for The Saturdays.But the quintet had the task of opening the Isle of Man Bay Festival and just in case the British summer didn't show up for the occasion, the girl-band had clearly decided to ensure at least the stage was bright.
The Saturdays
Neon, tight and tiny: The Saturdays brought their usual brand of high gloss to the Isle of Man Bay Festival
Performing a range of their hits in the studded white and multi-coloured numbers, the band brought their usual gloss to the island's festival.

Mollie King (left) opted for the pink mini while Vanessa preferred blue for the festival that 'rocked' according to their Twitter page
The band - which comprises of Mollie King, Frankie Sandford, Una Healy, Rochelle Wiseman and Vanessa White - were all smiles as usual ahead of the release of their new single on June 26

Friday, June 18, 2010


Isle of Man Tourism is pleased to announce that the month of June heralds the commencement of this year's 'Cruise Call' season with three visits scheduled.

The schedule starts this Sunday 20th June when the Isle of Man will play host to the Plein Cap Crosiers vessel, ms Adriana 111.  The French company has attracted approximately 232 passengers and 110 crew on a ‘Croisière Celtique’ (Celtic) itinerary.

The cruise will commence in Brest, calling at Irish ports, the Isle of Man and a selection of Scottish ports prior to finishing the voyage in Bergen, Norway.   In her early life, the Adriana was built in Greece and belonged to a Greek company; however, she now belongs to the V Ships Group and cruises under the 'Plein Cap' banner.  Whilst in Douglas her passengers will be undertaking a number of shore excursions to both the south and north of the Isle of Man.

Four days after the visit of the Adriana, Douglas will receive a return visit from the ms Island Sky, formerly the Renaissance 8 of Renaissance Cruises.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

From the BBC: A 7.2m (23.6ft) hole has been uncovered in the harbour bed under the pier used by passenger ships on the Isle of Man. Work to repair the damage at Victoria Pier is already under way while an investigation is carried out.
However, harbour bosses believe the bed was worn away by jet wash or propellers from the Steam Packet Company craft, Manannan and Snaefell. Efforts are being made to maintain the company's schedule during the work, the Department of Infrastructure said.

An underwater team found the undermining at the south side of the pier during a recent survey.
The government said it had created a 7.2m (23.6ft) x 3.5m (11.4ft) hole in the sea bed, and significant scouring of the harbour bed close by.
"Although it is likely that propeller or jet wash from the Steam Packet's vessels has caused the damage, investigations are continuing in close cooperation with the company," said a spokesperson. A temporary repair is scheduled to be completed within the next week which will make the pier and berth safe until the Steam Packet's fastcraft schedule is completed in late November. Once the fastcraft has stopped, work will resume to effect a permanent repair and improve the berth and pier against future scouring and propeller wash damage. The repairs will involve placing rock in the scoured areas of harbour bed and pumping a special concrete mix into the void under the pier." 

Photo: (c)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Oops! Cav penalised following crash at Tour of Switzerland

 That looks sore.

The Isle of Man rider was handed a 30 second time penalty, docked 25 points and fined 200 Swiss francs following his involvement in the spectacular crash at the end of stage four of the Tour of Switzerland on Tuesday.  Cavendish and Heinrich Haussler were going head-to-head in a sprint finish with the Manxman half a wheel ahead 30 yards from the finishing line when their wheels clipped before both crashed ahead of the chasing peloton which was sent sprawling in their wake.

Both riders appeared to drift at various stages of the sprint but Cavendish, riding on the limit and "rocking" from side to side, appeared to sway to his left momentarily before the impact. Cav Cavendish might reflect that he has escaped very lightly in terms of injury. As he crashed to ground and was run-over by Tom Boonen, the former world champion, it seemed likely his Tour de France challenge next month was over and possibly the season as well but in the end a nasty outbreak of 'road rash' - the torn and ripped skin caused by a crash - appears to be the only damage. The mental scars may take a while to heal though. "He has skin rash everywhere," said team doctor Helge Ripenhof. "In the right shoulder, the right hip, the right knee, and he's very shaken but no broken bones as far we can see."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kiaull yn Theay 3 - Readily available Manx music

I know from being at the Potomac Celtic Festival at the weekend that there's a HUGE demand for Manx music in an accessible format. I was set upon by a harpist  pleading for music! This will be a great addition.

‘Kiaull yn Theay 3’ is an extension of a series of music books initiated by the late Colin Jerry in his quest to make Manx music more readily available to a wider audience. Books 1 and 2 remain very popular with local musicians, and although published many years ago can still be bought from local retailers and websites.

Published by the Manx Heritage Foundation, book 3 aims to continue Colin’s model in light of the growing interest in Manx music. Designed to slip easily into a fiddle case, or indeed any other instrument carrier, this compact volume sporting an easily recognisable purple jacket, comprises both newly composed material and revised traditional pieces. But such is the wealth of new tunes within the Island’s traditional music scene that a fourth volume is already under way.

Launched at a special evening of new music in dedication to the late Colin Jerry, Breesha Maddrell (We love Breesha! Ed.) of the Manx Heritage Foundation said, “The book is testament to the creativity and skill of the Manx music community today. Dedicating the book to Colin’s memory was an important way of paying tribute to someone who had encouraged so many musicians and singers both directly and indirectly”.

Helpful Manx Gaelic pronunciation guides and audio files to assist newcomers are available online at the Manx Heritage Foundation’s website.

‘Kiaull yn Theay 3’ is available at various Island outlets priced at just £5.

Valerie Caine © May 2010

Brownies camp out at Rushen Abbey. Spooky!

If you know me you know I'm a Girl Scout through and through. I'm now a Girl Scout Leader -- and it all began when I was a Brownie and Girl Guide back in the Isle of Man.  I love this story -- well done Manx National Heritage!  (Great movie choice, too) But ladies, ladies -- we must teach you about S'mores! No camp trip is complete without them. 
BRAVE Brownies spent a night camping at Rushen Abbey after hearing stories about its spooky past. A hundred Brownies from across the Island tried a range of activities reflecting the history of the site, arranged by Manx National Heritage.

The special trip was organised as part of Girlguiding Isle of Man's celebrations for the guiding centenary. The girls, aged seven to 10, learnt about medieval herbs and potions and made their own medieval medicines. They waltzed on the lawn and played games such as croquet and quoits. There was also time to learn about Rushen Abbey's 'strawberries and cream' history, and investigate recent archaeological discoveries there.

To leave their mark, the girls made their own special girlguiding centenary ceramic tile for a tile collage being put together at the abbey.

Later on in the evening, they jumped into their sleeping bags to watch the film Night at the Museum 2 and hear some ghostly tales about their surroundings.

Katy Graham, of Union Mills and the St George's Brownie leader, said: 'The girls loved the film, huddled in their sleeping bags with popcorn, as well as the tile painting. Chocolate spread was also a big hit at breakfast.'

Event organiser Julie Farrar said: 'There is no doubt that events such as this is what makes girlguiding unique. It's what we have done for 100 years and what we will continue to build upon.'

She thanked Manx National Heritage for its support in arranging the trip.

Katie King, community outreach and learning support officer for Manx National Heritage, said: 'We were intrigued and delighted when the Brownies asked whether they could take over one of our sites as part of their centenary celebrations.

'We thought it was an excellent idea to have Brownies sleeping over in spooky Rushen Abbey and we were very impressed by their bravery, even though we tried our best to scare them with our ghost walk.'

The guiding movement began in 1909 when a small group of young women gate-crashed the Boy Scout rally at Crystal Palace Park in London and lobbied Robert Baden-Powell for 'something for the girls'.

Monday, June 14, 2010

98 degrees at Potomac Celtic Festival

Well done to Jim Kneale for manning the Greater Washington Area Manx Society's tent all weekend at the Potomac Celtic Festival in Lessburg, Va. this weekend. Here he's joined by me and Illiam Cassidy and photographed by Bill McCarthy who was suffering from the heat and didn't get our spiffy GWAMS banner in the shot! We gave out a lot of advice and trip planners (thank you Alex Downie) and Illiam chatted away in the Gaelg at people who were interested in the language. All in all a great set of ambassadors for the Island. Gura mie eu, whoinneys! (correct me if I'm wrong)

Hutch makes it FIVE!

Ian Hutchinson became the first rider to win five races at an Isle of Man TT meeting when he won Friday's Senior TT.
The race was rerun over four laps after the initial race was halted because of an accident involving Guy Martin. Martin is in hospital after suffering bruising to both lungs and minor fractures to his upper spine in the crash at the Ballagarey section.
Hutchinson won the race by 37 seconds from second-placed man Ryan Farquhar, with Bruce Anstey third. The first race was stopped following Martin's crash to allow a fire at the scene to be dealt with.
McGuinness had been leading when it was stopped midway through lap three.
The Morecambe rider had enjoyed a slender advantage over Martin, Hutchinson and Cummins who had been dicing for the lead throughout the first two laps. Michael Dunlop was lying fifth in the initial race but retired on lap one of the re-run event while holding a top six leaderboard position.
Ian Hutchinson at St Ninian's crossroads during the Senior TT 
Ian Hutchinson at St Ninian's crossroads during the Senior TT race
Australian Cameron Donald was another first-lap retirement.
Hutchinson led HM Plant Honda rider John McGuinness by 0.5 seconds after the first lap of the re-run, with Manxman Conor Cummins a further three seconds behind in third.
McGuinness retired at Glen Helen on lap two and then Cummins crashed at the Verandah, suffering leg and arm injuries.
Yorkshireman Hutchinson enjoyed a 28-second advantage over Keith Amor at the end of the second circuit, having set the fastest lap of the race at 131.48mph. Hutchinson led by 21 seconds after lap three and Keith Amor retired on lap four to move Farquhar into second place. Ian Lougher was fourth, Michael Rutter fifth and Dan Stewart sixth.

After the race an emotional Hutchinson described his five-timer as "unbelievable".
"I've been suffering with a bad cold over the last few days but managed to overcome that, and to become the first rider ever to win five races in a week just leaves me speechless.
"The Padgett's team have built me brilliant bikes and the fans were waving all round the circuit like I've never seen before."
Hutchinson now has eight TT victories to his name.

Here's to the BBC justifying its license fee!

Blast from the past

Back in the 1980s, Port Erin was home to World Champion F1 driver, Nigel Mansell. We remember him fondly as a Special Constable -- a sort of sheriff's deputy -- and would laugh at the irony when he used the portable speed radar gizmo to pull over speeding drivers and book them. Well, he's still going strong, he is scheduled to do the 24 hour Le Mans race this year and now -- cycling.

"Former Formula 1 world champion and Indy Car championship-winner Nigel Mansell has confirmed his intention to ride this year's London-Paris.

Mansell will ride with Team UK Youth to help raise money for Britain's young people. The motor racing legend will be joined on the roads to Paris by his sons Leo and Greg, with whom Mansell is contesting the Le Mans Series this year.

"It's our centenary this year so we wanted to do something challenging and inspiring and that's where cycling came in," said Mansell about the charity of which he is the president. "In July, we're cycling 1200 miles across Britain and the L2P is the ideal preparation for our team. I've heard about The L2P's legendary atmosphere and we thought we'd get some real inspiration from some of the great cyclists taking part.   I'm really looking forward to getting on The L2P starting grid and I know that arriving in Paris with the peloton will be an amazing experience."

See this week's Cycling Weekly for a ride feature with Nigel Mansell."

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I know the TT is on but this clock is sooooo cool

NEW time-keeping work of art created by a celebrated Isle of Man-based inventor and artist will be launched at the Masterpiece London fair this month. Dr John Taylor of Port Soderick will unveil The Midsummer Chronophage on Midsummer's Day, June 24, in the English capital.

The chronophage, which means 'time-eater' in Greek, will probably be unrecognisable as a time-keeping device, as it is the first ever clock without hands or numbers.

Up until now all clocks have presented each minute as if it were exactly the same as the next, but Dr Taylor believes that collective human experience of time contradicts this.

Dr Taylor will ask visitors to reflect on the longest day of the year as they view his giant time-based work of art which offers a different way of showing time.

'As we all know, some minutes, hours and days seem longer and shorter than others,' he said.

'The perceived duration of each minute varies from person to person and depends on circumstances. As you get older, you become more aware that time isn't on your side and every minute that passes is gone forever. The Chronophage shows this quite graphically as it relentlessly devours each and every minute.'

The Midsummer Chronophage shows time in a way that reflects this experience. Some minutes race by, others drag, some disappear and others appear to stand still.

Every five minutes the clock corrects itself and accurate time is shown through light slits.

Moving over the 1.5 metre clockface is a large kinetic sculpture of a mythical beast. This beast, which is an integral part of the mechanics of the clock, appears to devour time.

The hour is tolled by the sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin hidden in the back of the clock to remind people their time on earth is limited.

The clock is 3.3 metres high and is made of gold-plate, stainless steel and electro-mechanical components.

The piece, which took more than two years and over 100 artists, engineers, scientists, jewellers and calligraphers to make, really represents a fusion of art and technology.

Dr Taylor is an award-winning inventor who has a life-long fascination with the world of time-keeping. He holds hundreds of patents and has received four Queen's Awards for Export and Innovation.

He was chairman of Manx company Strix, which pioneered thermostatic controls for kettles, now used all around the world.

The Midsummer Chronophage is the second in a series of chronophage creations by Dr Taylor. The first, The Corpus Clock, is installed at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. It was inaugurated by top scientist Stephen Hawking.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Brian Stowell gets big award

THE highest accolade Tynwald can bestow upon a member of the public is set to be awarded to Dr Brian Stowell. He will receive the Tynwald Honour on Tynwald Day, July 5, subject to Tynwald members endorsing the recommendation by the Tynwald Honours Committee at next week's sitting.

Dr Stowell, 73, of Hilary Road, Douglas, will be the fourth recipient of the honour. The first was presented to Norman Sayle in 2007, followed by Isle of Man Newspapers farming correspondent Harvey Briggs and entertainer Ian Qualtrough.

The honour – not made annually but when a worthy recipient is apparent – is presented to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to Manx life, most often outside of their normal employment and not just in the field of politics or government.

They must have shown selfless commitment over a significant period of time to promoting the quality of life in the Island and/or well-being of its population.

The committee's report states that their decision was 'based upon his significant contribution to Manx life and language over many years'.

It says: 'Subsequent to his gaining a doctorate in applied physics and lecturing at the John Moores University in Liverpool, he became the first Manx language officer in the Department of Education.

'He is considered one of the primary movers behind the revival of the Manx language, having written several Manx courses and published many articles in and about Manx and Celtic matters in general, including publishing a translation of Alice in Wonderland.

'In 2006 he published the first full-length novel in Manx (Dunveryssyn yn Tooder-Folley – The Vampire Murders).  'His contribution to the teaching of Manx is unrivalled and he continues to be active in the revival of the Manx language.


Kiarkyl ny Gaelgey uses his course "Bun-choorse Gaelgagh"  in its classes in Alexandria, Virginia. They're great!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cruinnaght Aeg

The popular children’s competitions known as ‘Cruinnaght Aeg’ will take place at the end of June and the beginning of July and will incorporate an extensive range of classes. Organised by Fiona McArdle for the Department of Education and Children and Manx National Heritage competitions for the south of the Island will be held at Rushen Primary School and those in the north at Auldyn Infants’ School.

There’s a huge number of classes organised providing a wide variety of choice for the Island’s talented youngsters. Falling into the categories of song, instrumental, dance, dialect recitation and English recitation there is a strong emphasis on Manx identity in each class using Manx Gaelic, traditional dance and song, or items with a Manx theme, or author.

This year’s syllabus will also include competitions for groups of secondary school pupils, concentrating on choirs, group singing, instrumental and dance. This additional initiative has been spurred by two recent ‘Bree’ training workshops, organised with the specific aim of introducing pupils in years 7 – 13 to ‘Cruinnaght Aeg’. Working under the guidance of expert traditional musicians groups were asked to work on arrangements of Manx music and dance before competing in the new look ‘Cruinnaght Aeg Competitive Concert’, held at Douglas Youth Centre. Bands competed for cash prizes and trophies and for the opportunity to perform at the local inter-Celtic festival ‘Yn Chruinnaght’ in July.

© May 2010 Valerie Caine

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Message to North American under-18s!

Hi guys, it's time to put together your application for the NAMA Youth Award. It is awarded every two years (this year!!!) by the Isle of Man Department of Education to a student or group of students in the US or Canada, 18 or younger, who makes a contribution to maintaining an awareness of the Isle of Man and its culture here in North America. (NAMA gives an award in the IOM for Manx kids.)

The prize is a check for US$200 and free lifetime membership from NAMA, and a crystal award from the Isle of Man Government.

The winner must demonstrate an interest in Manx culture or history by sharing their knowledge through essay, art, multimedia, performance art, etc.

Nominations will be accepted via the internet or by snail mail. Each nomination must be in the form of a short description of the nominee's work that explains how this relates to the Isle of Man. Photos or video of the original work should accompany the nomination (soft or hard copies) . Nominees must provide contact details for themselves and one reference that may be used by the judges to discuss the work and its authenticity. All initial contacts should go to who will pass them to the Youth Award team.

Get to it!

TT delayed -- it's raining again

Typical - the weather is great beforehand and then it rains for the races. Boo hoo! And today is the TT Zero Electric bike race where some Americans stand a real chance of victory. Being from Portland they're probably used to the rain though.

PORTLAND-based team Moto Czysz and their rider Mark Miller confirmed their position as race favourites for the 2010 TT Zero Electric bike race at the Isle of Man TT races after lapping at an average speed of 94.664mph. The team recorded the fastest ever lap – albeit an unofficial lap record as it is not recorded during a race - for an electric bike around the famous mountain course, beating the 2009 race record of their closest challengers Team Agni who recorded 87.434mph average lap speed while winning the 2009 race.

Moto Czysz led from the start of the session and were already over 17 seconds ahead of their nearest challengers ManTTx (James McBridge) at Glen Helen with defending champion Rob Barber and Team Agni third fastest. Martin Loicht's HTBLAUVA - XX Project, Kingston University (George Spence) and Mark Buckley and Team Ecolve were also timed at more than 60mph

Team Agni passed the Manx team before Ballaugh but were unable to match the speeds of the MotoCzysz team who were clocked at 102.566mph to Ramsey, having been recorded at a speed of 131.1 through the Sulby Speed Trap. Barber's Team Agni also clocked over 100mph at Sulby.

The Americans continued their impressive charge and were still just below the 100mph (99.974mph) at the Bungalow and eventually finished over three minutes ahead of their nearest challengers.

Team boss Michael Czysz believes that the team could still claim the £10,000 prize that the Isle of Man Government will award if a team can break the prestigious 100mph average lap speed around the course but acknowledges that it is an uphill task.

IOM Today and Dave Kneen (photo) Bushy's Beer tent.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Mad Sunday deaths down

THERE was a 'significant reduction' in the number of road accidents on Mad Sunday this year, police records show. Police dealt with eight crashes on Sunday, nicknamed Mad Sunday because it is traditionally the time when large numbers of TT fans attempt to race around the Mountain Course on open roads.

Two incidents resulted in broken bones, but the rest involved only damage to vehicles. The tally represented a drop of more than two thirds compared with Mad Sunday last year, when there were 26 crashes.


Friday, June 4, 2010

It's TT week -- this should be self-explanatory!

Gura mie ayd Jack! If you can't read it, double click or whatever Microsoft people do to make it come up in a bigger box. Jack thinks it would be an ace T-shirt.

Bushy's Beer Tent at the TT

Hi - did you know that their webcam is now up and running and even better than before with live-streaming so you can watch the bands

The new Morris team And Sometimes Y dancing Mylecherrane's March from the Isle of Man at the Montage May Day celebrations, May 2, 2010, Massachusetts

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Great news for the TT - The funfair is back

THE funfair – a regular feature on the Douglas promenades during the Isle of Man TT – is set to open today (Thursday). The government was forced to bring back the seafront entertainment after complaints about the lack of atmosphere when it was not featured last year. (Photo from 2008)

Douglas Council leisure services chairman Stephen Pitts said: 'I welcome it with open arms.
'It's great to see it back this year. It brings a great atmosphere to the prom and it's good for both visitors and residents. The funfair has been a vital part of TT entertainment for many years and it was a mistake not to have it last year.'
There are two funfair zones, one providing the high-tech adrenaline rides and one with more traditional fairground rides for families. There are also catering zones and merchandising zones.'

The funfair will be open until Saturday, June 12.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Marina plans for Port St. Mary to cost £40 million

LOOKING AT THE PLANS: Bart Harris of Birse Coastal Contractors, Ian George Hyder Consultants and Mike Brew, the director of harbours 
THE debate about whether Port St Mary gets a marina continues as the Department of Infrastructure's latest plan was open for public display in St Mary's church hall last Thursday and Friday.
The Department of Infrastructure plans to develop its harbour improvement scheme in three phases.

The first involves essential harbour maintenance and strengthening of the Alfred pier breakwater with rock armour on the seaward side at a cost of between £6m and £8m. The second phase involves building an 80m extension – an increase of 50 per cent – to the breakwater that would cost between £7m and £9m.

The third and most controversial stage involves creating the marina itself and includes building an additional pier from the inner harbour towards the (now extended) Alfred pier, creating 450 berths, 460 car parking spaces, boat parks and areas for buildings to be developed. The estimated cost at of that phase would be from £23m to £25m.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Manx get everywhere

This pic is illustrating an article today on's website about a senior citizen who did not get a record time as he took a 10 miles shortcut in the London marathon........ and lo and behold there's a Manx flag in the middle of it!

Hat Tip: Marion

Space Course

Business consultant Robert Frize of Carrick, solicitor Jason Kelly of Stuart Smalley, solicitor Stephen Mann of Gough and advocate Marina Warwick of Simcocks have completed the Executive Space Course held at the International Space University in Strasbourg.

The course is conducted by an international group of space experts and visiting lecturers from industry, space, academic and research organisations. The Isle of Man delegation took part in seminars that included, in particular, space economics and future trends in space markets, the principals of space telecommunications and the legal framework for space activities.  The course participants receive a recognised qualification which enables them to join the Isle of Man Space Industry Group and develop their services to the space business community.

Robert Frize said: "The ISU's course was an intense and exciting learning experience. It's given me the foundation to expand my insurance consulting business into this sector, building on the fantastic work and foresight of the Isle of Man Government in developing the island's space industry.  The ISU is the number one choice for space industry professionals and I plan to further my study there in 2011, having been accepted onto their MBA Programme."

Tim Craine, Director of the Isle of Man Government’s Space Commerce said: “The International Space University is a very highly regarded institution in the international space and satellite industry, the alumni from which have a global reach. Those who attend the ISU tend to be in early to mid-career development, rather than being students and since 2006 some 19 people from the Isle of Man have been on the course and have been able to network with those at the forefront of current developments.”

Alex Downie, Member of the Department of Economic Development with responsibility for the space industry said: “I am delighted that so many in the private sector are seeing the opportunities developing in the space sector on the Island and are investing both the time and the money to acquire the necessary skills for their staff.”
Pictured are:
Back row – Robert Frize, Tim Craine – Director of Space Commerce, Department of Economic Development & Stephen Mann – Gough Advocates

Front row – Jason Kelly – Stuart Smalley, Marina Warwick – Simcocks, Alex Downie MLC, Member of the Department of Economic Development with responsibility for Space Commerce