Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sam Barks -- Living large

HAVING her name up in lights in London's West End doesn't seem to faze Laxey teenager Samantha Barks. And yet the 19-year-old has landed one of the most coveted roles in Theatreland.

Sam, who shot to fame as a finalist in the BBC's I'd Do Anything, is currently playing Eponine in Les Miserables, at the Queen's Theatre in London's West End. She has a year long contract.

Sam said she 'auditioned and auditioned' for roles after finishing her stint as Sally Bowles in the touring production of Cabaret last year. She also did panto over Christmas and New Year.

Then she landed the Disney series Groove High and after that, through her agent, she heard about the Les Miserables audition and the rest is history.

She made her first appearance as the tragic Eponine on June 21.
'It's all going so well,' said Sam. 'It's such a joy to be part of a classic musical like Les Mis.'

The cast are gearing up for the Les Mis 25th anniversary celebrations at the O2 Arena on October 3. Sam was one of those chosen to sing in the concert and she'll be joined by Ramin Karimloo (currently playing the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd-Webber's Love Never Dies), Nick Jonas, Lea Salonga, Camilla Kerslake and Matt Lucas.

Sam was hand-picked by Les Mis producer and theatre impresario Cameron Mackintosh to play Eponine in the O2 concert. Mackintosh first encountered Sam during I'd Do Anything – Oliver! is one of his productions – and the singer obviously caught his eye.

If the UK tabloids are to be believed, he's not the only one whose eye has been caught. Sam has been seen out and about with Les Mis co-star Nick Jonas. She has stayed mum about the situtation so far but speculation is rife about their relationship and the resulting tension between Sam and another cast member Lucie Jones, a contestant in the last X Factor series, who has also been linked with the clean living Disney star.  More

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Ulster Scots & Celtic Cultural Centre

I had a call from Darren Mullen in Ulster. He is trying to get people to fill out a survey on a cultural center in Ulster. To be honest, it's a not a user-friendly survey for a non-Ulster person as it asks questions about locations you've probably never heard of, have no idea where they are, and he doesn't give a map. Also, I tried and tried to complete it but there's a dumb matrix question about how much you'd be prepared to pay for various tour combinations that refuses to accept my clicks. Darren feels it would be beneficial for overseas Celts to complete this survey and I'm happy to offer you the opportunity. The site is https which means it is secure. I hope it works for you.

He says: It is my intention to set up a not-for-profit, social enterprise dedicated to the development of a sustainable tourism project that strengthens the relevence of traditional culture by promoting both the Ulster Scots tradition and Celtic Culture within a living museum based in Northern Ireland. The Centre is to be staffed by tertiary level students attending the local University of Ulster campus and others from within the local area who have a disability allowing them to contribute towards the cost of their education and gaining invaluable experience in the workplace.

The Celtic nations of Northern Ireland, The Rep of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall (England), Brittany (France) and The Isle of Man shall be presented as villages showcasing the language, art, music, dance and history associated with Celtic Culture. A Celtic buffet/feast in the presence of a Celtic King and Queen and spectacular evening show shall also be available as options. I would like to thank you in advance for taking the time to complete and return this questionnaire.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cavendish liked for Sunday's stage of Tour de France

If Mark Cavendish wins Sunday's final stage of the Tour de France, don't be surprised if he bursts into tears. Tough, brash and outspoken, the 25-year-old British sprinter, who as of mid-July has notched an incredible 57 victories in his four-year pro career (most pro cyclists are thrilled to win one or two races a year), is known to shed a few tears.
"Things mean a lot to me," said Cavendish, who rides for the U.S.-based HTC-Columbia team, known for its anti-drugs stance. "I'm passionate about everything I do — racing, relationships or anything else in my life," he said via phone while getting a massage after a brutal mountain stage through the Alps on July 12. "With that passion comes tears. They're the most open of emotions, and you really can't fake them."
All from the Chicago Tribune.

If Cavendish wins Sunday's stage, which he won last year, it'll be a major victory for him and his team. In 2008, he had 20 victories, including four stages of the Tour. Last year, he had 23 wins, including six at the Tour.

This year was tumultuous for Cavendish, and he came into the July race with just three wins under his belt. Complications from pre-season dental surgery left him unable to train for three weeks. He broke up with his fiancee, and a close friend was seriously hurt in an accident. He publicly criticized a teammate, and the press hounded him about not winning.
The move that turned off fans, however, came at the end of April, when Cavendish made an obscene gesture aimed at his critics as he crossed the finish line first at the Tour de Romandie.
Cycling fans questioned if the boy wonder would crack in the Tour de France. But July 8, he won the 116.5-mile stage 5, dissolving into tears on the podium. He won the next day, and again July 15.
"He hasn't had an ideal year in the lead-up to the Tour, and he obviously had a huge amount of pressure on him from the media, the team and probably himself," blogged teammate Michael Rogers. "All that pressure came out after the win."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SDA Launches Space Data Center on the Isle of Man

[Satellite TODAY 07-28-10]  The Space Data Association (SDA) has launched initial operations of its Space Data Center, an automated space situational awareness system located on the Isle of Man, the SDA announced July 27.
Initial operating capabilities include conjunction assessment for 126 satellites in geostationary orbit owned by the founding members of the SDA — Inmarsat, Intelsat and SES. The center is scheduled to launch full operations by early 2011, after which the center will be able to support radio frequency interference mitigation and include commercial and government operators with satellites in all Earth orbits as members.
Built on AGI commercial software, the Space Data Center aims to provide members of the SDA with Web-based access to operational capabilities through a service-oriented architecture. The system automatically ingests and processes operator-supplied orbital data and generates automated warning alerts when necessary. It also will support avoidance maneuver planning and facilitate greater data sharing.
 “We are working to quickly expand the SDA’s satellite operator membership and obtain greater access to high-accuracy data. We will also proactively contact operators to solicit interest,” Stewart Sanders, chairman and director of the SDA, said in a statement.

Twenty Risso's dolphins spotted in Manx waters

A pod of 20 Risso's dolphins have been spotted off the coast of the Isle of Man in recent weeks. The rare dolphins were sighted off the southern coast of the island by members of the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch. Conservationists have been recording the number of sightings to better understand their habits and behaviour.
Tom Felce from the MWADW told BBC Isle of Man: "Dolphins have been spotted four years running indicating the importance of Manx waters to them."
The number of sightings however is a third down on 2009, with just 20 compared to 60 in previous years. Any sightings of Risso's dolphins or good photographs should be reported to the Manx Whale and Dolphin Watch . The group aims to provide a detailed picture of dolphin, whale and porpoise numbers in Manx waters.

From the BBC

Monday, July 26, 2010

Yey!!!! I love lighthouses

A NEW book will be a beacon of hope for anyone interested in the Island's lighthouses.
Chicken's Rock - What lighthouses should look like!
Lighthouses of the Isle of Man and North West England is a comprehensive guide featuring many previously unpublished photographs.

It also gives the histories of all the lighthouses, both major and minor, details of their locations, visitor access and current use.

The book, by Tony Denton and Nicholas Leach, explains that the first light shown from a lookout tower in Great Britain and the Isle of Man was at Derbyhaven in 1650.

The first major lighthouses in the Island were opened at the Point of Ayre and the Calf of Man in 1819.
Langness was the last lighthouse in the Island to be automated in 1996.And it includes details about the storm that washed away the lighthouse on the Alfred Pier at Port St Mary last year. As reported by us:
The Island lighthouses featured are: Point of Ayre, Ramsey, Maughold Head, Laxey Pier, Douglas Harbour, Douglas Head, Derbyhaven, Herring Tower, Langness, Castletown, Port St Mary, Calf of Man, Thousla Rock, Chicken Rock, Port Erin and Peel.

>> Vote on this issue at

Seven of them are under the control of the Northern Lighthouse Board.
As well as the Island's lighthouses, the book looks at those in Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.

The book, which costs £9.99, was published this month. It can be ordered from Island bookshops by quoting ISBN 978-0-9564560-0-7.

Aerospace sector showcased at Farnborough

CLARE CHRISTIAN: Success of aerospace cluster 
epitomises excellent relationship between aerospace industry and the 
GovernmentCLARE CHRISTIAN: The success of the aerospace cluster epitomises excellent relationship between aerospace industry and the Government (extracted from IOMToday)
IN a drive to demonstrate its ambitions for growth, the Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster (IOMAC) has been showcasing its design and manufactured solutions at the Farnborough International Air Show.
The show finished on Sunday and the Island display was part of the North West Aerospace Alliance's presence at the event.

Established in 2006, the IOMAC provides a framework for facilitating collaboration between the Island's high-tech and aerospace companies, offering comprehensive and cost-effective solutions for aerospace manufacture. Alongside the Department of Economic Development the companies representing the Cluster at the show were Bladon Jets, Tritec Tools and Target Aerospace.

The Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster (IOMAC) was formed in 2006 by the Isle of Man Government and Isle of Man Chamber of Commerce to provide a formal support structure for the Island's aerospace sector, to move forward in the pursuit of worldwide recognition and world class standards. As a member of the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) in the UK, the IOMAC is directly linked to one of Europe's largest, most proactive Aerospace Clusters.

Members of the Cluster have been involved in the manufacture of the largest passenger airliner in the world, the Airbus A380, and Boeing's forthcoming new airliner, the 787. The Cluster is also working on the Joint Strike Fighter, Eurofighter Typhoon, Airbus A400M military transporter and Astute Submarine programmes.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Aurora to Ariel – The Motorcycling Life of J. Graham Oates

Manx motorcyclist and designer Graham Oates remained in historical obscurity until local author Bill Snelling discovered his remarkable story and put it into print in 1993. The first edition sold out quickly, but the book has now been reissued with the inclusion of additional information and many photographs of his life in motorcycling.

Born in 1897 in Douglas Oates was the son of a baker. Independent, resilient and a complex man he could never refuse a challenge.

‘Aurora to Ariel’ is a book about a man and his motorbikes, but also includes interesting details about his army career in both World Wars and his work rebuilding the German road transport system.

A talented engineer Oates soon began to design and build his own machines including the ‘Aurora’, two of which were entered for the 1920 TT. Despite the ‘Aurora’s’ rapid demise he had an uncanny knack of landing on his feet, and from a boozy night in Canada flowed an idea which made history.

Challenged to complete an historic journey from the East Atlantic to the West Pacific with a motorcycle and sidecar Oates rode triumphantly into the record books. ‘Aurora to Ariel’ recounts how he overcame misfortunes along the way and occasionally spent an uncomfortable night sleeping in his adapted sidecar. Back in the 1930s Canadian roads were of variable quality and sometimes Oates was forced to ride on the rail track through treacherous landscape.

He carried an insatiable hunger for new experiences, particularly during the 1930s which this book fondly recreates, including a second successful Trans Canadian journey in 1932 using a Red Hunter outfit touchingly referred to as ‘Miss Manxland’. Sending weekly reports back to the Isle of Man Weekly Times, and in contact with many Manx emigrants, his faithful companions were a rifle and his fishing gear!

Graham Oates was no ordinary man, indeed some might call him eccentric, but it would be difficult not to have some admiration for his long time girlfriend and future wife who eventually travelled out to Toronto to marry him.

‘Aurora to Ariel’ is a worthy tribute to a quiet Manxman who deserves to be remembered for his remarkable exploits.

The book is available Island wide priced at £14.99 or direct from

Valerie Caine © July 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Presenters (left to right) Philippe Cousteau, Lucy Blue, Tooni Mahto,
Paul Rose make up the Oceans dive team.
A TV series which sets out to 'reveal the hidden stories of the deep' has been filming around the Manx coast. A seven man film crew from BBC Oceans worked with Jackie and Graham Hall from the Manx Basking Shark Watch. The eager shark spotters were treated to a close encounter with two small sharks off the coast of Glen Maye.
Graham Hall said: "They were extremely well informed about the sharks and we got the chance to tell them about the work we are doing in the Isle of Man. They seem to be doing some extensive research on the creatures and they are making a programme on the seas of the British Isles.
It was a very positive trip and we got closer to the basking sharks than ever before."
In the past the BBC Oceans team have ventured into some of the planet's most challenging environments and with the help of scientists and dive teams, they descended beneath frozen Arctic ice-sheets, dived into mysterious black holes in the Bahamas and plunged into the dark water with the fearsome Humboldt squid.

Watch a promo for BBC Oceans
Manx basking shark project

Thursday, July 22, 2010

UK MP defends Isle of Man

CONSERVATIVE MP Mark Field aimed to set the record straight on offshore finance centres, including the Isle of Man, in Westminster yesterday.
The MP for the Cities of London and Westminister believes the debate over the role of small international finance centres has been 'remarkably one-sided'.

Mr Field said: "As international organisations and major governments seek to understand the cause of the global financial crisis, small international financial centres (IFCs) have repeatedly endured political attacks and misguided criticism.

"From pejorative sniping about their being tax havens for avaricious bankers to allegations that they provide secrecy jurisdictions for shady figures in the international business community and are in part to blame for shortcomings in the financial markets, the debate over the role of small IFCs has been, to date, remarkably one-sided.

"This is unfortunate as it demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of their function and the benefits they provide to the wider global economy."

He said there is a mutually beneficial relationship between the City of London and many Crown Dependencies and overseas territories "demonstrated not only by the massive capital flows between the two which aid market liquidity and investment in the UK, but also legal and consitutional similarities and the transfer of skilled professionals".

"To give some idea of the scale of those capital flows, UK banks had net financing from Guernsey alone of $74.1 billion at the end of June 2009."

"Unfortunately, because the public debate is largely myopic when it comes to IFCs these benefits are often overlooked or conveniently ignored.

"This is in part as a result of small IFCs relatively low profile from, for instance, a lack of seats at the intergovernmental bodies which design global financial regulation.

"There now needs to be a much greater understanding of the role and proven benefits provided by small international financial centres as part of the City of London's transaction chain."

Mr Field, who made his comments in a debate in Parliament about offshore financial centres, then went on to dispel common myths. More at

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Yn Chruinnaght 2010

On the Isle of Man this month there’s a chance to hear rock anthems, medieval Welsh lyrics, a little jazz, the romantic poetry of Robbie Burns and the rich sound of the Breton clarinet in a feast of sizzling music, song and dance. This year the Island’s very own Inter-Celtic festival ‘Yn Chruinnaght’ offers something for everyone as it celebrates long held links with some of its closest neighbours, with an invitation to come along and see for yourself what’s on offer at a number of venues across the Island.

Covering a full nine days in July the festival provides an excellent opportunity to sample some cracking gigs, foot-stomping ceilis, or for those who prefer something a little quieter intimate pub sessions, informal talks and a free concert at St. German’s Cathedral in Peel.

If your knowledge of Celtic music conjures up visions of bearded men and penny whistles then it’s time to take a fresh look at a new generation of talented musicians and song writers. Local organisers have used their knowledge of the culture rich circuit to bring the best of both the up-and-coming and established bands from the Celtic music scene to the Island, to join with fellow gifted Manx performers in a packed programme of events.

Scotland’s talented songwriter Emily Smith is a multi award winner with an Honours Degree in Scottish Music from The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and Welsh harpist Harriet Earis has performed in both the Albert Hall and the 02 Arena and regularly tours Europe and the US.  But if you want something really lively try Irish group ‘Beoga’, visiting the Island during their world wide tour and renowned for their high octane playing and a spirited sense of fun. After their successful first visit to the Isle of Man last year ‘The Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ will be carefully packing their bagpipes and pressing their kilts in readiness for a second appearance here at the Villa Marina, in conjunction with the Department of Community Culture and Leisure, (tickets available at bringing their own fusion of traditional pipe tunes and rock anthems to a growing fan base.

Reaching into Ramsey, Peel and Douglas ‘Yn Chruinnaght’ provides an opportunity for fun, relaxation and the chance to be involved in a community event for all ages with our cultural cousins.

‘Yn Chruinnaght’ has been fortunate in securing valuable sponsorship from a number of Island sources including the Isle of Man Arts Council, the Manx Heritage Foundation, Manx Telecom, Ramsey Commissioners and other local businesses, which has allowed organisers to provide a wide variety of events for the public to enjoy.

Valerie Caine © July 2010  Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Churches of Mann

The recently released ‘Churches of Mann’ is a beautifully illustrated book detailing an often forgotten area of Manx history, taking the reader on a lavish journey through the doors of some of the Island’s numerous churches and chapels, and viewing a number of ancient keeill sites. Scattered liberally across the Isle of Man they are brought vividly to life by skilled local photographers Miles Cowsill and Vicky Harrop.
Architectural historian Jonathan Kewley also provides a selection of interesting facts about the history of the buildings, and reveals a number of interesting features, but there’s also an extra surprise within its pages. For those who enjoy the rich sound of a church organ the enclosed CD, featuring fifteen of the Island’s church organs, will find this special musical addition a welcome bonus. Further information about the church organs was supplied by local organ builder Peter Jones and can be found on a special web page located at the Manx Heritage Foundation website.
Played by Manx organist Gareth Moore the CD has been supplied courtesy of the Manx Heritage Foundation.

Priced at £25 ‘Churches of Mann’ is available throughout the Island.

Valerie Caine © July 2010  (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Great idea!

The IOM Post Office is offering a great service. They're scanning documents for clients who want to go paperless. While historians may groan, businesspeople will rejoice. But as the person staring at the boxes of NAMA Bulletins that require scanning I can only marvel at the thought of 600,000 a day!
In the age of computer technology, more and more companies are turning to digital document capture to enable their businesses to integrate more efficiently with computers and the internet. Office workers no longer want to be surrounded by mounds of paper files and would instead prefer a clutter-free office environment while decision-makers want to save time and money.

Integrated Mailing Solutions (IMS), the specialist communications division of Isle of Man Post Office, is an experienced provider of scanning services. Regardless of what type of paper data you have - printed text, typed, handwritten, images, barcodes or tick boxes- IMS's scanning service can convert these into electronic files which you can access as often as you like at the press of a button from your PC.

With a 12-year history of using the latest scanning technology from Kodak, IMS's knowledge is second to none and with a capacity to process more than 600,000 images a day, clients can expect to receive a reliable, secure and fast turnaround without sacrificing data quality.

Recently, the Pensions Division of the Personnel Office of Isle of Man Government identified the need for their mountain of files to be digitised.

Given the need to provide information on a member's service over their lifetime, pension member records are kept far longer than regular paperwork resulting in an ever-increasing archive of member files, spilling over two sites requiring occasional off-site visits to obtain files which in turn costs time and resource.

There was also a need to mitigate fire or flood risks to original files and find a modern and simpler way of managing their archive which also avoided the chance of files being accidentally miss-filed.

Much more at IOMToday

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Viking longboat races in Peel

VIKING longboat races are being held in Peel this Saturday (July 17). There are 840 rowers split into 84 teams taking part. They must row from the harbour mouth to a bouy in the bay and back as fast as possible.

The race categories are men, women and mixed. Winners, second and third placed finishers in each category receive a sum of money to donate to their chosen local charity – made possible thanks to the event's main sponsor Royal London 360.

The championship title itself is decided on handicap, whereby the fastest teams each have a handicap imposed, which is calculated on the quickest times recorded last year.  Champion last year was the Nothern Young Farmers mixed team, who will be taking part again.
'They were out the other night (training] and they were flying!' said Jimmy Lee, secretary of the races organising committee. It's going to be a good day. There'll be some teams in fancy dress, some taking it seriously and some there for a laugh.'

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Deemster Michael Kerruish ~ Rest in Peace

DEEMSTER Kerruish has died, Government House announced this morning.
Lieutenant Governor Sir Paul Haddacks said: 'I am greatly saddened by the death of His Honour Deemster Kerruish. 'I very much valued his wise counsel and his friendship. His Honour was a true Manxman and he will be a great loss to the Isle of Man. Lady Haddacks and I extend our deepest sympathy to Marianne and his family.'

Deemster Kerruish was educated at Douglas High School for Boys and the University of London, and served in the Royal Air Force before embarking on a distinguished legal career. He was appointed HM Attorney General for the Isle of Man in October 1993 and held this post until January 1998 when he became Second Deemster. From 2003 until his death, he served as First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls, presiding as Chief Judge of the Island's High Court of Justice.

And from Isle of Man Today:

SECOND Deemster David Doyle has given a moving tribute to his colleague Deemster Kerruish who died earlier today.

Deemster Doyle said: "John Michael Kerruish excelled as a Manx advocate, as a helpful, pragmatic and hard working Attorney General and as a fair and wise deemster who modernised court procedures and gave greater access to Manx judgments worldwide via the internet.

"Most of all however he excelled as a caring, warm hearted, down to earth, loving man. He was a very special human being.

"He really cared for the people and the community of this Island. His wise advice and opinion, his good and considered judgment, his sense of humour and his roaring Manx laughter will all be sadly missed.

"He was a great man who has made a massive contribution to the Island.

"Deemster Kerruish had an overwhelming sense of public duty. He had an unusual capacity for sustained hard work and he enjoyed it.Deemster Kerruish was a huge presence on the Island and particularly in the Isle of Man Courts of Justice. He was very close to and supportive of his judicial colleagues and the dedicated team of court clerks and support staff we have in Courts Division.  We will all miss him.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his family at this difficult time. Deemster Kerruish could not have achieved all that he did achieve without the love, support and encouragement of his family, of his parents, of his wife Marianne and his children his son Daniel and his daughter Summer. The Island will forever be indebted to them for permitting Deemster Kerruish to devote his life to public service on this Island."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MHK calls for lower drink age limit in Isle of Man

Here's an interesting story. Apparently, the island is very boring for young people. So, a Manx politician wants 16-year-olds to be served in the island's pubs because there is "not enough for them to do." MHK Bill Malarkey said he had been speaking to the "young people on the streets on Friday nights" to find out why and what they were drinking.
At the moment, 16-year-olds are allowed in pubs but are not permitted to buy alcohol until they reach 18.
Chief Constable Mike Langdon said he was open to discussion as it might teach them "sensible drinking". Mr Malarkey, who is in charge of Chief Minister Tony Brown's Drug and Alcohol strategy, said he had no problem with allowing them in the pubs" as it might stop them from drinking on the streets. Mr Langdon, however, was more cautious saying he was willing to discuss the issue but it could end up with young people drinking more alcohol.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I got an email from Chris Callow who has a blog on IOMToday. Here's a bit from his most recent one. He does ski, cycling and now cooking holidays in the Alps. Brad - this sounds like your cup of tea!

Part 49: Summer loving

...we have our first summer guests, the fruit of a well-timed visit to the Tourist Office (Merci, Monique), three charmingly raffish landscape gardeners from Annecy, here for three weeks to tend the hanging gardens of MGM's most recent and fabulously expensive development.

And best of all, they have elected to self-cater, which translates as a different animal grilled on the BBQ each night as we quaff each others' alcohol and lament the iniquities of the French taxation system.

Monday evening saw a delightful Tynwald Day gathering, French and British alike boning up on the ceremony from Manx Experience coffee-table tomes while the BeeGees warble Ellan Vannin to a mystified neighbourhood.

But three swallows, to labour the pun, do not make a summer and so plans are afoot to swell the numbers with special appeals to cyclists (Cav is due to spin through nearby Chatillon on Le Tour in a few days), rising tennis hopefuls and, dearest to my heart, aspiring master-chefs: the the first ManxSki residential Cookery Course is to be rolled out in September with star billing for Chef-Extraordinaire Herve Willems (aka 'the Crazy Frog'), late of a certain Scottish School of Food & Wine of whom much was related earlier in these Tales, he having had the dubious honour of initiating yours-truly in the culinary mysteries. Book early to avoid disappointment.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to succeed in business -- The Manx way

From the BBC
Ministers and finance officials from some of the world's smallest countries are visiting the Isle of Man to learn how to boost their economies. They are attending a nine-day course developed by the Manx government, World Bank and Oxford University.
It promotes sustainable development of small economies and their effective integration into the global economy. Delegates from countries including the Maldives, Belize and Swaziland are all taking part in the seminars. Academics from Oxford, Harvard and other leading universities are lecturing at the event, along with representatives of the World Bank and IMF. As well as covering areas such negotiating skills, debt management and risk assessment, delegates will be invited to share problems they are currently working on.
The Small Countries Financial Management Programme gets under way at the International Business School (photo: formerly the Nunnery) on Sunday evening. After four days on the island, participants will then complete the second part of the course at Oxford University's Said Business School.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Queenie Festival again! A recipe, too.

I lifted this in total from IOMToday. But buried in the details is exciting news -- they're having a Trawler Race. The last one was in 1993, I think. They are such fun.  I'll try and get photos!

It's the infamous Queenie Festival this weekend so this month Kathryn Sentance, of Relish Cookery School and Catering, met with Tim Croft of Paddy's Market in Port St Mary to rustle up some lovely queenies with a special twist.. From IOMToday

The things I do for you lot!

In my dedication to food I travelled to the end of the earth. Yes, from Ramsey all the way to..... Port St Mary! There and back in a morning. I'm still recovering.

Watch Kathryn and Tim cook up a quick and spicy Queenie dish on the iomtoday youtube channel:

So why the big trip? To see my old mate Tim Croft at Paddy's Market, down on the quay in Port St. Mary.

Tim organises the Queenie Festival which returns this weekend, so I thought it'd be nice to get his idea for a summery queenie dish and he could inform us what's happening in the seafood world.

First up, what great stuff is coming out of the ocean at the moment? The queenie season has just started so fill your boots. Fish to look out for at the moment are hake, brill, turbot, lemon sole and plaice, plus tons of mackerel and herring which are great for cheap and healthy eating. In terms of shellfish, lobster is great at the moment and the crab is just starting to come back in.


The big event to put in your diaries is the Queenie Festival – there is tons going on. Here's a quick summary:

Sure beach party will open the Festival on Port Erin beach tonight (Friday), featuring a Samba band, The Heights and Carbon Frog. To eat there will be a BBQ, squid, queenies, lobster and salads.

And to drink there will be a Bushy's Beach Bar.

Other activities available will be a treasure hunt, kayaking, diving and snorkelling.

On Saturday and Sunday there will be a Marine Weekend sponsored by Paddys called Hooked on Fish. This will involve a trawler race, Viking Office Systems' Manx Mile open water swim, food stalls, historical re-enactments, touch tanks thanks to the Manx Wildlife Trust, kite surfing and music and dance.

Click here to find out more: >>


Due to the Queenie Festival, increasing the profile of our fantastic local product, Tim is now selling directly to high-end restaurants all over the UK.

Mark Hix, the London chef of the moment, uses the queenies in several of his venues. They currently feature on the menu as 'Manx queenies marinated in cucumber and dill'. I know they often roast them in the half-shell too – delicious!

So here is Tim's recipe. We had fun making this on the quay in Port St Mary. Tim made gorgeous Lime Butter Rice to go with it too, check out the video to learn his secrets.


Limed Queenies Flambéed in Tequila
  • Generous glug olive oil
  • Generous knob butter
  • 4 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, juice and zest only
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 dozen queen scallops, trimmed and ready to cook. (Use scallops or bay scallops, Kelly.)
  • generous glug good-quality tequila (you can drink the rest of the bottle over dinner)
  • 1 handful coriander finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a medium heat. Add the shallots and sweat gently - do not allow to brown.

2. Add the lime juice and zest and cook for a minute or two.

3. Add the sugar and stir continuously - it's important to keep the ingredients moving around the pan at this point to prevent the sugar from burning.

4. Increase the heat to high then add the scallops. Fry for another minute.

5. Add a big glug of tequila and the chopped chives and flambé - if cooking on gas carefully let the flame just catch the pan or if using an electric hob you might need to use a match to ignite the tequila (Errrm health + safety announcement CAUTION: Take care when flambéing the queenies and keep your face well away from the pan. If you're not an experienced cook you must be aware that this method of cooking can create large flames. We didn't get any flames hiss....boring). If the tequila doesn't light quickly then don't be tempted to keep the pan on the heat any longer as this will overcook the scallops.

6. Serve the scallops hot from the pan and in warm tortilla wraps or with lime butter rice.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

International flavor for Isle of Man’s inaugural Festival of Choirs

Choral groups from England, Northern and Southern Ireland, and the Isle of Man will add an international flavor to the inaugural Festival of Choirs to be staged in the Royal Hall of the Villa Marina later this year.

Eight choirs from the UK and Ireland will be up against six from the Isle of Man, all bidding for the top prize of £2,000. The event – which runs from October 15-17 – has an overall prize fund of £4,000. There will be classes for men's, ladies and mixed choirs with checks for £500 and £200 being awarded to the first two in each class. Section winners then compete in Sunday’s final for a further prize of £1,500 as the champion choir.

Such has been the support for the initial event that the organizers, Isle of Man Tourism, have already announced a date for the 2011 event - September 23-25. Political member for Isle of Man Tourism, Geoff Corkish, who conceived the idea, said he was delighted by the entry for the first event which ensured healthy, but friendly, competition.

Mr.Corkish, a former Cleveland medalist and local chorister, added: ‘We were very pleased with the level of support received and as a result have already started making plans for next year.

‘It was very much a suck-it-and-see situation for the first Festival of Choirs. The title is distinct from a Choir Festival and the intention is to celebrate singing via a friendly event, although there will obviously be keen competition. Visiting families and friends are just as important to us as the competitors themselves and we hope they will experience and enjoy the Manx way of life and culture.’

Entries have come from west and north Yorkshire, Northern and Southern Ireland, Lancashire, Norfolk and Essex. Six ladies choirs will be taking part together with five mixed and three male voice. A total of 320 people will be travelling to the Island for the occasion.

The Festival begins with a welcome evening and social on the Friday night, incorporating a community sing-song, and next morning facilities will be made available within the Villa Marina complex for the choirs to rehearse. Competition proper gets underway on Saturday afternoon with the section winners taking to the stage again on Sunday afternoon for the title ‘Choir of the Festival.’ The curtain comes down on Sunday night with an evening of Manx entertainment designed to give the visitors a glimpse of the music and dance of the Isle of Man.

Internationally-renowned television personality, conductor, arranger and composer Dr.Alwyn Humphreys MBE will be the adjudicator for the weekend while Scottish singer and long-time Isle of Man resident Moira Anderson OBE has the role of patron. Moira’s international career has embraced television, stage and concert tours as well as various Royal Command Performances.

Said Mr.Corkish: ‘The Isle of Man has a long history of making music and producing choirs and singers. It is therefore an ideal venue for promoting choral singing through friendly competition, which in turn lifts standards, and all within the fraternal meeting of like-minded people. My idea was to provide a vehicle for bringing choirs together and give them a reason for singing, as well as letting them see what attractions the Island had to offer.’

Thursday, July 8, 2010


On Sunday 11th July Manx National Heritage at Rushen Abbey will host the service of choral music at the annual Songs of Praise service in the Abbey Gardens.
The service begins at 2.30pm and visitors will be invited to join in with the well-known hymns performed by the Meadowside Choir, with an accompanying dance display provided by Ballasalla Dance Group ‘Academy of Dance’.
Howard Parkin, Public Services Manager for Manx National Heritage said:  
“2010 is the tenth consecutive year that Manx National Heritage and Churches Together in Mann have organised the summer service at Rushen Abbey. Visitors are welcome to join in the service, bring a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful Abbey gardens, or enjoy the newly opened Abbey Restaurant, which is situated adjacent to Rushen Abbey”. 
For their comfort visitors are advised to bring seating or blankets with their picnics. In case of wet weather the service will be conducted at the Abbey Church, Ballasalla, approximately 100 yards away from Rushen Abbey.  Admission to the service is free of charge.   
Ample car parking is available at Rushen Abbey, which is also only a short walk away from Ballasalla station and bus stops. Ballasalla is regularly served by the Isle of Man Steam Railway and regular bus services including the 1, 1C, 2, 8 and X2 buses.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Manx Heritage Flower Festival 2010

The Manx Heritage Flower Festival has blossomed in recent years with its continued success providing an opportunity for the public to view some stunning floral arrangements within a selection of churches and chapels throughout the Island. An event organised by ‘Churches Together in Mann’ this year the Manx Heritage Flower Festival has reached a significant milestone celebrating its twentieth anniversary.

This year’s theme ‘Rejoice’ is an appropriate choice with some additional venues, such as Ronaldsway Airport, the Sea Terminal and Rushen Abbey, keen to provide new display areas.

Held during Manx National Week many people make an annual pilgrimage to various parts of the Island to see some beautiful displays of floral arrangements created by teams of dedicated volunteers. This is also a good opportunity to tour some of the older or lesser known, churches and chapels liberally scattered across the Manx countryside, and sample some delicious home-made refreshments.

Hosted by twenty one venues in total younger visitors are invited to paint, or draw, an image inspired by the flower festival itself, with prizes sponsored by Tynwald Mills. Meanwhile keen photographers will be asked to capture the spirit of the festival for another competition jointly sponsored by Richard Kinley Photography and Mannin Media.

Valerie Caine © July 2010

Kiaull Manninagh CD

‘Kiaull Manninagh’ features Manx traditional music for violin, harp and guitar and was originally issued in 1992. Bernard Osborne plays the violin and Pete Lumb, the guitar, but on this updated version additional tracks have been made available. This also meant they could incorporate the evocative sound of the Celtic harp, played here by Charles Guard. The harp plays two roles, firstly as a solo instrument, and secondly as a complementary voice with the violin. The musicians have also blended in sounds of the Manx countryside.
Most of the tunes highlighted on this sixteen track CD have been sourced from the Clague Collection housed in the Manx Museum, but others have been obtained from fellow musicians, although all the arrangements have been made by the three musicians featured here.

They bring with them an astonishing amount of musical experience. Violinist Bernard Osborne studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, leading the viola section of the Academy Symphony Orchestra. He has worked as a professional violinist and viola player, peripatetic instrumental teacher, conductor and school teacher in public and private education, both on the Island and in the UK. On the Isle of Man he is closely associated with the Manx Youth Orchestra and was latterly the Head of the Isle of Man Music Centre.

A long time admirer of Manx music he has featured on several sound and visual recordings, been a soloist at the ‘Mananan Festival,’ and played with various orchestras in both Britain and Europe. He is also well known locally for his work with the Manx Folk Dance Society and the re-establishment of ‘Yn Chruinnaght’.

As a guitarist Pete Lumb spent time in various bands as a teenager, before studying music at Durham and then with the guitarist and composer John Arran. Spending several years as a freelance musician, he worked with a number of music services before moving to the Isle of Man. Head of Guitar for the Isle of Man Music Service, he has been involved in many music projects ranging from session playing to performing guitar concertos. He is a big fan of ‘world music’ and plays music ranging from Celtic to South American.

Charles Guard was born on the Isle of Man and after a local education studied at the Royal College of Music in London. He then moved on to Dublin to study the Irish harp, but remained in Ireland to teach and perform making several recordings for Claddagh Records, including a solo album and as part of a Scottish group known as ‘The Whistlebinkies.’ Currently Administrator for the Manx Heritage Foundation his involvement in music extends to writing and producing music for television and the release of numerous cassettes and CDs.

Produced with the assistance of the Manx Heritage Foundation, ‘Kiaull Manninagh’ is available priced at £10.99.

Valerie Caine © July 2010

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

IOM Education on Twitter -- and so now am I

twitter @iomeducation

The ‘find people’ search button isn’t working worldwide at present but if people key us into their search box on the right hand panel, they can find and follow all our news.

I'm AmericanManxMum if you are a Twitter person - and I'll try and remember to Tweet NAMA stuff.

NAMA Awards on Tynwald Day

YOUNG achievers from secondary schools and King William’s College were honoured at a ceremony in Douglas today.

The North American Manx Association awards are presented annually to young people under the age of 25 who have excelled in their field or overcome disability. The awards are arranged in five categories and for each category a silver medallion has been minted. 

Eddie Teare MHK, Minister for Education and Children, welcomed guests to the ceremony in the Barrool Suite. He commented: ‘It was a delight to attend the presentation, which recognised the achievements made by our young people to preserve our culture, language and heritage. Their involvement injects an enthusiasm which will ensure that our culture will continue to be valued and will be the aspect of our Island life which sets us apart from other communities.’

Laurence Skelly, a past President of the North American Manx Association, presented medallions to:

Music: Cesar Joughin, 14, Queen Elizabeth II High School

Cesar belongs to the Manx Youth Orchestra, a string quartet, his school’s orchestra, its folk group and the Bree la group (which plays Manx music). He plays for Perree Bane and its young offshoot. He plays in family groups the Phurt H’ninjas and Scamaltagh. He has sung and played at Crunniaght Aig, achieving first, second and third places for singing and playing the violin (he holds grade 5). He has written songs in Manx, which he has played in Manx lessons. Amanda Walker, Head of Key Stage 3 at his school, nominated Cesar for a NAMA award, saying that wherever she has been to see live traditional music, Cesar is either playing or in the audience. He is a genuine enthusiast for Manx culture and traditions and he shares his passion among his peers.

Arts and crafts: Daniel Price, 16, Castle Rushen High School

Teacher Roger Kent nominated Daniel, describing him as a dedicated and hard-working student. He said: ‘We have rarely met a young person who has produced such a high volume of quality art work. Daniel has won several art competitions and awards on his way up through school and has just completed his GCSE in art and intends to take A-level art and carry on to university to study architecture. A truly talented artist, Daniel excels in whatever type of media he turns his hand to. He particularly enjoys using acrylics but is equally at home with watercolours, oil pastels, graphite pencil, line and wash, inks and chalk pastel. His overriding theme is the Manx landscape. Daniel is a keen cyclist who travels around the south of the Island sketching and taking photographs. He has produced a series of panoramas as well as abstract studies based on wet road surfaces.’

Manx language: Daniel Quayle, 12, Ballakermeen High School

Daniel is Ballakermeen’s Gaelgeyr Oikoil, its official ‘Speaker of Manx’, and he provides guests with a warm Manx welcome. Nominating Daniel for an award, Headteacher Adrienne Burnett said Daniel greets dignitaries calmly and with an obvious pride in the Manx language. He provides translations of key words and is also responsible for a display about Manx. He is also a contributor to Kiaull Manninagh Jiu (Manx Music Today) and had a musical composition published in the June edition. Daniel’s love of the language and his enthusiasm endear him to all who meet him. ‘I have absolutely no doubt that he will be a driving force in the Manx community and will continue to ensure that the speaking of Manx is promoted at every opportunity,’ said Mrs Burnett.

Manx culture (under 18): Caitlyn Fairbairn, 17, Ramsey Grammar School

Caitlyn was nominated by Manx music specialist Chloe Woolley and Rosie Will-Jones, Subject Leader in Music at RGS, who said Caitlyn lives, breathes and eats all things Manx and is studying the language to A-level, on top of which she helps with the traditional Manx music groups at RGS, assisting with pronunciation of words/pieces etc for Manx folk songs and class repertoire.

Manx culture (group – under 25): The Eco Committee of Rebecca Fong, Sarah Baker, Clare Fisher, Georgia Corlett and Gwilym Jones, all 17, Queen Elizabeth II High School

The students have been leading members of the Eco Committee for three years, during which time it has won UK and international recognition. In June 2009, the school was runner up in the Observer Ethical Award. That month, the students were invited to the International Climate Challenge Change-Makers’ Conference in London. Their project gained a highly commended for its approach to improving understanding, developing practical solutions and sharing information related to climate change. The students’ report of school project Tree-cycle earned them second place in the global Volvo Environmental Award. In September 2009, the school was the winner of the EDF Energy Award for Green Schools. In December, the school’s eco projects won the Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Award 2009. Nominating the students for a NAMA award, teacher Lesley Sleight said: ‘They have achieved a lot and put an Isle of Man school on the eco-map.’

Manx community: Jay Thompson, 17, King William’s College

Jay quietly gives his time for the benefit of others in the local community and never seeks recognition or glory for his deeds, said Head of Sixth Form Anya Morgans, who nominated him for a NAMA award. He is an Explorer Scout, Scout Leader and Cub Leader for Ballasalla groups two evenings a week. His patience and caring nature make him highly valued. Last summer he tackled the Manx coastal footpath over six days, walking and camping alone, to raise money for Manx Cancer Help. Jay was invited by the Civil Defence to take part in 'Wales 3000', climbing 18 peaks (15 over 3000 feet) in 24 hours. He raised £800 for the Isle of Man Children’s Centre. He is also involved in school and sporting clubs (primarily football and kayaking). He gained particular enjoyment from the service element of the Queen's Scout Award and the Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, both of which he has achieved outside of school. This summer he will volunteer with the Children’s Centre and Age Concern.

Overcoming disability: T J Schofield, 13, Ballakermeen High School

TJ has suffered health problems since birth including an operation that placed him in a wheelchair for several months. He is a pupil in the Special Unit. He has been a popular member of the Manx National Youth Theatre and the youth club at Kensington Road, Douglas, since he was eight and had participated in virtually every aspect of the club, from serving on the youth committee, The Crew, to manning the register, clearing out the costume cupboard, making great tea and handling stage curtains on cue. He has joined buskers and taken part in charity bag packs to raise money. Nominating him for a NAMA award, Caroline Walter and Fiona Helleur of Douglas Youth Centre/the MNYT said: ‘His opinion is frequently sought by the various organisations he attends and he always gives a considered view, knowing that what he says and does effects others. He greets everyone with his brilliant smile and a willing attitude that is admired and sought by all. He has appeared on stage in several productions, portraying various characters to the best of his ability – and always with that enviable, magnificent smile.’

Mr Skelly passed on greetings to the gathering from NAMA president Sally Dahlquist, saying she was busy planning the biennial NAMA convention, being held in Colorado in August. He revealed that a reciprocal award, donated by the DEC, would be presented at the event to a young person or group of people in recognition of work they had done to promote awareness of the Isle of Man.

Phil Gawne, MHK, Minister for Infrastructure and a fluent Manx speaker, then presented the awards for the most progress in Manx to two 14-year-olds – Alex Corlett, of Castle Rushen High School, and Doona Lambden, of Queen Elizabeth II High School.

Alex studied Manx for three years at Kewaigue School and, in Year 6, won an all-Island story writing competition with an entry in Manx. Alex has continued to study Manx as an extra subject at Castle Rushen, showing commitment and enthusiasm. Doona attended the Department of Education and Children’s weekly Gaelscoill which was held for several years at Santon and then at Ballacottier. She continued to study Manx at Ballaugh Primary School and then opted to take Manx as her second foreign language at Queen Elizabeth II High School. She enjoys singing in Manx.

President of Tynwald Noel Cringle MLC gave the vote of thanks. He praised the North American Manx Association for keeping the awards, established to mark the Millennium of Tynwald in 1979, going. He said: ‘The recipients of these awards will not forget the afternoon they have had and will be able to put on their CVs in future that they were recipients of NAMA awards. It will stand them in good stead in the future.’

North American Manx Awards 2010

1. Music
Cesar Joughin - Queen Elizabeth II High School

2. Arts and Crafts
Daniel Price - Castle Rushen High School

3. Manx Language
Daniel Quayle – Ballakermeen High School

4a Manx Culture under 18
Caitlyn Fairbairn – Ramsey Grammar School

4c Manx Culture Grp under 25
The Eco Committee – Queen Elizabeth II High School
Rebecca Fong, Sarah Baker, Clare Fisher, Georgia Corlett,
Gwilym Jones

5a The Manx Community
Jay Thompson – King William’s College

5b Overcoming a Disability
T J Schofield – Ballakermeen High School

Most Progress in Manx Awards
Alex Corlett : Castle Rushen High School
Doona Lambden : Queen Elizabeth II High School

Order of Proceedings

Welcome by the Minister for Education and Children,
the Hon Eddie Teare, ACIB MHK


Presentation of the Medallions by Mr Laurence Skelly,
Past President of the North American Manx Association


Presentation of the Manx Language Awards by
the Minister for Infrastructure,
the Hon Phil Gawne, MHK


Vote of thanks by The President of Tynwald,
the Hon Noel Q Cringle, OBE MLC

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Great Manx Dance - at Tynwald today

(c) Valerie Caine

Laa Tinvaal Sonney Diu! Happy Tynwald Day!

I have lifted the entire write-up -- down to the peep-toe shoes -- from today's IOMToday: You'll notice an honored guest from America, a Native-American chief who is in discussion with the island on a number of business matters. Apparently being an independent nation located in the middle of a larger one struck a chord with the Seminoles!
THOUSANDS of people flocked to St John's yesterday (Monday) for Tynwald Day.
It was a day of firsts and lasts for some taking part in the ceremony.

Newcomers included recently elected Douglas East MHK Chris Robertshaw and new High Bailiff John Needham.

It was a family affair for Malew and Santon MHK Graham Cregeen whose brother Stephen joined him on Tynwald Hill for the first time as chief registrar.

Meanwhile, it was the last Tynwald Day for Lieutenant Governor Sir Paul Haddacks, who retires next April.

There was a range of guests, from former MP Andrew Mackinlay, who helped save the Island's reciprocal health agreement to Richard Bowers, an alligator wrestler and president of the native Indian Seminole Tribe of Florida.

Following a service in the Royal Chapel, which was broadcast live on a big screen, the procession of Tynwald members, captains of the parishes, members of the judiciary and dignitaries made their way to Tynwald Hill. Second Deemster Doyle carried out the duties of First Deemster Kerruish on Tynwald Hill. He was unable to attend due to long-term illness.

The 10 new acts passed during the last 18 months by Tynwald were promulgated in English and Manx, and a number of petitions for redress of grievance were presented by members of the public.

After the captioning of the acts, Douglas resident Dr Brian Stowell received the Tynwald Honour for his contribution to Manx life. Dr Stowell is regarded as a father figure of the Manx language and is a member of the Celtic Congress.

Among the official guests, the unofficial contest for the best colour co-ordinated outfit was won by Peel MHK Tim Crookall's wife Carol. Her black and red spotty dress was perfectly matched with black gloves and a red fascinator, bag and peep toe shoes.

Meanwhile, compared with some of the other guests, Treasury Minister Anne Craine looked quite somber in a black skirt suit and white and black hat. As the woman in charge of the Island's money, it was probably a wise move to choose to be in black rather than red.

The Tynwald fair was bigger than ever with visitors enjoying a wide range of stalls and entertainment. Following the ceremony, several traditional Manx dancers joined together for the Grand Manx Dance and a MusicFest, with 16 acts, celebrated the Island's musical talent.

National Day festivities traditionally end with a fireworks display. That was cancelled this year, understood to be because of budgetary constraints. This year it was due to end with a performance by the Ellan Vannin Pipe Band performing floodlit on the hill.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

MNH do yet another cool thing ~~~ A Festival of Archaeology

Medieval knights, Shakespearean actors and Viking soldiers will be taking over the Isle of Man for its first Festival of Archaeology.  Manx National Heritage has devised the programme, which includes festival screenings of Hollywood archaeology movie classics, tours of the Island's ancient sites and Shakespeare plays.
Keen historians can also take part in a sunset tour of Peel Castle. Allison Fox, archaeology curator, said: "We have such a wide variety of sites."

The island has prehistoric burial sites (Like the photo: Balladoole is a Viking burial site on the Isle of Man), through to Viking ship burials to structural remains of the key role the island played in the development of radar in wartime.
Visitors will also be able to join archaeologists and demonstrators and have a go at some experimental archaeology, learn about Neolithic pottery design and investigate the archaeological heritage of Cregneash.
Ms Fox added: "During the two weeks of the Festival of Archaeology, we hope to be able to share some of this fascinating heritage and to encourage those who are curious about the past to go out and discover even more for themselves."
The Festival begins on 17 July with a screening of two movies, Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and National Treasure (Super cool film and great introduction to US history!!! Ed.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cav on Tour

Photo courtesy of
MARK Cavendish produced a steady start to the Tour de France in Saturday evening's prologue time-trial in Rotterdam. With heavy rain playing havoc with the 8.9-kilometre course through the streets of the Dutch city, Cav, along with many other riders, opted for a safety-first approach as he kept one eye on tomorrow's (Sunday) 223.5km stage between Rotterdam and Bruxelles in which he is expected to challenge for honours.

Photo courtesy of
Article IOMToday