Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Keith Gerrard sixth in Minnesota 8km race

Keith Gerrard, the Peel athlete who qualified to go to the Commonwealth Games but was torn between Delhi and his regular commitments on the American College circuit, took sixth place at the Roy Griak Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota on Saturday. The Manx Sport Aid recipient recorded a time of 24min 25sec over a distance of 8km to finish an excellent sixth position out of more than 200 athletes.

He was third home for the University of New Mexico, helping them to third spot in the team event.

Archaeology at Ronaldsway - How cool is this?

(c) Oxford Archaeology North - Reproduction forbidden
The recent extension of the runway at Ronaldsway Airport prompted an important archaeological dig at the site before valuable information about our forebears was lost forever. Local Archaeologist Andrew Johnson, from Manx National Heritage, stated that work which had taken place at the site of Ronaldsway Airport in 1936, when it was known as the Ronaldsway Aerodrome, revealed some interesting finds. Workers initially found a sizable number of ancient graves, but close by were many skeletons thrown together in a random fashion. This led to speculation that what they had discovered was a mass grave and inevitably associating this gruesome find with soldiers killed in the bloody Battle of Ronaldsway in 1275.

Later in 1943 with further developments underway other interesting finds were unearthed, including the famous Neolithic house. Measuring 24’ x 13’ and with a hearth near its centre pottery also found on the site was thought to be of crude design, but axes and arrowheads also located  were reported to be of good standard.

But recent excavations at Ronaldsway unearthed a fine example of a Mesolithic dwelling, which came as something of a surprise as people from this period were not thought to live in houses! Considered to be approximately 8,000 years old it is far older than anything else discovered at this site. Living and feeding close to nature lots of microliths were also found. Usually made of flint this was a small stone tool worked to a sharp edge and used to form the points of hunting weapons. The discovery of a circle of post-holes suggested that the Mesolithic house was structured not unlike a tepee.

Inordinately fond of shell fish a large number of discarded shells were found at the site, but Andrew Johnson believes that foraging was not the onerous task we might believe and that the Island was a good place to live even then.

Right from the beginning valuable close co-operation was initiated between the engineers, archaeologists and the Isle of Man Government which ultimately paid dividends.

During archaeological excavations at Ronaldsway, the skeleton of a man who died during the Bronze Age was found bearing the marks of a violent death.  A new exhibition at the Manx Museum examines the evidence uncovered in excavations on the Island revealing how he lived and offering the first opportunity to see the sole possession buried with him. There’ll be artifacts on show that haven’t been displayed before, as well as replicas to show some of them in their original glory.

The exhibition opened at the Manx Museum, Douglas, on Saturday 18th September and runs until May 2011. Admission is free.


Valerie Caine © September 2010

Radioactivity in the Irish Sea is at an historic low but government worries anyway

Seen from the Manx coast near Laxey on a clear day, against the background of the Lakeland fells is the Sellafield plant on the Cumbrian coast
RADIOACTIVITY in the Irish Sea is at an historic low, figures show. But Environment Minister MHK John Shimmin still has concerns about emissions from the Sellafield nuclear plant and has reiterated government's aim to get it closed down.

The Government Laboratory has published its annual report on radioactivity monitoring which details discharges from Sellafield into the sea.

Tests on local seafood last year found only traces of radioactivity originating from Sellafield, with the concentrations detected being too low to be of any health concern.

Monday, September 27, 2010


The organisers of the End2End Mountain Bike Challenge, which attracted a record number of riders, have offered their ‘sincerest thanks’ to the police and marshals for their assistance in making this year’s event a success.

‘With 1,400 competitors and several major roads to be traversed during the event we could not have done it without their support,’ said End2End committee chairman Steve Honeybone.  ‘We also want to thank the Manx public for their patience and support, because the event caused some delays for traffic and people living on the route.

‘We hope that the success of the event – which attracted more than 900 overseas competitors and is very good for the Island – will compensate for any disruption that may have been caused.’

Geoff Corkish MBE MHK, Political Member for Isle of Man Tourism, commented on the organisation of the event : ‘The End2End is a brilliant example of public sector, private sector and the sports community working together to achieve excellence.  Team Isle of Man at its finest.’    

A major bonus for local sports clubs and charities is that a £25 donation will be made for every marshal who volunteered to assist on the day along the 46 miles route.

Ramsey Rugby Club, for example, provided close to 30 club members to act as marshals at various points in the north of the Island – at the start and at road crossing points. ‘The club will consequently receive close to £750 for their efforts,’ said Steve Honeybone, ‘which I know is very much appreciated by the club and could pay for a new kit for instance.’

Around 120 marshals supported this year’s event – sponsored by Sleepwell Hotels – and they will each gain a £25 donation for their club or charity. The same system will operate again in 2011, but the organisers are hoping that more people will want to become a marshal next year.

‘We coped with 120 marshals, but we do need more,’ added Steve Honeybone. ‘We are highly conscious of trying to avoid traffic hold-ups and congestion wherever possible, and we probably need more marshals to do this more effectively next year.’

The closure of the road between Bride village and the Point of Ayre for an hour at the start of the event made a ‘major difference’ to easing traffic congestion this year and the idea will be included again in 2011.

The major congestion came on roads near Bride where many competitors and supporters had left their vehicles. The organisers are looking at plans to find more parking areas next year, in order to keep vehicles away from the route.

The Sleepwell Hotels End2End Mountain Bike Challenge was once again filmed for TV and will be shown on Sky Sports shortly. The date will be announced in the media when known.

Saturday, September 25, 2010



Died peacefully at Humber River Regional Hospital on Friday, September 24, 2010 after a long life of 90 years. Annie Dorothy Kinrade, BA Ed. of University of Toronto FEWATO, sole survivor, only sister of Laura Winifred Kinrade, daughter of Thomas Harold (Tom) (1950), and Mary Ann (Annie) (1978); granddaughter of William (1933) and Catherine (1929) Jane, Daniel Edwin (1935) and Eleanor Margaret (1912) Radcliff, all of the Isle of Man, British Isles.  Funeral details here.

Life: September 28, 1920, in Toronto 1931: Age 11 - Canadian Champion of Religious Knowledge, (Gold Medal) 1938: Age 17 - York Memorial Collegiate, 5 Year Graduation, (Gold Medal) 1939: Age 18 - Began Teaching Career, Glen Huron Ontario 1940: Age 19 - Began Teaching in York Township with same School Board, 41 years, Retired 1983 1942 to 1963: Studied at U of T and College of Art for Supervisor Art, BA 1950, M.Ed 1956, EEd (Honours) 1963 1983: Joined RTO and RWTO

During life visited: Isle of Man 6 times USA: San Diego, Florida, Virgina, Boston, Canada: Vancouver to Halifax Member of: North American Manx Association, Retired Teachers of Ontario Retired Woman of Ontario Rendezvous Toronto.

Chris Killip "4+20 Photographs" in New York now

Amador Gallery proudly presents the work of Chris Killip, one of the most influential photographers to have come from Great Britain and professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1991. This will be Killip’s first solo exhibition in the USA.
Killip’s work is widely praised as the most acute depiction of the human cost to Britain’s process of de-industrialization. The twenty-four images in this exhibition, from 1974-88, are primarily from the North of England and cover the tenure of four very different Prime Ministers: Wilson, Heath, Callaghan and Thatcher.

Amador Gallery is at:
 T H E   F U L L E R   B U I L D I N G           
4 1   E   5 7   S T   6 F L    N E W   Y O R K ,   N Y   1 0 0 2 2

Image: Chris Killip "Man's Torso, Gateshead, Tyneside" (1978) gelatin silver print 20 x 24 in.

Hattip: Marion

Friday, September 24, 2010

Manx Music Book & CD Launch in US

With the greater recognition of Manx music outside of the Isle of Man this is an ideal time for the release of a new Manx music book and CD in the US.
‘Tailless Tunes – Manx Music/Traditional Tunes from the Isle of Man’ (music book) and ‘Alas! The Horse is Gone’ (CD) are both the results of the efforts of retired American high school choral teacher Carol Walker to introduce Manx music to a wider audience. Acquiring hundreds of Manx tunes both items are exclusively devoted to music from the Isle of Man incorporating musical arrangements for the popular, but uniquely American folk instrument the Appalachian mountain dulcimer. Completely unlike the more familiar hammered dulcimer it is a diatonically fretted instrument with three or four strings and is strummed, or finger-picked, with the instrument resting on the player’s lap.

Carol, whose musical talent is prodigious, lives in New Jersey with her husband Toby and a growing collection of dulcimers, and took her inspiration from Charles Guard’s book ‘Manx Music for the Irish Harp’, finally visiting the Island in 2009. Charles shared some of his vast background and experience with Carol and also provided resource material. As a teacher and performer at dulcimer festivals in the north eastern states Carol has become a staunch supporter of the Island’s music commenting, “Everyone loves the tunes and can’t believe they’ve never heard them before! To the best of my knowledge I’m the first person on this side of the Atlantic to produce such a collection and a CD devoted entirely to Manx music”.

This is a valuable tool for the greater awareness of Manx traditional music and the book includes 27 arrangements, with 15 of those also featured on her new CD, accompanied by her husband Toby Walker on guitar and Brian Lindsay a fiddle and whistle player.

Carol and her husband will be returning to the Isle of Man later this year.

Both items will be launched at the ‘Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival’ in Connecticut at the beginning of October, but they can be ordered via Carol’s website, or requested by post, and includes a special combination offer.


Valerie Caine © September 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sponsors forbid Kennagh from competing for Isle of Man in Commonwealth Games

BRITISH-based Team Sky has announced that it is pulling all of its contracted riders out of the Commonwealth Games.
This means that just hours after winning the men's scratch race at the National Track Championships in Manchester, Onchan's Peter Kennaugh will not now be travelling to Delhi with the rest of the Manx squad, including his younger brother Tim.

This is a major blow for the Isle of Man team as a whole as on-form Kennaugh was tipped as a likely medallist in the Men's 20km Scratch Race in Delhi.

He was also a pivotal member of the cycling team and the likely main lead-out man for his close friend Mark Cavendish in the 169km road race on October 10.

Kennaugh was also the strongest and most experienced member of the Isle of Man's team pursuit track squad alongside Mark Christian, Chris Whorrall and Tim Kennaugh. They were tipped for the bronze behind Australia and New Zealand.

The knock-on effect could, ultimately, result in Cavendish also pulling out of the squad if other professional teams such as HTC-Columbia have similar worries about the state of facilities and conditions in India.

Further updates on iomtoday.co.im as the story develops.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chief Secretary to retire

Allan Bell, ManxMum and Mary Williams in Washington D.C.

IOMToday reports that Chief Secretary Mary Williams, is to retire at the end of this year. Mrs Williams has been in the post since November 2002, having previously served as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Home Affairs and Chief Internal Auditor.

By the time she retires on December 31, 2010 Mrs Williams will have more than 40 years' service with the government. Advertising for a successor is expected to begin in the next few weeks.

In an answer to a House of Keys question in February last year, it was confirmed the Chief Secretary had a salary of £132,458, topped only by the chief executives of the Financial Supervision Commission and the Insurance and Pensions Agency, who are not civil servants.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Karl Garrett - Manx artist

Loagthan Biker
THE first solo exhibition of local, award-winning artist Karl Garrett will take place at the Empress Hotel, Douglas, this month. The show, which comprises 19 paintings and four sculptures of varying scale, subject matter and media, will take place on Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25.

The Peel resident's paintings are spontaneous, heavily texturised acrylic-based works which are full of colour, movement and emotion.

Being dyslexic, Karl freely acknowledges that writing is not his forte and finds that painting is a great way to express himself.

He said: 'I love texture and movement and each piece is unique in itself as each one has a different feeling or mood that comes from my inner most thoughts.'

Monday, September 20, 2010

SS Ellan Vannin

I received an email from Harry Edmonson about the SS Ellan Vannin, which we have mentioned a few times on this site: here, here, and here. In his letter he asks about a couple of Americans he met -- was it one of you?

Please permit me to introduce myself. My name is Harry Edmondson and I live in Liverpool, England. I am not Manx and my only connections with the Isle of Man are holidays and work related over many years, plus on the 3rd December 2009 I organised the 100th anniversary memorial service for the Isle Of Man Steam Packet Passenger boat SS ELLAN VANNIN which sank in Liverpool Bay on the 3rd December 1909.

Details of the service along with photos and comments from relatives from the disaster can be found on my web site www.waterlootheplace.com and on web site www.manxtube.com

The memorial service last year was held onboard a Mersey Ferry and included floral tributes cast to sea by Chief Minister of the Isle Of Man, The Hon Tony Brown MHK, Chairman of IOM Steam Packet Robert Quayle, plus representatives from Coastguards, Lifeboats, and Mersey Docks. We also had 21 youngsters from the local Sea Cadets who cast single red roses in memory of the 21 crew members who lost their lives in 1909 plus 14 children from a local school who also cast single red roses for each of the 14 passengers who died.

I am helping to organise a memorial service for the 3rd December this year to be held at the Ellan Vannin Memorial Plaque in Ramsey.

A new website is under construction for www.ellanvanninmemorial.co.uk which will contain all of the details with photographs and pages for relatives of those who died to post family messages etc.

I would love to have a link to your web site and I wonder if you could put details of the memorial service on your website and invite comments and contributions.

I met a couple from America at the memorial last year but unfortunately the local TV and radio stations took up all of my time and I was not able to introduce myself and have a discussion with the lady & gentleman. I would love to make contact again if this couple are members of your group.
 Leave a comment if you are one of the people he mentions of if there is anything more you'd like to know from Harry.

Manx Missile wins Madrid stage of Vuelta

MARK Cavendish won the green jersey at a grand tour for the first time on Sunday afternoon after finishing second in Madrid in the final stage of the Vuelta a Espana. Leading rival Tyler Farrar by 12 points going into the 85km stage from San Sebastian de los Rayos to Madrid, the 25-year-old Manxman needed to ensure he finished no lower than fifth if the American won the stage, to become the first Briton in 21 years to win a green jersey at a grand tour. More at IOMToday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New hill walks in Ramsey's glens

Lace up your walking boots and explore Ramsey Glens. All of the Warden's Walks are based on locations managed by DEFA for the benefit of the general public.

In general they are reasonably easy walks intended as an introduction to the delights of walking in the Island.  Many of them will take you to places not ordinarily found by the casual visitor, but are not too far from civilisation!

The Isle of Man is, by nature, a hilly place and the walks do tend to reflect this.

The warden's routes have been chosen so any climb occurs early on in the walk and is rewarded with fine views, followed by a descent back to the starting point.

Check out the rest of the article for routes and times.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Isle of Man Family History Society Open Days 2010

The Isle of Man Family History Society has opened its doors to the public this weekend with an extensive exhibition in the Corrin Hall in Peel. Adjacent to St. German’s Cathedral this is an ideal location to exhibit plentiful supplies of historical material for the keen genealogist. With plenty of volunteers available to help visitors in their quest to find that elusive relative, and a very tempting variety of Manx books to browse through, refreshments are a welcome diversion.

Formed in 1979 to encourage the study of genealogy and family history, the society’s headquarters is situated a stone’s throw away from the Corrin Hall on Derby Road in Peel, and welcomes new members who can visit the office at specified times. Monthly meetings are held mostly at the Union Mills Methodist Church Hall with members receiving ‘Fraueyn as Banglaneyn’ (Roots & Branches), a useful quarterly journal brimming with ideas, useful tips and historical or genealogical research.

This weekend’s presentation is a fascinating and absorbing exhibition, where other family historians proudly show the results of their wide-ranging researches, and provide visitors with an insight into the lives of their ancestors, both the under privileged and the well-off of Manx society.

There’s a chance to study census returns, burial registers and delve into the records for births, marriages and deaths, with countless publications available for purchase to aid future research.

In addition browsers can also reminisce about the old days with the exhibitor of a large postcard collection depicting many Island scenes from yester-year, or ponder over a bountiful display of Victorian artefacts which includes pairs of vintage butter pats and ladies underwear!


Valerie Caine © September 2010

Friday, September 17, 2010

Manx Missile hurtles through Spain

MARK Cavendish secured his third win of this year's Vuelta a Espana on Thursday afternoon, leaving him on the verge of winning his first points jersey in one of the grand tours.
The Manxman was led out perfectly by his HTC Columbia team-mate Matt Goss and outsprinted JJ Huedo, M. Cardoso and rival Tyler Farrar at the end of the 148.9km stage from Valladolid to Salamanca.

The win leaves Cav 32 points clear of Farrar in the race for the green jersey with just three stages left.

Today (Friday) is the longest stage of the tour, a gruelling 231.2km from Piedrahita to Toledo, but the Manx Missile has hinted that another one of his trademark finishes is possible.

Saturday's stage is a mountainous one not suited to sprinters but Sunday's finale in Madrid is expected to produce another grandstand finish similar to that which Cav won so empathically in the Champs Elysees just two months ago in the Tour de France.  IOMToday

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Manx lamb on sale in Harrods

LOAGHTAN lamb is going on sale at Harrods, in London. The iconic Knightsbridge store is launching the Manx product this month as part of a Festival of British Foods.

Chef Valentine Warner, who is fronting the campaign, handpicked Loaghtan lamb after a search to hunt down the finest produce across the British Isles.

George Steriopulos, of the Manx Loaghtan Sheep Breed Society Ltd, said: 'Harrods Food Halls are world-famous for offering only the finest food and drink, so we are thrilled to be launching there this September.'

Valentine Warner had his own BBC show What To Eat Now and is renowned as a champion of small, British, innovative food producers and seasonal eating

He said: 'Teaming up with Harrods buyers to pick out some of my favourite producers and bring them to the Food Halls is a great privilege and I hope shoppers will descend on these treats like kingfishers on minnows.

'Each supplier we are working with has produced something truly delicious and with great love and attention, so people duly need to know about them.'

Bruce Langlands, director of food at Harrods, said: 'Our Festival of British Foods is all about showcasing the multitude of amazing ingredients found across the country, helping shoppers buy what's in season and focusing the spotlight on some fantastic, lesser known produce and breeds, launching to the Food Halls for the very first time.'

Isle of Man Manx Loaghtan Lamb is the last indigenous farm animal left in the Isle of Man.

After a period when the number of Loaghtan ewes dropped to near extinction, a handful of dedicated and enthusiastic farmers decided to reverse the downward trend.

The breed is now thriving, and produces a fantastic-tasting meat. It has just 5 per cent fat compared to 28 per cent in conventional lamb and about 15 per cent less cholesterol.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

There is a corner of a foreign field...

I received this email today:
Dear Sir/Madam

I am the nephew of Douglas Redmayne who was born in Nebraska, his name lives forever on the war memorial in Castletown on the Isle of Man, he was killed at the tender age of 20.

I attach this link for the information of the Nebraskan Manx Society.


Roy Redmayne
Update: Douglas was born in Nebraska but moved to ‘Oakbay’ on Vancouver Island British Columbia before the family moved to the Isle of Man.
This is the story:

The circumstances surrounding the last moments of a young RAF pilot officer's life, after he was shot down over Germany in July 1940, have been revealed, thanks to the internet.
The wreckage of the Hamden bomber lies near the Keill Canal naval base
Douglas Redmayne was 20 when the Hamden bomber he was piloting on a night raid over the Keil Canal was caught by flak from guns placed near a navy yard.

The plane crashed on the banks of the Schwentine River and all four crew members perished. They were buried in Keil cemetery.

Douglas's family in Bowling Green Road, Castletown, got the first inkling he might be in trouble when they tuned in to listen to Lord Haw Haw, the German propaganda broadcaster.

Douglas's nephew, Roy Redmayne, explained: 'My mum Olive listened to the radio and heard Lord Haw Haw, he said: "Last night your boys got a battering. Four came down over Keil."

'A week later a telegram arrived confirming he was missing presumed dead.'

The family had moved to Castletown from Canada in 1932 after Douglas's father died.

Douglas was educated at King William's College and, being a US citizen — he was born in Nebraska — had no obligation to do military service.

He joined 83 Squadron of the RAF along with Guy Gibson, who later formed 617 Squadron of Dambusters fame.

Roy, who lives in Castletown, was raised on tales of his uncle's heroism and knew the site of his grave — again thanks to internet research — and had visited it on the 60th anniversary of his death with Roy's son, Stephen. But the family did not know the exact circumstances surrounding the pilot's death until last month, when Roy's brother Robyn found more details on a new website.

'The 2000 trip was everything the family could do really, at least a representative of the family was there,' said Roy.

'If anybody is looking for anybody they should contact the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

'The information comes up with rank, squadron, where the cemetery is and where the grave is. I got in touch with the RAF, but my uncle's records were destroyed by fire. That was the end of our inquiries.

'Robyn kept going. He got the last piece of the jigsaw in September, finding information through a German website.'

The website contains details surrounding such tragedies and there are even photographs of the mangled wreckage of the Hamden with the sad, graphic description that the whole crew, including Douglas Redmayne, had suffered 'destroying of the whole body'.

Finding such information was 'bitter sweet', said Roy, but at least it had brought closure.

'The final part of the jigsaw is now in place so we know the full story of Pilot Officer Douglas Redmayne RAF, a Castletown man, who died 67 years ago in a far off foreign field,' he said.

'Douglas Redmayne is remembered on the war memorial in Castletown along with all the brave young men of the parish who gave their lives so that we could enjoy our freedom.'

Magnus Barelegs Festival 2010

Later this month a horde of fairly amiable Vikings will be leaving Manx shores and heading to the picturesque banks of Strangford Lough to take part in the seventh annual Viking Boat Race.

This popular event, held within Killyleagh Bay, forms part of the ‘Magnus Barelegs Viking Festival’ and attracts teams from all around the world, but they face stiff competition from the Manx boys who have proved to be consistent winners. Styling themselves as the ‘Young Vikings Again’ it has been suggested that they could be the oldest continuous rowing team in existence, with a combined age of approximately 550 years!

Billed as the greatest Viking Festival in Ireland organisers have also planned a number of School Education Days, and an exciting finale that includes a Viking Living History display, mass invasion and inevitable battle.

Held in the fishing port of Killyleagh and within the grounds of the scenic Delamont Country Park in County Down, the celebrated Viking King Magnus Barelegs is buried just a few miles from the site of the festival.

Killyleagh is also associated with an illustrious Egyptologist, a famous England and Northern Ireland footballer and is the birthplace of the man who introduced drinking chocolate to Europe.

But the twelfth century Killyleagh Castle, which dominates the village with its striking Loire style architecture, may also have an historical connection with the Isle of Man. One of the Manx team, Roy Baker, believes that the eye-catching Killyleagh Castle may have been built as a wedding present for Auffrica, the daughter of Godred the Black, King of Mann and the Isles. The latter day Manx Vikings have become firm friends of the present owners Gawn and Polly Rowan-Hamilton and their family, in a castle which once played an important part in Ulster Scots history and still retains its own fearful dungeon. Reputed to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland and considering its majestic, almost fairy tale like appearance it’s not too bad for a temporary B & B!

Links with the area have also been forged over a pint of Guinness at the ‘Dufferin Arms’ where the landlord has adopted the Manx team and shown extensive generosity. An ideal place to slake their thirst after a hard day’s rowing, this Irish hostelry displays the Manx national flag and has now become their unofficial headquarters, where critical discussions can be overheard about rowing techniques and the standard of the beer.

This is also an important opportunity to attract media attention, with the town of Killyleagh coming alive with visitors as the area rediscovers itself with the lapse of traditional industries. But it’s also a perfect occasion to raise money for a selection of good causes in the area and beyond, with local support a vital component. All money raised by running the event will be put towards the area’s cross community work through the Killyleagh Social Partnership, but each team is invited to raise funds for their chosen charity, or contribute to locally based charities in the town.


Valerie Caine © September 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

PS Black and white photo is today's rowers in their youth....!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No idea what this is but it says Celt and America so it could be interesting


Em, we're not the Isle of Wight, we don't discriminate against gays and as a rule we refrain from shooting Scotsmen

EMMA THOMPSON: 'Not only were my remarks on a late night comedy show (comedy being the operative word) but I also mixed up my islands'

DAFT Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson has admitted she insulted the wrong island!
She caused outrage and bemusement in the Isle of Wight when she said on an American TV chat show that homosexuals were flogged and that Scotsmen could be shot on sight.

Most people quickly realised that she was getting the Isle of Wight muddled with the Isle of Man, but that her remarks were still ill-informed.

Isle of Wight council leader David Pugh wrote to the actress to take her to task.

She has written back to say that she now realised she had got the two islands muddled up, although she did not retract the comments exactly.

Thompson said: 'Not only were my remarks on a late night comedy show (comedy being the operative word) but I also mixed up my islands – I think it was the Isle of Man that used to enjoy the privilege of being allowed to shoot Scotsmen if they appeared on the beach.'

Miss Thompson said she was 'riffing' and 'the last thing on my mind was accuracy'.

A Manx Government spokesman was unperturbed by the Nanny McPhee star's jibe.

'Emma Thompson was obviously joking so we are not taking her comments seriously,' he said.

'For the record, the Isle of Man's exceptional quality of life is enjoyed by a wide variety of residents and visitors, including a number of Scots.'

New process for electing top judges

A SMALL but significant step forward in the Isle of Man's constitutional evolution.
That's how Chief Minister Tony Brown hailed a change in the recruitment process for the First and Second Deemsters and the Attorney General.

Until now the selection panels for these Crown posts have comprised the Lieutenant Governor, a Deemster and the Chief Minister.

In future the panels will consist of the First Deemster (or First Deemster Designate or Judge of Appeal), the Chief Minister and the President of Tynwald.

The panels will make recommendations to the UK Secretary of State for Justice for appointment by Her Majesty.

The move follows the announcement in July this year that the next Lieutenant Governor would be selected by an entirely local interview panel – comprising the Chief Minister, President of Tynwald and the First Deemster – instead of a panel dominated by UK representatives.

The Chief Minister said: 'Increasing the involvement of Island representatives in the recruitment process for these important Crown appointments is another small but quite significant step forward in the continuing constitutional advancement of the Isle of Man.'

The new process will be used for the first time in the recruitment of the next First Deemster, following the death of His Honour Michael Kerruish QC, and of the next Attorney General – the current post holder John Corlett QC is due to retire in April next year.

Both positions will be advertised shortly. Rates of pay will be the same as they are at present.

Mr Brown said the moves towards the Island having greater responsibility for its own affairs was driven by the Island but the UK had been very amenable and positive about making the changes.

Asked whether with the further diminution of the role of the Lieutenant Governor meant that there was any real need for this post in the future, he replied: 'We are not going down the road of a republic unless one day we become independent.

'The Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen as head of State. It doesn't mean that the Isle of Man can't have greater control and influence on its own affairs.'

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Manxgirl abroad!

From the Craig Daily Press, Colorado

Katy Radcliffe, 15, left, Shayna Grammer, 17, middle, and Larissa Grammer, 15, stand together Wednesday in the band room at Moffat County High School. Radcliffe, an Isle of Man native, stayed with the two sisters from Aug. 22 until Friday. She met the Grammers two years ago when Katy and Larissa were in Washington, D.C. for an event.

Like Cross-stitch?

Please find this email as an introduction to Crafty Cat, an Isle of Man company specialising in the design and manufacturing of Cross-stitch kits.

We wondered if you would be interested in letting your members know about our Manx kits?

Most of the subjects for the kits are based on Manx themes, in a series titled:

“Around the Island in Cross-stitch”,

The Isle of Man is well-known for its beautiful and varied scenery, and its 1000 years and more of Tynwald, the oldest continuous parliament in the world, but is most famous for those iconic symbols of the Isle of Man, the “Three Legs” Coat of Arms, the tail-less Manx Cat, and for being the home for over 100 years of the TT motorcycle races.

The original cross-stitch series consisted of around fifty titles, and as some of these date back twenty years, they are now being redesigned, and will be included in the up-to-date series as soon as possible. Our website is http://www.craftycat.im

We would be glad to supply you with further information or images and if you have any queries, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Gura mie ayd

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reciprocal health care back

The following is a news release from the Isle of Man Government on the subject of the new reciprocal health agreement with the Isle of Man:

A statement by the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Health on the new agreement can be found below:

Written Ministerial Statement


Reciprocal health agreement between the UK and the Isle of Man

Thursday 9 September 2010

            The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health (Anne Milton): Following discussions between the Department, the Isle of Man Government and the devolved administrations, a new reciprocal health agreement between the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man will come into effect from 1 October 2010.

            The new agreement will put the current temporary arrangements on a permanent footing meaning that UK residents visiting the Isle of Man will receive free, state provided healthcare, as will Isle of Man residents visiting the UK.

            Under the agreement, no public funds will change hands and this brings the Isle of Man into line with other agreements that the UK has with a number of non-European Economic Area Countries.

            The new agreement represents a sensible and logical conclusion and provides certainty for travellers on temporary visits between the UK and Isle of Man.

Lorient Loved the Mollag Band

The 40th anniversary of the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Brittany attracted a record breaking 800,000 people to share ten days of excitement in what is seen as one of the most important Celtic festivals on the calendar.

The Isle of Man was represented by the Mollag Band who shared the stage with a host of internationally renowned musicians and dancers from the Celtic world.

Punchy, upbeat, but equally challenging the Mollag Band regaled their audiences with a range of original songs and innovative tunes. This secured a warm reception from the crowds at Lorient where members of the band were equally at ease on stage in front of a packed theatre audience, or playing to relaxed passers by at the popular Manx Pavilion. Performing at a range of venues including the prestigious Palais de Congres, Ploemeur and Lorient Town Hall, members of the band used the opportunity to liaise with hundreds of press representatives promoting the music, language and culture of the Isle of Man.

Thanks to the festival’s Director, his team and the sterling work done by the Manx Heritage Foundation the Manx presence at Festival Interceltique de Lorient has strengthened in recent years, but work on next year’s festival is already underway.

Official Delegate to the festival from the Isle of Man, Aalish Maddrell, has already set the process in motion to select performers for next year’s festival under the banner of ‘Year of the Celtic Diaspora’. Applicants will need to be confident, accomplished musicians, who can perform traditional and/or original music in the Manx style at the festival which takes place 5th – 14th August, 2011.

Valerie Caine © September 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

IOM to host Google Lunar X Prize summit

A SPACE summit which will attract some top experts from the industry will be held in the Isle of Man next month. The fourth Google Lunar X Prize Team Summit will take place on October 4 and 5 at the Villa Marina, Douglas.

Senior executives from many of the 22 teams competing for the Google Lunar X Prize will come together and meet representatives from Google and the X Prize Foundation, industry experts and representatives from Space Isle, which incorporates the businesses and organisations working in the space industry in the Isle of Man.

Each team is striving to claim a share of the US $30 million prize money by becoming the first privately-funded team to send a robot to the Moon that can travel 500 metres and transmit video, images and data back to Earth.

Over the course of the two-day summit, the teams will present the progress of their missions, discuss the competition's rules and judging procedures and discuss how to best serve the educational mission of the competition while working on their lunar robots.

Teams will also meet key officials and space companies operating in the Island, who will provide information and advice to help the teams.

Team members and other experts will also be visiting secondary school students to teach them about the exciting careers that await those who apply themselves in subjects such as science, engineering and maths.

The summit is being held in World Space Week and, to celebrate this, those at the summit will attend a reception and star-gazing event at Castle Rushen.

William Pomerantz, senior director for space prizes at the non-profit X Prize Foundation, said: 'We are incredibly excited for this event.

The Google Lunar X Prize has a great deal of momentum now, with an incredible roster of teams and with major agencies such as NASA stepping up to become customers of our teams.

'We're happy we could hold this summit during World Space Week and in a location like the Isle of Man, which truly represents the new era of innovative space commerce.'

Minister for Economic Development Allan Bell MHK said: 'It is a great honour for the Isle of Man to be selected to host the Google Lunar X Prize Summit. The government has a very pro-space orientation and we are committed to helping the space industry flourish.

'For example, our track record of being at the forefront of new industries resulted in the Isle of Man successfully bidding to host the International Institute of Space Commerce, fending off competition from major cities across the world.'

The X Prize Foundation is an educational, non-profit prize institute with the mission to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity.

The $30m Google Lunar X Prize is an unprecedented international competition that challenges and inspires engineers and entrepreneurs from around the world to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration.

The money is divided into a $20m grand prize, a $5m second prize and $5m in bonus prizes.

To win the grand prize, a team must successfully soft land a privately funded spacecraft on the moon, explore the lunar surface by moving at least 500 metres and transmit a specific set of video, images and data back to the Earth.

The grand prize is $20m until December 31, 2010, after which it will drop to $15m until the prize expires on December 31.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ice cream sales up in sunny summer

ICE MAGIC: Sophie Parsons and Kaitlyn McLean, both aged five, get stuck into their ice creams on Peel Promenade
RETAILERS across the Island have reported an increase in ice cream sales this summer.
It comes after forecasters at the Met Office, based at Ronaldsway, reported that last month was the third sunniest August on record. It seems that residents and visitors alike have been getting out in the sunshine and enjoying a tasty treat.

Julie Ponson, owner of Laxey Beach Cafe, on The Promenade, said: 'Our sales are up on last year.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Lead story on IOMToday

DOUGLAS police are searching for a stolen car. The silver Skoda Fabia car was taken from the Villa Marina car park in Douglas at some time between 8.40pm on Saturday, September 4, and 2.25am the following morning. The car's registration number is FMN 533 P.

I mention this because it is inconceivable to Americans that a stolen car would be newsworthy and secondly, because it begs the question, who is stupid enough to steal a car on a small island?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Weaver's Tale -- redux

I originally covered this book here. But as so many more people will now have seen it thanks to the Mostly Manx appearance at the NAMA Convention I thought Valerie's review today would be appropriate. It's fantastic by the way!

With the recent publication of ‘A Weaver’s Tale’ by Manx author Sue King readers will be given a new insight into the little known story of ‘St. George’s Woollen Mill’, and its prominence within the lives of the people of Laxey. But the book also provides an absorbing historical account of the village itself, as it adjusts over time to change and regeneration.

The book is enhanced by a large selection of evocative photographs showing both the growth of ‘St. George’s Woollen Mill’ and the changing landscape of the surrounding area.

‘A Weaver’s Tale’ becomes a fascinating journey into the rarely told tale of wool, chronicling its impact on the local population in both work and their dressing habits. Charting its rise from home weaving to industrial mechanisation, the book challenges our perception of the term cottage industry.

In this book you can read more about the mill’s first owner, the gloriously named Egbert Rydings (who married into a Manx family), and the influence of the philanthropist John Ruskin. But it’s also a moving tribute to the local people employed at the mill.

Packed with an intriguing index of wool related facts and folklore, the reader can also follow the history of a number of Manx tartans produced at ‘St. George’s Mill’ from the 1960s, which found renewed success with the much celebrated tartan revival in the 1980s.

Now in the safe hands of a second generation of the Wood family ‘St. George’s Woollen Mill’ has entered a new era with the opening of the ‘Hodgson Loom Gallery’, and the prospect of a new catering facility in the near future.

Priced at £14.99 ‘A Weaver’s Tale’ is available from the shop at ‘St. George’s Woollen Mill, Glen Road, Laxey, ‘Mostly Manx’, Nelson Street, Douglas, or from bookshops throughout the Island.

Valerie Caine © September 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sir Frank Kermode

I missed the death of our most famous Manx man of letters as I was on vacation. Here is the obituary from the Daily Telegraph. If you're not high-brow enough for the whole thing just know he was born in the Isle of Man and was obviously a bit impractical (check out the story at the end about mistaking the trashmen for movers.)

Sir Frank Kermode, who died on August 17 aged 90, was the most eminent critic of English literature since FR Leavis; his teaching career culminated in the senior English professorship at Cambridge University, a post he surrendered in 1982 in the aftermath of a widely reported doctrinal rift within the faculty. 

Like the "Two Cultures" spat between Leavis and CP Snow in the 1960s (which Kermode had helped initiate by acclaiming Snow as a novelist in the "great tradition" approved by Leavis), the later row also concerned the correct approach to education in the modern age.
Though at the time he was seen as a supporter of progressive theories, Kermode's attitude ultimately became one of alarm at the widening gulf between academic ideas about literature and the experience of books had by the ordinary reader. Kermode had always tried to act as a bridge between these two worlds, particularly by writing for newspapers. In doing so he (perhaps unwittingly) embodied the transformation of the popularising academic from man of letters to media don.
Kermode had initially been a scholar of the Renaissance, notably of Shakespeare, Spenser and Donne, but he came to the attention of fellow academics with Romantic Image (1957), a study of the use of imagery in poetry by romantic and modern writers.
He continued thereafter to combine Renaissance and modern studies, but in both his preoccupations remained broadly the same – the relationship between art and order, and that between writers and the changing world of which they had tried to form a coherent vision. He also came to be keenly interested in the obverse of this latter theme, namely whether the changing sensibilities of the world renders the vision of some past writers redundant.
As well as noteworthy studies of Milton (1960) and the American poet Wallace Stevens (also 1960) – a particular influence on Kermode's sometimes oblique style – his most important criticism included The Classic (1975), which explored the response of modern writers to a secularised world; The Genesis of Secrecy (1979), which examined the nature of narrative; and The Sense of an Ending (1967).
This last was a brilliant investigation of the idea that the longing for an ending brings order to both life and literature, giving shape to the endless flux of time. Kermode, who was also a considerable cultural historian, used apocalyptic fiction as his model, and showed none of the lack of stamina in argument that sometimes undermined his broadest criticism.
The Sense of an Ending gave notice of Kermode's increasing tolerance of modern literary criticism and of its interest less in the content of a work than in its form and structure. From 1967 to 1974 he taught at University College, London, a period that witnessed the birth of new literary theories, notably structuralism and deconstruction. These held that readers should no longer study a text with a view to discerning an objective meaning, since in the modern world texts might have an infinite number of equally valid meanings, each of equal cultural weight, each peculiar to the reader.
Although Kermode was later capable of castigating the gibberish written by many proponents of these ideas, he was always open-minded, and in the late 1960s was an important supporter of the further investigation of these new theories. In a celebrated coup, he arranged for the structuralist Roland Barthes to lecture at UCL.
Such contemporaneity of attitude soon brought Kermode, who consistently disclaimed such ambitions, a clutch of public appointments. Already a stalwart of higher journalism as a reviewer for the New Statesman and The Guardian, in 1967 he took part in that most Sixties of events: giving evidence that a book (in this case Last Exit to Brooklyn) was not obscene. By the early 1970s he had judged the first Booker Prize, was on the Arts Council, had run an Arts Lab at the South Bank and was editing a series of guides to Masters of Modern Thought. His career moved a wryly jealous Philip Larkin to doggerel:
If I could talk, I'd be a worthless prof
Every other year off
Just a jetset egghead, TLS toff
Not old toad: Frank Kermode

Less kindly ridicule had greeted Kermode's earlier incarnation as a leading light of fashionable thought. In 1966, he had been persuaded to take on, with Stephen Spender, the co-editorship of Encounter, a forum for political and literary thought and the best-funded monthly in Britain. Unhappily, it emerged that most of its funding came not from literati but from Langley, Virginia; the magazine was effectively owned by the CIA.
Having been told by Encounter's publisher, Melvin Lasky, that the periodical was not in the front line of the Cold War, Kermode was for some time duped into giving false assurances about his magazine's neutrality. He and Spender duly resigned when the truth was revealed in 1967.
For despite his worldly success, Kermode was not politically astute. He was genuinely more interested in ideas than in infighting, and it was the absence of like-minded colleagues that finally wearied him of Cambridge.
When he was offered the Regius Professorship in 1974, he hesitated to accept, as he was happy in London and had been warned about the atmosphere at Cambridge. Once there, he found a badly-organised faculty which was ill-disposed to change. Kermode later said that the happiest of his eight years at Cambridge was the one he spent as a visiting professor at Harvard.
The row that brought about his resignation in 1982 was presented in the press as a conflict in teaching methods between the traditionalists and the modernists, among whose ranks was Kermode. In reality, the dispute revolved around a junior lecturer, the structuralist Colin MacCabe, whose promotion the traditionalists had tried to block. Kermode's support was not so much for a dogma as for a talented colleague he thought had been unjustly treated; but his arguments did not carry the day. Shortly afterwards he resigned his post and fled Cambridge for a post in New York.
John Frank Kermode was born at Douglas, Isle of Man, on November 29 1919. His father was a harbourside storekeeper, his mother a former waitress who had been abandoned at the age of a week by her parents, who were emigrating to America. This sense of not being wanted, of alienation, passed to her son, whose feeling of exclusion was exacerbated by a narrowly provincial childhood on an island separated by 80 miles of water from the mainland.
The perception that he was an outsider remained with him throughout his career, and was the guiding tone of his more than usually ruminative memoirs, Not Entitled (1996).
Frank was educated at Douglas High School, where he overcame undiagnosed short-sightedness and a nervous breakdown brought on by parental expectations. At Liverpool University he was convinced that he was less intellectually developed than his peers, a belief that prompted him to write his first book at 20. This was a study of Aaron Hill, the 18th-century theatre manager who introduced castrato singing to England.
On graduating in 1940, Kermode joined the Navy, spending much of the war making ever more futile attempts to lay booms off the stormy coast of Iceland. He also served as secretary to an increasingly lunatic series of superannuated captains.
One of Kermode's commanding officers attended the funeral of his first officer while drunk. He assured the widow that her husband was not really dead, otherwise he, the captain, would have been informed of the fact by the Admiralty. Kermode was later the last visitor to have lunch on Hood before she was destroyed by Bismarck. On being demobbed in 1946, Kermode decided that he lacked the imagination to be a writer and decided on a career as a critic. After being pipped for a post at Leeds by two rivals named Kettle and Fisch, he began steadily to climb the ranks of English lectureships. In 1949 he took a job at Reading.
His seven years there were among the happiest and most fruitful of his career. He began to review for the Third Programme on the BBC and profited from the influence of John Wain, who was also teaching at the university. Having edited only a volume of pastoral poetry and an edition of The Tempest, Kermode then made his name in critical circles with Romantic Image.
This and a study of Donne secured him a professorship at Manchester in 1958, whence he moved first to Bristol in 1965 and then, as Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature, to UCL in 1967. While there, and at Cambridge, he contributed a fortnightly literary causerie to The Daily Telegraph.
After leaving Cambridge, he continued to review books, notably for the London Review of Books, which he had helped to found. Kermode was no unthinking dogmatist, and his reviews showed a characteristic willingness to give ideas a run for their money, as well as a grasp of when to question them.
He retired in 1989, and in his last years became a critic of the grip exerted on academic thought by the modern theories that had once interested him. He championed instead the idea that a work had inherent value and argued that the study of a text must not be elevated above the text itself. The content of the literary canon could be questioned, but there must continue to be a canon. It was a view that informed, among others, his book Shakespeare's Language (2000), which dealt, unfashionably, with the playwright as a writer.
He continued to publish into old age, producing eight books in his eighties, including a collection of his own essays, Pieces of My Mind (2003), and a new edition of The Duchess of Malfi (2005), which he edited. His final book, Concerning EM Forster, was timed to coincide with his 90th birthday last year. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1973 and knighted for his services to literature in 1991.
Frank Kermode was in private a genial man, fond of a good pipe, and many felt for him when he was the victim of a highly unfortunate incident in 1996. Expecting the arrival of some men to help him move house, he blithely handed the 50 cardboard boxes containing his library of 2,500 books, including many rare volumes, to the two burly types who knocked on his door. The entire collection was duly lost to the compressor of the municipal dustcart.
He married first, in 1947 (dissolved 1970), Maureen Eccles; they had a twin son and daughter. His second marriage, in 1976, to Anita Van Vactor, was also dissolved.