Friday, October 29, 2010

RIP Ron Quayle - Past President of NAMA and Co-founder of the Greater Washington Manx Area Society

A letter from Ron's daughter Jill.

Ron Quayle passed away today, Thursday, October 28, at 3:45 p.m. at home surrounded by Mom, Rob (son), and me (his daughter Jill) as he passed.

Know that we are relieved that he is at peace after putting up a strong, brave struggle against the cancer.  We are thankful for two wonderful years with him after his diagnosis.  We will miss him dearly but know that he’ll watch over us.

We thank everyone for your kind words, love, and support through Ron’s battle with cancer.  

We are so fortunate to be blessed with wonderful friends and family.

Ron will be cremated and be released into Casco Bay in the future – along with Mom when she’s ready to go.  We expect to have a Celebration of Life for Dad in Northern Virginia.  No date or place has been set.


Margaret, Rob, and Jill

I'll post more when I know more. In the meantime may I extend the sympathies of the Manx community in North America to Margaret, Rob, and Jill. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Ron was a lovely man and will be missed by all who knew him. I invite readers to submit their best memories of Ron, especially any from past NAMA Conventions.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


CAN I say 'I love the Island?' No, of course I can't. It's too much a part of me.
That sort of thing is said only by visitors and comeovers. To say it myself would be like saying I love my own sense of touch, sight or hearing.
It would be like praising birds for flying, or the tide for ebbing and flowing.
But adjusting to living back here again, after years away in London, has been, for me, a strange experience.
Not because of the obvious differences – the lack of distracting lettering everywhere (except shop fronts and road signs), or the way people walk more slowly, and think more slowly, and generally live more slowly (except certain drivers).
I never lost touch with all that during my years away, because I came back often on visits.
No, what feels strange is that the place I remember from years ago is weirdly overlaid on the place it is now, like a double exposure on a film.
Streets that once were cobbled suddenly aren't. Shops have new names and are painted a different colour, or even rebuilt. It's all disconcerting, like being in one of those dreams where a familiar road ends up leading somewhere you've never seen.
For instance, I'm always surprised that the railway bridge over the road between Upper and Lower Foxdale seems to have vanished.
On Douglas's promenades, where did the Rendezvous Restaurant go? And opposite the foot of Broadway, what happened to the Red Pier with its bollards boys used to leapfrog over?
Of course, this multi-layered quality, this sense of the past being somehow still present, explains why the Island remains peculiarly rich to me.
Of course, the scenery is beautiful, but beautiful scenery is not uncommon. In Britain alone, Cornwall has coastlines as craggy, Yorkshire has fine sheep-dotted moors, and Skye has peculiar and dramatic mountains.
But here, to me, places contain memories, even long histories.
That restaurant used to be a dance hall and, before that, a sawmill.
There's the building where the good citizens of Peel hurled apples at John Wesley. Then the rock off Kitterland where 29 local residents were blown up while looting the shipwrecked brig Lily.
The point of all this is, of course, that the important thing about the Island is not the place, it's the people.
As I said, the Manx live slowly. To a city-dweller, they may seem to expect little of themselves and their lives.
But that's only the reverse side of choosing a placid, calm existence over an active exciting one. And I've got more sense than to make sentimental generalisations about the nature of the Manx character, like poor T. E. Brown did in his day.
Which in turn brings me, I suppose, to the Manx culture.
On the whole I can't say I'm a great fan. The folk music and the folk dancing, for instance, seem poor and derivative compared to those in, say, Scotland or Ireland. (Who was it said that the reason most folk-songs are so terrible is because they are written by the people?).
But this is hardly surprising. You might as well expect any town of about the same population as the Island – Reading, for instance – to have a flourishing culture of its own. The main thing is that people keep enthusiastically trying. As we do.
And then there's the language. The careful reader will have noticed that so far I've used not a word of it.
I haven't spoken of going up the river to see if the croaghan are biting, or reminisced about summer evenings sitting on the scrissag to watch for the keimagh.
This is because the purpose of language is to communicate, not to be the secret code of a small society and while learning Manx might be a diverting hobby, with English we can communicate with the world.
But I feel myself getting cantankerous (an old Manx characteristic).
All I can say in apology is – yes, it turns out I do love the Island.

Ean Wood is a Manx-born author, recently returned to the Island to live after many years in London. His most recent book, Headlong Through Life, which is a biography of the dancer Isadora Duncan, is published in April 2006.

Film in Peel

Ean Wood wrote an article in the Peel Heritage Newsletter several years ago about Howard Hugh who used to show silent films at the Albert Hall on a hand-cranked projector.
This is part of it: 'During the First World War there were often many soldiers from Knockaloe in the audience, brought there by chara by Albert Ostick, who ran the Raglan Hotel in Douglas Street, now the British Legion.
At first the projector at the Albert Hall was lit by oil but when Knockaloe closed down, at the beginning of the Twenties, and its equipment was sold off, Howard bought an oil-fired generator and the projector lamp became electrical. The Albert Hall was regarded as a bit rough for the nicer children to attend. Some people even said you could catch bugs there. And the presentation wasn't quite all it might be. It wasn't unknown for Howard to put a reel of film on the projector end outwards so that the picture appeared on the screen backwards and upside down and the audience would yell out: 'Other way up Howard.'
He continues:
'The next cinema was the Pavilion, on Stanley Road, which is now the Masonic Hall. It had two prices of seats, the more expensive in the back half, which were padded, and the less expensive in the front half, which weren't. Each night there was a first house and a second house, each, of course, showing the same programme. Here's a mention of it in a recent piece for the Peel Heritage Newsletter, to come out shortly, about a Peel man called Teddy Egner:
'Teddy never really settled to having a job but he could play the piano and for a while, around 1930, he had a little four-piece band. Sometimes they played for dances in the ballroom above the Pavilion Cinema on Stanley Road. Prices for the cinema in those days were sixpence and a shilling. If you'd paid a shilling you were admitted free to the ballroom after the film but if you'd only been in the sixpenny seats you had to pay threepence extra.'
Ean goes on: 'The ballroom on the first floor was refused a licence after the Second World War because the floor was judged to be structurally unsafe for dancing. I'm not sure when the Pavilion itself closed. Possibly in the 1960s.
'The next (and last until now) attempt to show films in Peel began in the autumn of 1976, at Harbour Lights on the Shore Road. The plan was to have two children's shows on Saturdays, one at 10.15am and one at 2pm, each showing the same film and supporting programme, and an adult's show of films and supporting programme on Thursdays at 7.30pm.
'As far as I know it was only to run during the winter and how long it lasted I don't know.'

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Cheerful Book of Misfortunes

Today I was going to review this chirpy Christmas stocking-filler by my dear old friend, Ean Wood. It is an anthology, collected by Ean over many, many years, of events that turned out badly but are still funny to anyone not personally involved in the situation. I received my inscribed copy from him a couple of weeks ago and was going to write it up nearer to Christmas but today it must serve as a tribute to him. I just received news that he passed away in the Isle of Man earlier today. Ean was a polymath who was interested in everything, and an expert on most things, especially jazz, movies and history. RIP Ean.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ireland on Sale

Remember -- it's a short hop to the Isle of Man! 

Aer Lingus offers today.

New York to Dublin
January 11 - March 31, 2011
Based on round-trip purchase. Taxes/fees additional.

Chicago to Dublin
January 9 - March 31, 2011
Based on round-trip purchase. Taxes/fees additional.

Boston to Dublin
December 3, 2010 - March 31, 2011
Based on round-trip purchase. Taxes/fees additional.

Orlando to Dublin
January 18 - March 10, 2011
Based on round-trip purchase. Taxes/fees additional.

Dallas, Detroit, Minneapolis to Dublin
January 1 - March 31, 2011
Based on round-trip purchase. Taxes/fees additional.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What's the difference between Hop tu Naa and Halloween?

Emily Jones, 11 and Lizzie Jones, 9 carving their Tunips at 
Emily Jones, 11 and Lizzie Jones, 9 carving their Tunips at Cregneash

As the rest of the British Isles prepares to celebrate Halloween on October 31, many Manx residents will celebrate Hop tu Naa.
Historically Hop tu Naa has been considered to be the Celtic New Year, marking the end of the summer and the beginning of winter.
It was traditionally a time when people would celebrate the safe gathering of the harvest.
A sign that all preparations had been made for the long, cold winter ahead.
Whilst the 31 October may be known to many as Halloween, any Manxman (or woman for that matter) worth his salt will give you the sternest of looks and tell you the festival in question is Hop-tu-naa.
This custom of singing around the houses goes back into history, although the turnip lanterns now irrevocably linked with the practice only seem to appear around 100 years ago.
With the passing of time and mixing of cultures as "incomers" to the island bring their own customs, things do become rather confused and today many see Halloween and Hop-tu-Naa as one and the same.
Children with their turnip lanterns at Cregneash in 2009
Children with their turnip lanterns at Cregneash in 2009
No Connection
In reality there's no connection. Hop-tu-naa is really a celebration of "Oie Houney", the original New Year's Eve. As such it is pretty much the sole reminder of these ancient times and "Hop-tu-naa" itself is a corruption of "Shogh ta'n Oie", meaning "this is the night".
However, the Celtic new year was moved to the secular new year on 01 January, a move still remembered in Scotland where "Hogmanay" (from the same root words) is still celebrated.
The Celtic year was divided into quarters and "Sauin", or New Year was celebrated in "Mee Houney", the Manx for November. The fact remains, like it or not, the two festivals are very much linked for many young practitioners.
How many Hop-Tu-Naaers know the words to the traditional Manx Gaelic song? The answer is very few - although it's to be hoped a recent resurgence of interest in Manx Gaelic and the formation of a Manx speaking playgroup and primary school may help rectify this situation.
Today the chances are you will be treated to a rendition, or more likely part-rendition, of "Ginnie the Witch" a song which seemingly adds to the confusion between Hop-tu-Naa and Halloween despite having been around for a good number of decades.
If you're less lucky, you may be assailed with another presumably none Manx variant, "The witches of Halloween" (ooo-oooh), but few will be serenaded with the original Manx Song "Shoh shenn oie Houiney, Hop-tu-naa, T'an eayst soilshean, Trol-la-laa" or "this is old Hollandtide night/The moon shines bright".

And what of the lanterns? 
A proper Hop-tu-Naaer will have a hollowed out turnip the size of a man's head, with flickering eyes, and jagged mouth illuminated from within by a candle. A good turnip lantern is worth a pound of anyone's money, safe in the knowledge that someone, though probably not the little cherub on your doorstep, has suffered sprained wrists and blistered thumbs scooping it out.

Tragically there is now a much-preferred soft option, the pumpkin. True, they make very nice lanterns but they're really not in the same league. Cut the top off, turn it upside down and the insides practically fall out. This American import goes hand-in-turnip with that other transatlantic custom, Trick or Treat, in which a devil mask and bin liner are all that's needed to do the rounds, with the threat of a trashed flowerbed if the homeowner isn't forthcoming with a couple of quid.

Three customs muddled into one night - it can only be the Isle of Man. Hop-tu-naa it seems has a confused present and an uncertain future, but it's to be hoped it does survive; a generation of children deprived of the smell of burning turnip would be a poorer one indeed.
This year Manx National Heritage will host a range a celebrations including traditional turnip (not pumpkin!) carving at Cregneash.
Hop tu Naa
Carving turnip lanters is a Hop tu Naa tradition
Andrew Metcalfe, Museums and Sites Manager for Manx National Heritage said: "The event is a great opportunity for everyone to find out more about the customs and traditions of Manx Hop tu Naa. Children will be given the opportunity to make and decorate their own turnip lanterns to take home and take part in other various activities associated with the festive occasion."

All taken from the BBC

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hong Kong coup for island firms

THE Isle of Man has been accepted as an ‘approved jurisdiction’ by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE). In doing so, the Isle of Man joins a select group of countries which have been accepted by the Hong Kong Listing Committee. These include Bermuda, Cayman, the UK, Cyprus, Germany, Luxembourg, Singapore, Australia and the British Virgin Islands.
The acceptance as an approved jurisdiction means that a company incorporated in the Isle of Man can now seek a listing on the HKSE. IOMToday This important recognition has been achieved after the Isle of Man was able to demonstrate it has the same standards of investor and shareholder protection as those available under Hong Kong company law.

Juan Watterson MHK, political member of the Department of Economic Development responsible for financial services, said: ‘This paves the way for the Isle of Man to attract foreign issuers to list on the HKSE. In recent years, the island has become the leading jurisdiction for listing foreign companies on the UK’s AIM market. A number of our commercial law firms already have considerable international expertise working with Asian lawyers, including equity and debt issues, by Isle of Man companies on other Asian exchanges and in some cases have representative offices in Asia. We are constantly looking for ways to improve and build on the island’s international reputation as a high-quality International Business Centre, and this listing approval is a further example of this commitment.’

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sir Norman Wisdom's funeral

From IOMToday.
HUNDREDS turned up to wave goodbye to comedy legend Sir Norman Wisdom today as the Isle of Man’s most famous resident was given a public funeral.
They lined the pavements along Douglas seafront as the funeral cortege made its way to church, with well-wishers breaking out in applause as the horse-drawn hearse carrying the popular star of films such as Trouble in Store passed by.
Sir Norman died at the age of 95 on October 4 at Abbotswood nursing home, Ballasalla, where he had spent the last three years of his life.
Stars who travelled for today’s service in St George’s Church included Todd Carty, of the Bill and EastEnders, comedian and former Coronation Street star Bradley Walsh, comic Stan Boardman and TV mogul Michael Grade.
The funeral cortege travelled along the promenades, before heading to St George’s Church, where a service was led by Archdeacon Brian Smith.
Scottish singer Moira Anderson, an island resident, sang Who Can I Turn To and Absent, while Sir Norman’s son Nick paid a personal tribute to the ‘family man’.
He said: ‘He would always make time for people, whatever the situation, which was time he didn’t necessarily have because he was usually running late!
‘He was a very caring and loving father.’
Sir Norman’s grandson Lawrence, read out a poem entitled Gratitude, written by the funnyman 15 years ago.
His agent Johnny Mans also paid a tribute to Sir Norman, the actor.
Hymns included Praise My Soul, The King of Love My Shepherd Is and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer.
A retiring collection was taken for Sir Norman’s Isle of Man charity Wooden Spoon.
A private service takes place in the north of the island tomorrow (Saturday).
Sir Norman’s daughter-in-law Kim said: ‘We have given the public what they wanted, which is a very public funeral. We are hoping that everyone will respect our privacy the following day as this will be when the family will say our final farewells.’

Amber Fiddle Award 2010

Manx fiddle player Laura Rowles will be representing the Isle of Man in Scotland next month after securing a place in the semi-final of the annual ‘Amber Fiddle Award’ created to encourage composition especially for the fiddle. Held as part of Perthshire’s international ‘Amber Festival’ Laura beat a record number of entries with her composition ‘Sheena’s Waltz’.

Laura said, “I was shocked and delighted. I wrote ‘Sheena’s Waltz’ for my dad’s wedding last year – they used it as the processional and for the first dance and everyone seemed to like it. I really enjoy writing tunes for the fiddle as it’s such an expressive instrument and I’m really excited about performing the waltz at the semi-final”.

Together with five other semi-finalists from Scotland and England Laura’s performance will be judged by three top class musicians; Shetland fiddle player Aly Bain, Swedish multi-instrumentalist Ale Möller and Bronx fiddle and banjo player Bruce Molsky. Three musicians will then be chosen to perform in the final, two days later, as part of a concert featuring international songwriter and performer Dougie MacLean and traditional Irish band Grada. With a first prize of £1,000 and a copy of the Niel Gow Trophy (the original resides permanently in Dunkeld) up for grabs the eventual winner’s tune will be featured in a future edition of specialist magazine ‘Fiddle On’, with a two year subscription as part of the winning package.

Niel Gow was a famous eighteenth century self taught Scottish fiddle player who initially was destined for the life of a plaid weaver. But his natural talent for music was expressed at an early age and he was declared a child prodigy, although he did receive lessons at a later date. At the age of eighteen Gow won a fiddle contest where he was declared to possess a highly distinctive style and caught the attention of James Murray, 2nd Duke of Atholl and former Governor of the Isle of Man. He became Gow’s patron, employing him to play at a number of events at Blair Castle and paying him a retainer of £5 per year. Gow rapidly became established as Perthshire’s best fiddle player and despite increasing fame declined to move from his family home at Inver, situated close to Dunkeld. A prolific composer almost one hundred tunes have been identified as being written by the fiddle master.

Currently studying for a PhD at the Centre for Manx Studies (University of Liverpool) on aspects of the Manx fiddle tradition, Laura is known as both a musician and teacher on the Island, performing locally with ‘Paitchyn Vannin’, ‘Shenn Scoill’ and ‘Jinnyn’. She is also currently a member of the organising committee for the Island’s inter-Celtic festival ‘Yn Chruinnaght’.

Breesha Maddrell, Manx Music Development Officer for the Manx Heritage Foundation commented, “This just goes to show how skilled Manx musicians are and what beautiful compositions they produce. Manx traditional music is certainly alive and kicking; as a movement it’s growing and becoming increasingly professional whilst not losing sight of its grassroots”.

Valerie Caine © October 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

First–ever Isle of Man Festival of Choirs – a Triumph!

There must be American choirs that could give the British ones a run for their money!

Keighley Vocal Union from West Yorkshire became the first holders of the title ‘Choir of the Festival’ when they won the inaugural event in the Villa Marina on Sunday afternoon.

Choir conductor Frank Smith received the Festival Trophy, and a cheque for £1,500, from Festival Patron Moira Anderson.  Keighley Vocal Union was selected for the final by adjudicator Alwyn Humphreys after winning the mixed choir section the previous day.  Other finalists were the Swift Singers from Essex, who won the ladies’ voice section, and Portadown Male Voice Choir from Northern Ireland.  Each group received a cheque for £500 as class winners.

Another big winner was the event itself.  Conductor of the Keighley choir, Mr.Smith, said afterwards that he had enjoyed the Festival which had been a great occasion.  He added: ‘It was a really tough decision for the organisers to launch something like this and I am really pleased for them that it has gone so well.’

The adjudicator, Mr. Humphreys, told the audience in the Royal Hall that he had enjoyed the Festival immensely.  He said he would leave with very happy memories of the Isle of Man and its people and was sure everyone would look back on the weekend as a time when they made new friends through music.

Presenting the awards, Moira Anderson paid tribute to Geoff Corkish MBE, MHK, member for Tourism, for not only conceiving the Festival idea but having the organisational flair to convert his dream into reality.

In turn, Mr.Corkish thanked his team for their hard work and organisation and also the choirs for their support.  Said Mr.Corkish: ‘We flung our bread upon the waters many months ago in the hope that choirs around the British Isles would join with us in the passion and enthusiasm we have in the Isle of Man for making music.  Thank you for returning that passion and enthusiasm.’

He went on to thank Alwyn Humphreys and Moira Anderson for their involvement in what he hoped would be a festival which would grow and grow.  He said it was right that it should be centred on the Isle of Man where they enjoyed singing so much.

Earlier, announcing the winners at the conclusion of the classes on Saturday afternoon, Mr.Humphreys described it as a really fantastic afternoon of music making.  He said he looked on it as a great honour to be asked to adjudicate at the first ever Festival of Choirs.

He added: ‘We have heard so many different sounds, a variety of music from different cultures and periods of history – all in a wonderful spirit.  The aims of this Festival are to celebrate friendship, harmony, and the love of music and that is exactly what we have had.’

Top local performance of the weekend came from Musicale (conductor Mrs Judy Cross) who picked up a cheque for £200, and a trophy, after coming second in the mixed voice choirs.  They finished only three marks behind the section winners, Keighley Vocal Union, who was to go on to claim the Choir of the Festival Trophy.

Results of the different classes – Ladies Voice Choirs:  1. The Swift Singers from Essex 255; 2. Abbey Belles Chorus (Yorkshire) 253; Manx Voices 252, Marsh Ladies Choir (West Yorkshire) 248, Glenfaba Ladies Choir 245, Lon Vane Ladies Choir 235.

Male Voice Choirs: 1. Portadown Male Voice Choir (Northern Ireland) 262; 2. Tideswell Male Voice Choir (Derbyshire) 259; Lon Dhoo Male Voice Choir 251.

Mixed Voice Choirs: 1. Keighley Vocal Union (West Yorkshire) 265; 2. Musicale (Isle of Man) 262; Glenfaba Chorale 254, Poringland Singers (Norwich) 249, Kerry Choral Union (Ireland) 242.

The Festival brought to the Island over 500 choristers and supporters. The organisers, Isle of Man Tourism, said that plans were already in hand for the 2011 event which is scheduled for September 23-25.  Many choirs said they would be returning. In addition, a number of representatives of off-island choirs attended the event to assess it with a view to bringing their choirs to future festivals.

After the welcome reception for the choirs on Friday night there was a pleasant surprise for pub-goers when some of the singers visited Douglas hostelries to give impromptu performances.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple Day at Milntown

The magnificent house at Milntown (The Christian family's house for many years) bathed in the warmth of late autumn sunshine as a steady flow of people headed towards the orchard garden for a special event in celebration of the humble apple.

Out of the extensive range of apples available there are only two known Manx varieties. The ‘Andrew Johnson’ apple is a fairly recent addition and is thought to be named after a Head Forrester on the Island, but its definition as a Manx apple is disputed by some, although it remains a popular choice for many Island gardens and orchards. However, there is no challenge to the ‘Manx Codlin’ developed by Mr. Kewley of Ballanard in the nineteenth century.

A farmers’ market supplied an extensive range of Manx produce, including a selection of organic goods, to tempt passing trade and browsers were invited to swap plants or produce, and learn more about the Woodland Trust. John ‘Dog’ Callister and Kevin Quayle were also busy creating an astonishing variety of baskets from willow and other readily available countryside materials; their fingers expertly bringing life to their creations.

In the background local music duo ‘Strengyn’ entertained visitors with their unique blend of stringed instruments, to create a fast paced and confident performance with their amazing fusion of musical genres.

Milntown itself has its own well established orchard of apple trees, but Mil Millichap from the north of the Island added to the garden’s natural display by putting on a stunning show of different varieties of apples. Visitors were encouraged to wander freely amongst the exhibits, buy young trees and test his encyclopaedic knowledge of this nutritious and versatile fruit.

This was an excellent opportunity to buy Manx produce and learn more about what local traders have to offer, and a reminder that we should perhaps seek the road of self sufficiency a little more often.

Valerie Caine © October 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Arrane Ashoonagh dy Vannin

This entire entry has been lifted from Wikipedia to which goes much thanks.
The National Anthem (Manx: Arrane Ashoonagh) of the Isle of Man, known in Manx as Arrane Ashoonagh dy Vannin, was written and composed by William Henry Gill (1839-1923), with the Manx translation by John J. Kneen (1873-1939). The anthem is sung to an adaptation of the traditional Manx melody of Mylecharaine's March and its English title is normally O Land of Our Birth.[1][2]
First performed at the Manx Music Festival on Thursday 21 March 1907, there are eight verses in total, but the first and last verses are those usually sung.[1]
The anthem was given official status by the Isle of Man's legislature Tynwald at a sitting on 22 January 2003, with God Save the Queen, being designated as the Royal Anthem. The National Anthem is used on official and ceremonial occasions and in schools, the Royal Anthem is normally reserved for use additionally on those occasions when the Sovereign, members of the Royal Family or the Lieutenant Governor are present. 

The song Ellan Vannin had up to this point vied to be an equal unofficial national anthem.

Lyrics & AU sound file of Manx National Anthem.

English verses[2] Manx verses[2]

O land of our birth,
O gem of God's earth,
O Island so strong and so fair;
Built firm as Barrule,
Thy Throne of Home Rule
Makes us free as thy sweet mountain air.
When Orry, the Dane,
In Mannin did reign,
'Twas said he had come from above;
For wisdom from Heav'n
To him had been giv'n
To rule us with justice and love.
Our fathers have told
How Saints came of old,
Proclaiming the Gospel of Peace;
That sinful desires,
Like false Baal fires,
Must die ere our troubles can cease.
Ye sons of the soil,
In hardship and toil,
That plough both the land and the sea,
Take heart while you can,
And think of the Man
Who toiled by the Lake Galilee.
When fierce tempests smote
That frail little boat,
They ceased at His gentle command;
Despite all our fear,
The Saviour is near
To safeguard our dear Fatherland.
Let storm-winds rejoice,
And lift up their voice,
No danger our homes can befall;
Our green hills and rocks
Encircle our flocks,
And keep out the sea like a wall.
Our Island, thus blest, No foe can molest;
Our grain and our fish shall increase;
From battle and sword Protecteth the Lord,
And crowneth our nation with peace.
Then let us rejoice
With heart, soul and voice,
And in The Lord's promise confide;
That each single hour
We trust in His power,
No evil our souls can betide.

O' Halloo nyn ghooie,
O' Ch'liegeen ny s'bwaaie
Ry gheddyn er ooir aalin Yee,
Ta dt' Ardstoyl Reill Thie
Myr Barrool er nyc hoie
Dy reayl shin ayns seyrsnys as shee.
Tra Gorree yn Dane
Haink er traie ec y Lhane
Son Ree Mannin v'eh er ny reih
'S va creenaght veih Heose
Er ny chur huggey neose
Dy reill harrin lesh cairys as graih
Ren nyn ayryn g'imraa
Va Nooghyn shenn traa
Yn Sushtal dy Hee fockley magh
Shegin yeearree peccoil
Myr far aileyn Vaal,
Ve er ny chur mow son dy bragh.
Vec ooasle yn Theihll
Ayns creoighys tooilleil
Ta traaue ooir as faarkey, Gow cree
Ny jarrood yn fer mie
Ta coadey 'n lught-thie
Ren tooilleil liorish Logh Galilee.
D'eiyr yn sterrm noon as noal
Yn baatey beg moal
Fo-harey hug Eh geay as keayn
Trooid ooilley nyn ghaue
Ta'n Saualtagh ec laue
Dy choadey nyn Vannin veg veen.
Lhig dorrinyn bra
Troggal seose nyn goraa
As brishey magh ayns ard arrane
Ta nyn groink aalin glass
Yn vooir cummal ass
As coadey lught-thie as shioltane.
Nyn Ellan fo-hee
Cha boir noidyn ee
Dy bishee nyn eeastyn as grain
Nee'n Chiarn shin y reayll
Voish strieughyn yn theihll
As crooinnagh lesh shee 'n ashoon ain.
Lhig dooin boggoil bee,
Lesh annym as cree,
As croghey er gialdyn yn Chiarn;
Dy vodmayd dagh oor,
Treish teil er e phooar,
Dagh olk ass nyn anmeenyn 'hayrn.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let them eat Bonnag

From the inestimable Manx Notebook series, selflessly scanned by Francis Coakley, comes a great page on Bonnag.

Whenever a recipe for some 'Manx' foodstuff is required, Bonnag is usually offered. Originally I think this was just a large flat unleavened loaf cooked on the griddle (rather like oatcake) but over the years it appears to have become a much richer cake-like fruit bread or in later recipes a fairly rich fruit cake. The word does not occur in Cregeen's Manx dictionary of 1835 - in Clague's Manx Reminiscences (1911) it is given as the 'English' for Soddag Verreen (defined by Cregeen as a thick clapped cake ; generally understood as the last of a baking and left longer on the griddle to harden (ref to 1 Kings xvii. 13) which ties in with its colloquial use in Anglo Manx - "He's like barley bonnag — hard in the cruss"). Though Kelly's dictionary (Manx Soc vol 13) gives 'bonnag' as a translation of cake, the word is not included in the Manx-English section. Roeder quotes O’Reilly’s Irish Dictionary simply giving bonnag as "cake"; the Scotch 'bannock' is probably from the same root. Elizabeth David in her section on Bakestone Cakes or Breads indicates that the words 'Bread' and 'Cake' could be used interchangeably in this context and that cake did not have today's meaning of something sweet - Marie Antoinette's misquote 'Let them eat cake' likewise refers to the use of a different grain than wheat.

Hall Caine describes his Manx Grandmother in the 1860's, as laying out on the kitchen table "a crock of fresh water, with perhaps a bowl of new milk, and a plate of 'bonnag,' which was barley bread. - no mention of dried fruit etc. in the bonnag.

Bonnag made to a late 19th century recipe originating from an isolated farm, produces a breakfast plate sized, about an inch or slightly more tall, bonnag. It has some fruit in it, but it needs to be spread with butter.

Wheat was not the common grain on the Island - these were usually Oats and Barley. Oats do not contain gluten which is needed to give bread, especially leavened bread, its characteristic texture - oatcakes were long noted as the staple diet of the Manx and probably differed little from the surrounding lands where a wide variety of such cakes were also made. Elizabeth David quotes a 1629 recipe for paper thin Kendal Oatcakes as well as the more common Scots variety which add a little fat to what is basically a flour and water mix. Skim (or whey) milk could be used instead of water. Roeder who spent much time with the older families in the south of the Island in the 1890's pines for the loss of "the crisp, thin-leaved, tasty bonnags—where are they ? Banished, too, from the Isle?".

Barley contains gluten though not as much as wheat - it could be used in place of the oats - as Elizabeth David says Oats and Barley produce the tastiest cakes but because of the gluten it can produce breads with a lighter aerated texture.

She dates the introduction of bicarbonate of soda and tartaric acid (cream of tartar) to the late 1840's and 1850's though only reaching popularity in the 1860's. This mixture of an acid acting on a the alkali liberates carbon dioxide, CO2 which aerates the bread during its baking - the gluten allowing the trapped bubbles to expand and then, as baking alters the gluten, to lock in the texture - a ratio of 3:2 soda:acid is recommended by Ms. David (Self-raising flour already contains these ingredients - baking power is also the same but with the addition of rice-flour to absorb moisture during storage). Buttermilk (soured milk) can replace the tartaric acid as well as adding extra taste. One key requirement is to evenly distribute the soda throughout the mixture otherwise a bitter taste can result.

It is possible that buttermilk on its own can provide a wild yeast that can effectively leaven the bread - when used as an acid to liberate the CO2 it must be added immediately before baking - as a source of yeast it of course needs considerable 'proving' time to allow the yeast to grow.

The ready availability of dried fruit again dates from the mid 19th century, Kelly's dictionary gives the 'englished' Manx for currant as 'french berry', the adjective French usually meaning exotic, unusual or outlandish. Thus all the 'classic' Manx Bonnag' recipes are probably no more than 150 years old (and probably younger) though the use of flat griddle cakes probably dates back millennia.

In all the modern Bonnag recipes white wheat flour is used.
References : Elizabeth David English Bread and Yeast Cookery London: Allen Lane 1977 (ISBN 0-7139-1026-7)


For all these recipes I am thankful to Suzanne Daugherty for extracting them from her collection.

Measures or equivalents

* 1 tsp = 5g or 1/8 oz;
* 1 tbsp = 15g or ½oz
* 4oz = 100g = ½cup (flour)

'Basic' Bonnag

* 1 lb flour
* 1 oz fat (or 2 oz)
* pinch salt
* 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
* fruit and sugar if liked
* 1 tsp cream of tartar rubbed in with flour and fat

Dissolve soda in sour milk Then mix and bake in moderate oven.
'Fruit' Bonnag

* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup currants
* 1 tbsp margarine
* 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
* 1 large tsp mixed spice
* few drops vanilla essence
* cup or more buttermilk

Rub butter into flour. Add other dry ingredients. When will mixed, mix with buttermilk.

Bake about 1 hour in moderate oven.

A common recipe is

* 1 lb plain flour
* 4 oz margarine
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp cream of tartar
* 4 oz sugar
* 4 oz currants

Bake in moderate oven 3/4 hour

A much richer cake-like recipe is 'Mrs. Kerruish's Manx Bunloaf' - note the addition of eggs which is not mentioned in any earlier recipe.

* 18 oz plain flour
* 2 oz margarine
* 2 oz lard
* 2 oz brown sugar
* 2 oz white sugar
* 2 eggs
* 18 oz currants
* 5 oz sultanas
* 2½ oz peel
* ½ level tsp Cream of Tartar
* ½ level tsp Carbonate of Soda
* 1 teaspoon spice
* Buttermilk to mix

No method given but judging from the ingredients rather like a rich fruit cake :beat fats and sugar, add eggs; sift flour spice and raising ingredients, then add with fruit and cook in a slow oven (150C - probably around 2 hours but needs experimentation). Alternatively possibly rub fats into sifted flour/spice mix and then add eggs, fruit and buttermilk to produce the required dropping consistency


* 1 lb Plain Flour
* 8 oz lard
* 8 oz brown sugar
* 8 oz currants
* 8 oz sultanas
* 4 oz mixed peel
* 8 oz raisins
* 1 teaspoon mixed spice
* 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
* 2 cups of milk
* 2 tablespoons of black treacle

Method: Sieve dry ingredients, rub fat into flour, add fruit, mix treacle with milk, mix to a soft consistency. Turn into greased tin, bake in moderate oven.

Other variations are
Bunloaf (Special)

* 1 lb flour,
* 4 oz margarine
* 2 lb mixed fruit
* 8 oz sugar
* 2 tablespoons syrup
* 2 teaspoons spice
* candied peel or marmalade
* 1 dessert bicarbonate of soda

mix with sour milk or buttermilk (dissolve bicarbonate of soda in milk and add to dry ingredients)

Bake 2 hours in slow oven

These last two have a different method, and are good and moist. They were attributed to May Green, who used to demonstrate cookery, and s connected to Creer and Creer Ltd.,the Grocers of Buck's Road, Douglas.
Bunloaf (I)

* 4 oz margarine
* 4 cups fruit
* 2 cups sugar
* 2 cups water

Put in pan and boil for 3 minutes. Allow to go cold and add:

* 4 cups SR flour
* 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
* 2 teaspoons vinegar

Dissolve bicarbonate in the vinegar . Stir together

Bake at 300 deg F for 10 minutes then reduce to 275 deg F for 50 minutes.

Variation: As I, but add 2 tsp treacle and 2 tsp mixed spice in flour mixture.

BONAG (The Sunrise Way)

* 12 oz Plain Flour
* 4 oz Sugar
* 4 oz Butter or Margarine
* 1 teaspoonful Bi-Carb. Of Soda
* About 4 oz Dried Fruit
* Sour Milk to mix to fairly soft dough (about a good teacupful)

Method. Rub fat into flour, add the sugar, then the fruit, add some of the milk in which the Bi-Carbonate of Soda has been mixed. Then add the rest until required consistency is obtained. Put in greased Baking tin and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake in a moderate oven about 45 minutes.
Rich bonnag

Here is a recipe for Manx Bunloaf, which incidentally came from the 1971 Kathie Webber's International Star Cook Book (TV Times Extra) 1971. It measures up to the hand-down recipes which I have.

* 8 oz plain flour
* pinch of salt
* pinch of mixed spice
* pinch of nutmeg
* 3/4 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
* 4 oz butter
* 4 oz soft brown sugar
* 1/2 lb sultanas
* 1/2 lb currants
* 1/4 lb stoned raisins
* 1 oz chopped mixed peel
* 1/2 level tablespoon black treacle
* buttermilk or milk to mix

Method: Sift the flour, salt, mixed spice, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Rub in the butter until mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Stir in the sugar, fruit and peel. Add the treacle and mix to a fairly stiff dropping consistency with buttermilk or milk.

Turn mixture into a well greased 1 lb loaf tin and bake for 2 1/2 hours in centre of oven, pre-heated to 325 deg.F or Mark 3. Test with a skewer to see if cooked.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Brownies & the Mystery of the Missing Castle Rushen Ruby

So, I'm a diehard Girl Guide (Queen's Guide) and Girl Scout (Troop Leader) and totally adore Brownies so this story made my day. Kudos to Girlguiding, the Manx Constabulary and Manx National Heritage who have a knack for doing the right thing. 

On Friday 17 September and Friday 8 October almost 300 Brownies and 50 Brownie leaders from all over the Island took part in the ‘Big Brownie Lock In’ at the Manx Museum. They thought they were coming to the Museum to watch a film – but their real mission was to solve the mystery of the missing Castle Rushen Ruby!

The Brownies arrived at the Museum at 6:00pm to learn that the world famous ‘Castle Rushen Ruby’ had been stolen from the Art Gallery, and they had to work in teams to solve the clues and locate the Ruby. With the help of the Police, Girlguiding volunteers and Manx National Heritage staff the Brownies were able to have a go at lifting finger prints, analysing hand writing samples, examining evidence, seeking out secret passageways, DNA swabbing and interviewing suspects. The Brownie teams then reported their findings back to the Police in the incident room. After examining the evidence in more detail, and with the help of some incriminating CCTV footage, the Brownies soon caught the culprit who was promptly handcuffed and taken to Douglas Police Station for further questioning. As a reward for all their efforts the girls then watched the film ‘Night at the Museum’.

The ‘Big Brownie Lock In’ was jointly organised by Manx National Heritage and Girlguiding Isle of Man to celebrate the Girlguiding Centenary. Katie King, Community Outreach & Learning Support Officer, for Manx National Heritage said “When Girlguiding Isle of Man asked Manx National Heritage whether the Brownies could ‘take over’ the Manx Museum as part of their Centenary Celebrations we were intrigued! We really wanted to make sure the girls had a memorable night, and the idea to stage a fake ‘burglary’ was formed.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Sergeant Wendy Barker and Sergeant Dean Johnson, and their team of Specials, for putting so much effort into the two evenings and adding realistic quality to the event. I would also like to thank the Museum staff who became our cast of ‘suspects’ for the night – especially as the Brownies treated them all with such suspicion! The Brownies were fantastic at solving the clues, I’m sure a lot of them will make excellent police officers when they get older!

Julie Farrar, Girlguiding Isle of Man Lead Volunteer Museum Centenary Events, said “the opportunities that have been made available for Girlguides in association with MNH during our centenary year have been outstanding and for one Brownie, Olivia Marshall, making her Brownie promise underneath the huge Irish Elk was definitely her “mountain top moment”!  Our sincere thanks also go to Katie and the staff at the museum and to Sergeant Barker and her team for their professionalism and enthusiasm.”

The Image Captions:
1.    The Ruby has been stolen!
2.    Solving the clues
3.    Making a promise under the Irish Elk
4.    Interviewing Suspect E
5.    Learning about DNA analysis
6.    Examining the CCTV

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Manx National Heritage

A  Facebook note here from the Manx National Heritage Director, Edmund Southworth, at

Manx National Heritage is utterly brilliant. It calls itself the "award-winning presentation of the Isle of Man's history portrayed through national heritage attractions, the Manx countryside, ancient monuments and the Calf of Man." It does a marvelous job of preserving and promoting Manx in all its aspects, from ancient to modern, from natural to man-made, from physical to cultural be it stone, fabric, music, word or deed. It rocks. When the NAMA Homecoming Convention goes over in 2014 I hope to be able to show you a lot of their work. And I'm sure they're dying to show you around!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's a Manx £20 note.

BUSINESSMAN Tom Winnifrith has generated massive coverage for Isle of Man Bank notes on a live TV appearance. Tom appeared on the international CNBC network to express his views about gold and the US dollar.

As part of his commentary Tom displayed a £20 Manx bank note asking the woman presenter: 'What is it worth?' - a question she refused to answer.

Tom argued that the US dollar is set to crash as the 'US is the world's poorest country' and that 'the US is practically owned by China'.

Such was the impact of Tom's appearance that his comments have been reported across the globe in the US and Russia and in countries such as Lithuania, Poland, Macedonia and even Mongolia.

Tom, 42, is the Chief Executive Officer of Rivington Street Holdings and works from the Athol Street, Douglas, head office.

He told Business Examiner he was invited onto the CNBC business show Squawk Box to discuss the gold price following a stunning first year for his SF t1ps Smaller Companies Gold Fund for which he is Fund Manager.

The fund is now ranked as the fourth best performing unit trust across all sectors in the British Isles with a stunning 52 per cent return since its launch on September 11, 2009. More at IOMToday.

Manx note appears at 3.38 minutes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Lowender Peran Festival 2010

It is often suggested that Cornwall and the Isle of Man have much in common when comparing dramatic and beautiful scenery, with some of the Cornish fishing ports used to good affect when filming Manx based stories. But this is not the only thing they have in common. As Celtic cousins we share a number of similarities, including a love of language and a desire for the continuity of a distinctive culture.
During the summer season the delightful village of Perranporth is a Mecca for surfers, snorkelers and sailors in search of adventure and excitement, with three miles of soft, sandy beach to explore from Droskyn Point to Penhale Sands gently caressed by the surf of the Atlantic Ocean.

Perranporth also lays claim to being the arrival point of St. Piran, the patron saint of Cornwall. Local legend suggests he was fond of the odd snifter, but still managed to outlive his contemporaries by an astonishing margin. Hundreds of people assemble in pilgrimage each year at the site of his oratory, preserved in the sand dunes, on St. Piran’s Day in celebration of the Patron Saint of Tinners (tin miners).

But its laid back attitude takes on a subtle change during the month of October when representatives of all the Celtic nations descend on the Ponsmere Hotel for an end of year gathering.

The ‘Lowender Peran’ festival grew from the enthusiasm of one woman providing an opportunity for pageant, colour and the expression of identity through the medium of costume and tradition with subtle changes to the festival programme over the years. A shift of emphasis in recent times has led to the creation of ‘An Daras Cornish Folk Arts Project’ in 2003, and the inclusion of events covering dialect, verbal arts, costume, Cornish history and folklore, with a colourful and vibrant Celtic Market. Welcoming people of all ages for a five day feast of fun and frenzy during mid October there will be a chance to meet some of the visiting groups on an informal basis, or join in one of the many Cornish troyls – an evening of music, song and dance.

Although the nucleus of the event remains in Perranporth participants will also entertain shoppers and visitors in the busy nearby city of Truro, which boasts a selection of artisan shops, exciting markets and chic places to eat.

Manx representatives have been welcomed to the picturesque seaside resort of Perranporth for over thirty years and during that time have established many long term friendships. This year the Isle of Man will be represented by a group of enthusiastic musicians and dancers travelling to the festival under the banner of ‘The Manx’. Including dancers from a cross section of locally based groups they will come together to create lively and informal performances in a variety of venues in the locality. Their costumes will deliberately express simplicity of style and manner with members of local traditional bands ‘King Chiaullee’ and ‘The Reeling Stones’ providing musical accompaniment.

Valerie Caine © October 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Shoeboxes of love

Twenty years ago Dave Cooke, a Wrexham businessman, watched with horror the heart rendering television footage of children abandoned in Romania's grim and loveless orphanages.
What he saw affected him profoundly. Within the space of seven weeks he roused the entire Wrexham community; managing to collect a staggering £600,000 of aid.

He collected bedding, baby baths, tinned milk and toys. Amongst the aid were a few decorated shoe boxes filled with small gifts, 'because daddy it's Christmas time and the children won't have anything to open'.

Operation Christmas Child was born.

Twenty years on, OCC reaches out to around seven million children across the globe. Children whose lives have been so disaffected by war, poverty or ethnic intolerance that we can barely begin to imagine the appalling conditions in which many of them exist.

And local organisers in the Isle of Man reckon that Manx donations are among the most generous.

Although nearly all the schools and many businesses take part, however, the search continues to find more donations.

The shoeboxes are collected throughout the British Isles and taken to Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia where they are distributed by a team of volunteers, led by a member of the OCC staff.

They are given to any child who is suffering regardless of race or religion.

One OCC team reported the following:

'We were taken to a place where street children were living. We were told that if the police saw us the children would be beaten.

'We climbed down a hole into the pitch black; part of the cities underground heating system.

'Six or seven children were perched half way up; their backs pressed against the heating pipes.

'They had a choice either to be outside where they may freeze to death or be underground were they were almost burning.

'Two of the boys were brothers; one had a raw scar running across his hand. His mother had tried to cut his hand off so that he could be put in the home for invalids. 'Unbelievably they felt safer on the streets existing by scavenging or begging for food.'

Operation Christmas Child is aware that a single shoebox will not change lives, but for a brief moment these children will know that somebody somewhere is thinking of them.

To be given anything, a pair of gloves, a hat and some sweets, will be a new experience for many of these children; maybe the only gift of love they have ever received.

The contrast between the lives of these children and our own at home is vast.

These children are so grateful to be given anything they often just clasp the shoe box not even realising there is anything inside.

Marlene Akitt, area co-ordinator and registered volunteer of OCC was part of a distribution team to Kosova in 2007.

'I watched one little girl open her shoe box,' she recalled.

'It contained one doll, one hat, scarf and gloves, one set of crayons, one colouring book, one tin of sweets and a wash bag with toothpaste, soap and flannel.

'She couldn't believe they were all for her. In amongst the gifts were a card and a picture of the little girl who had sent it.

'She hugged this photo to her,.

'"My family", she said.'  More here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More cycling news! this time a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

THE Isle of Man opened its 2010 Commonwealth Games account on Wednesday morning with a bronze medal in cycling's points race. Douglas' Mark Christian put in a mature display that had the Manx supporters in the velodrome on the edge of their seats, as he took a few points in the early sprints, before joining a group of four others who managed to lap the main bunch. IOMToday

This put the 19-year-old into second place, before the eventual gold medallist, World Champion Cameron Meyer of Australia, got another lap on the field along with Goerge Atkins of England. That put the Manx rider into third and from there to the finish, he was locked in a battle with Sam Harrison of Wales for the bronze.

Eventually, going into the final sprint, on the last of 160 laps, they were tied, but Christian just managed to edge the Welshman on the line. Team-mate Chris Whorrall picked up some early sprint points, but once Mark had got his lap, he sacrificed his race to support Christian.

Both riders will contest the heats of the scratch race on Thursday, ahaed of the final on Friday.

Getting ready for Hop-tu-naa?

Great Manx Heritage Foundation resource here:

Songs, moots and more. All you need for Halloween, Manx Style. Celebrate the end of the year in style. That's right, historically Hop Tu Naa has been considered to be the Celtic New Year, marking the end of the summer and the beginning of winter. It was a time when people could celebrate the fact that the harvest had been safely gathered in and all the preparations had been made for the winter ahead.Note the similarity to Hogmaney in Scottish.

Traditionally the boys would go from house to house singing the Hop Tu Naa song and hope to be rewarded with apples, bonnag, herring and if lucky some sweets and the odd penny. The girls would stay at home and try to discover who they were going to marry. By eating a salted herring or a soddag valloo (dumb cake) of flour, salt, eggs (shells and all!) and soot, they would hope to dream of their future husband. Lots of children still go with a carved turnip lantern singing the Hop Tu Naa song around the streets.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sir Norman dies

The legendary comic actor Sir Norman Wisdom has died, aged 95. Sir Norman passed away at Abbotswood Nursing Home, Ballasalla, yesterday (Monday), his family have confirmed.

The actor became a global star during the 50s and 60s playing the hapless Norman Pitkin who was a source of frustration for his boss Mr Grimsdale.

In his later years, Sir Norman, made the Isle of Man his home.

A family statement said: 'Over the last six months Norman has sustained a series of strokes causing a general decline in both his physical and mental health.

'He had maintained a degree of independence until a few days ago. However, over the last few days his condition rapidly declined. He was in no pain or distress and peacefully passed over at 6.46pm on October 4.'
Tributes have already begun to flood in.

Sir Tim Rice recalled how Sir Norman became a hero in Albania, where his films were the among the few Western movies to be shown. (I can testify to this, there's a motel in Front Royal, run by an Albanian and we managed to connect the IoM to Albania through Norman Wisdom who the owner/manager LOVED.)

'Everywhere we went Norman was mobbed,' said Sir Tim.

Sir Norman was knighted in 2005 and was also made a Freeman of the Borough of Douglas.

He enjoyed a full part of Island life, regularly carrying out public engagements.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mann on the Moon

Odyssey Moon is headquartered on the island.
Backyard inventors are hoping to land their own weird contraptions on the moon after Google launched a 20 million-pound competition.   NASA had estimated that such flights would cost more than 1 billion pounds - with some disbelievers suggesting that it is virtually unthinkable to voyage to the moon. But since the Isle of Man government (a self-governing British Crown Dependency) has lifted tax restrictions on such flights, a flurry of do-it-yourself space voyages are anticipated.

Internet search giant Google became one of the first to take advantage of the tax break when it announced the Lunar X prize in September 2007, reports the Daily Mail. Twenty-two teams which have worked tirelessly on their contraptions will meet in the Isle of Man Tuesday to fine tune the final details of the missions.

Representing Britain in the competition is the crew behind Astrobotic, a four-wheeled silver machine that resembles a moving road sign. Julian Ranger, the British financier who is raising cash for Astrobotic, said: "We believe we can get the cost (of reaching the moon) down to $50 million, a price tag that will transform lunar exploration and make the moon a target for all sorts of commercial operations. Part of our business plan will be to get our rover to move round the site and take a 3D high-definition film of it."

Other hopefuls in the competition include Team Italia whose craft is a green dome supported by six spider-like legs. America's entry, Jurban, looks like a large worm designed to negotiate the moon's rough terrain of craters with several small capsules joined together in the same way as a train.

The Barcelona Moon Team has entered a more traditional flying-saucer that was built by a jewellery designer. It has a body that resembles an upside down bow with flashing lights on the rim.

The $20 million prize will be given to the first team that lands their craft on the moon and directs a journey of more that 500 metres. This article is from the Economic Times, published by the India Times.

The Google Lunar X Prize was held on the Island over the past weekend.
"Over the course of the two day summit, the teams will present the progress of their missions, discuss the competitions 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 with key officials and space companies that operate on the Isle of Man, who will provide information and advice to help the teams. Team members and other experts will also take time to visit with local high school students to teach them about the exciting careers that await those who apply themselves in subjects such as science, engineering and mathematics. To celebrate World Space Week, summit attendees will attend a reception and star-gazing in the historic Castle Rushen, Castletown, which dates back to the 13th century.
This little fella is Italian.
“We are incredibly excited for this event,” noted William Pomerantz, the Senior Director for Space Prizes at the non-profit X PRIZE Foundation. “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.”
The Isle of Man’s Minister for Economic Development, Allan Bell MHK, commented, “It is a great honor 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.” This Summit will further underscore how the Government of the Isle of Man works closely with private sector initiatives and technological innovation to foster the international commercial space sector."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Washington DC Area Manx classes

Our meeting last year with guest appearance from Alex Downie, MLC
Yindyssagh! Manx classes start again tomorrow. Kiarkyl-ny-Gaelgey will reconvene in the attic bar of the McCarthy's building on Cameron Street in Alexandria at 2pm tomorrow.

Facebook: Kiarkyl-ny-Gaelgey for more details or email Kelly McCarthy at the address above.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Czech TV runs show on Isle of Man

I'm sure how good your Czech is, but if you like to look at nice film of the island -- here is a lovely TV show all about it!

Hat Tip: Juan Cottier, Honorary Representative of the Isle of Man Government in the Czech Republic.

Electric supercar features Manx technology.

A 200mph Jaguar electric supercar was unveiled yesterday at the Paris motorshow. It features technology by Isle of Man based Bladon Jets.

The C-X75 can travel for 560 miles without needing to be recharged. This is due to to gas turbine technology from Bladon Jets which has a base in Douglas.

The gas turbines need to be refueled meaning the car uses hybrid technology. Meanwhile Tatra, the Indian owner of Jaguar, has agreed to be a minority stakeholder in Bladon Jets.