Thursday, October 27, 2011

Manx quilting alive and well

Pictured holding the quilt are quiltmakers, from left, Joan Hughes, Pam Fleetney and Val Whaley.

I know this is a local story but I also know how keen many NAMA members are on quilting and as it's such a lovely looking example I thought I'd share it with you. 
Pam Collister of Douglas, has won a patchwork raffled at the Northern Trefoil Guild’s coffee morning at the Mitre Hotel, Ramsey. The quilt was started by Phyllis Attwell, but she was unable to finish it when her husband developed Parkinson’s disease and her own eyesight deteriorated.
It was completed by Trefoil Guild members Joan Hughes, Pam Fleetney and Val Whaley, who met to work on it once a week. They completed it in time for this year’s Royal Manx Agricultural Show.
Money raised from the raffle will be donated to the Parkinson’s Disease Society and the Trefoil Guild.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Isle of Man -- The Final Frontier

Wey hey! A new income stream. Just when it's needed. Well done everyone!

ViaSat-1 blasts off from ILS launch base in Baikonur on schedule October 19. Several weeks of manuevering to its orbital slot and testing remain before the satellite enters commercial service.
The Isle of Man Government launch ViaSat-1 the first satellite to use an Isle of Man licensed orbital filing

Wednesday 19th October saw a major milestone for Manx companies ViaSat Isle of Man Limited, Telesat (IOM) Limited, ManSat Limited, and the Isle of Man Government with the successful launch of ViaSat-1 which will be the first satellite to use an Isle of Man licensed orbital filing.

The ViaSat-1 satellite will operate in geostationary orbit from an Isle of Man registered position at 115 Degrees West over the equator.

The ViaSat-1 satellite is the highest capacity satellite in the world and is designed to transform the economics and quality of service for satellite broadband. The high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite covers North America, enabling a variety of new satellite Internet access services beginning with WildBlue in the U.S. and Xplornet in Canada, working via ViaSat's Isle of Man subsidiary and Telesat (IOM) Limited.

"ViaSat-1 is designed to transform the economics and quality of service that satellite broadband can provide," said Mark Dankberg, Chief Executive Officer of ViaSat.

"ViaSat-1 is a next generation, high throughput satellite that will provide fast and affordable broadband service to all Canadians," said Dan Goldberg, Telesat's President and CEO.

Chris Stott, Chairman and CEO of ManSat, said, "This is a great day for our clients ViaSat and Telesat and our partners in the Isle of Man Government. We are proud to support them in their work."

Mr. Alex Downie OBE MLC, Political Member for the Isle of Man Department of Economic Development with responsibility for space, added, "Our congratulations to ViaSat, Telesat, and to ManSat. We are proud to play our part with the Isle of Man supporting such a ground breaking project."

Stop the clocks. George Daniels has passed away.


Tribute has been paid to Isle of Man watchmaker Dr George Daniels as the "greatest horologist of all time", following his death.
Roger Smith, who was inspired by Dr Daniels to become a watchmaker, said the 85-year-old was responsible for some of the most important advancements in his field.

Dr. Daniels, who lived in Ramsey, was appointed an MBE in 1981 and CBE in 2010 for services to horology. 

He died peacefully at home on Friday.
Dr Daniels' greatest contribution in his 60-year career was the coaxial escapement, a modern watch mechanism which won global acclaim.
Mr Smith said he was inspired to take up watch-making following a lecture by Dr Daniels more than 20 years ago and followed him to the Isle of Man to work.
"His philosophy was that of the artist craftsman creating individually hand-crafted pocket and wristwatches to a standard which had not been seen in English or indeed any watch-making for about 150 years," said Mr Smith.
'Extraordinary beauty'
"George's talents were enormous. He covered all spectrums of horology through his books, public speaking and of course his work."
Dr Daniels created 37 watches over a 60-year career. Each watch was created from scratch by hand and from raw materials, a task which includes mastering more than 30 separate skills and could take more than 2,500 man hours to complete.


Everyone was having a hen when I was over recently because of building work alongside Rocklands above the catwalk in PSM. The diggings were chucking dirt and stone back onto the rocks below and people were fearful for their foundations as far across as the west side of the High Street. So, this is very interesting and will change a view that's looked the same for  a long time.

A CONTROVERSIAL plan to build two houses on the Underway in Port St Mary has heen approved by the Department of Infrastructure. IOMToday
John Shimmin MHK, deputising for the minister on planning matters, accepted the recommendation of independent planning inspector Stephen Amos to approve the plan.
The plan (10/01892/B by Len Chatel) for two houses with integrated garages and visitor parking in land in front of Bay View Hotel, between Shore Road and High Street, provoked outrage among the local authority and residents when it was first passed.
Objections include the geology of the rock face (in an area that suffered a collapse of the highway in the 1980s, leading to closure of the road and severe disruption), the risk of flooding and building on a green stretch.
A previous plan (09/1295/B) was passed earlier this year and, at the time, the local authority said it was ‘stunned’ by the decision. Eddie Teare MHK, who was deputising for then Infrastructure Minister Phil Gawne MHK on planning decisions, said that the plan raised issues relating to car parking and recommended another plan be submitted, leading to this latest plan, approved in May.
Mr Amos took the appeal decision of the first plan (09/1295/B) as his starting point for this latest planning appeal.
He said the current planning appeal was ‘essentially the same as the previous appeal scheme, save that it includes details of the parking area.
As a result, there are a range of matters on which conclusions were reached in the previous appeal which it would be inappropriate to reconsider unless there is relevant new evidence.’
He considered whether there was any new evidence.
Regarding whether the applicant owned the land in the car parking element of the plan, Mr Amos felt if ownership was ‘false’ any planning approval might be invalidated.
Relating to planning policy, the visual and amenity impact of the proposal, land stability, flooding issues and satisfactory vehicle access and car parking, he agreed with the findings of the previous planning inspector.
The only new details related to the parking area, and this would be ‘neatly kerbed and surfaced, with a well-designed, relatively low and angled containment to the seaward side’.
The visual harm would not be significant enough to justify refusal, he said and added that the existing shingle with rough vegetation was ‘not a particularly attractive feature’.
There was no evidence, he concluded, that the parking spaces would ‘significantly interfere with the dynamics of the beach, such as to increase or transfer risks of coastal flooding or erosion’, said Mr Amos.
He recommended that the appeals should be dismissed and approval be granted.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NAMA Newsletter 1936

The first person to explain this to me gets a prize! The NAMA Conventions are obviously a lot tamer these days!

From the Cooish Phynoderee in the NAMA Newsletter March 1936

Ladies seeking marital advice are invited to the next convention. It is free and authentic too - straight from an M.D.

T.E. Brown

This is a bit hard to read but if you click on it it should open in another window and you may be able to enhance it. If you can't, try and drag the image or download it. It's a jpeg and should respond to some Preview programs.
From the NAMA Newsletter Archive October 1930

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kiaull yn Theay 4

Renewed interest in Manx music has prompted the latest release of this handy-sized publication, which continues the series of books which were the brainchild of the late Colin Jerry.

Songs included in this volume continue to reflect his ethos that the songs should speak for themselves, without translation, or explanation. But for those who do not have Manx Gaelic helpful pronunciation guides will soon be available at together with audio files for those who prefer to learn by ear.

Concentrating largely on material from the 1970s up to the present day, the extension of the Kiaull yn Theay series was developed from workshops held during the annual Manx and Inter-Gaelic festival ‘Feailley Ghaelgagh’, since renamed ‘Cooish’.

Published in conjunction with the Manx Heritage Foundation some of its content is drawn from tunes heard on CDs, or during gigs, rather than sessions, providing a cross-section of new and old material. With contributions from all parts of the Island, many of them from young people bursting with creativity, the naming of tunes reflects episodes from modern life and external influences.

Far from being an ostentatious little number, its fresh, green cover and simple design concentrates the mind on the more important aspects of the book – the tunes!

Collated by Breesha Maddrell, she has also included brief biographies of each contributor and a little detail about the songs.

Further books in this series will likely be published over time with musicians invited to share their material by contacting Breesha Maddrell at the Manx Heritage Foundation.

Valerie Caine © October 2011 
(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

World Manx's centennial celebrations continue with talk on T.E. Brown

As part of their Centenary Year Celebrations the World Manx Association had a very special guest at thas years T. E. Brown Lunch which is held annually on the Saturday nearest to the anniversary of the National Poet's death in 1897.

The person selected as speaker and proposer of the toast to "The Imortal Memory of T. E. Brown" was Dollin Kelly R.B.V. of Port St. Mary. He was introduced by WMA President, Peter Kelly, who advised that whilst Dollin had been a member since he was a child his father, High Bailiff H. P. Kelly, was one of the founder members and spoke at some of the annual Homecomings on Tynwald Day in those early years.
Dollin Kelly R.B.V.

Peter had come into contact the Dollin in Manx Heritage Year through the Manx Heritage Foundation of which Peter was the Secretary. Dollin, together with the late Major Geoffrey Crellin and Dorothy Leece, gave performances at T. E. Brown events that year but Peter said that whilst the other two gave good recitations, Dollin was the deep thinker who was able to get into Brown's mind to know the true meaning of his work which captured for us what today is called Social History by relating the every day life of the Manx people of his day.

Dollin began by quoting the words of Professor Lascelles Ambercrombie who had criticised Brown's work, dismissing it in every way possible. Then, by the use of passages from Brown's poetry (including some lesser known pieces), which he recited from memory without any hesitation, Dollin set about proving the professor to be wrong.

Dollin read from a paper his father gave about the poet  in 1930  on the centenary of Brown's birth. He also included readings from letters that T. E. Brown had written a short time before his death, including one concerning his last lecture in the Isle of Man. He gave this talk at Castletown, but he wasn't too happy about it as the weather was cold and he was not in the best of health. It was this meeting that the young Richard Cain attended, the same man who was inspired to set up the WMA some 14 years later.

The whole audience was taken with the presentation and the presenter.

The event finished with the singing of the Manx National Anthem.

From information supplied by the World Manx Association.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Curator's Pick

Capturing a Fleeting Moment - A Moon Rainbow (IOMMM: 1959-0115)

This painting from Archibald Knox’s striking watercolour collection, was chosen by Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History at Manx National Heritage. Following the digitisation of Archibald Knox watercolours from the National Art Collection, 134 paintings are now available for you to view on iMuseum.
To most people, Archibald Knox (1864-1933) is best known internationally for his metalwork designs for Liberty & Co., whilst on the Isle of Man he is probably even better known for his distinctive watercolour paintings. In a long and extremely prolific artistic career, Knox not only found time to combine his work as an art master with that of a designer of everything from Liberty silverwork commissions to a local grocer’s cheques, he was also a watercolour artist who produced hundreds of paintings in his spare time. The watercolours were rarely signed and even more rarely exhibited in his lifetime and can be seen as personal artistic exercises for the artist as he tried to capture the light and a single moment in time. It was said that although Knox might only take a few hours to paint one of his watercolour scenes, he could also sit for hours on a hedge bank waiting for the exact light and cloud formations that he wanted to paint and try to capture.
Manx National Heritage has over a hundred watercolour paintings by Archibald Knox, including panoramic views of the Manx landscape, whitewashed farms and mill buildings and coastal scenes. But a distinctive feature of many of Knox’s watercolours is his ability to capture light and fleeting cloud formations, from a ‘mackerel’ sky to approaching storm clouds, one feels one could almost produce a weather forecast from his paintings. Each of Knox’s ‘skyscapes’ feels like a unique and individual record of exactly what the sky looked like on the day that Knox went out to paint.
So out of all the Knox watercolours, my favourite is one which captures the rarest of fleeting moments and one which most of us will sadly never get to see, A Moon Rainbow. Although most of Knox’s watercolours were untitled and unidentified views of the Manx landscape, Knox's niece identified this as being a study of a rainbow produced by the rays of the moon.

The simplicity and almost abstract nature of the work also highlights the influence that Knox had on future generations of Manx artists who either saw his work in National Art Gallery at the Manx Museum or who had been either taught by him or were themselves taught by Knox’s ex-pupils. This legacy can be seen in works such as Bracken Mountainby, the Manx artist, Norman Sayle, who had himself been taught by John H. Nicholson, one of Knox ex-pupils. So a painting that captures the most fleeting of moments is still one that can fascinate and inspire years later.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The iMuseum needs your help

Are you interested in searching for your ancestors, places and events in Manx history? Soon you will be able to delve into iMuseum Newspapers online, an online collection of over 400,000 of newsprint from 1792 to 1960 with every word searchable at the click of a button. Help Manx National Heritage with the launch by completing their short survey, which will take less than 3 minutes to complete.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Believe it or not Beckii Cruel is Manx

Who Put the Devil in the Cornish Pasty?

It was once said that the Devil would never dare to cross the River Tamar into Cornwall for fear of ending up as a filling in a Cornish pasty; a tasty if not unfortunate demise for a dubious character, it’s unlikely that Manx visitors to Perranporth during October would suffer the same fate.

Perree Bane
Throughout the summer months this picturesque seaside resort is transformed into a surfers’ paradise, but with the onset of autumn this scenic haven becomes a mecca for those seeking a final Highland fling, or a zesty reel before the dark days of winter cloud the horizon.

‘Lowender Peran’ is a registered charity set up to encourage recognition of Cornish heritage and its Celtic links as a vibrant, living tradition, and will welcome both visitors and performers from three groups based on the Isle of Man to their festival as part of a long held friendship cultivated between the two countries. ‘Lowender Peran’ has become a focal point for those who seek to value both their own roots and those of our Celtic neighbours, providing an ideal opportunity to gather together for an autumnal fest of music, song and dance.

Named in honour of St Piran ‘Lowender Peran’ bridges the gap between informal gatherings and formal performances, encouraging unrestricted involvement from many areas of Cornish heritage.

The ‘Mollag Band’ need little introduction on the Manx scene, but our Cornish brethren will be in for a treat as they regale their audiences with original songs and innovative tunes. Based primarily in the west of the Island, the ‘Mollag Band’ is equally at home sharing the stage with other Manx performers at local gigs, or supporting internationally renowned musicians from beyond these shores. Punchy, upbeat and challenging, their songs display a refreshing originality, liveliness and natural humour. Performing an eclectic mix of self-penned songs and traditional material using both Manx and English, the band’s emphasis on social and political comment still relays a strong message in a modern world.

New to both the Manx and Cornish music scene, the recently formed ‘Kippercaillie Band’ will also be heading down to Cornwall. Described as a fusion of the dog ends of two other outfits (Arthur Caley Giant Band and Staa) the group was previously better known under the guise of the ‘Purt H’Ninjas’, but decided it was time for something wittier! Incorporating some familiar faces playing exclusively Manx traditional music they will be joined by fellow Manxman Mark Lawrence who will play guitar.

In addition colourful Manx dance group 'Perree Bane’ will also be joining the growing band of local performers who are set to provide entertainment at ‘Lowender Peran’. Formed in 1982 and based in the south of the Island, ‘Perree Bane’ aims to keep alive the repertoire of traditional Manx dances, and add some innovations of their own along the way. Recently returned from a successful trip to the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival, their performances will add colour and vibrancy to the Celtic spectrum.

Valerie Caine © October 2011 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Middleton Press – Evolving the Ultimate Rail Encyclopedia

Covering a wide spectrum of railways, trolley buses, military and waterways across Britain, Europe, South Africa and the Isle of Man, the UK based Middleton Press is busy evolving the ultimate rail encyclopaedia, with one of its most recent publications focusing on the many railways operating between Douglas and Ramsey.

There’s a nostalgic feel to this book by Tom Heavyside with its attractive red cover and a good selection of photographs largely from the period 1950s – 1970s. Using black and white images throughout which complement the book, rather than detract from its appeal, it’s a time capsule showing varying degrees of change to the Manx landscape.

With some additional historical background to set the scene, this book tells its story succinctly with bite-sized amounts of detail to whet the appetite of the reader.

Opening with a taster of the Douglas Horse Trams, the author heads swiftly towards Derby Castle, with time to look briefly into the Car Sheds which remain relatively unchanged. Our pictorial journey then moves onto the main line as we follow the track up to Port Jack and wend our way slowly along the scenic east coast towards Ramsey.

There are a number of diversions along the way for the railway enthusiast, with breaks in the journey at the Groudle Glen Railway and the Laxey Car Shed, before moving briskly on to the Snaefell Mountain Railway, with time to explore the Snaefell Car Shed and the Great Laxey Mine Railway before finally heading towards the Ramsey Car Shed and memories of the now redundant Ramsey Pier Tramway.

Priced at £15.95 from local bookshops and newsagents, or direct from the publishers.

Valerie Caine © October 2011 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sad day for IndyCar

FORMER Isle of Man resident Alex Lloyd escaped serious injury during a tragic IndyCar race in Las Vegas on Sunday evening in which British driver Dan Wheldon lost his life.
Alex Lloyd
Lloyd was one of 15 drivers involved in a massive accident on turn two of lap 13 in the season finale of the IndyCar Championship, resulting in some cars becoming airborn and several bursting into flames. Lloyd’s vehicle was one such victim as it was reduced to a smouldering wreck on the track but, fortunately, he walked away unscathed.
However, it was nothing compared to Buckinghamshire-born Wheldon whose No.77 car, after leaving the surface, collided with the barriers and was reduced to debris.
The 33-year-old Briton was airlifted to the nearby University Medical Center where he received treatment but, sadly, he succumbed to his injuries with his wife and two children at his bedside when he passed.
Speaking on Twitter after the race, Lloyd could not hide his grief: ‘This is one of the saddest days of my life. Can’t believe we have lost him. He was a true champion and a great friend.’
It was the first fatality in the competition for five years since Paul Dana was killed during practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Peel Vikings Triumph in Ireland

1974 The Young Vikings then...

...and now

A liberal dose of Centrium Silver may well have helped provide a winning boost to the Manx Viking rowing team in Northern Ireland recently, according to their spokesman Ernie Baker, when they won the Mixed Class event at the annual Viking Boat Races. With two of the Manx rowing team having to leave the event early before the races commenced, ironically due to a warning of bad weather in the Irish Sea, their involvement looked to be in some doubt. But landscape gardener Averil Morton stepped into the breach and helped win the day.

Held as part of the long running Magnus Barelegs Festival amidst the picturesque setting of Killyleagh Bay and scenic splendour of Delamont Country Park in County Down, the Manx team who travel under the banner of ‘Young Vikings Again’, has a combined age in excess of 500 years! Reputed to be the oldest, continuous rowing team in existence (according to their manager) the Peel based team is well known in the Irish fishing port. 

Renewing old friendships, discussing rowing techniques and perhaps most importantly checking the quality of the beer, the Manx boys soon adopted the generosity of the local people. With the Manx national flag draped decorously over their unofficial headquarters at the Dufferin Arms and a cosy bed and breakfast in the twelfth century Killyleagh Castle a short distance away, is it any wonder that the competitions attract them like ducks to water?

But this isn’t the only Manx connection to the area. Killyleagh Castle, with its striking Loire style architecture, is believed to have been built as a wedding present for Auffrica, the daughter of Godred the Black, formerly King of Mann and the Isles. Thought to be the oldest inhabited castle in Ireland and said to be haunted by a previous occupant who poisoned her husband for his wealth, this stronghold played an important part in Ulster-Scots history, and if any of the Manx lads misbehaved during their stay they might find their accommodation downgraded to the less salubrious dungeon.

Seen as the greatest Viking festival in Ireland, the event incorporates School Education Days, Living History days and provides a good excuse for a mass invasion of adrenaline-fuelled warriors ready for battle.

Magnus Barelegs, after whom the festival is named, lies just a few miles away from this annual mayhem. After heading numerous military campaigns and remembered as the last Norse King of the Irish Sea, he was brutally murdered and buried in a common grave, although his famous sword ‘Legbiter’ was salvaged and returned to Norway. His nickname of ‘barelegs’ came about after Magnus took a liking for the ankle-length tunics worn by the Hebridean men, but his adaptation of wearing a knee-length version in Bergen inevitably raised a few eye-brows.

Also known as Magnus Barefoot, he was likewise attracted to the Isle of Man not least because of its military value for his projected attack on Ireland, and is said to have built a fort and residence on St Patrick’s Isle.

Valerie Caine © October 2011 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)