Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Manx Missile MBE

Mark Cavendish receives MBE

Mark Cavendish was given the honour for "services to British cycling" at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Cavendish, 26, was included in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June along with three other people from the Isle of Man.
The MBE comes in a year in which the cycling star also claimed victory in the world road race championships.
He won the coveted green jersey in the Tour de France.
He has now won 20 stages of the race in his career.
The cyclist had a disappointing Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, failing to win a medal, but could claim the first gold medal of London 2012 in the men's road race on the opening Saturday of the Games.

Outside the palace, he joked: "All the guys from Beijing got them in 2008 so I've waited quite a bit longer - it was really nice."
Speaking about his conversation with the Queen, he added: "She said I must have put in a lot of hard work to get where I am.
"We were talking about the Olympics and (my event) finishing on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace next year - I told her to give me a cheer when we come past."
Other Manx people included in the 2011 Queen's birthday honours were Enduro champion David Knight, government official Della Fletcher and charity worker Carolyn Shipstone.
Cavendish was joined at the Palace by his partner Peta Todd who is expecting their first child.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Best Western has first hotel in Isle of Man for 10 years

Janet Harmer
Tuesday 29 November 2011 14:37
Best Western has its first hotel on the Isle of Man for 10 years following the announcement that the four-star, 133-bedroom Palace hotel and casino in the capital Douglas has joined the sales and marketing consortium.
The newly named Best Western Palace Hotel & Casino is the largest four-star property on the Isle of Man. It has become the only branded hotel on the island and the first casino hotel for the group. It is independently owned by the Sefton Group, with Paul Forrest as its general manager.
"We are proud, not only to be part of such a well known brand, but also to be their first member on the Isle of Man for 10 years," said Forrest. "As a business we wish to grow and improve, and being a Best Western Hotel with personality will definitely enable us to do this."
Keith Pope, director of Best Western, said: "We are extremely pleased to have brand presence back on the Isle of Man and also excited to welcome our very first hotel with a casino. With a great location and warm, welcoming staff, we look forward to bringing more worldwide guests to the Isle of Man."
Best Western currently has over 270 three and four-star independent properties in the UK, accounting for 15,000 bedrooms.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Buggane’s Cronnane

An unusual CD ‘The Buggane’s Cronnane’ has little to do with the mischievous creature that historically created havoc at the roofless St Trinian’s Church in the parish of Marown. His namesake, however, is a member of the Ballagroove Collective and involved in a number of other musical collaborations.

‘The Buggane’s Cronnane’ is a piece of music initially inspired by David Maddrell’s ‘Carpet Pages Exhibition’ and influenced directly by the composition of the pictures. It’s an attempt to reflect the textures and images used in David’s artwork with the intention of being ambient. A spirited patchwork of sound a number of characters depicted in the pictures are revealed during the playing of the CD; notably the horse, the baby and a vociferous rooster. Listen closely and you will also hear the Dutch National Anthem.

Cronnane is a Manx word meaning drone which was felt to be an appropriate title as the music uses repetition and recurring themes in its construction, with the use of modern synthesised sounds, loops and samples complemented by the use of traditional instruments such as strings and brass.

Valerie Caine © November 2011 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)

New Silver Crown celebrates centenary of TT Mountain Course

The Isle of Man Treasury have issued a silver crown celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Tourist Trophy (TT), an annual event for motorcyclist enthusiasts which has become a premier event in the motorcycling calendar.  The Snaefell Mountain Course has been part of the road racing circuit for 100 years and has been used with occasional course changes since 1911.  The course is 37.7 miles in length and the start-line is situated on the Glencrutchery Road in the capital of Douglas and also ending there since the course takes a circular route.
Struck by the Pobjoy Mint,  the reverse side of this new coin features two riders battling for position over an outline map of the Isle of Man. Above the primary design is the text “100 YEARS OF THE TT MOUNTAIN COURSE” and underneath, the coin’s value of 1 CROWN. The design also incorporates the famous TT Logo. The obverse bears a fine effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Lord of Man by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.
The coin is issued in both cupro-nickel (UNC) and proof quality struck in sterling silver with a weight of 28 grams and a diameter of 38 mm. The silver coin has a mintage figure of 10,000 pieces. In conjunction with this exciting issue, a new 50 Pence coin is also being issued to commemorate the fact that Yamaha have taken part in the TT Races for 50 years.  The design on this coin depicts a rider and motorcycle and also includes the TT Logo.

Eurobonds lose two millions pounds for Manx government's portfolio

THE value of the Manx government’s investments in sovereign bonds has fallen by £2 million in the wake of the Eurozone crisis, it’s been revealed.
Questions about the Isle of Man’s exposure to a potential ‘meltdown’ in the Eurozone were raised in the House of Keys by Middle’s Howard Quayle.
‘Would the Treasury Minister agree that we should be reducing our Eurozone sovereign bond exposure to nil?’
He said: ‘France is in danger of having its credit rating downgraded. Non-French investors are quietly selling off their holding accountings down to 66 per cent – it was 71 per cent in 2010. 
Treasury Minister Eddie Teare MHK said the market value of government’s direct exposure to Eurozone sovereign bonds was about £2.9m as at November 18 this year – some 0.2 per cent of the value of externally invested assets.
He said they had been bought for £4.9m, meaning their value had reduced by £2m.
‘Generally, the investment managers have been reducing exposure to Eurozone sovereign bonds in recent months,’ he said.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving 1942 --- and Miles Standish

With Americans in uniform serving all over the world today, the idea of them celebrating Thanksgiving abroad does not strike anyone as unusual. With Americans locked in a world war in 1942, it certainly was.
The hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops fighting the Axis powers in North Africa, the South Pacific and Europe celebrated the first global Thanksgiving as best they could, in the steel bulkheads of a warship's mess or the canvas of a jungle tent. England—teeming with American soldiers and sailors and airmen, ready to defend our ally against a possible German invasion and beginning preparations for an assault on Nazi-conquered Europe—was another matter.
In those dark days, Americans took special pleasure in displaying their homegrown holiday to the Mother Country. The English were dubious at first but slowly realized they were being invited to share in something very special.
Helping to win them over was an extraordinary act of generosity very much in keeping with the spirit of the holiday. Merchant ships had carried tons of frozen turkey across the submarine-infested Atlantic for the big day. Then the Yanks announced they would donate all of it to the thousands of British war wounded in hospitals. Instead they would dine on roast pork and eat plum pudding for desert, alas without the standard rum sauce. "The quartermaster failed to deliver the rum," a newsman reported.
Americans also took advantage of their holiday abroad to walk in the footsteps of the Pilgrims who created the first Thanksgiving in the New England wilderness in 1621. One officer sat in the pew once occupied by the legendary Miles Standish, the Pilgrim's military leader, in the small parish church at Chorley, in the county of Lancashire. The Chorley town hall flew an American flag on Thanksgiving Day—the first time in their long history that the citizens had ever honored the flag of another nation.
Getty Images
U.S. Army Cpl. Heinz Arnold warms up the pipes in London's Westminster Abbey.
The Lord Mayor of Boston, in Lincolnshire, invited 100 American servicemen to be his guests for a modest wartime dinner. Afterward, a senior officer laid a wreath on a memorial to five pre-Revolutionary War royal governors who had been born in the historic city. An American private laid another wreath in the cold dark cells where some Pilgrims were confined in 1607 while trying to escape to religious freedom in Holland.
Even more thrilling to those with a sense of history was a visit to Southhampton, where a U.S. Army detachment stood at attention before the pier where the old freighter, Mayflower, was fitted out for her trans-Atlantic voyage. At Plymouth they visited the quay from which the Pilgrims boarded. Not far away, the Archbishop of Canterbury conducted a service in the ruins of St. Andrew's Church, where some of the Mayflower's passengers prayed before they began their 3,000-mile voyage. Virginia-born Lady Astor was on hand for these ceremonies, calling Americans "my compatriots" and joking with a Southerner from Georgia, Private Billy Harrison, about their superiority to "damn Yankees" from New York.
The most dramatic ceremony was in London's Westminster Abbey, where English kings and queens have been crowned for centuries. No British government had ever permitted any ritual on its altar except the prescribed devotions of the Church of England. But on Nov. 26, 1942, they made an exception for their American cousins.
No orders were issued to guarantee a large audience. There was only a brief announcement in the newspapers. But when the Abbey's doors opened, 3,000 uniformed men and women poured down the aisles. In 10 minutes there was not a single empty seat and crowds were standing in the side aisles. One reporter said there was a veritable "hedge of khaki" around the tomb of Britain's unknown soldier of World War I.
Cpl. Heinz Arnold of Patchogue, N.Y., played "Onward Christian Soldiers" on the mighty coronation organ. With stately strides, Sgt. Francis Bohannan of Philadelphia advanced up the center aisle carrying a huge American flag. Behind him came three chaplains, the dean of the Abbey, and a Who's Who of top American admirals, generals and diplomats. On the high altar, other soldiers draped an even larger American flag.
Their faces "plainly reflected what lay in their heart," one reporter noted, as the visitors sang "America the Beautiful" and "Lead On O King Eternal." The U.S. ambassador to Britain, John G. Winant, read a brief message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord. Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words." The Dean of Westminster and one of the Abbey's chaplains also spoke. "God has dealt mercifully and bountifully with us," the chaplain said. "True, we have had our difficulties . . . but all of these trials have made us stronger to do the great tasks which have fallen to us."
Throughout Britain, the first global Thanksgiving gave men and women from the New World and the Old World a much-needed feeling of spiritual solidarity. Let us hope that today's overseas service men and women can have a similar impact on a troubled and divided world. Happy Thanksgiving—and our nation's sincerest thanks— to them all, wherever they may be deployed.
Mr. Fleming is a former president of the Society of American Historians. This article was adapted from his ebook, "An American Feast: Six Memorable Thanksgivings," just out from New Word City.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Castle Rushen Clock Conservation News

Check out repair and restoration news on the old Castle Rushen clock on the clock blog:

It's by 

My Photo
the Manx National Heritage Objects Conservator. I superintend the care of MNH collections including such diverse items as Viking swords, historic costumes, fine art, social history objects, boats and motor vehicles.

And here is a glossary of some of the terms Chris uses.

Arbor - an axle
Bush - a mounted bearing for an arbor
Case - here refers to the pine box enclosing the whole movement
Count wheel - controls the number of chimes
Crutch - the arbor for the pallets
Drum - the wooden drums around which the ropes are wound
Escapement - device consisting of a pendulum, escapement wheel and pallets, designed to release one tooth of the escapement wheel at a time and to impulse the pendulum.
Fly - the set of paddles that slow the speed of the striking train
Frame - in this instance, a timber structure upon which the movement is mounted
Going train - the primary timekeeping mechanism which also drives the clock face (referred to as the “watch” by E.L. Edwardes)
Great wheel - the large gear mounted on the barrel of the going train
Lantern pinion - in place of cog teeth, a set of rods set into the rims of a pair of disks, looking rather like a little lantern
Main wheel - the large gear mounted on the barrel of the striking train
Movement - the clock mechanism
Pallets - the lugs at the end of a rocking arm, controlled by the pendulum, that check the rotation of the escapement wheel
Pinion - a small driving gear
Spring - the metal strip at the neck of the pendulum
Striking train - controls and drives the chime
Striking arm - the iron rod that pulls the bell rope
Third wheel - the principal gear in the going train
Train - sets of wheels (gears). The Castle Rushen clock has two, referred to as thegoing train and the striking train
Verge & foliot - an early form of escapement employing a horizontal, weighted bar
Wheel - a gear wheel

Scottish Walk in Alexandria -- fun at Murphy's

Celebrate the
41st Christmas Scottish Walk at Murphy's Irish Pub
December 3rd
There is no place like Murphy's for Christmas. Please join us for this Wonderful Old Town Tradition featuring Live Music by Ronan Kavanagh and Sanford Markely starting at noon. Fireside dining on both floors.
Doors Open at 10am and offering  COMPLIMENTARY Bagels and Donuts.
Get there early as space is limited.
Special Menu from 10am-5pm

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub
Murphy's Grand Irish Pub - Alexandria
713 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
P: 703-548-1717

Friday, November 18, 2011

Phil Kneen from Peel - New face in photography

Rubberband face
DOORS are opening all over the shop for Peel portrait photographer Phil Kneen following a rollercoaster year.
The 42-year-old father-of-three is making quite a name for himself with his innovative and often shocking images.
In fact this week he is waiting to hear the results of this year’s NME photography awards. He was shortlisted for the music magazine’s Professional Music Photographer of the Year award after submitting four entries portraying singer Dylan LeBlanc and members of The Vaccines and Bo Ningen.
Last year he came second out of thousands of entries in a portrait photography competition by The Guardian with a shot of Port St Mary musician Bonzo Slater.
His creative career has been a long and interrupted one which suddenly snowballed after a productive meeting of minds with musician Simon Campbell a couple of years ago. But Phil, who also teaches at workshops, first got behind the lens as a teenager. IOMToday
‘When I was 15, my dad returned from teaching in Saudi Arabia and brought me a camera back,’ he explained. ‘I loved it from the start. I took pictures of people – it was always people really, I don’t have the patience for landscapes.
‘From then on I knew I wanted to work in photography.’
He started by working for Keigs and then Island Photographics before setting up his own photography company when he was about 18. However, after becoming a father aged 24, he gave photography up for other better paid jobs. He hardly touched a camera for the next 10 years. A visit to South America stirred his creative juices once more.
‘I bought a camera at the airport and that was the start of it again. I took pictures of people all over Bolivia,’ he explained. But having a third child meant another few years delay.
However, about four years ago he started photographing live bands in island venues.
‘I was out every weekend taking thousands of photos and that’s kind of what got me into music photography,’ he said, ‘I’m not passionate about music like musicians are. It’s the musicians themselves I’m interested in. They are always fascinating characters.’
Phil was then approached by Simon to do some promotional shots for his music and, using Simon’s contacts, he started doing more promotional portrait work rather than live gigs. Another boost to his career was when music promoter Lenny Conroy took him over to Amsterdam to shoot Davy Knowles who was supporting Joe Satriani on tour. ‘Lenny basically got me access all areas and I hung out with Davy all weekend,’ he explained.
And doors have continued opening wide for Phil ever since. In May Simon took him to London to photograph various musicians including brothers Rhys (The Horrors) and Huw Webb (S.C.U.M), The Vaccines and Bo Ningen at gigs and parties. ‘I took portraits of the Vaccines in their dressing room,’ he said, ‘I was given five minutes!’ Simon’s island-based company Supertone Records now manages Phil. He has since been offered freelance work by The Guardian, including photoshoots with Happy Mondays lead singer Shaun Ryder and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans. And next year he’s already booked for jobs in London and Iceland.
‘I’ve been waiting 20 years for this,’ he said. ‘I’m not as far up the ladder as I’d like to be but the more doors that open, the more open! I’m at a point now where I can approach people and say this is what I do and these are my photos.’
In fact, a book of his best works so far is in the pipeline. The photographer said he would love to work with Ian Brown one day and even the island’s politicians.
It would seem Phil’s edgy work, of which some has been banned from Facebook for being too dark in content, is now proving popular.
‘In a way I am trying to shock,’ admitted the man who is to use a pig’s head in his next shoot, ‘Not in a bad way but I do want people to look at them and go “Oh my God”. And I like it that some people don’t understand them.
‘I personally think a good photo shows an angle or maybe a situation that you wouldn’t normally see,’ he added. ‘Or something that is so familiar that it looks so natural.’
Are you growing a moustache for Movember? Contact Phil to get involved in his latest project -
l For more information or to commission a photograph email or visit
All article photos are by Phil Kneen.