Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Great Manx Bonnag Bake-Off

Heavy snowfall earlier this year forced organisers to reschedule the annual Manx bonnag competitions but it was standing room only at St James Church, Dalby, as everyone crowded into the schoolroom to witness one of the highlights of the village calendar.

With the pleasing aroma of fresh bonnag wafting through the old schoolroom, local farmer and radio personality John Kennaugh skilfully compered the evening’s entertainment which was dominated by a number of local singers, many of whom had competed recently at this year’s Guild. Vocalists Kelly Collard, Mike Durber and Terry Qualtrough (who stole the show with his stunning impersonation of Elvis Presley) were accompanied by Gareth Moore.

This was interspersed with a varied selection of poetry and lashings of parochial humour which gave life to diverse views of the Isle of Man, with Richard Rake choosing work by Roly and Denys Drower, Vinty Kneale and David Kelly. Meanwhile John Kennaugh recited extracts from two poems by the old master T. E. Brown which clearly showed his control of different genre.

With Bert Winckle’s retirement after many years of judging the bonnag competitions, organisers introduced Eileen Jones of Peel to judge this year’s entries which were laid out ready for assessment at the rear of the schoolroom. Separated into three categories the winners were as follows:-

Ladies            -    Anne Quirk (also the overall winner of the Isle of Man Creamery Buttermilk Cup)
Men                -    Ben Awkal
Under 15      -      Austin Rycroft

A break in the evening’s entertainment allowed members of the audience to sample a generous home-made supper, provided by the fantastic culinary team at St James Church which ensured no-one went home hungry.

Representatives from this year’s chosen charities were also on hand from Robert Owen House and the Malawi Water Project who informed the audience of work undertaken by both groups in their quest to improve the quality of life for both Manx and African families.

The evening was brought to a conclusion with a raffle and auction of competition bonnags by John Kennaugh with members of the audience vying with their neighbours to purchase the winning entries.

All proceeds from the evening will be donated to the Isle of Man Agricultural Benevolent Trust.

Valerie Caine
© May 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

“A Little Book of Laxey” Incidents, Accidents & Hot Topics in the Victorian Era!

From Sue King

Shipwrecks, daring rescues, medical emergencies, furious driving – the dramatic highlights, you may suppose, of a new action movie. But they’re actually the gritty subject matter of a quirky little book which details life in the Manx village of Laxey in the nineteenth century as never before.
‘A Little Book of Laxey – A Miscellany of Incidents, Accidents and Hot Topics from Manx Newspapers 1793-1899’ has been compiled by Laxey writer Sue King from many hundreds of newspaper articles held in the digitised archives of the Manx National Heritage iMuseum.  Sue has long been fascinated by the human background to Laxey’s industrial history and, while researching another subject in the iMuseum, found herself drawn to numerous references that painted this ‘quiet’ little mining village in a whole new light. Before long she began to realise that, as well as making a great read, these long-forgotten stories held a wealth of historical interest across a huge range of subjects. The result, compiled in chronological order, is a revealing look at what Laxey’s Victorian forefathers (and mothers!) REALLY got up to, how they viewed themselves and the rest of the world, and how they dealt with the challenges they faced.
Sue says “The iMuseum, behind the main Douglas museum, is an amazing resource for local history. The research facilities offered to the general public – and worldwide by subscription - allow you to find an incredible amount of information about Manx people, places and events at the click of a button. I simply typed in the words ‘Laxey and Lonan’ and within seconds was presented with thousands of articles. After months of trawling I’d still only worked my way through to 1899 so decided that might be a good place to stop!”
Sue says she has tried to maintain a fair balance in the book’s subject matter – which ranges from drunken brawls to tea-drinking temperance rallies, and covers everything from births to marriages and deaths, albeit the most newsworthy ones! She says she did hesitate over some of the more tragic and what some readers may consider offensive stories but felt they all deserved to be included as they highlight the attitudes and practices of a very different era. Throughout the book, any archaic terms, place names or curious words that may puzzle the reader are explained in short postscripts.
‘A Little Book of Laxey’ is priced at just £6.99 and is available from all good Island bookshops (WH Smith, the Lexicon, Manx National Heritage, St Paul’s in Ramsey, Bridge Bookshop) as well as Presence of Mann at the Laxey Woollen Mills, and the Laxey Post Office. Sue will also post copies to overseas addresses on request. For further information email  sueking@manx.net   

Friday, May 24, 2013

Manx Flags in Monaco

NAMA Youth Award winner, Melanie Blower, is traveling with a group of Virginia Tech students on a Study Abroad program. Guess whose flag showed up? It's the Red Ensign -- Manx style. These vessels are registered with the Manx Superyacht Register. (http://www.gov.im/ded/shipregistry)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

TT on iMuseum and TT Films

With TT 2013 starting this Saturday, iMuseum gives fans access to hundreds of photographs, news articles and objects from previous race years, right back to when racing started in 1907.  Go to www.imuseum.im or visit iMuseum (next to the Manx Museum, Douglas) to:
·         Look at images from the Island’s National Photographic Archive and objects such as the Suzuki RG 500 motorcycle ridden by Mike Hailwood in 1979. 
·         Explore TT & MGP is a database that lets you search for race, rider and machine.
·         Read articles from the Manx newspapers and the TT Special for 1907 to 1961.
·         Tell us about your TT memories by clicking on Your Stories.
The Manx Museum also brings fans some unmissable film showings this TT week including 'TT Legends', an exclusive film following the Honda TT Legends throughout the 2012 racing season, showing from 27th May to 8th June. 

Two film showings and talk shows will take place on Mad Sunday, during a special Sunday opening of the Manx Museum. 
Marking the 90th anniversary of sidecar racing at the Isle of Man TT Races a showing of Cabell Hopkins short film ‘No Ordinary Passenger’ joined by former world champion Stan Dibben and TT legend Dave Molyneux. 'A Dangerous Addiction', a documentary film by Al Jazeera, will be followed by racing banter in an interactive Q&A session with the filmmakers, joined by team managers Hector Neil and Wilson Craig, TT racer John Ingram and TT winner Milky Quayle

Tickets are £10 per screening available now from the Manx Museum and online, with all profits to 
The Rob Vine Fund, The Joey Dunlop Foundation and Manx Museum and National Trust. To find out more and buy tickets visit http://www.manxnationalheritage.im/whats-on/tt-mgp/.

The TT or Tourist Trophy races are staged each summer, over the famous Mountain Course. This annual event attracts thousands of bike fans, from all over the world. The TT is possibly the most demanding race on earth, both on machinery and riders, and is also steeped in history. The Mountain Course is the oldest motorcycle racing circuit still in use, and in over a hundred years only two world wars and the outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease have prevented the TT.

Image captions;
Could you tell us more about these photographs or the riders?

PG/12100/42   BMW sidecar outfit (number 5) passing through Onchan village, 1950s

PG/12100/2     TT sidecar riders Cyril Smith and Eric Oliver with their passengers, 1950s

For further information, please contact:
Email: Jude Dicken – iMuseum TT Images
Call: 01624 648000
Lynsey Radcliffe – TT Films
Email: lynsey.radcliffe@mnh.gov.im
Call: 01624 648000

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Isle of Man Photographic Society to celebrate 75 years

Isle of Man Photographic Society to celebrate 75 years in anniversary exhibition at the House of Manannan
The Isle of Man Photographic Society is celebrating its 75th anniversary with an exhibition at the House of Manannan in Peel from Saturday 18 May 2013 to Sunday 4 August 2013
The Isle of Man Photographic Society is celebrating its 75th anniversary with an exhibition at the House of Manannan in Peel from Saturday 18 May 2013 to Sunday 4 August 2013.
Jointly curated by Manx National Heritage and the Isle of Man Photographic Society, the exhibition will feature works by the society’s members together with vintage cameras and photographic equipment. There will also be a mock darkroom and a studio set out as a Victorian drawing room to serve as a backdrop for visitors to take their own photographs.

The exhibition will be supported by a series of photography workshops hosted by leading Isle of Man professional photographer Andrew Barton LBIPP LMPA, proprietor of Andrew Barton Photography Limited.
The workshops take place from 10.30am to 4pm, on Sunday 23 June, Sunday 30 June, Sunday 7 July and Sunday 21 July.
The first workshop will serve as a general introduction to photography; the second explores still life techniques; the third, at Peel Castle weather permitting, offers an opportunity to photograph people using volunteer models provided; and the fourth will trace developments in photography in the Victorian era.
Mr Barton said:
“Over the years the Isle of Man Photographic Society has done so much to promote the art of photography to a wide audience thanks to the boundless enthusiasm of its members. I’m delighted, therefore, to be able to share my passion for photography by contributing to the celebrations marking the Isle of Man Photographic Society’s 75th anniversary with this series of workshops that I hope will prove of interest to the novice as well as the accomplished photographer”.
 Isle of Man Photographic Society President Tony Curtis said:
 “This is a fantastic milestone in the society's history, and I am honoured to be president at this time. The exhibition is the most ambitious event that we have undertaken so far, with much more than just ‘pictures on a wall’. It is a celebration of all things photographic; from exhibits of old cameras and equipment, through a darkroom and studio installation, to four exciting workshops hosted by Andrew Barton of Andrew Barton Photography.
The exhibition will have something for anyone interested in photography no matter what their style or ability”.

Monday, May 20, 2013

IOM Stamps – The Three Legs of Man

The Three Legs of Man - a triskelion

The distinctive triskelion is inevitably, although not exclusively, identified with the Isle of Man, but is recognised worldwide as a badge of identity throughout the Island’s sometimes turbulent history.

It’s a powerful symbol linked to a rotary movement which is seen as representing the three-spoked wheel of the sun god’s chariot as it crossed the sky.

Locally this evocative image appears in a number of guises, but not always the correct way round, nevertheless, Manx people are justly proud of their distinctive emblem, although when first in use on the Island remains un-established. Sir William Scrope (a former King of Man) used a strikingly similar example when sealing and signing a treaty between England and France in 1396, but it’s most notably connected to the Manx Sword of State which may date back to 1422.

The Latin motto, Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, which accompanies the symbol, has also been subject to change, although its core meaning (we’ll survive whatever happens) remains constant. The motto itself originally featured on the family badge of the Byzantine/Roman General Flavius Belisarius (505 – 565 AD) along with a representation of a caltrop (a ball fitted with four spikes) which, no matter where it fell would always prove injurious to any beast following in battle. It’s assumed that someone remembered this and resurrected this timeless phrase for the Isle of Man.

Little did they know how popular this powerful combination would become centuries later as both an identification marker and as a veritable gift to the tourism industry.

Valerie Caine
© May 2013

World Fiddle Day 2013

Manx fiddle players will be joining forces in a global initiative when they gather at the Strand Shopping Centre in Douglas on the Isle of Man to celebrate World Fiddle Day.

Organised locally by the Manx Heritage Foundation, Island based fiddle players of any age or ability have been invited to participate in the first ‘Manx Music flash mob’ to be staged on the Isle of Man, which it’s hoped will involve all members of the violin family, including viola, cello, double bass, hardanger and viola da gamba.

Using a set of tunes led by David Kilgallon, they will include Peter O’Tavy, Three Little Boats and Car y Phoosee and will be followed by free traditional music workshops with two of the Island’s leading fiddle players and composers, the aforementioned David Kilgallon and Katie Lawrence.

World Fiddle Day is the brainchild of CaoimhĂ­n Mac Aoidh, a Donegal fiddle player who decided upon an annual celebration of the instrument and its extensive family, after realising that a dedicated day of celebration was yet to be established on the calendar.

It’s a day in the year when fiddle players from all over the world can celebrate the beauty of the instrument together, and is timed to fall on the Saturday closest to the 19th May, the date of the death of Antonio Stradivari (Italian luthier and crafter of stringed instruments) and brings together people in both the northern and southern hemisphere with the hope they can hold outdoor events involving groups of people.

Events will be happening all over the world, including Ireland, Germany, Holland, Cuba, Canada and the USA.


Valerie Caine
© May 2013