Wednesday, October 30, 2013

More than £5.1 million of surplus property disposed of

The Isle of Man Government has made solid progress in cutting the amount of office space it rents and the number of buildings it owns.
In recent years, Government has reduced annual spending on rentals by over £700,000 and expects to more than double these savings by 2018. Government has also disposed of more £5.1 million of surplus property in the last two years against an initial target of £4 million for the period.

The initiative is considered good for the overall economy, freeing up space for private sector expansion, as well as producing capital income and revenue savings for Government. In terms of rented accommodation, Government has released substantial areas of floor space in Douglas and is continuing to explore ways of driving costs down further by more consolidation of operations within its owned property.

This is a cross-Government exercise with all Departments engaging to help make the most of the Island’s property resources. Disposals so far include former police stations, doctors’ surgeries, bus depots, electricity retail outlets, office premises and underutilised land and buildings. The disposals are part of a considered strategic program. Sites and buildings that are identified as crucial to the delivery of Government services into the future will be retained. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

From Travail to Tranquillity A Social History of Glen Dhoo – Ballaugh

Manx author, Sarah Christian, was led by her own intrinsic curiosity to seek out information about this picturesque and secluded valley, situated in the north-west of the Island, but readily admits that her research has unearthed more questions than it answers.

Beginning with a wonderfully evocative description of the area by David Craine, this book will appeal to historians, walkers and the downright curious, with this informative publication providing directions to the location, which can be tricky to find if you don’t know where to look.

Divided into The Port and the Upper Farm, Sarah had discovered much about the landscape, but knew little of its people. Extensive enquiries, however, transported the author far and wide in a complex genealogical journey of discovery, breathing new life into a deserted neighbourhood.

Glen Dhoo has long been abandoned, but Sarah’s inquisitiveness reveals a resourceful community in this remote and isolated region of the Manx countryside, now only served by occasional walkers and the valley’s own ghosts.

There are still some tantalising puzzles yet to solve, although Sarah has now revealed the story behind the dedication to Margaret Louise Pass found on one of the better preserved tholtans in the glen.

Priced at £6, with sale proceeds donated to Ballaugh Heritage Trust, it’s available from St Paul’s Bookshop, A Novel Experience, Bridge Bookshop, Manx National Heritage, the Lexicon Bookshop and online at Amazon.

Valerie Caine
© October 2013

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Barrule Pulls the Crowds at WOMAD

With international music pulling the crowds as never before, Manx traditional music trio Barrule was delighted to receive an invitation to perform on the BBC Radio 3 stage at the WOMAD international music festival, set in the attractive arboretum of Charlton Park in Wiltshire, where they introduced the unique music of the Isle of Man to large audiences and fellow musicians, several of whom declared Barrule’s gig to be the favourite of the festival.

WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) was founded by Peter Gabriel, Thomas Brooman and Bob Hooton, with their first festival in 1982, but now established as a truly international festival bringing together artists from all over the world to present music of passion, individuality and excellence.

With a reputation for introducing unknown artists to a wider audience, WOMAD has presented more than one thousand musicians from over 100 countries to live audiences of in excess of one million people in its lifetime.

After weeks of glorious weather, a forecast of rain did little to dampen the enthusiasm of the all-male line-up of Adam Rhodes, Jamie Smith and Tom Callister, who were overwhelmed by the fantastic response of music lovers determined to have a good time come rain or shine (although Barrule’s gig was bathed in sunshine) at the 31st WOMAD festival; with the additional delights of workshops, food tastings and a global trade market.

Their inspirational arrangements bring renewed vigour to some of the older songs and tunes, with an evolutionary approach that has already captured the imagination of a Manx audience and the hearts and souls of many new fans. Hosting a mix of traditional and newly composed songs and tunes, their performances reveal a youthful exuberance and a refreshing sensitivity with links to the contemporary music scene and a style undoubtedly their own.

Spokesperson for the group Adam Rhodes revealed, “We were very lucky to have been asked to perform on the BBC Radio 3 stage, set in the beautiful arboretum of Charlton Park. It’s a venue that myself and Jamie are quite familiar with, having played there two years ago with Mabon, so we were very much looking forward to it! Wanting to put on a good show, we asked Greg Joughin to join us on vocals and also had the pleasure of being joined by Manx dancers GrĂ¡inne Joughin and Alison Carroon for a few sets, much to the audience’s delight.”

The crowd gave Barrule a warm welcome, bought most of their CDs and veritably lapped up their performance of music and dance, which was recorded by BBC Radio 3 as part of a broadcast later that evening.

Dr Breesha Maddrell of the Manx Heritage Foundation commented, “WOMAD is one of the greatest world music festivals. For Barrule to have secured a spot on the BBC Radio 3 stage is fantastic news for them as talented musicians and for the whole of the Island; and the Manx music scene in particular. Tom, Jamie and Adam are a huge inspiration to young musicians in particular – they show that Manx music can take its place on the international stage.”

Valerie Caine
© October 2013

(Courtesy of Manx Life)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Publix stock Manx cheese!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Record year for Manx queenies

BBC: Isle of Man queen scallop exports have reached a record £3m despite tougher fishing regulations in Manx territorial waters, according to the government.
The 2013 season, which ran between June and October, reaped in the region of 4,000 tonnes of the shellfish.
It follows new bye-laws restricting catch size and season length.
Fisheries minister Phil Gawne said the measures had resulted in a "higher quality product" which was proving popular in the European market.
Government figures show 2012 queenie exports were worth about £1.7m to the Isle of Man, a figure which has grown steadily from about £700,000 in 2002.
The figures suggest the Manx queenie industry is now approaching a similar value to that of the Manx scallop industry, which last year was worth about £3m to the island.
Queenies are one of the smaller scallop species - it is a bivalve mollusc which can grow up to 3in (9cm) in diameter, compared to scallops which can grow to about 9in (23cm).
Earlier this year the Isle of Man government imposed new legislation to prevent over-fishing in Manx waters after figures showed a sharp decline in local stocks.
Research by scientists at Bangor University showed the volume of shellfish in Manx waters has fallen by about 15,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes since 2010.
"The department has worked hard with the industry to achieve a sustainable queenie fishery in the Manx territorial sea, using trawl nets, and this was formally recognised in 2011 with Marine Stewardship Council accreditation," said Mr Gawne.
"The reduction in the area of the territorial sea where dredge gear can be used to fish for queenies also contributes to our aims of achieving a profitable but sustainable fishery."

Manx farmers will sympathize with their loss

Shutdown worsens historic blizzard that killed tens of thousands of South Dakota cattle

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Senior TT Trophy on show

A 108-year-old TT trophy, normally kept under lock and key on the Isle of Man, is to make a rare journey to England for an exhibition of sports prizes.
The Senior TT Trophy is usually only brought out for presentation following the annual race before returning to a secure location in Douglas. The trophy, which is insured for £1.5m, was presented to John McGuinness in June following his sixth race victory. It will feature alongside football's FA Cup at the show at Ascot in Berkshire. The one-day exhibition will also feature the Ashes urn, which England and Australia contest in cricket, the World Snooker Championship Trophy and the Rugby League Challenge Cup. 
It will take place at the racecourse on 19 October.
TT organiser Simon Crellin said it was "very rare for the trophy to leave the island".
The silver trophy, first won by Charlie Collier in 1907, features Mercury, the Roman god of the messengers, on top of a winged wheel and has engraved shields detailing the winner of every race.