Wednesday, March 26, 2014

NAMA 2014 Convention (some details may change but it's close!)

Thursday 3rd July 2014:   
Official start of NAMA Convention
Sefton Cowell Room: Open for Registration from 9.00am 
1.00pm:      Tynwald Chambers tour for all NAMA members.  
2pm-5pm:   NAMA Board Meeting in Legislative Council Room     
Welcome Reception by Manx National Heritage at Manx Museum
Friday 4th July 2014:     
10am -- 5pm.  Coach tour with lunch and tea break
Lunch: Castletown Civic Center hosted by Castletown Commissioners 
Afternoon: Peel Tea at St German’s Cathedral - Hosted by the Dean 
6.30pm  Independence Day Buffet and Swing Music in Sefton Atrium with Castle Rushen High School Swing band.
Saturday 5th July 2014:         
Free day -- optional extras
9.00am Quilting talk with Mannin Quilters (Optional)
2.00pm - 5.00 pm LDS Family Fun Day - Open invitation
6.00 - John Creer - Talk on Y-DNA project in Sefton a/v theatre (Optional)
7.30pm NAMA Convention Banquet at Sefton & Official Convention Photo 
Sunday 6th July 2014:      
9.30 General Meeting in Villa Marina Atrium with Wurlitzer 
11.30 Tour of backstage at The Gaiety Theatre. (Optional)
2.30pm  Tynwald Garden Party at the Nunnery. (Optional)
6.00pm Memorial Service at Loch Promenade Church followed by Fish and Chips supper.
 Monday 7th July 2014                    
8.30am - 1.00pm  Tynwald Day – Tynwald proceedings 
6.00        Dinner at The Italian Job
7.30pm-10.30pm Farewell sing-a-long at Sefton, Harris Suite (Guests welcome, cash bar)
On Tuesday July 8th there has been a kind invitation from the World Manx Association to their 7pm Concert - “A Bit of a Traditional Manx Do,” St Andrews Church, Douglas. With the 2014 Cleveland Medal Winner, Dancers and musician of Ny Fennee, Philip Kennaugh, Harpist Mira Royle & the traditional Manx Choir, Cliogaree Twoaie. With Supper & Raffle.
Haven't got your Registration in yet? Bet get a move on -- May 1st is the last date to do it. Watch out for your next NAMA Bulletin -- it'll be coming soon!

Walking Amongst the Snowdrops in Dalby for Local Fundraising Event

With severe winter storms dominating the Island’s weather system during the past few months, it was fortunate that the day selected for the Snowdrop Walk at Dalby dawned bright and sunny.

Set on the remote west coast, the rugged coastline affords little shelter, but signs of spring were all around us as we headed towards Dalby House, where the gardens had been opened for viewing by kind permission of Mrs Clarke.

Dalby House, known locally for its swathes of snowdrops, formed a pleasing backdrop for the many visitors who headed west for the afternoon in pursuit of a little light relief from the wind and rain.

The event, which was over subscribed, was organised to help raise funds for the St James’ Church
Restoration Fund and this year’s selected charities, the new Breast Cancer Unit for Noble’s Hospital and the overseas charity School for Uganda, raising almost £700 for these worthy causes.

Visitors wandered leisurely throughout the garden admiring the different varieties of snowdrops, learned more about this delicate blossom from local man Michael Killey and bought a number of potted snowdrop plants, adding generously to the fundraising total.

As the sun went down and the threat of rain developed, everyone retired to the schoolroom at St James’ Church, a little further along the main road, to enjoy home-made afternoon tea by the open fireside. 

Valerie Caine

© March 2014 (inc photos)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Chronicles - Prologue (Limited Edition EP)

The debut CD of Manx duo Chronicles, aptly titled Prologue, is a musical preview of their forthcoming album, featuring new compositions inspired by the thirteenth century manuscript The Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles; pushing the boundaries of music in new directions and revealing what can be achieved by thinking outside conventional structures.

Multi-instrumentalist, David Kilgallon, is well-known in traditional music circles and has a passion for combining music and heritage, whilst Russell Gilmour, a graduate of the Royal College of Music with a distinction in the Master of Music in Historical Performance course, is also in demand as a freelance musician.
Prologue by Russell Gilmour & David Kilgallon

The unusual combination of organ and trumpet challenges the stereotypical approach as they take a selection of Manx and Swedish tunes, explore beneath the surface and set about adapting them in an exciting multi-cultural fusion and interpretation; with individual influences cleverly incorporated into these stimulating new arrangements.

There’s a subtle beauty in the ebb and flow of their compositions, with the dominance of the organ tempered by the distinctive sound of the trumpet, creating a unique blend and opening new areas within the world of music.

The organ installed at St George’s Church in Douglas by Harrison and Harrison, specialist organ builders of Durham, was used for this recording with production by Anglin Buttimore.

A short video on YouTube gives a further insight into what Chronicles hopes to achieve.

Prologue can be purchased from the Chronicles website priced at £5.

Valerie Caine

© March 2014

(Courtesy of Manx Tails)

Monday, March 17, 2014

Well Done, Beach Buddies! Thank you!

Beach cleaning on the Isle of Man coastline over the weekend resulted in a record amount of rubbish being collected, organisers have said. BBC
The local volunteer group Beach Buddies said more than 70 island residents picked up  a total of 130 bags consisting mainly of rope, plastic and polystyrene.
The group targeted the Point of Ayre on Saturday and Fisher's Hill on Sunday.
Bill Dale, from the organisation, said:
 "These two areas were a real eyesore, but we have left them spotless."
He added: "Compared to the first two months of 2013, this year's beach cleaning sessions have resulted in more than twice the amount of rubbish being collected, with 50% more volunteers getting involved.
"Just over halfway through the month, the figures for March are already double the amount of 2013."
Beach Buddies, established in 2012, has recently applied for charity status and is challenging its volunteers to make Manx beaches the cleanest in Europe.
Beach cleaning at the Point of Ayre

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Whisk Out Those Baking Bowls and Support the Annual World Bonnag Championships at Dalby

Bonnag is synonymous with the Isle of Man and perhaps even more so with St James Church in the village of Dalby, where the Annual World Bonnag Championships have been held for more years than the organisers care to remember!

Isle of Man Creamery's Buttermilk Trophy
Each year keen amateur bakers wend their way to the west coast of the Island to compete in this popular event, in the hope of winning one of three categories; gents, ladies or children. And in addition one of those lucky winners will be presented with the Buttermilk Trophy awarded by the Isle of Man Creamery as overall champion. But this year there’s an extra category to attract the professional baker and caterer with a new trophy.

The interpretation of what constitutes as a bonnag in catering establishments across the Island has widened in recent years, and the Dalby organisers of the World Championships are keen to maintain the true identity of the simple wholesome, old-fashioned Manx bonnag. Traditionally an un-yeasted bread handed down from well-worn family recipes, it is a staple food of the Manx farmhouse table and much-loved at country events.

The evening also includes a selection of Manx entertainment hosted by John Kennaugh, and a generous supper; which might include a slice or two of bonnag. Judging of the competition entries (which should be on a paper plate with your name under the base) will take place during the interval.

Cheques will also be presented on the night by the Friends of St James Church to The Friends of Robert Owen House and The Malawi Mission Project concluding fundraising activities during 2013.
A Selection of Manx Bonnags

The evening will draw to a close with a mighty auction of all bonnags entered for the competition, with a proportion of money raised divided between the new Breast Cancer Unit
for Noble’s Hospital and the overseas charity School for Uganda.

The Annual World Bonnag Championships will be held at 7.30pm on the 28th March with a charge of £7.50 on the door, but get there early if you want a seat.

Further information is available from Margy by phoning 834768.

Valerie Caine

© March 2014 (inc photos)

Friday, March 14, 2014

The island knows we're coming!

The Manx government: Delegation to China helped strengthen relations

Chief Minister Allan Bell MHK described the intensive programme of political and business meetings, receptions and media briefings as ‘positive and productive’.
The visit concludes in Shanghai today (Friday) and Mr Bell said efforts would now focus on converting the high level of interest generated over the past five days into new business and investment opportunities for the Island.

The delegation has been successful in moving forward three significant Memoranda of Understanding (MOU):
  • The Chief Minister has signed an MOU on developing economic, trade and technical co-operation between the Isle of Man and the Tianjin Binhai Hi-Tech Industrial Development Area;
  • Agreement has been reached with the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission to sign an MOU with the Financial Supervision Commission later this year in the Isle of Man;
  • And the Chief Minister has opened dialogue with the vice-chairman of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission on developing an agreement to support greater cooperation between the insurance regulators in our two countries.

The Chief Minister said: ‘The Chinese people have been very open, friendly and eager to learn more about the Isle of Man’s business proposition across a range of sectors. It takes time to develop links in China and personal contact is essential. I believe this delegation has helped to build trust and understanding, and further cement the Island’s relationship with one of the world’s economic superpowers.’
He added: ‘We need to recognise that the Isle of Man is in a fiercely competitive environment when it comes to attracting new business. Everybody is targeting China as it is on course to become the largest economy in the world within the next few years. There are huge opportunities to benefit from that growth, even for a small nation such as the Isle of Man. That is why missions of this nature are so important.’
The Isle of Man delegation, which comprised senior government officials and prominent members of the business community, hosted a series of meetings in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.
The programme included official engagements with the China Ship Owners’ Association, Ministry of Commerce, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship, Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission and the Shanghai Federation of Industry and Commerce.
There were also official receptions in Beijing with the British Ambassador to China, His Excellency Sebastian Wood, and Brian Gallagher, the embassy’s commercial counsellor and director of trade and investment; and in Shanghai with the British Consul-General Brian Davidson.
Chinese politicians and business leaders heard about opportunities in a number of island industries, with particular focus on financial and professional services, shipping, insurance and manufacturing.
The Chief Minister said: ‘The Isle of Man can offer unique advantages for Chinese businesses seeking to expand into the UK and Europe and we were able to promote those benefits during our busy schedule of meetings.
‘Economic growth remains my top priority for the Island to sustain job opportunities, living standards and funding for public services. That’s why I’ve been so encouraged by the success of this delegation.
‘There is still a lot to do, but the Government and private sector are committed to working together to bring more Chinese business to the Isle of Man.’

This story comes from Isle of Man Today.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Winter Photography Session Brings the Isle of Man Steam Railway into Focus

The Isle of Man Steam Railway, which runs between Douglas and Port Erin, is always a popular mode of transport for visitors and local alike who have the time to fit in with its leisurely pace, but during this weekend there’s been an extra bonus for budding photographers.

Now in its third year, the Winter Photography Event is a joint venture between Isle of Man Railways and the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association, and attracted the support of enthusiastic local photographers, with staged sessions organised along the route of the Victorian transport system.
No. 4 'Loch' (Courtesy of Isle of Man Railways)

Starting at Douglas Railway Station and using both bus and train to access areas en route, members of the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association acted as volunteer guides for the occasion. Early birds also had the opportunity of sampling a hearty Fireman’s Breakfast to set them up for the day ahead.

The steam engine Loch (named after a previous Lieutenant Governor of the Isle of Man Henry Brougham Loch) was the focus of the camera lens, together with a rake of freshly painted small F coaches. Built especially for the Douglas to Port Erin line (the sole survivor of a much more extensive steam railway network which covered the Island) the Loch celebrates her 140th anniversary this year.

During the evening railway enthusiasts also travelled by vintage bus down to Port Erin in the south of the Island for a film show and talk about the southern line by Chairman of the Isle of Man Steam Railway Supporters’ Association, Bill Cubbon, in the waiting room of Port Erin Railway Station’ with a hearty hot supper supplied by the Whistle Stop Café.

A similar event on the Manx Electric Railway will take place on the 1st November, 2014.

Valerie Caine
© March 2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

Manx Groups Head for Annual Welsh Festival

In true Celtic spirit two Manx groups will be heading across the Irish Sea to Wales to represent the Isle of Man at Cwlwm Celtaidd, the Celtic Festival of Wales.

Known widely for its focus as a family festival of music, song and dance, it attracts representative groups from each of the Celtic nations for a fun-filled weekend in the southern Welsh coastal resort of Porthcawl; which this year was well oversubscribed.

Proceedings kicked off with a free opening concert at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff at the

The Mollag Band
end of last year, as a taster of what’s to come this month at the Grand Pavilion, situated on Porthcawl’s Victorian esplanade.

This will be the start of a busy year for the mighty Mollag Band who will be entertaining audiences at the festival with innovative songs and original tunes. Performing an eclectic mix of self-penned works and traditional material in both Manx and English, look out for their new CD, due out soon.

Manx dancers Perree Bane, who are based in the south of the Island, always attract attention with their colourful costume and dramatic presentation, and like the Mollag Band are no strangers to this annual festival. Founded in 1982, Perree Bane’s aim is to keep alive the extensive repertoire of Manx traditional dances, with some innovations here and there,
Perree Bane
both at home and abroad.

Meanwhile the Manx links continue in the company of Welsh band Jamie Smith’s Mabon, who will be headlining at Cwlwm Celtaidd, with Adam Rhodes (Barrule) playing bouzouki and two other members of the group married to Manx girls.

Valerie Caine
© March 2014 (inc photos)

(Courtesy of Manx Tails) 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Scottish and Breton Musicians to Launch New CD at Island Venue

As the interchange of Celtic music becomes more popular, there’s a unique opportunity to hear two of today’s leading instrumentalists, from Scotland and Brittany, in concert next Monday evening (10th March) at Bunscoill Rhumsaa.

Calum Stewart (Uilleann Pipes and Wooden Flute) from Scotland and Heikki Bourgault (Guitar) who hails from Brittany will be visiting the Island as part of a European tour to launch their latest CD Hunter’s Moon.
Heikki Bourgault & Calum Stewart

After meeting on the Isle of Man at a late night music session whilst visiting with separate bands on a previous occasion, their musical friendship has successfully married old melodies with an inspiring, assertive interaction, revealing a fresh outlook on an expanding Celtic repertoire.

Although rooted in the traditional music of his native northern Scotland, Calum is influenced by his work with the Irish, Breton and Scandinavian traditions, whilst Heikki’s open-tuned guitar work has evolved from his background as a Breton dancer and musician.

Doors open at 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start – tickets priced at £10 (adults) £2 (children) available by phoning (07624) 406876 or on the door if not sold out.

Valerie Caine

© March 2014