Why finishing a story is sometimes just the start

Paul Speller is celebrating, after finishing work on his latest piece of short fiction.

But, as he explains here, sometimes finishing the story is just the start of a long journey that, hopefully, ends in publication.

He also confesses to forgetting to warn his brothers that their names were set to appear in a previous short story!

Read the full article.

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The Curious Child is published

Prize-winning story re-published

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Prize-winning short story Baby Blue Eyes re-published and available for free

A prize-winning short story by Paul Speller has been re-published online this week.

Baby Blue Eyes was Paul’s debut short story and it first appeared in Writing Magazine after winning a national competition.

The chilling tale of the fate of a vulnerable mother is available to read, for free, in horror fiction website Lonesome October Lit on Friday.

It has been a busy winter for Paul’s fiction.

His latest short story The Curious Child is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble in the Dimension6 annual collection 2017.

Paul recently also accepted an offer for publication on another short story and details should be confirmed in the new year.

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The story behind the tale: Baby Blue Eyes

The Curious Child is published

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Why using data on children for political ends is wrong

Paul Speller has hit out at the use of data and league tables in connection with school children.

As well as the limited value of data based on narrow metrics, he condemns attempts by some politicians to seek a school-by-school breakdown of figures in the Isle of Man, with the stark warning to parents that it could lead to their children being identified.

He argues in the Manx Independent: ‘The walls of a classroom will tell you much more about what the children are doing than a league table.’

You can read the full article here.

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Is Tynwald an echo chamber? 

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Dimension6 collection shortlisted for award 

Prize-winning short story is re-published

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Spring into action at the Family Library this Easter holiday

An animation course is one of many special events taking place at the Family Library during the school holiday.

The Animania animation course will be held across four sessions, on April 3, 6, 10 and 13, running from 1.30pm to 3.30pm each day. The package of four sessions costs £15 and booking is essential.

There are many other events at the library too. Slime Time sessions will be held on April 4 and 11 from 10.30am and on April 5 and 12 from 1.30pm. Each session is £3 and, again, booking is advised.

Also, on April 10, there will be a Manx Bird Life bird feeders and mobile workshop, from 10.30am-midday. The session costs £3, booking required.

To book a place at any of these events call in at the library or ring 640650.

The library is also holding a Spring Has Sprung Challenge on Wednesday afternoons, from 2pm. Admission is free.

Librarian in charge Mary Cousins said: ‘We look forward to seeing lots of familiar faces and some new ones at our events – and calling in to take advantage of our games collection and, of course, browse the many thousands of books!’

The Family Library, which is closed for the bank holiday weekend, is next to the children’s playground in Westmoreland Road, Douglas, visit the website www.familylibrary.im or call 640650. You can also follow events via the Family Library page on Facebook.

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Manx Miracles gives Family Library a huge boost

Every penny counts: Pledge of support for Family Library

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Through the Legislative Council looking glass

Paul Speller takes a look at the future role of the Legislative Council in his latest column for Business 365.

He suggests a stronger role in scrutiny and a lesser role in government may be the future for the unelected upper chamber of the Manx parliament.

The column also notes that one of his previous predictions regarding the precarious position of a government minister turned out to be portentous.

You can read all of Business 365 online here.

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More political predictions from Paul

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More political predictions from Paul

The January edition of Business 365 magazine is out now.

In his latest Grapevine column, Paul dusts off his trusty almanack to make some political predictions for the coming year in the Isle of Man.

The whole magazine is available to read online here.

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Is Tynwald an echo chamber?

Article on Steam Packet sparks big debate

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Is Tynwald an echo chamber?

In his latest Grapevine column for Business365, Paul Speller asks whether Tynwald has become the latest echo chamber.

Paul says it is time to end the self-congratulation that has started to pervade and warns that the public want more from their politicians.

You can read the December edition of Business365 here.

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Press Release: Manx Miracles gives Family Library a huge funding boost

The Family Library has been given a £10,000 boost to its finances by another charity – Manx Miracles.

Manx Miracles is a parent-led charity that raises funds to support children with additional needs and disabilities. It decided to make the donation to help the Family Library and Mobile Library to continue to assist such children through their services.

Christian Cowley, Manx Miracles’ treasurer, said the charity decided to do its bit to help with the Family Library’s finances after spotting the call for funding support earlier this year.

Louise Connor, who founded Manx Miracles, said: ‘I just believe in the service, what they are doing for children, so anything we can do to help, we are happy to do so.’

Charity connection: Mary Cousins, left, and Sandra Henderson, right, with Christian Cowley and Louise Connor of Manx Miracles

The annual costs to run the Family Library, Mobile Family Library and Schools Service – which is itself a charity – come to £250,000.

A family trust has pledged to match pound for pound any money raised up to £125,000 over each of the next three years and, this summer, the government pledged £100,000 to enable the services to keep running for the coming year, in doing so acknowledging the vital role the Family Library plays in the community.

Mary Cousins, librarian-in-charge at the Family Library, said: ‘We are overwhelmed by the generosity of Manx Miracles, a fellow charity, who are so committed to supporting children with additional needs and disabilities.

‘This money will certainly help us to increase our provision for those children.’

Sandra Henderson, who is librarian-in-charge of the Mobile Library, added: ‘This donation will help us to make a real difference.

‘We are truly grateful to Manx Miracles and hope we can do our bit to support them in the future.’

You can find out more about Manx Miracles on the charity’s website manxmiracles.com

The Family Library’s website familylibrary.im has details of all its services and the many upcoming events.

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Press Release: Janice the winner as Flower Festival photography contest reunites friends

Janice Quilliam, of Peel, is the winner of this year’s Isle of Man Flower Festival photographic competition.

Her photograph (above), taken at the Old Grammar School, in Castletown, was judged the best in a high-quality competition. It earned her a £50 voucher for Elaine’s Florists.

It proved impossible to split the three next best photographs, two at Abbey Church by Jane South, of Santon and one at Ballabeg Methodist Church, by Margaret Dodd, of Regaby.

Margaret decided to donate her runners-up prize of a £20 voucher for Alexander Nurseries to Ballabeg Methodist Church and, when she realised Mary Cringle was the contact there, an amazing coincidence was uncovered.

Friends reunited: Mary and Margaret

Margaret revealed: ‘Our neighbours are the Radcliffe family of whom Mary was the daughter. She was the organist at Regaby chapel and I took over that job when she married (former President of Tynwald) Noel!’

Mary took the opportunity, the next time she travelled north, to call in to see Margaret to receive the donation.

The Isle of Flower Festival, in July proved, to be a big success once again. Many people shared on social media their pictures from the wide variety of displays at the many venues around the Island.

A late flurry of entries to the competition before the deadline passed saw a larger selection than last year, from which the judges chose their winners.

Jane South’s two photographs earned her runners-up prizes

Pictures needed to illustrate the theme of this year’s festival which was Charity Is …

Committee member Judy Matthews said: ‘Yet again, it was a very difficult task to choose a winner, but Janice’s picture was the favourite among the judges. Very well done to her.

‘It was lovely to hear about the coincidence for Margaret and Mary. The Flower Festival is a huge community event and happy stories like this are the icing on the cake.’

Margaret’s photograph

The committee will soon be sitting down to start plans for next year’s event.

To keep up to date with details about the Flower Festival, visit www.flowerfest.im

Related article:

Flower Festival 2017 gets underway

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Press Release: Isle of Man Flower Festival gets underway on Sunday

The 2017 Isle of Man Flower Festival gets underway on Sunday.

Thirteen venues around the Isle of Man will be blooming with colour for this year’s event, which runs from July 2-8.

The theme this year is Charity Is …

Committee member Judy Matthews said: ‘We are very excited about this year’s festival.

‘As ever, we look forward to welcoming old friends and meeting some new ones. As well as a wide variety of displays, a number of venues are organising events to tie-in with the festival.

‘It promises to be a great week.’

The Flower Festival is also combining some old-style craft with modern technology.

Flower Power: Kurt Roosen, director of Isle of Man Community Foundation, and Geoff Corkish MLC, vice-chairman of Culture Vannin, try out their paper flowers for size. Both organisations support the Isle of Man Flower Festival. There is now a demonstration of how to make the paper flowers on You Tube

Becky Dorricott so impressed her festival colleagues when she demonstrated the skilful art of making paper flowers, she was encouraged to make a demonstration video, so that others could try their hand too.

The video is now on YouTube, under Flower Festival Tissue Paper Window Flower.

Already, in Ramsey, a number of shops have put up paper flowers provided to them by Becky.

Ramsey Baptist Church’s display, on the theme of Charity is LOVE, inspired by Emperor penguins, has already created a lot of interest after a number of hand-made felt penguins were unveiled.

Edward the Emperor Penguin, a full-size model that will appear on the driveway entrance to the church, based in Mountain View Innovation Centre in Jurby Road, is now awaiting his finishing touches before he joins the display!

Each venue has its own opening times and many have laid on a number of extra activities. You can find out more by picking up a programme, checking out the www.flowerfest.im website or by contacting the churches direct (detail is on the website). Keep an eye on the festival’s Facebook page, too, for more updates.

St Peter’s Church in Onchan, for instance, has a number of events lined up for the week, including a number of concerts. On July 4 and 5, from 3pm, it is hosting a ‘fizzy afternoon tea’, with trips to Molly Caroon’s Cottage included. Tickets are £8 and £5 and booking is essential – telephone 675797.

The participating venues are: The Cathedral Isle of Man, Peel; St Mary de Ballaugh Old Church; Jurby Church; St Andrew’s Church, Kirk Andreas; Ramsey Baptist Church at Mountain View Innovation Centre; St Olave’s Church, Ramsey; Christ Church, Laxey; Onchan Elim Pentecostal Church (in Second Avenue); St Peter’s Church, Onchan; The Abbey Church, Ballasalla; Old Grammar School, Castletown (Manx National Heritage); Ballabeg Methodist Chapel; St Peter’s Church, Cregneash.

To keep up to date, visit the festival page on Facebook or go to www.flowerfest.im

  • Due to a change in circumstances, Onchan Elim Pentecostal Church, in the Family Centre Second Avenue (off School Road), is unable to open on the morning of July 8, as published in the festival programme. The afternoon tea on that day will now be held 2pm-5pm. Visitors can still call in from July 3-7, from 10am-6pm.


Related article:

Pick up a penguin at Ramsey Baptist Church

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