20 years ago we left the UK for the last time and started our new life on the Isle of Man which was in our hearts and became our home.
20years ago, we and it were very different. The Isle of Man was mostly Manx both in people and in the shops and services, it was how Lancashire used to be we kept remarking. The Manx people were warm and welcoming and every body willing to help us and wanted us to succeed. People would tell us the best place to shop for such and such and tell us things about the island that tourists never knew. We soon learnt much about the history, not the history in the books, but the real history of the people. Who was in the wedding cake and where they came from, much of this was really funny, but people were open to us. Okay, some could say they were nosey, but as much as we learnt about the Island and about the people, they got our history as well even down to, it seemed at times our DNA! We soon learnt the truth of the saying that if you sneezed in Douglas then someone in Peel would say bless you. Perhaps the biggest thing we learnt was that if you were honest and really wanted to make the Isle of Man your home, the Manx would help you, but if you in any way put up a barrier you were a "comeover" and there was a boat at 9am.
So much has changed since we arrived, to be blunt not for the best in so many of the changes. Now the wonderful Manx shops in Town are fast becoming a faded memory, with the few remaining ones like the dying embers of once warm fire. Now you can walk through town and not see as many familiar faces or it take you 3hours to do your messages as you catch up with old friends. Now we have unheard of crime and we lock our doors and cars and even our once fully Manx companies are now owned by off islanders. It has not completely gone and I hope it never will, but it seems to be heading that way as Morecambe did,the rose of Lancashire with a heart of gold, became the jaded old lady sitting on bench remembering better times when the world was younger and people loved her. I really hope my beloved Island home doesn't become the grumpy suspicious old man reflecting on his youth when he was the envy of the world.
20 years on this is our home, while the blood of Lancashire flows through our veins it does through a heart that is made on the Isle of Man. For this is our home and the only place that we would ever want to be until we pass to the great place beyond and then our passing will be to Ellan Vannin. In so many respects, I am more Manx than anything else, for it was here that I was helped on my journey from the abused kevin to Kev. For as much as the island has changed, the greater changes have been within ourselves. It is funny when we do the quizzes that come up about how Manx are you and we score 100% on them, we sometimes think and say do you remember when we used to think how can anyone say its far to Ramsey and now we plan to go there.
This beautiful Island still enhances us as still amazes us with its beauty and it's many, many hidden gems. It still can lift our hearts and make our souls soar as we breath in the fresh clean air. We can still go to our special places at night and gaze at the wonders of the universe. Still get a proper Manx welcome in many places and still find our quick five mins turn into an hour, still get the skeet. The unfathomable Traa dy Liooar of the first day has become thankfully part of our way doing things. The two that came here to start afresh in our second year of marriage, not only found a fresh start but a home and the place where we belong. Perhaps the biggest compliment that we have been given to us is when people say Well I never knew you weren't Manx !
Traa dy liooar. T'eh taishbyney yn traa kiart. Time Enough, It shows the correct time. I think I shall have on my grave stone, for the correct time to do anything is when there is time enough. So 20 years ago was the correct time for us to have time enough for Ellan Vannin to become our home. Now we are Aly from the Parish of Ballaugh and Kev from the Parish of Malew , different names and in many ways different people thanks the magic of this jewel in the middle of the Irish Sea.