Isle of Man
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The Isle of Man, 32 miles long and 13 miles at its widest point, lies in the Irish Sea. It was a strategically valuable possession
to the indigenous Celtic peoples, to their Scots and Irish cousins, and to later conquerors—Norse raiders and English noblemen who
declared themselves Lord of Man. It remains an independent territory of Great Britain, governed by its own separate Parliament, called
Tynwald. It has its own currency. When she ascended the throne, Queen Elizabeth II became "Lord of Man."
My personal connection to the Isle of Man is very meaningful. In centuries past, my own ancestors conquered the island. When curiosity drew me there, the island took its revenge by conquering my heart. Since then, I've returned many times, in many seasons. This photograph was taken at Maughold Lighthouse in late spring, when the gorse was in vibrant bloom, and the wind so strong it nearly blew me off the cliff!
On the map, the area in the box near Ramsey represents the locations of the Islanders Series, consisting of Kissing a Stranger, The Seducer, and Impoper Advances. These stories were written as romantic historical novels but several of the primary and secondary characters reveal the island's culture and history--agriculture, manufacturing, mining, as well as folklore and mystery and magic! The places promimently featured are the port town of Ramsey, Maughold Head, the Glen Cornaa, and Glen Auldyn.
Here are some specific settings featured in the stories.
Maughold Head, site of Castle Cashin, where the Earl and Countess of Ballacraine and their family reside in Kissing a Stranger. Lady Lavinia Cashin, who appears in all three novels,
has twin siblings Kerron, Baron Garvain (hero of The Seducer) and Lady Kitty Cashin.
The ridge farm Dreeym Freoaie, occupied by the Cashins in The Seducer.
Boayl Fea, the roadside tavern, home of Ellin Fayle, heroine of The Seducer
Stream in Glen Cornaa, site of Kerron's linen factory in The Seducer.
Shingle beach at Port Cornaa.
Churchyard and burial ground at St. Maughold's.
Ballanard, the ruined farmhouse on the height.
View of hills similar to Glen Auldyn, where Oriana Julian aka Ana St. Albans rents a cottage belonging to Sir Darius Corlett's villa in Improper Advances.
Traditional Manx cottages of stone and thatch.
Scenery along the island's eastern coast.
Not surprisingly, traditional Manx fare relies greatly on seafood. Herrings have been kippered for centuries on the island, whose economy depended greatly on the fishing fleet.
A particular delicacy is the Queen scallop, or "Manx Queenie," given a particular prominence in the isle's restaurants. This simple dish can be made with the small bay scallops similar to queenies. If serving rice, prepare it in advance.
|Scallops Marsala for Two
1 pound bay scallops
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1/3 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup Marsala wine
dash of salt and pepper
In a large pan over high heat saute the scallops with the butter
and seasonings--they will cook very quickly.
When scallops are firm but still moist, remove the pan from the stove.
Stir in the wine, adding the cornstarch (cornflour).
Serve immediately with rice and vegetables.