The Wandering Players – Them Oul’ Times


by John Slater

I opened the evening by presenting a cheque for £3000 from the trust to Nigel Godfrey, Dean of the cathedral. This is our contribution to the complete refurbishment of the tower clock by Smith’s of Derby. Water had been leaking through the tower roof for years, causing the drive shafts to seize and further deterioration of the mechanism required a complete rebuild. This has had to await the raising of sufficient funds to restore the roof, now completed. Thanks to the generosity of many people, all is now well. The clock is a facility for all the public, of course. Three of the faces are working and the fourth just requires a new drive shaft for the hands.

Any structure, such as the cathedral, in an exposed position for more than one and a half centuries, is going to need regular maintenance and increasing funds. We were delighted to be able to give some help as part of our work in maintaining Peel’s heritage. No excuses, now, for missed buses!

It was then, a great pleasure, to introduce The Wandering Players – Yn Cloiederyn Wandereilys. This comprises a group of friends – Christine Bregazzi, Howard Caine, Ruth Caine, Anne Clarke, Judy and Sandy Cross, Dollin Kelly and Terry Qualtrough – who felt that the Year of Culture, 2014, should continue and it certainly does! Sandy Newton had stepped in as narrator, on this occasion. The programme bills, “Them Oul’ Times – The Manx Story through Poetry, Prose, Song and Readings…” The group certainly lived up to this claim. There were twenty-one items in the programme, presented without an interval. I had some reservations about this but the programme whizzed by and ended all too soon.

Music included The Streams of Lovely Nancy, The Birth of a Nation, Lament of the Duchess of Gloucester, Smuggler’s Lullaby, King of the Sea, Sheep Under the Snow, I’m a Native of Peel (This was a great sing-along,) and Ramsey Town. T.E.Brown featured with Tommy Big Eyes, The Doctor and Dear Countrymen. Peel Castle and Cathedral by G.H.Wood was very appropriate. So many delights! A monologue, Election Time for Women was a splendid and still appropriate for all electors and elected.  The duologue, The King’s Visit, by Josephine Kermode was poignant. I can only touch on some of the delights in the programme. This is a group well-worth seeking out. Doubtless, they will return.

I was delighted that so many of the audience stayed on for refreshments. This gives everyone a chance to discuss the evening and to get to know each other.

Our next meeting is at 7.30pm in the Centenary Centre Atholl Room on Wednesday the 20th January. This is our A.G.M. with a new strategy! You musn’t miss this one. Get it into your new diary, now!

We wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and New Year!