Signs of Wonder

Let me take you by the thoroughly-sanitised hand and lead you through the streets of the Isle of Man.

When I’m not photographing the interesting or frankly bizarre buildings of my own dear Ellan Vannin, I also like to mix things up a bit by taking pictures of some of the more attention-grabbing street names around the Island.

Yes, as Edmund Blackadder once observed, the long winter evenings just fly by. It’s just the way this bad boy rolls.

Here, for example, we have the extravagantly-punctuated Senna comma Road full stop, just off the main shopping street in Douglas. It’s named after the system-cleansing pods that were traded in this neighbourhood long ago, and not the Brazilian Formula One driver. I’m sure there’s a book to be written about the golden age of the Manx laxative industry, but it must wait for another day. You can’t force these things.

This next one is a little hard to find but well worth tracking down at (and I offer a silent apology to my spellchecker for this) ST GEORGES WALK. The complete absence of punctuation, the unconventional font, the ker-razy spacing….all told, it’s a bit of a gem.

This handy little sign is on Falcon Street. Cool name, handsome font, quirky shape…but what really makes this falcon soar is the Mickey Mouse hand, cheerily waving visitors up the street. Speaking of rodents, it’s also fixed to the wall at ankle height, making it super-convenient for any passing mice to read.

Let’s move north to Ramsey town, fast-forwarding through the scary bits of The Shining by the sea. Here, the road sign is a fairly standard 1970s bilingual one. What’s far more interesting is the name itself…how fantastic an address is Neptune Street? Also please note how the Manx translation demonstrates how cutely mix ‘n’ match mythologies can be.

We’ll end our tour in the ancient Manx capital, Castletown. Here we are, cheek by jowl with the castle itself, in the existentially-challenging boulevard of No Place. Or are we?

It’s like home….

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