The main purpose of my recent excursion to England was to visit the Isle of Man, birthplace of Clague. Located in the Irish Sea, the small island is a self-governing Crown dependency known for its wealth, low crime rate and, ahem, money laundering schemes. At least these were the things my cab driver chose to inform me of enroute from IOM to Douglas, the capital. Taking taxis is always an interesting experience for me (Citation 1 and 2). I genuinely enjoy the conversation with someone who knows the streets like no other, especially those that demonstrate a genuine pride in their home (adopted or otherwise).
This particular cabbie was an Isle of Man citizen, born and bred. After explaining the purpose of my sojourn and telling him my surname, he immediately replied "Ah yes – that is a very famous Manx name. I know two Clagues actually ... both are artists." I thought this anecdote was interesting. Perhaps it's in our genes.
He continued to tell me about how much I would love island life in comparison to the mainland. London was too fast-paced and unforgiving, he explained. The people didn't care about anything except getting ahead.
"I don't mean to be rude" I said sheepishly after he completed his rant, hoping not to offend him by the bold statement to follow "but I actually feel that London has the rudest people I've ever encountered. And I've been all over the world".
"What do you mean, rude? You're not being rude, you're right. They are!!! Doesn't bother me any. I'm not English. You're not English either. You're MANX!" he bellowed, diverting his eyes from the roadway to warmly meet my gaze in the backseat.
It became one of the most memorable moments of my trip. I had traveled 6,186km from my Canadian home to my ancestral home and was embraced as one of their own.
I didn't have the heart to tell him I was also half French.
*The title of this post means "a taste of Manx" in the traditional language.