Showing posts from October, 2010

Call it Synchronicity, Call it Deja Vu........

Hullo ma wee blog,

Music connects many of us to incident, time and place and here are a couple of pieces that do that for me. I spend a lot of time while on the computer with earphones on listening to music, be it via radio, you tube or uploaded CD.  {I'm not that into downloading music yet}  A few days back I was listening to Classic FM and Rossini's Thieving Magpie came on through my headphones and I was taken back to a dark Edinburgh night in the 80's sitting in 'The Playhouse' waiting for a concert to start when the lights went down and cheers of anticipation and whistles of approval grew until after a few moments, the sound of this piece began to pour out of the speakers all around the pitch black hall. It started very quietly and slowly but deliberately someone in the background began to raise the volume very gradually so that over a few minutes the sound had become almost deafening. The anticipation of the crowd had grown along with the volume of this uplif…

A Night at the Oran Mor

Hullo ma wee blog,

On Tuesday night we went through to Glasgow to the 'Oran Mor', a music venue in an old kirk, to see Lissie perform. This was a new venue to me. I'd heard about it but never been before even though it's been around for some time. It was easy enough to find, sitting as it does on the junction of Great Western Rd and Byers Rd,  two famous Glasgow streets on the western side of town. For once parking was straight forward too and we found a place on street within a hundred yards of our destination. A quick look around showed there were also several restaurants to choose from for a quick bite and we settled on an inviting looking little Italian place almost next to where the car was parked.

An hour later and we were ready to make our way across to the venue and check out whoever might be on support. The small space was quite packed by the time we got in and, as is often the case, it was going to be a hot night all packed in together. Luckily we had both l…

There's A Fundamental Problem With Multiculturalism...............

Hullo ma wee blog,

Jings! I huv'nae half been a serious wee fella this last week or so. Aye, I'm afraid this is another one but I hope you'll forgive me. Hopefully I'll be a bit more lighthearted soon but this has been bugging me for a considerable while.

In among all the stories about spending last week I was caught by German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement that in her opinion multiculturalism has failed in Germany. I firmly believe in the ideals and the principals of multiculturalism but she sees western Europe going down under the tide of radical Islam. Rather than liberal society creating the utopia of harmonious cultural pluralism, it's being swallowed whole by a giant predator whose voracious mouth it encourages in the spirit of tolerance. The very act of liberality, it would seem ,ensures its downfall as it invites enemies and friends equally and empowers them with all the worthily inclusive legal protections that it would use to defend itself. It …

How To Get More From Less............

Author - Wealth of Nations

Hullo ma wee blog,

It's now a few days since the govt released details of its spending review aimed at reducing the national deficit and getting the countries finances back on an even keel. The Chancellor George Osborne went to great lengths to make sure that the country got the message that the situation was bad,that something was being done to reduce the deficit urgently and that the measures being taken were fair to all parts of society with everyone paying their fair share. During the hour he took to explain the outline of the measures he used the words fair or fairness repeatedly, over twenty times in fact.

But listening to it all I was struck by thoughts of justice and fairness, particularly about the fact that what is just isn't always fair and what is fair isn't always just.

Now the dust has begun to settle and proper analysis has begun it's become obvious that what many feared has been enacted and it is the poorest sections of societ…

All at Sea on A Tide of Spending Cuts

The British Navy of the Future......

Hullo ma wee blog,

Well, what an interesting day it's been today. Mr Cameron, our duly elected 'High Heid Yin' has announced the result of the defence review. This is a defence review which is "in no way related to" the spending review being announced tomorrow but rather "takes into consideration" the financial climate that we currently find ourselves in as well as the strategic direction we need to take for the defence challenges ahead.

Aye Right!

So apparently what we need to defend ourselves over the next few years;
17,000 less forces personnel. {Including 18% less deployable manpower}
25,000 less Ministry Of Defence support staff.
Ark Royal aircraft carrier withdrawn immediately.
Existing Harrier fighter scrapped.
Replacement Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft scrapped.
Tanks and artillery reduced by 40%.
Two new aircraft carriers - with no fixed wing planes available to fly off them until 2010
RAF Kinloss in Scotlan…

Take The Long Way Home............

Cove Harbour by Patricia Sadler
Hullo ma wee blog,

On the wall at the side of the bed is a painting by Patricia Sadler, a local lady with a talent for colour which shows in her wonderful paintings of  flowers. The painting across from me and which I see as I wake almost every morning isn't one of her flower paintings though. It's a small painting about twelve inches by twelve, framed in a broad, gold painted frame, of the beautiful little harbour at Cove, a mile, maybe a little more, from the house. It's an impression of the harbour from above, corn gold grasses and stone coloured walls frame waters painted deep in the colours of summer. It often puts a smile on my face as I wake up and it's often the last thing I look at before putting off the bedside light. It's familiar and comforting both as an object and as an aide memoir of a lovely spot which is just what you want as you put your head down on the pillow. I think so anyway!

The Lovely G and I found it tucked …

Ghost Writing

Hullo ma wee blog,

As I left the house two days ago I heard a familiar voice.  One I recognised instantly for its distinctive sound, as if  spoken through a smile. The soft rumble held me mid-stride, keys in hand and I heard familiar strength in my ear.

"Driech, eh?"

I put my head down as my eyes pricked until I reached the car where I sat and pushed tears to one side with the back of my hand. I took a deep breath and reversed past the end of the house, down the drive and onto the road, swallowing back the lump that had come.

I was several minutes down the road when my father's voice came again, quieter now.

"It's ok ye know."

Yesterday my lawyer brother phoned to say,

"Good news......."


Black Agnes - Dunbar, 1338

Dunbar Castle today.
Agnes, Countess of Dunbar is well known here in East Lothian for her role in defending Dunbar Castle against an English army in 1338. There's not much left of the castle now but what there is seems to rise fully formed from the red stone of the local area like it's part of the rock itself. In any case what little still remains around the harbour today isn't Agnes' castle of 1338.  That earlier stronghold was later 'casttit doune' on order of the king to prevent it falling into enemy hands.

The Celtic Votadini or Gododdin, are thought to have been the first to defend this site, the Brythonic name Dyn Barr, (the fort of the point) is still in use. By the 7th century Dunbar Castle was a central defensive position of the Kings of Bernicia, an Anglian kingdom that took over from the British Kingdom of Bryneich. During the Early Middle Ages, Dunbar Castle was held by an Ealdorman owing homage to either the Kings at Bamburgh Castle, or latterly t…

John Lennon would have been How Old ???

Hullo a wee blog

A tribute to the genius of John Lennon through the genius of Peter Sellers.

One of the blogs I follow posted on the fact that today would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. The realisation of this was quite a shock. People who have been lost are always thought of in terms of how old they were when they died and not how old they would be now. Although at the time I was never his greatest fan, I've come to appreciate him much more as I've got older and it's a fact that he was both a prodigious talent and a huge loss to world society as a musician and as a humanitarian. Who knows what he could have achieved if he hadn't died that day in 1980.

Go to 'Scottish Nature Boys' blog to listen to a lovely tribute to him and his music played by various contributors on ukulele. I know, the thought of it sounded a bit odd to me too but it's well worth a listen. This informative and well written blog is also worth a look for anyone interested in …

Symbols and The Interpretation of Dreams.......

Hullo ma wee blog,

 I'm sitting at the patio table. It's a late summers day and the apple trees are occasionally twitching as sparrow squadron flits in and out to the feeders hanging there or back to their positions on the garden shed, the driveway fence or in the hedge just behind the trees. I'm reading a book and there's a glass of wine nearby, but as I often do, I'm paying attention to the comings and goings of the local wildlife. There are the usual noises;  fluttering wings, excited cheeps, the occasional argumentative bickering, when something else registers. A new noise. My ear tunes in to listen for whatever has attracted my attention and a few moments later I hear it again. I can't quite identify where it comes from and I haven't heard enough to know if it's something normal just misheard, distorted somehow as half-heard things can be sometimes.

A sparrow lands on the branch closest to me. It has a beak full of seed and bends to tap a seed aga…

RIP Norman Pitkin.........

Sad news today with the announcement that Sir Norman Wisdom has died at the age of 95. A fabulous entertainer and a legend of British cinema and entertainment. A true gentleman.

You made me laugh - and not because you were a fool

Say hello to Mr Grimsdale for me when you get up there......

A bad Case Of The Bends

Hullo ma wee blog,

We took breakfast on the balcony of the apartment in Jausiers every day. For the first few days of our holiday here in the Alps of Haute-Provence we used the local cheese and bread we had bought in  a small deli and artisan bakers in  nearby Barcelonnette on that first evenings walk through the streets of the small town. We'd also supplemented it on the second day with some jam bought in the local supermarket. It felt strange to be sitting on a balcony in the middle of September and feeling the first warm rays of the sun hit the bottom of the valley, feeling it warm enough to sit in comfort to eat outside. We'd left rainy Edinburgh in 13C and arrived in Marseilles in 29C. It felt good to be back in France. We feel somehow at home here, there's just something which gives us a sense of peace and makes us promise to come back again and again.

Every day we would decide where we were going to head to and set off in our hire car. No motorways for us on holida…

Chi M'in Geamhradh /Alba.

A couple of favourite Runrig songs. In Gaelic but with English translations. The first fits the time of year I think and the second still fits the political situation pretty well.......

See you later.........