The Rampant Scotland Newsletter - your insight into what has been happening in Scotland, snipped from the Scottish media, for Scots in Scotland and abroad. Bringing you news and events, plus a Scottish magazine section. Published every second week, with 100% recycled electrons.
Previous editions of this Newsletter are available in the Archive> and the Index to the other pages of the Rampant Scotland site is available here>.
The Scottish Snippets Newsletter in its original format began in April 1997 and continued in an unbroken series for 591 issues. Although no longer produced in that format there is now a regular update on the new and updated pages on the Rampant Scotland site and also "Scottie's Diary" on an intermittent basis, To receive this, kust send an e-mail to Scottie with "Subscribe Newsletter" in the subject line.
Scotland's Population at 20-Year HighFigures released by the Registrar General Office for Scotland show that Scotland's population is at its healthiest level for more than 20 years. The reason is that there were more children born in 2007 than any year since 1997, with the fifth consecutive increase in births on the previous year. But less than half the babies born had mothers who were Scots - the baby boom is being generated by one in three infants with mothers born in the Eastern European countries which joined the EU in 2004. The Registrar's figures also show that the number of marriages fell, and is now nearing its lowest number since Victorian times when the population was smaller. Some 49.1% of last year's births were to unmarried parents. The provisional statistics show that there were 57,781 births in Scotland last year. Despite being the highest in 20 years, that is half the level of the early 1960s. Scotland's population has steadily increased since 2003 when the population was 5.06 million. In 2006 it had risen to 5.12 million - the highest since 1985 - and all the signs are that there will be a further increase in 2007. It's not that long ago that Scotland's falling population was regarded as "chronic" after two decades of decline. There were predictions that it would fall to below five million by 2009 and below four million by 2041.
First Minister's Popularity SoarsA recent opinion poll shows that First Minister Alex Salmond recorded a huge lead in the personal approval ratings over his Labour Party rival, Wendy Alexander. The Scottish Nationalist leader was given a plus 53% rating by voters - against minus 22% for the struggling Labour leader. On the opinion polls on voting if a Scottish parliamentary election were held this week, the Scottish National Party (SNP) polled 39% on the constituency ballot (up 6% from last May) and Labour recorded 31% (1% down from last year. On the basis of this poll, the SNP would increase their majority if a Scottish election were held tomorrow, winning 57 seats, while Labour would win 44. The Conservatives would win 16 seats and the Liberal Democrats 12.
Scottish Unemployment at 33-Year LowGovernment figures show that the number of people in receipt of the "Jobseekers Allowance" fell last month by 600 to just 68,700. That's 13,200 below the figure of a year ago and the lowest for nearly 34 years. On the alternative International Labour Organisation (ILO) measure, unemployment increased by 10,000 over the three months to the end of January, but at 5% the jobless rate is below the UK average of 5.2%. Total numbers employed in Scotland stands at just over 2.53 million, a fall over the quarter, but an increase of 16,000 on the same period a year earlier.
20% of University Students From OverseasScottish universities have been working hard in recent years to attract students from abroad, in part because they can charge more in fees for overseas students than from local Scots. Last year that amounted to £181 million. In addition, there is a benefit to the economy in off-campus spending by foreign students and the positive experience of those from abroad who study here boosts the image of Scotland. Last year there were 58,095 overseas students in Scotland's universities, a rise of nearly 7,000 on the year before. 28% come from countries in the European Union but the largest source of international students is China and Hong Kong (16%) with the United States (7%), India (6%) and Malaysia (5%) also well represented.
Hangover for Whisky IndustryPerhaps the most controversial announcement in the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer's budget last week was the increase in tax on alcohol - which added 59 pence (just over US$1) on a bottle of whisky. It was the first increase on spirit duty for ten years and is now set to increase by 2% above inflation in each of the next four years. It may sound a lot, but with a bottle of blended whisky costing around £13/14 and a mature malt at around £25 (US$50), price differences and special offers from competing supermarkets can amount to a larger amount. But the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said the rise was "much worse than expected" and was damaging to the Scottish distilleries who were constantly fighting heavy import duties in countries to which it was exported. The SWA claimed the increase in the UK set a damaging precedent.
Wind Farms "Won't Affect Tourism"Research carried out by Glasgow Caledonian University, on behalf of the Scottish Government, seems to suggest that tourists would not be put off coming to Scotland because of wind farms. About 75% of visitors and others questioned were either positive or neutral about the developments. Those campaigning against the onward march of wind farms on the top of Scotland's hills often argue that they are unsightly and spoil the look of the countryside. The Scottish Government has a target of generating 50% of Scotland's electricity demand from renewables by 2020 while at the same time expanding tourism revenues. Wind farms are highly controversial in many parts of the country. Plans for a wind farm near Loch Laggan, Loch Ericht and the Monadliath mountains, where the TV series "Monarch of the Glen" was filmed, have been described by campaigners as "desecration". In recent years, the first glimpse by travellers of the Highlands from the Lowlands on the main route heading north towards Stirling has been blighted by a series of wind turbines on the hills on the northern edge of the Forth valley.
Changes to Nation's Shopping BasketThe Office for National Statistics (ONS) has made a number of changes to the list of items included in the calculation of the cost of living. They reflect the radical changes that keep being made to modern-day purchases, with micro-wave ovens (once an aspirational iconic purchase) dropping out as prices have plummeted so that they can be bought for as little as £22. Other items removed from the list are TV repairs (as households opt to buy new flat screen, digital TVs instead) and steering lock devices (with in-built car anti-theft devices taking their place). New items included in the calculation are digital storage devices as well as fruit smoothies and muffins as we embrace the "café culture". The 650 items on the ONS list is updated each year to better reflect public spending habits and changing consumer tastes. The basket of goods was first published in 1947 to replace a list of arbitrarily defined "essentials" used to keep a track of rising prices. In 1947 these included prices for wild rabbits (unskinned), sewing machines, back-laced corsets and schoolgirls' navy woollen gym tunics. Yes, times have changed!
Herald Celebrates 225 Years of NewsThe Herald newspaper (which used to be known as the Glasgow Herald until it changed its name to emphasise it was a national rather than local paper) was first published in 1783. To mark the anniversary, it included in its edition last Saturday a special magazine that chronicled the paper's history. It covers not just the newspaper but the changing face of Glasgow and Scotland as well as looking to the future - and the challenge and opportunity of the Internet.
Three Ways Project for Great GlenA new public access and interpretation project along the 62-mile length of the Great Glen aims to get people out of their cars and experience the area by three other modes of transport - "boot, boat and bike". The Great Glen is a geological fault-line running 62 miles between Inverness and Fort William and takes in landmarks such as Ben Nevis, Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. The Caledonian Canal runs through the area, using the four natural lochs linked by 22 miles of man-made waterways. More than 30 large stone and timber monoliths, with information and interpretation panels, are now located at strategic locations through the glen, giving details of the area's history, archaeology, folklore and wildlife. It is hoped that the improved facilities will encourage more national and international visitors to the area to enjoy the spectacular surroundings.
Prospect of Glass Roof RaisedPlans by a local businessman to create a glass roof above Buchanan Street, Glasgow's top shopping thoroughfare, have been given a boost by reports of a similar scheme in the Yorkshire (England) town of Leeds. It is claimed that this created a renaissance for the shops there and attracted major new stores. It is not totally enclosed, like a shopping mall, but the pedestrians are sheltered from the elements. The Victoria Quarter in Leeds (see picture) was initially branded a white elephant when it was created in 1990, glazed over by the UK's biggest stained glass window. Then up-market Harvey Nichols opened its first store outside of London in 1996 and other top shops like Vivienne Westwood and Louis Vuitton, followed. The proposal for Glasgow's Buchanan Street seems to have the support of city centre traders and civic leaders. it is seen as a way of counteracting the pull of out-of-town shopping malls. However, recent increases of over 50% in parking charges in central Glasgow car parks will do more to drive shoppers away.
£300 Million Royal Mile DevelopmentThe heart of Edinburgh's world heritage site "Old Town" is the Royal Mile, a series of streets that run from the castle down to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (and, these days, the Scottish Parliament). Any attempt to "redevelop" any part of the historic street inevitably runs into opposition from those who want to preserve at all costs. But some parts of the street have deteriorated and include poor-quality, early 20th century eye-sores. After a long period of debate and consultation, a developer has now been given the go-ahead by the city planners for what is claimed to be a "once-in-a-generation opportunity" to breathe new life into a rundown part of the Old Town. Part of the so-called Caltongate development, which involves demolishing an old bus depot, had already been given planning approval. The controversial proposal includes a five-star hotel and conference centre, a new public square, cafes, bars, restaurants, a major office block, a live music venue, a "metro"-style mini-supermarket and 200 new homes. Objectors say it will destroy the character of the historic area. But after the developers agreed to retain an apartment block and convert them to "affordable housing," plans for the £300 million developments have been approved.
National Park for Harris?Even though it was a Scot, John Muir, who did so much to promote the concept of preserving wilderness areas with the creation of national parks in the 19th century, Scotland didn't get round to designating its first such conservation area until 2002. The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park was followed a few years later by the Cairngorms National Park in the Highlands. Now the North Harris Trust in the Western Isles has begun a debate on whether the community should seek the designation for its natural and human habitats, thus creating Scotland's third national park. The move came as the Environment Minister announced that the boundaries of the Cairngorms park should be expanded to include Blair Atholl and parts of eastern and Highland Perthshire. There has been a long running campaign for this and the minister says that a strong case for the expansion has been made.
National Sports Arena UnveiledNew images of the planned £98 million National Indoor Sports Arena to be built in Glasgow's run-down East End were released this week. A major element of the successful bid to stage the 2014 Commonwealth Games in the city, it will have seating for 5,000 people and will be a regional and national indoor training centre, as well as a major international sports event venue. Three full-size training and community sports halls will provide warm-up spaces for athletes as well as event spaces. The arena will include a community sports and leisure centre with a dedicated community sports hall, dance studio, extensive gym and spa, creche, outdoor five-a-side pitch and cafe.
"Low Key" Anniversary of Lockerbie BombingThe 20th anniversary of the blowing up of Pan am flight 103 above the Dumfries and Galloway town of Lockerbie on 21 December 1988 is to be marked by a "low key" commemoration. 270 people died, including 11 residents of the town when the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted into Sherwood Crescent. There is a memorial garden, outside the town and residents have been asked to make suggestions for commemoration events. As the anniversary falls on a Sunday, there are already plans for an ecumenical service by local churches. A symbolic quilt has also been commissioned and the local Lockerbie Academy is also organising a number of events with a particular focus on the links between the town and Syracuse University in New York state, which lost 35 students in the disaster. For many years, under the "Lockerbie Scholars" program, two graduating students from Lockerbie Academy study at Syracuse for one year.
Hands Off Our HeathersThe failure of the Scotland’s Garden Trust to obtain financial backing for their grandiose Calyx national garden project has put the Cherrybank Gardens in Perth under threat of closure. The six-acre garden is home to Europe’s largest heather collection and was to be part of the larger plans. But Scotland's Garden Trust is now planning to sell Cherrybank to a developer and use the cash to set up a garden somewhere else in Scotland. That has incensed local garden enthusiasts and Perth and Kinross Council, who see the present garden as a local tourist asset. But it only attracts 25,000 visitors a year and even if it stays open, would require a subsidy to operate. Time is running out, too, if the 50,000 heather plants representing 900 varieties are to be saved for the future.
Porridge Fires BoilerA new biomass boiler being installed at the Scott's Porage Oats plant near Cupar in Fife will take oat husk - the part of the oat left over from porridge making - to generate renewable power for the entire site. The boiler will cost five times more than a conventional fossil fuel boiler, but will reduce carbon emissions and will reduce the need for the husks to be taken away from the site. The project will make the mill carbon neutral. The head of the plant has been quick to see the marketing benefit of the plans, saying "Everyone knows that porridge is a great source of energy for our bodies. Now we’re planning to use the oat husks to power our facility."
Parking Attendant Lays Down the LawThe staff who issue parking tickets in Edinburgh are called "enforcers" and their enthusiasm for their job has earned them an unenviable reputation. They show no fear or favour as they ruthlessly slap tickets on windscreens of anyone parking unlawfully - victims have included a hearse, an ambulance, a blood-transfusion vehicle and the team bus for the Scottish rugby team. But one intrepid attendant, issuing a ticket on a police car parked outside the High Court in the Capital, appeared to amused onlookers to be taking even more delight than usual. The vehicle was parked on a single yellow line and the action was defended by a spokesman for Edinburgh City Council who said the single yellow lines were for brief stops - not for police officers spending a long time in court giving evidence.
Weather in Scotland This WeekGale force winds and heavy rain last week returned again this week, with frequent gusts over 50mph. Temperatures have been below average for the time of year, typically 8/9C (46/48F) but feeling colder in the strong winds. This week saw temperatures drop further as winds shifted to a northerly direction. Temperatures were in the range 4/6C (38/43F) with snow on high ground and in the east of Scotland. Even the central lowlands saw some snow (horizontal in the high winds) but it didn't lie on the ground here.
Despite the weather, these daffodils in Stirling were managing to put on a spring-time show...
This Week's Colour SupplementThis week's large format photographs taken in Scotland to show the current season and its flora and fauna include Stirling Castle, with its ornate statues, on a dull, grey day; a bank of flowering daffodils, beneath Stirling Castle; the Church of the Holy Rude, the last remaining Scots church to have staged a Coronation; Pintails, with the distinctive plumage (and two elongated tail feathers) sported by the male bird; Kestrel, perched on the branch of a dead tree; Teals that have overwintered here from Iceland and northern Europe; crocuses, now fully open - so long as it is bright enough. See This Week's Colour Supplement.
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
Burns Manuscript for New YorkThe original manuscript by Robert Burns for "Auld Lang Syne" is being taken to New York to be put on display as part of the Scotland Week 2008 celebrations (previously known as Tartan Week). It will be displayed at the Grolier Club and then on April 6 it will go on show for the day at the New York Public Library. Auld Lang Syne is known around the world and is the unofficial anthem of New Year celebrations. For all the words (with a version in plain English as well) see Songs of Scotland - Auld Lang Syne.
Hidden ScotlandOver the last three years the Scottish Screen Archive has collected over 400 hours of film and transferred over a million feet of film to high-quality digital videotape and made them available on-line. The footage is from amateur, home-made, professional and commercial sources and covers a wide range of topics from life in Scotland in the 20th century, including art, culture, domestic life, the home front during world wars, industry, sport and politics. They range from a black and white silent private film of the wedding of the 4th Marquis of Bute in 1905, a Clyde ship launch in 1903, highlights of Scotland's win over England at Wembley in 1967, and a film shot from a steam locomotive as it pulls away from Wormit station in Fife and crosses the Tay rail bridge in 1897. Regrettably, the on-line offering suffers from a the words "Scottish Screen Archive" being plastered into the pictures, presumably for copyright reasons. See Scottish Screen Archive.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- March 24 1603 - Union of the Crowns of England and Scotland on the death of Queen Elizabeth I and the succession of King James VI of Scotland.
- March 25 1306 - King Robert I ("The Bruce") crowned at Scone.
- March 25 1810 - The Commercial Bank of Scotland was founded in Edinburgh by John Pitcairn, Lord Cockburn and others.
- March 26 1934 - Car driving tests introduced for the first time.
- March 27 1371 - King Robert II crowned at Scone.
- March 27 1625 - King James VI died at Theobalds Park, Hertfordshire and buried at Westminster Abbey. Succeeded by his son, King Charles I.
- March 27 1971 - David Coulthard, Grand Prix racing driver born in Twynholm, Dumfries and Galloway.
- March 28 1318 - King Robert the Bruce captured Berwick on Tweed.
- March 28 1642 - The Scots Guards Regiment was formed when King Charles I issued a commission to the Marquess of Argyll, Chief of Clan Campbell, authorizing him to raise in Scotland a regiment of 1,500 men. The King’s 'Lyfe Guard of Foot' became the Scots Guards.
- March 29 1783 - The Royal Society of Edinburgh incorporated by charter.
- March 30 1296 - Destruction of Berwick by King Edward I of England, slaughtering many of the population of 15,000.
- March 30 1406 - King James I captured by English near Flamborough Head on his way to France.
- March 31 1652 - Scottish Regalia (crown, sceptre and sword) saved from invading army of Oliver Cromwell by James Granger, minister at Kinneff, Aberdeenshire, after they had been smuggled from Dunnottar Castle which was under siege.
- April 1 - "Hunt the Gowk" - Scottish equivalent of April Fool's Day (gowk is a cuckoo).
- April 2 1593 - Marischal College, second University in Aberdeen, founded.
- April 3 1401 - Murder of Duke of Rothesay, heir of Robert III.
- April 4 1373 - Parliament held by King Robert II at Scone, resolved that his son, the Earl of Carrick should succeed his father as King (as Robert III although he was baptised John).
- April 4 1406 - King Robert III died and James I ascended the throne (but was not crowned until 1424 as he was a prisoner of the English).
- April 4 1617 - John Napier, inventor of logarithms, died in Edinburgh.
- April 5 1830 - Birth at Lesmahagow of composer Alexander Muir, creator of "Maple Leaf Forever".
- April 5 1902 - Disaster at English/Scottish football match at Ibrox Stadium when part of the flooring collapsed, killing 20, injuring 200.
Pulling Out the Stops for Organ RecitalFor the last year, there have been daily organ recitals at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, featuring leading players from home and abroad. The Victorian main hall has been filled with the sonorous tones of the 100-year-old Lewis organ. each performance lasting for between 30 and 45 minutes. The recitals have been sponsored by a group of leading Glasgow businessmen who call themselves the "Golden Oldies" as they are all over 65. Now they are looking for more people to get involved to keep the tradition going, but anyone wanting to get involved must satisfy one rule - they must be at least 65 years young. This year the museum is installing two high-definition television screens showing the organists' hands and feet, so that those listening can also watch in more detail the demanding task of playing the instrument. The 3,000-pipe organ was built over 100 years ago for the 1901 International Exhibition in Kelvingrove Park. When it was installed in the museum, a walnut case front and non-functional display pipes were added.
Spring FlingFrom Saturday 24 May to Monday 26 May Spring Fling offers the opportunity to see the artists and makers at work in 73 studio venues across Dumfries and Galloway. Whether tucked away in a farm steading or set up in a dedicated studio, the 87 participating artists present a selection of the finest creations in the country. Studios are presented in six easy to follow coloured routes across Dumfries & Galloway. For more on Scotland’s premiere art and craft open studio event, see Spring Fling.
The photo here is of a painting by Ted Leeming.
TV Showing for Rock Ness Music FestivalThe Rock Ness music festival is to be headlined by some of the UK’s most popular musicians, including Fatboy Slim, Razorlight and Underworld when it is staged at Dores, just outside Inverness in June 7/8. The line-up has now attracted commercial TV's Channel 4 to screen highlights and interviews across the UK.
Walking and Mountain FestivalThe Aviemore and Cairngorms Walking and Mountain Festival runs from 10th-17th May and takes place at the heart of one of Europe’s finest natural playgrounds. Set in the spectacular woodland, loch and mountain scenery of Strathspey and the surrounding area, the former Aviemore Walking Festival has been re-launched under its new title to reflect an ever-expanding programme of activities, including rock climbing, canyoning, dog sledding and even spa treatments. The eight-day festival programme is made up of 135 walks, activities and workshops and offers something for everyone from the activities amateur to the hardened hiker. For more information, see Aviemore and Cairngorms Walking and Mountain Festival.
Carnoustie Welcomes Left-handed GolfersThe golf course at Carnoustie in Angus is to host another golf tournament - the World Left Handed Golf Championships. Over 400 left-handed golfers from around the world will attend the event in 2012 as a result of a campaign to attract the tournament to the links course. It will provide another boost to the reputation of the course as a prime golf destination.
Vulcan Bomber For Air ShowThe giant delta-wing Avro Vulcan bomber will be the highlight of the flying display at the Battle of Britain air show at Leuchars in Fife on September 13. The aircraft is the only one of its type in flying condition and is in the final stages of renovation after a long campaign to raise funds for the project. £6 million has been raised and spent on getting it back into flying condition, including £2.73 million granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Scottish Culture Around the WorldThe main focus of the Scottish Snippets is news items, usually about Scotland. But the "Scots Abroad" section, invites folk to write in about Scottish-related events in their part of the world. It allows publicity for them and an appreciation by others of just how much Scottish culture is perpetuated in every corner of the globe.
Tartan Day 2008In 1998 the US Senate designated 6 April each year as Tartan Day "in recognition of the monumental achievements and invaluable contributions made by Scottish Americans." Previously, in some parts of the US, and in other parts of the world (notably Canada where a Tartan Day was already in place) special events had been held to celebrate this day. But the Senate resolution provided a further impetus and a growing number of organisations and individuals are having their own local festivities. So that these events can gain further publicity within the world-wide Scottish community, and to allow as many people as possible to participate, the details of a number of these celebrations are listed on the page linked below. So if there is a Tartan Day function in your area, come along and join the other folk who have a pride in Scotland who will be there! And if you know of events not yet included - drop me an e-mail! Address at the top of this newsletter. See Tartan Day Round the World.
Great Scot AwardThe Clan Currie Society has joined the Host Committee for A Celebration of Scotland's Treasures which will take place on Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at The Metropolitan Club, one of the grandest and most prestigious clubs in New York City. As part of the festivities, the Trust will bestow their Great Scot Award to renowned Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith. The reception in the Great Hall features Scottish music and an exclusive whisky tasting by The Macallan and will be followed by dinner, during which Alexander McCall Smith will accept the Foundation's Great Scot Award and give a brief talk. Scottish music will be provided by Maeve Gilchrist, a musician and composer from Edinburgh, Scotland. Maeve's music spans the genres of folk and jazz and she enchants audiences wherever she performs. All proceeds will benefit The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA. The USA Foundation has sent over $1.5 million in grants to Scotland to help in the preservation of Scotland's built and natural heritage. See also National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA.
League TablesRangers now have a six point advantage over Celtic, who only managed (just) a draw against Dundee United last week. Dundee United are now third in the SPL, 6 points behind Celtic. With Gretna penalised ten points for going into administration, the potential threat of relegation for St Mirren and Kilmarnock has now been removed.
In the First Division, Hamilton remain on top, 6 points ahead of Dundee. In the Second Division, Ross county have a ten point advantage over Airdrie. East Fife maintain their unassailable lead of 23 points over Stranraer.
In the Scottish Rugby Premiership table, Boroughmuir have a commanding 30 point advantage over Watsonians.
Rangers Progress in Uefa CupAlthough German club Bremen, Rangers' opponents in the Uefa Cup knock-out stage, won the second leg 1-0, the Ibrox side had done enough at home in the first leg and went through to the quarter-finals on an aggregate of 2-1. Their next opponents will be Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon. The first leg will take place in Glasgow on Thursday 3 April, with the return match in Lisbon seven days later.
CIS Cup FinalDundee United were in the lead twice in the CIS Cup final against Rangers. But Kris Boyd managed to equalise for the Ibrox club twice and, after extra time, it all came down to a nerve-wracking penalty shoot-out. It was Boyd again who kept his nerve and scored the winner after misses by both sides, finally ending 3-2 in Rangers' favour. It denied Dundee United their first trophy since 1994.
Scottish CupThis week saw a number of sixth round Scottish Cup matches, with some surprising results. Aberdeen defeated Celtic 1-0 to knock the Parkhead side out of the tournament and it took a last-minute goal to allow Rangers to sneak a 1-1 draw against Partick Thistle (currently 5th in the First Division). That will put even more pressure on the congested fixture list for the SPL leaders. St Johnstone, also in the First Division, had a clear 3-1 win over SPL club St Mirren. The semi-finals will be Queen of South v Aberdeen on Saturday, 12 April and St Johnstone v Rangers or Partick Thistle on Sunday, 13 April.
Manchester United to Play AberdeenTop English Premiership club Manchester United will play Aberdeen on 12 July in one of a series of events to mark the 25th anniversary of Aberdeen winning the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1983. Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, formerly managed Aberdeen. During his time in charge of the Dons, he led them to three Scottish championships, four Scottish Cups, one League Cup, the European Cup Winners' Cup and the European Super Cup.
Gretna's Survival to End of SeasonGretna Football Club is now in administration after the club's benefactor withdrew his financial backing after falling ill. Some of their players, worried about the non-payment of wages, refused to play in the match against Aberdeen until the finances were sorted out. Now, as expected, the Scottish Premier League has provided an advance of the payment which would be due to the club at the end of the season. That will allow Gretna to play their remaining matches. The troubled club faced another problem when the Motherwell ground which they had been using became so badly waterlogged that it will not be playable for many weeks. Their "home" matches will now be played at Livingston - meaning that Gretna fans will have even further to travel to support their team.
The "Magazine" section includes songs/poems of Scotland, Scottish humour and brief descriptions of Scottish Culture items added recently to the Rampant Scotland Website - with a link to the page where you can find the full feature, if you find the subject of interest to you.
Scottish Place Names Around the World
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
The next in the series of features by Ian Kendall, which shows how Scottish place names can be found in major towns and cities around the world, covers Newcastle in New South Wales. Of the names of the 141 suburbs and neighbourhoods located to date in the Newcastle-Lake Macquarie area, 40 (28.4%) are based wholly or in part on place names that can be found in Scotland, on Scottish family names or on Scottish words. Of course, many of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but at least 19 (13.5%) of these appear to have a direct or indirect connection with Scotland. For more on the origins of Scottish-related names in Newcastle, see the illustrated article at Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.
Best of the Recent AdditionsGlaswegians Photo Archive
This is a byproduct of the Cranhill Arts Project, the largest documentary photography project in Scotland with 30,000 photographs taken between 1989 and 1992. This online archive provides a selection of these photographs that are "a record of Glasgow through photographs of its people - their lives, habits, quirks and cultures." The images are organized into topical albums, such as "Things You Don't See Anymore" where aspects of Glasgow that have disappeared or been altered in the sixteen years since the photographs were taken are displayed. These lost Glaswegian sites include orange and black buses, smoking in pubs, and drinking alcohol in the street. Another album, "Deep Fried", portrays the Glaswegian diet, ranging from a tray of scones to women factory workers making sausages and filling meat pies. See Glaswegians Photo Archive.
Scottish InventionsWith a relatively small population, Scots have been responsible for many inventions over the centuries - something that we take great pride in telling anyone who will listen! There are many well-known Scottish inventors and inventions (like Alexander Graham Bell who was the first to patent the telephone and Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin) but some are less well known:
Chloroform Pioneer - Sir James Y Simpson (1811-1870)
Simpson was born in Bathgate, the seventh son of a baker and went to Edinburgh University at the age of 14. He completed his studies four years later but because of his youth, had to wait another two years before gaining a licence to practise medicine. He specialised in obstetrics and became Professor of Midwifery at the University at the age of 28. After experimenting with chloroform on himself and his friends in 1847, he started to use it to as an anaesthetic to ease the pain of childbirth. Simpson was not the first to use chloroform - Sir Humphrey Davy used Nitrous Oxide (Laughing Gas) in 1799, but it was Simpson's persistent advocacy which led to its acceptance - despite opposition on both medical and religious grounds. But chloroform was used by Queen Victoria used it during the birth of Prince Leopold in 1853 and it then gained wide acceptance. Simpson became the first person to be knighted for services to medicine in 1866. "Victo Dolore" (pain conquered) is the inscription of his coat of arms. When he died in 1870 at the age of 58, an offer of burial in Westminster Abbey in London was declined and instead he was buried at Warriston Cemetery in Edinburgh. 100,000 people turned up for the funeral.
Scottish Poetry and Song
This song is by Anne Hume (1742-1821). When she was 29, she married John Hunter, one of the most distinguished scientists and surgeons of his day. They lived in London and the couple entertained many of the main literary giants of the day and Mrs Hunter was gained a reputation for her talents and intelligence. She wrote some verses of distinction herself, but was modest about her output. Following the death of her husband in 1793, she turned even more to song-writing. Her songs are said to "evince a delicacy of thought, combined with a force and sweetness of expression." This short, simple song of a young girl who is pining for her boy-friend, shows these very characteristics.
My Mother Bids Me Bind My Hair
My mother bids me bind my hair
With bands of rosy hue,
Tie up my sleeves with ribbons rare,
And lace my bodice blue.
"For why," she cries, "sit still and weep,
While others dance and play?"
Alas! I scarce can go or creep,
While Lubin is away.
'Tis sad to think the days are gone,
When those we love were near;
I sit upon this mossy stone,
And sigh when none can hear.
And while I spin my flaxen thread,
And sing my simple lay,
The village seems asleep or dead,
Now Lubin is away.
Fiona asked her husband: "What do you like most in me, my looks or my intellectual ability?" Josie looked at her from head to toe and replied: "I like your sense of humour." Josie should be out of intensive care soon.
Lachlan's Laws - # 61
That great Highland philosopher, Lachlan McLachlan, propounded a number of irrefutable laws of life, the universe and everything, usually after a "bevvy" in the Auchenshuggle Arms on a Saturday night. Here is another example: "Always remember that today may be the first day of the rest of your life - but it's also the last day of your life so far..."
For the first 50 laws, see Scottish Humour - Lachlan's Laws.
It was one of those days of soaring temperatures in Scotland (when the thermometer recorded over 21C/70F) and Hamish was feeling the heat. "It's just too hot to wear clothes today," he said as he stepped out of the shower and asked his wife "What do you think the neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?" "Probably that I married you for your money," she replied.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
News & Views>
All Features Index>
Search This Site>
Places to Visit>