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.
New Forth Road Bridge "Ready by 2016"The engineers responsible for the new road bridge across the river Forth say that they are confident that it can be ready by 2016. Jacobs Arup, the consultants who worked on the Channel Tunnel (built on time) and Stonecutters Bridge in Hong Kong as well as the present construction of the Upper Forth Crossing at Kincardine, say that the deadline is "ambitious" but possible. Next month the river bed is to be drilled to test the conditions for securing the bridge's three towers, located west of the present bridge. Design of the cable-stayed crossing should be finalised early next year and go to tender in 2010/2011. The five-year construction phase would get under way in 2011. The bridge deck will be wider than that of the existing bridge as there has to be space for a "public transport corridor" for light railway, trams and buses as well as two traffic lanes and a hard shoulder. The present bridge doesn't have a hard shoulder so breakdowns currently mean that traffic is down to one lane. Once the new crossing is operational (and hopefully not before) the current bridge will be closed. But it is still possible that the rusting cables on the 44-year-old suspension bridge can be replaced to allow reopening. The cost of repair could be far less than demolition.
Election Costs SoarThe cost of the Scottish Parliament and local government elections last year were more than double that of 2003, reaching just under £40 million. Nearly £9 million of that cost was paid to the company that provided the electronic counting machines. These could not cope and produced an election fiasco when over 146,000 ballot papers were rejected. The machines had been brought in to deal with the complexity of the new Single Transferable Vote (STV) system being used for the local government elections. A report later found that voters had been treated as an "afterthought".
Unemployment Continues to FallThe latest unemployment figures show that there were 130,000 people in Scotland looking for work - 9,000 fewer than a year ago and 1,000 less than in the previous quarter. The Scottish unemployment rate of 4.9% compares with a UK rate of 5.2%. This week's figures also show total employment in Scotland stands at 2,536,000, a fall of 4,000 over the quarter but an increase of 15,000 over the year.
Local Government Staff Reject Pay OfferTrade unions representing 200,000 local government workers in Scotland have rejected a 2.5% pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla). The employers were proposing a deal worth 2.5% for each of the next three years. But the unions had asked for a rise of £1,000 or 5%, whichever was greater and were not keen on a fixed three-year deal which did not take into account future inflation rates. The unions will now consult their members, amid threats that rejection puts them on a collision course involving strike action.
The illustration shows Edinburgh City Chambers.
Giant Sign for Scottish ParliamentWhile it is true that notices for the £414 million Scottish Parliament building were somewhat on the small side, there can be few folk who don't know what it is. But those in charge have decided to make sure nobody can miss the new giant granite sign, measuring nearly 20 feet wide, which is to be installed in a few weeks. It will be lit up at night and will cost £20,000. The new signage follows a new stainless steel display board close to the main entrance which will give information on visiting the parliament - and its public crèche.
Edinburgh's Hotel TaxTourism officials in Edinburgh are promoting the idea of a so-called "visitor levy" scheme which would add around 2% to hotel bills to help pay for festivals, events and marketing initiatives. Although the finance would be "ring fenced" there are fears that it would allow the city council to cut investment in tourism initiatives for the Capital. Similar schemes operate in Vienna, Paris, Vancouver and San Francisco, but so far it has not been introduced in the UK. Opponents argue that Edinburgh already has a reputation for being an expensive place to visit - a survey published last month ranked Edinburgh as the ninth most expensive city in the world for hotels. It is estimated that the scheme would generate £3.2 million a year.
The graphic is of Caledonian Hilton, Edinburgh.
25,000 New Homes for West LothianA lengthy inquiry report into plan to develop 25,000 new homes, concentrated near Armadale, Broxburn and Winchburgh, (some miles west of Edinburgh) has recommended approval for the local authority's plans. These are part of a £1.5 billion planning blueprint for the area which generated 2,000 objections from local residents. The inquiry report recommended a number of amendments to the West Lothian Council's plans, but the reporter accepted overall the scale of the new housing developments.
Europe's Biggest Onshore Windfarm On StreamWind turbines at Whitelee on Eaglesham Moor, south of Glasgow, have begun to supply power to the national grid. The first ten of an eventual 140 giant turbines stretching across 15 miles of skyline, began test runs after 18 months of site preparation - and five years of planning delays. Eventually, by next summer, when all the equipment is operational, the wind farm will produce 320 megawatts, said to be enough to power 180,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 650,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent to the output of 240,000 cars. The project has required the construction of 60 miles of roads to allow the 200 feet turbines to be transported across boggy moorland. The blades will rotate at 17 revolutions a minute and the foundations had to be dug to a depth of 30 feet until the construction teams hit hard ground beneath the peat. Critics of the scheme argue that the carbon emissions from the peat digging far outweigh those prevented, while the greater Glasgow area will be turned into "the world's biggest part-time power station". Once construction has been completed, the entire area will be opened to ramblers, bird watchers and mountain bikers, who will have spectacular views of central Scotland.
Threat to Scotland's Fruit HarvestNew government legislation is likely to severely curb the number of migrant workers, which is alarming fruit growers in the east of Scotland who are dependant on them at harvest time. The Seasonal Agricultural Workers’ Scheme (SAWS) is now open to only Bulgarians and Romanians. This is likely to reduce the number of seasonal migrant workers coming to Scotland this year to only around 16,000, compared with 25,000 last year. Previously, Ukrainians have been coming to Scotland in large numbers, but they are now excluded. The strength of the European currency against the pound and better rates of pay in other low-skilled jobs means that toiling for long hours in the fields is no longer as attractive as it once was. In a worst case scenario, soft fruit may end up rotting on the bushes.
New Ravenscraig Moves CloserThe redevelopment of the former Ravenscraig steelworks site has been in the pipeline for many years, after closing in 1992. Ravenscraig is one of the largest derelict sites in Europe measuring over 1125 acres in size and plans for regeneration include 3,500 new homes, a new town centre with 84,000 square metres of retail and leisure space, up to 216,000 square metres of business and industrial space, major parkland areas, a new transport network, a new sports facility, a new college campus and two new schools. The cost of the project is estimated at £600 million. There had been concerns earlier this year that changes to Scottish Enterprise, with many of its responsibilities passing to local authorities, might result in the loss of the expertise for handling major strategic projects. But the developers are said to believe that they are close to getting the green light to start on the scheme.
The picture here shows a proposed Sports Centre, Ravenscraig.
Tributes to Racing StarOn the 40th anniversary earlier this month of Jim Clark's death during a race at the Hockenheim circuit in Germany, a number of tributes were paid by those who knew him. The death of Clark at the age of just 32 shocked not just the motor-racing world. Sir Jackie Stewart, himself a winner of the World Drivers' Championship three times, described him as the first driver he identified who had "a skill in excess of everyone else". The Jim Clark museum at Duns still attracts thousands of visitors each year. Raised in Duns in the Borders, Clark was crowned Formula One world champion in 1963 and 1965 and won a total of 25 grand prix races as well as the Indianapolis 500.
Picture of Jim Clark in 1962 via Wikipedia.
Paisley Bid to Host Gaelic ModThis year's Gaelic Mod festival is being held in Falkirk in October and Oban and Caithness will be the hosts in 2009 and 2010. Now officials at Renfrewshire Council have been having discussions with Mod organiser An Comunn Gaidhealach to explore the cultural event being held in Paisley in 2011 or 2012. The plan will be aided by a feasibility study which has been launched into plans to create a new "cultural centre" by transforming the town's museum and library and adding a 190-seat theatre and exhibition area. The directors of the Mod will decide in October where the 2011 festival will be held.
Glasgow to Mull in 35 MinutesOne of the attractions of the many islands off the west coast of Scotland is their inaccessibility. But that is changing and the sleepy town of Tobermory (Balamory in a popular children's TV programme) will be only 35 minutes from the centre of Glasgow once Loch Lomond Seaplanes start their regular service. The airline already runs Europe's only seaplane route - a twice-daily, eight-seat service between Glasgow and Oban on the coast. The flights to Mull begin at Pacific Quay beside the Glasgow Science Centre and cost £179 return. But for those seeking remoteness, don't despair. To get to the island of Coll, eight miles from Mull, takes two days by public transport!
Carnwath Red Hose RaceThe Red Hose Race in Carnwath, in South Lanarkshire, is the oldest road race in the world. Named after "Hose", the Scots word for stockings or long socks, the origin of the race goes back to 1508 when James IV gave a Charter of the Lands of Carnwath to John, third Lord Somerville. Each year, the local Laird must provide a pair of red stockings as the prize. On the 500th anniversary of the founding of the race, the competition was exceptionally opened to anyone over the age of sixteen and living in South Lanarkshire. See www.redhoserace.co.uk.
50th Osprey EggThe resident female osprey at Loch of Lowes near Dunkeld in Perthshire laid her 50th egg just over a week ago and in the last few days has laid another two eggs. The bird has been coming to Loch of Lowes for over 20 years and is thought to be 23 years old. There are just 160 to 180 pairs of breeding ospreys in Scotland, so every egg and every chick that hatches is an important event for the survival of the species which was re-introduced here 50 years ago. The egg laying (the first this season in Scotland) was captured by video-cam. After a few hours, her partner took a stint on the egg to allow her to stretch her wings and fly around. The male will continue to bring fish to her in the nest.
Milngavie to Host 2020 Olympics?The East Dunbartonshire town of Milngavie is chiefly famous for being the start of the West Highland Way (which runs to Fort William) and for having a name that most people understandably pronounce incorrectly - it's known locally as Mill-guy (or even Mull-guy in some accents). So there was some surprise when a Web site appeared which launched the town's campaign to bring the 2020 Olympics to what is effectively a suburb of Glasgow. It claimed that local politicians and the national tourism agency VisitScotland supported the ambitious plan. A number of marketing companies involved in London's successful London 2012 Olympic bid and Glasgow's Commonwealth Games bids are providing help too. They've even designed a logo, incorporating two of the town's landmarks - the Copland and Lye Clock and the West Highland Way obelisk. Venues which are suitable for the local ladies badminton club might not be up to Olympic standard and the weather (rain and about to rain) may not be as good as that of Sydney, however. Milngavie has good transport - it's at the end of the line from Glasgow, after all. The media have joined the campaign too (on April 11 rather than April 1) and the local Member of Parliament is confident that Milngavie would give a warm welcome - and a nice cup of tea - to all competitors. She added that it was a good way of drawing attention to local sport and the need for good facilities....
Recent Weather in ScotlandThe temperatures have remained chilly for the time of year, typically in the range 6/9C (43/48F) and rarely in double figures centigrade (into the 50s fahrenheit). Glasgow did reach 12.3C (54F) on Tuesday but that was the highest recorded. By the end of this week, temperatures were around 8/9C (46/48F) with a fair amount of sunshine. But strong easterly winds originating in Siberia made it feel a lot colder than that. There has been only a small amount of rain this week.
Lambs continued to be born of course, despite the chilly weather, as seen in the picture here.
This Week's Colour SupplementThis week's large format photographs taken in Scotland to show the current season and its flora and fauna include:
~ Newly-born spring lambs.
~ Polyanthus with an unusual mixture of colours.
~ Star Magnolia, or Magnolia Stellata, with large (3-4 inches across) fragrant flowers.
~ A multi-headed white daffodil (that doesn't even look like a daffodil). See thumbnail graphic here.
~ A Highland cow with brilliantly-coloured long hair glowing in the sunshine.
~ A Song Thrush.
~ A Water Rail - a rarely seen bird that squeals like a piglet!
See This Week's Colour Supplement.
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
On-Line Emigration MuseumA new Web-based Emigration Museum project was formally launched by the National Museum of Scotland and the National Library just before Tartan Week. Between now and 2009, as part of the "Homecoming Scotland" programme, it aims to gather together items from the 340 museums and other collections which come within the scope of the new "Museums Galleries Scotland". The Emigration Museum will cover the events and consequences of the Highland Clearances, post-war emigration, as well as the rich history of Scots who made their fame and fortunes overseas. The work of mapping all the archives across the country to see what material is available is now underway. The aim is to create an extensive on-line museum telling the story of the influence Scottish emigration has had and continues to have in many parts of the world.
Braemar Gathering ExhibitionBalmoral Castle, the Queen's Highland residence, is hosting a new exhibition detailing the history of the Braemar Gathering, the north-east’s most prestigious Highland games. The gathering takes place every September and can trace its roots back to the time of King Malcolm Canmore (1031-1093). It has been running in its current format since 1800. The exhibition not only provides the background to the Braemar Gathering but also explains the different athletic, heavy, dancing and piping events. There is a caber and heavy stone on display and a big screen showing a recording of the games. The exhibition will be on display to the public throughout the tourist season, except when the Queen is in residence.
Picture of Braemar Gathering via Wikipedia.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- April 20 1934 - Scottish National Party founded with the amalgamation of the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish Party.
- April 21 1838 - John Muir, pioneering conservationist and founder of Yosemite National Park, born in Dunbar.
- April 22 2005 - Sculptor and artist Sir Eduardo Paolozzi died. Born in Leith, he was a founder of the Independent Group, which is seen as a precursor to the '60s British pop art movement.
- April 23 1124 - King Alexander I died at Stirling Castle, succeeded by David I.
- April 23 1945 - Blackout restrictions lifted as World War II heads to a conclusion.
- April 24 1558 - Mary, Queen of Scots, married French Dauphin, Francis Valois (he was aged 14) at Notre Dame in Paris.
- April 24 1825 - Novelist R M Ballantyne, who wrote 90 books, the best known of which was "The Coral Island," was born in Edinburgh.
- April 25 1058 - Malcolm III (Canmore) crowned.
- April 26 1711 - Philosopher David Hume born.
- April 27 1296 - Scots defeated by Edward I at Battle of Dunbar.
- April 28 1742 - Henry Dundas, powerful politician, known as "Uncrowned King of Scotland, born.
- April 28 1988 - Glasgow Garden Festival opened by Prince Charles and the Princess of Wales.
- April 29 1990 - Stephen Hendry, aged 21, becomes the youngest world snooker champion by beating Jimmy White 18-12 in the final. April 30 1891 - An Comunn Gaidhealach was formally instituted as a vehicle for the preservation and development of the Gaelic language.
- May 1 1522 - England declared war on both Scotland and France.
- May 1 1707 - Act of Union of English and Scottish parliaments proclaimed.
- May 2 1316 - Edward Bruce, brother of King Robert the Bruce, crowned High King of All Ireland.
- May 2 1424 - King James I crowned at Scone.
- May 3 1557 - John Knox began the Reformation in Scotland.
Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the ThistleAn exhibition on Scotland's highest order of chivalry is opening later this month in the Queen's Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle honours Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life. At prestigious events for the order, the knights and ladies wear an elaborate costume which includes a green robe, a mantle tied with green and gold tassels and a hat made of black velvet. Its original date of foundation is unknown, James VII instituted the modern Order in 1687. There are only 16 members and all are required to be born in Scotland. The motto of the order is "Nemo me impune lacessit" (Latin for "No one provokes me with impunity" - or "Wha daur meddle wi me" in Scots). The same motto also appears on the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom for use in Scotland.
Picture here of the insignia of a Knight of the Thistle via Wikipedia.
Skye Music Festival CancelledIn 2005, a music festival was launched at Ashaig airstrip near Broadford on the Isle of Skye which attracted some of Britain's best bands. In 2006 it was voted the UK's most fan-friendly music festival. But some musicians and suppliers have not been paid for their work in 2007 after the organisers spent large amounts of money in order to attract bands such as Kasabian, Primal Scream and KT Tunstall. Numbers attending in 2007 turned out to be lower than anticipated (about half of what had been hoped for) and the organisers were left with a £500,000 shortfall. As a result, administrators have had to be called in and this year's event has been cancelled.
Two Exhibitions at Fergusson GalleryJ. D. Fergusson, one of the major artists of the Scottish Colourists school of painting, began visiting Paris in 1897 and eventually moved there in 1907. As a result, he became influenced by the Impressionist artists of the day, including Whistler, Matisse and Toulouse-Lautrec. The Fergusson Gallery in Perth, which is dedicated to his painting and sculpture, is currently running an exhibition of his work from 1897 to 1907 which is entitled "Early Impressions". The Impressionists use of bright colours, flat perspective and outlining objects in dark colours had a major influence on Fergusson's work at this time. The gallery is also running a second exhibition at the same time. This is "Fergusson’s Studio" which covers a number of locations where the artist worked, including his parent’s house in Edinburgh, to his time in Paris and Cap d’Antibes in the south of France. Fergusson returned to Scotland in 1939, settling in Glasgow, and remained there until his death in 1961.
Blast From the Past in Strathclyde ParkThis year's two-day live music extravaganza Retrofest, aimed at lovers of music and culture from the 1960s to the 1990s, already has a line-up which includes Paul Young, Kim Wilde, The Bangles and Boy George. 70s legends Boney M and 10cc have also been booked. The annual festival on August 30 and 31 will include new events and stages for nostalgia lovers including a Retro Ritz Cinema, which will play all the top 80s movies and a Retro Rest Haven offering Duran Duran style "Re-Re-Reflexology" (whatever that is).
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.
National Tartan Day in the USIn 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." Since then, a group of activists known as the Scottish Coalition (eight individual national organizations serving the Scottish-American community) has been lobbying the President of the United States to sign a Proclamation proclaiming April 6, in perpetuity, as National Tartan Day. This would place the date on the official United States of America calendar as a National Holiday Observance, similar to Flag Day. On 6 April this year, President George Bush signed a Proclamation which duly formalised National Tartan Day. See Tartan Day Proclamation.
Picture of Tartan Day, New York, courtesy of Graeme JW Smith.
Scottish Festival in OregonThe Eugene Scottish Festival, located on the grounds of the Peace Presbyterian Church at 3060 River Road in Eugene Oregon, will be hosting it’s sixth annual festival on Saturday, May 17th, 2008 10am to 5pm. There will also be a concert the same evening. To get more information on the festival or concert see Eugene Scottish Festival.
League TablesAberdeen defeated Falkirk 2-1 with an injury-time winner to leapfrog the "Bairns" and qualify for the top six of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League. Rangers' hopes of the SPL title took a knock this week with a 2-1 defeat by rivals Celtic. That allowed Celtic to move to the top of the SPL for the first time this year on Saturday when they defeated Aberdeen 1-0. But their two point lead could soon disappear as Rangers have two games in hand.
Hamilton clinched the First Division title on Saturday while t the same time pushing Clyde into the relegation paly-off zone.
In the Second Division, Ross County have already won promotion, while Berwick Rangers will be relegated. Cowdenbeath will be involved in play-off games against top teams in the Third Division.
In the Third Division, East Fife are 24 points ahead of Stranraer, with Montrose and Arbroath involved in the promotion/relegation paly-offs.
Rangers Reach Uefa Cup Semi-FinalsAfter failing to score in a 0-0 draw in the first leg of their Uefa Cup quarter-final match at home against Sporting Lisbon, Rangers stunned the Portuguese side with two goals in the return match. It took the Ibrox side an hour to find their way through Sporting Lisbon's defence and the second goal was scored just before the end, to give Rangers a 2-0 result. Rangers now face Italian club Fiorentina in the semi-finals, with the first leg at Ibrox on 24 April. It is being speculated in the media that Rangers have already earned £17.5 million in their eight-month European campaign that has so far seen them play 16 ties - 10 in the Champions League and six in the Uefa Cup. Reaching the semi-finals is worth another £2.5 million in a qualification bonus and ticket revenues. The players were on £35,000 a man bonus for the game in Portugal.
Scotland Top Ten Uefa RankingThe continued success of Rangers in the Uefa Cup and Aberdeen and Celtic's performance earlier in the campaign have ensured that Scotland have again secured a top ten place in the Uefa country rankings for European football competitions in season 2009/10. As a result, the winner of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) this season will automatically qualify directly for the group stage of the Champions League for 2009/10 and the runners-up will enter the competition at the second qualifying round and have four games to play in order to reach the group stage of the competition.
Shock Cup Defeat for AberdeenEven though they only just squeezed into the top six of the SPL, few objective observers expected Aberdeen to slip up in the semi-final of the Scottish Cup against First Division side Queen of the South. But the game ended up being a seven-goal thriller, with the Dumfries side coming out 4-3 winners - and reaching the final of the Scottish Cup for the first time in their history. The other semi-final is being played on Sunday between Rangers and another First Division club, St Johnstone from Perth.
Scots Miss Out on World Curling ChampionshipsAfter a roller-coaster in earlier matches, Scotland's curling team with skip David Murdoch defeated Canada in a play-off game to reach the Finals in the World Curling Championships in North Dakota. The Canadians were 6-2 in the lead but Scotland ran out eventual 7-6 winners. However, the Canadians defeated Norway in a semi-final and it was the Canadians who then went on to secure the winning margin of 6-3 to win the competition. The 10-day event drew 51,731 fans, a record for a curling tournament in the United States.
Andy Murray Out of Top 20Having managed to reach the top 10 in the world tennis rankings, inconsistent performances this season have resulted in Andy Murray dropping out of the top 20. His recent loss to Mario Ancic in Miami meant that he dropped nine places to 22nd. It's the first time he has been out of the top 20 since August 2006. However, with two ATP tournament wins this year (Qatar Open and Open 13 in Marseille) and with a win against the world # 1, Roger Federer, he is ranked 8th in the ATP Race, which is based only on 2008 performances. He should have been playing in the Valencia Open this week, but was forced to withdraw because of a virus. While that is disappointing, the rest may help him when he plays in the season's second grand slam event, the French Open, in late May.
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 Castles Photo Library
Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire
Fyvie dates back to the 13th century but it has been much modified and added to over the intervening centuries. That has produced one of the most impressive frontages of the many in Aberdeenshire. Fyvie started out as a royal hunting lodge and William the Lion held a parliament there in 1211 or 1214 and King Alexander II granted a charter while visiting in 1222. English King Edward I was less welcome in 1296, but Robert the Bruce used it in 1308 as a base when he crushed the Comyns to strengthen his hold on the crown. By 1885 the Gordon owners were in financial trouble and the estate was bought by American steel magnate Alexander Leith. Leith was able to trace his family tree back to Sir Henry Preston, a 14th century owner. As many previous owners had done, he added yet another tower to the castle. His grandson sold Fyvie and its contents to the National Trust for Scotland in 1984. For more information and illustrations, see Fyvie Castle, Aberdeenshire.
Scottish Place Names Around the World
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
As a result of feedback and further research the article on Scottish-related place names in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been expanded. Of the names of the 236 communities and neighbourhoods that have been identified to date in Greater Halifax, 63 (26.7%) can be found as place names in Scotland or are based on Scottish family names. Of course, some of these names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well, but at least 30 of them (12.7%) appear to be unique to Scotland. For the background and details of this "New Scotland" city, see Scottish Place Names in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Scottish Poetry and Song
John Mayne, the author of this song, was born in Dumfries in 1759 is best remembered for a poem "The Siller Gun" (The Silver Gun) about a custom in the town of his birth of firing a silver tube or gun which had been presented by James VI. to the incorporated trades, as a prize to the best marksman. Mayne became a printer and followed that trade in Dumfries, Glasgow and London.
John Mayne's songs are full of vigour and sentiment and a certain amount of pathos. This one about a letter from a son who travelling far afield is in that mould.
The Winter Sat Lang
The winter sat lang on the spring o' the year,
Our seedtime was late, and our mailing was dear;
My mither tint her heart when she look'd on us a',
And we thought upon those that were farest awa'.
Oh, were they but here that are farest awa'!
Oh, were they but here that are dear to us a'!
Our cares would seem light and our sorrow but sma',
If they were but here that are far frae us a'!
Last week, when our hopes were o'erclouded wi' fear,
And nae ane at hame the dull prospect to cheer;
Our Johnnie has written, frae far awa' parts,
A letter that lightens and hauds up our hearts.
He says, "My dear mither, though I be awa',
In love and affection I'm still wi' ye a';
While I hae a being ye'se aye hae a ha',
Wi' plenty to keep out the frost and the snaw."
My mither, o'erjoy'd at this change in her state,
By the bairn she doated on early and late,
Gi'es thanks night and day to the Giver of a',
There's been naething unworthy o' him that's awa'!
Then here is to them that are far frae us a',
The friend that ne'er fail'd us, though farest awa'!
Health, peace, and prosperity wait on us a';
And a blithe comin' hame to the friend that's awa'!
Meaning of unusual words:
tint = lost
farest awa' = furthest away
doated = fond of, ignoring their faults
A Good Jumper
Geordie was bemoaning to his friend how his girlfriend had been upset by an innocent remark he had made. He summed up the situation thus: "If I'd known she was going to take offence so easily I'd have entered her in the Scottish Grand National steeplechase ..."
Lachlan's Laws - # 63
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: "People sometimes forget when you remember, but they always remember when you forget..."
For the first 50 laws, see Scottish Humour - Lachlan's Laws.
Maisie was so mean she used to heat the knives so the family would use less butter.
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