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.
Government Now Own 58% of Royal BankAs widely expected, the take-up of new shares offered by Royal Bank of Scotland this week was shunned by investors - not least because the offer price of 65.5p was 10p higher than the price at which they were trading on the stock market. Eighteen months ago they were valued at around ten times today's rate. The governments was backing the share issue, however, and took up all the unwanted shares at a cost of around £15 billion and will also buy £5 billion of preference shares in the bank. The government (ie the taxpayers) now owns 57.9% of the Edinburgh-based bank and Scotland's largest company. There are strings attached to the government bail-out as the bank will lose freedom on such areas as executive pay and dividend policy. The bank was one of many hit by exposure to debt based on sub-prime loans and struggled to obtain inter-bank lending. Analysts say that the bank paid too much when it led a consortium that paid £61 billion for the Dutch bank ABN Amro last year.
The picture here shows the Royal Bank of Scotland office in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh
Effort to Keep Bank of Scotland IndependentThe former chief executives of Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland have failed in their bid to keep HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland) independent and avoid being taken over by Lloyds TSB. Sir Peter Burt and Sir George Mathewson argued that the merger (takeover) was bad for shareholders, bad for competition and bad for Scotland. They claimed, however. that the government in London made it "crystal clear" that it did not want HBOS to remain independent. The former bank bosses dryly congratulated Lloyds TSB on what they thought "may well be the deal of the century" for Lloyds TSB.
The illustration is of the Bank of Scotland haed office in Edinburgh at night.
Number of Road Accidents Fall AgainRoad accident statistics for 2007 show that the number of deaths on Scotland's roads that year were 281 - 11% less than the year before and the lowest figure since records began in 1950. Since 1997, there has been a 25% reduction in road fatalities. The number seriously injured also fell to the lowest level since 1950 and 40% down on the 1997 figure. The current level of accidents is lower than the government target which was set to be achieved by 2010. Since 1997, road accidents have fallen by 25% whilst road traffic volume increased by 16%.
Promotional Video for Year of HomecomingTen famous Scots combine to present the anthem "Caledonia" against the background of iconic Scottish scenery. The 60-second advert includes Sir Sean Connery, Lulu, Amy Macdonald, Sandi Thom, Eddi Reader, Brian Cox, golfer Sam Torrance, triple Olympic champion Chris Hoy, and international rugby players Thom Evans and Kelly Brown. It has to be said that only some of those appearing can sing in tune - and Sir Sean steadfastly speaks his lines. The advert will be screened regularly over the next week to raise awareness in Homecoming Scotland 2009 and encourage Scots to invite friends and family to return home for the celebrations. Introducing the film clip, First Minister Alex Salmond said: "Caledonia is a song that resonates with Scots the world over. For those far away it is a reminder of strong bonds, full of the promise of return. That is what makes it the perfect anthem for our Year of Homecoming. Next year we will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of our national bard, Robert Burns, who himself wrote a song for his native Caledonia. With over 200 events nationwide to mark this occasion, this advert will sing to Scots about what we have to celebrate." To view the video, see Homecoming Scotland 2009
St Andrew's Day CelebrationsIn days gone by, St Andrew's Day, celebrating Scotland's patron saint, was observed more often by Scots abroad than back in Scotland itself. Now, with the encouragement of the Scottish Nationalist-led government, there are far more activities planned for Sunday. A weekend of events in the capital includes a Happy March for children, music from Sandi Thom and The Dykeenies, along with nights of contemporary ceilidh action with Salsa Celtica. A ceilidh is also scheduled for Aberdeen, while a fashion show and medieval day is taking place in Dundee and a street party featuring the Red Hot Chilli Pipers is set for Inverness. Glasgow's George Square plays host to live music and dancing in the city's Shindig on the Square and in St Andrews itself entertainment includes a St Andrew's Day procession, outdoor music and entertainment and "beating the retreat". Drivers on the motorway between Edinburgh and Glasgow will be greeted at junction 3a by a flock of sheep, coloured blue, with animal friendly paint.
Edinburgh Still a World Heritage Site
Unesco officials have visited Edinburgh to see for themselves whether recent building developments in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh meant that its status as a World Heritage Site is "under threat". They have concluded that there is no question of the city losing its status. The four-man delegation said that they had reservations about some of the new building projects (including a £300 million redevelopment on the Royal Mile known as "Caltongate"), but overall they were very happy with Edinburgh's "passion and commitment" to heritage conservation.Edinburgh was granted World Heritage Site status in 1995 because of the unique contrast and quality of architecture between the medieval Old Town and the Georgian New Town.
Record Number of Scots CentenariansFigures published by the Registrar General show that there are 710 people in Scotland over the age of 100, up from 560 in 2002, a 25% increase. Due to a lower birthrate during the First World War , the number between 90 and 100 actually fell. 90% of the centenarians were female and 30 people have passed the 105 mark.
Buchanan Street Rents SoarOutside of London's New Bond Street, the most expensive retail premises in the UK are in Buchanan Street, Glasgow. On average, stores are having to pay over £2,100 per square metre rental for shop space - £250 pounds more than in Edinburgh's Princes Street. And the street is bucking recent downward trends elsewhere, with rental values remaining steady.
National Trust Leaving Edinburgh?The job advert for a new chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland carries the warning that the job may relocate to central Scotland from its present location in Charlotte Square, in the heart of Georgian Edinburgh. No final decision has been made but the heritage body, struggling to balance its books, must be looking seriously at moving from their present historic but expensive city-centre HQ. Nine years ago, the Trust bought six adjoining houses on the south side of Charlotte Square for £6 million and knocked it into one set of offices and exhibition space - at a cost of £13 million. The National Trust in England left central London in 2005 for low energy offices in Swindon, 80 miles west of the UK capital.
Clackmannanshire Bridge OpensFirst Minister Alex Salmond officially opened the new £120 million Clackmannanshire bridge, crossing in a convoy of vehicles including an electric car and a bicycle - paying lip service to environmental considerations. The new bridge will remove congestion in the town of Kincardine, where the present Kincardine Bridge reaches Fife. Over 30,000 vehicles use that crossing and the Clackmannanshire Bridge will cut that volume to 18,000. The impact of the new crossing will be even more dramatic on Kincardine itself, where traffic volumes are expected to drop to 20% of the previous level.
Dragon on the ClydeThere was a crowd of 12,000 watching as HMS Dragon, the latest of the advanced Type 45 destroyers to be launched on the Clyde, went down the slipway at BVT Surface (formerly BAE Systems) yard at Govan. With a large red dragon painted on her bows, she joined three other ships - Daring, Dauntless and Diamond - already being fitted out by the company. The first of the ships (each costing around £650 million) was HMS Daring. She has completed her trials and will be handed over to the Royal Navy on December 10. Launches such as that of HMS Dragon used to be a frequent occurrence on the river Clyde. But these days it is a major event that occurs perhaps once a year.
Restoration Appeal for Edinburgh's Burns MonumentThe monument to Robert Burns on Calton Hill, with its Grecian temple design was one of the buildings that gave Scotland's capital the nickname "Athens of the North". The monument is in a prominent position, overlooking the city centre and Princes Street. Now an appeal has been launched to raise funds for its restoration, which is expected to cost about £350,000. Although it has been restored in the past, its exposed position means that a comprehensive restoration programme is now required, with some of the monument's stone carvings needing to be replaced. It was built in 1831 and originally contained a white marble statue of the poet. This is now located in the National Portrait Gallery on Queen Street.
The Burns Monument on Calton Hill is at the right of the picture of the Edinburgh skyline.
Underwater Turbines for Pentland FirthThe Pentland Firth, between the Scottish mainland and Orkney, contains six of the top 10 sites in the UK for tidal energy. Energy Company SeaGen, which already has a tidal energy system in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough, has announced plans to apply for a lease from the Crown Estate (responsible for all the foreshore in the UK) allowing it to install 300 megawatts (MW) of capacity by 2020. SeaGen's turbines work very much like an underwater windmill, with its rotors driven by the power of tidal currents rather than the wind.
Black Watch Museum MilestoneThe appeal to preserve and enhance the museum of the famous Black Watch regiment at Balhousie Castle in Perth was only launched a couple of months ago. But already backers have donated £1 million and another £250,000 has been pledged. So the project is well on its way to the £3.2 million target which is needed to buy Balhousie Castle from the Ministry of Defence, secure the artefacts and memorabilia and enhance the museum still further. The Black Watch was Scotland's oldest Highland regiment and is known around the world for its proud record. As part of the Government's 2006 reorganisation of the Army, The Black Watch lost its Regimental status and become a Battalion within the new Royal Regiment of Scotland. For more on the Black Watch and its museum, see The Black Watch Web site.
Dark Sky ParksThese days, most of us live in cities and towns where "light pollution" means that such wonders as the Milky Way are never seen. A campaign has been launched to make people more aware of the importance of dark skies, marking the 400th anniversary in 2009 the discoveries of the Italian astronomer Galileo. Next year has also been designated the International Year of Astronomy. As part of that, the UK co-ordinator has suggested that Scotland could become the first country in Europe to have recognition by the International Dark Sky Association to have a "dark sky park" where visitors can enjoy the full spectacle of the night sky. The United States has two areas internationally recognised in this way and Canada has one,. As yet, no area in Europe has been deemed perfect for dark sky gazing. Parts of the Western Isles, the Highlands and the forests of Dumfries & Galloway are being considered. Scotland's frequent rainfall actually helps to clear the atmosphere and on a good night the views can be spectacular.
Textile TourismScottish Enterprise is currently doing research into the development opportunities for textile tourism in Scotland. By textile tourism, is meant people who either visit textile attractions (e.g. Costume museums) and/or purchase Scottish textiles (e.g. Cashmere, tartan) while visiting the country. A web site has been created which invites potential visitors to Scotland to complete a questionnaire to determine what motivates people to visit Scotland generally, what they do there and if they have visited, or would be interested in visiting, Scotland’s textile attractions. All responses to the survey will be very much welcomed, whether people have visited Scotland before or not. All responses are completely confidential and will not be used for any other reasons other than this research. If you would like to help, go to the questionnaire at Textile Tourism Survey.
The picture shows the world famous "Paisley pattern".
"Scratch and Sniff" for Whisky Heritage CentreThe £2 million revamp of the Whisky Heritage Centre in Edinburgh is aimed at creating an interactive experience for visitors which will take them through the whole distilling process. Their famous "barrel ride" is being improved, allowing participants to travel through mash tuns, pot stills and other parts of the process. And an important part of whisky and whisky making has not been forgotten - the distinctive aroma of whisky. To provide that, new "scratch and sniff" cards have been produced which will convey the rich smokey textures of Islay malts, and the lighter, citrus smells of Lowland malts, while watching videos of different Scottish distilleries. A new highlight is the display of a collection of 3,384 bottles of whisky which was built up over 35 years by a Brazilian whisky enthusiast.
Recent Weather in ScotlandLast weekend, further falls of snow in the Highlands and the north-east of Scotland made driving conditions treacherous and there were a number of minor accidents. A few roads were closed in Aberdeenshire but any overnight snow that fell in southern and central Scotland quickly melted. Temperatures climbed later in the week, reaching a maximum of 12C (54F) in Aberdeen on Wednesday. But it didn't last and by Saturday the maximum temperature hovered around 2/3C (36/37F) with Lossiemouth on the Moray Firth not even managing to get above freezing point.
The illustration here is of Pyracantha berries - just waiting for some hungry birds!
This Week's Colour SupplementThis week's large format photographs taken in Scotland to show the current season and its flora and fauna include
~ The 150 feet high Titan crane at Clydebank, built in 1907 and now a tourist attraction;
~ McMonagles Fish Restaurant which claims to be the "world's first sail-through fish and chip (French fries) take-away";
~ A fine example of a red sandstone tenement (apartment block) in the West End of Glasgow - see thumbnail;
~ The well rounded-heads and ruffly foliage of colourful ornamental cabbage;
~ A contrast between light and shade at sunset on a still day at Lochend Loch in Drumpellier Country Park, North Lanarkshire.
Historical Affairs - Topical Items from Scotland's Past
Architecture Award for Clydebank CraneThe 150 feet high Titan Crane, which has dominated the busy John Brown shipyard at Clydebank, might have been demolished like the rest of the buildings around as the area was redeveloped after shipbuilding ceased in that part of the river Clyde. But a group of enthusiasts fought to preserve it as a vital link to Clydebank's proud shipbuilding heritage. Restoration included shot-blasting the old paint and rust back to the original steel structure, replacing thousands of rivets with the same type as before and repainting the whole structure again. To provide an access to the top for tourists, a new stair and lift shaft were built and the viewing platform (the crane's jib) was enclosed in fine mesh. An open mesh grating allows visitors to walk the full length, with views down to the river, 150 feet below.The wheelhouse allows tourists to see the huge lifting equipment. Now the efforts of the restorers have been recognised by receiving the prestigious Award for Architecture from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum.
250-Year-Old Murder AppealThe Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission has been asked to re-examine a notorious murder case 250 years after a man was hanged - despite everyone knowing he could not have pulled the trigger. The case has become known as the "Appin murder" and formed the basis of Robert Louis Stevenson's novel "Kidnapped". The man who was murdered was Colin Campbell of Glenure, known as the "Red Fox". He was a government agent on his way to evict local tenants, Stewarts of Appin, and replace them with his own relatives. He was shot in woods near where the present Ballachulish Bridge now stands. James (Stewart) of the Glens was tried in a what amounted to a kangaroo court held in Inveraray. Eleven of the 15 jurors were Campbells and the senior judge was the Duke of Argyll, the staunchly Hanoverian chief of Clan Campbell. The courts sat without a break from 5am on Friday morning until 7am on Sunday morning and although transcripts of the trial appear to show not a shred of evidence to convict him and the prosecution accepted that on the day of the crime he had been several miles away, James Stewart was found guilty and hanged. Now a Glasgow lawyer has lodged papers with the review commission, asking that Stewart be exonerated.
Anniversaries of Scottish Historical Events
- November 30 - St Andrew's Day - patron saint of Scotland.
- November 30 1996 - Stone of Destiny, stolen from Scone by King Edward I of England in 1296, returned to Scotland and installed in Edinburgh Castle.
- December 1 1768 - The first volume of Encyclopedia Britannica was published in Edinburgh, edited by William Smellie.
- December 3 1894 - Robert Louis Stevenson died in Samoa.
- December 3 1906 - His Majesty’s Theatre in Aberdeen opened and soon became the city’s leading theatre.
- December 4 1423 - Treaty of London, releasing James I from his 18 years captivity in England.
- December 5 1973 - Death of Sir Robert Watson-Watt, the Brechin-born inventor of radar.
- December 6 1214 - King Alexander II crowned at Scone.
- December 8 1542 - Mary, Queen of Scots, born Linlithgow Palace. Her father, on his deathbed said "It cam wi' ane lass; it will pas wi' ane lass" - a reference to the Stuart line starting when Marjorie Bruce, daughter of King Robert the Bruce, married Walter, High Steward of Scotland.
- December 9 1165 - King Malcolm IV died at Jedburgh Castle
- December 10 1616 - Ordinance published by the Scottish Privy Council for the establishment of parish schools in Scotland. The same document commended the abolition of Gaelic.
- December 10 1868 - Artist, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh born.
- December 11 1928 - Charles Rennie Mackintosh died.
- December 13 1585 - William Drummond, poet, born.
Unsold Tickets for Edinburgh Hogmanay PartyIt used to be that when tickets for Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party went on sale they were rapidly snapped up. But it looks as though the overhaul of the festivities has failed to boost bookings and there are reports that only a third of the tickets have been sold - with only a month to go before the 31 December event. Just over 25% of the tickets for the Concert in the Gardens, which had been expected to sell out, have been purchased so far. It featured high-profile acts such as Groove Armada, Paolo Nutini, Glasvegas, Complete Stone Roses and Hot Chip Marketing. Efforts are to be stepped up to avoid the event being a major loss - for the third year in a row.
Burns In The SpotlightThe Mitchell Library in Glasgow houses one of the biggest collections of manuscripts and papers related to Robert Burns and the city is planning a spectacular lightshow to celebrate the 250th anniversary of his birth as part of Homecoming Scotland 2009. The display will be staged on the front of the City Chambers in George Square and it will depict the life and times of Scotland's national poet. It will light up the building from January 23 next year and will end on the anniversary of Burns' birthday on January 25. During the screening, there will be a pipe band, a lone piper and a children's choir. Red roses will be laid at the Burns statue in George Square and there will be several readings of several of Burns' works.
Coldplay to Play HampdenBritish alternative rock band Coldplay are to stage their biggest ever show in Scotland when they come to play at Hampden Park, the national football stadium in Glasgow. The 50,000-seater venue is expected to be packed out and although the concert is not until next September, a rush for tickets is expected when they go on sale. The band's latest album Viva La Vida went straight to #1 in 36 countries, including Britain and the US.
World's Smallest Drive-In Cinema?Organisers of smaller festivals in remoter parts of Scotland often have a problem of gaining enough publicity for their event. The organisers of the Cromarty Favourite Film Festival solved that by arranging with the owner of the small car ferry between Cromarty and Nigg to create a "drive-in" cinema on board. A cinema screen was erected on deck below the wheelhouse and a sofa was loaded onto the boat. Being a small ferry, there is only room for two cars at the most! The prospect of the smallest drive-in (maybe that should be drive-on) cinema in the world captured the media's imagination and not only was there extensive coverage in the newspapers but it was featured on Scottish TV news programmes. There was a debate amongst the organisers about what film to show (Titanic or Perfect Storm were considered) and in the end they opted for the 1954 Ealing Comedy, "The Maggie", about a Clyde puffer and her wily skipper. Of course, the cinema show can only operate at night - when the sun goes down. The Cromarty Favourite Film Festival itself runs between December 5 and 7. See also Cromarty Favourite Film Festival
International Verse-Speaking CompetitionThe Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club, (which will be holding its 65th Annual Burns Supper on Friday January 23 2009 in Beith Masonic Hall) has teamed up with the Web site dedicated to the memory of the poet Robert W Service (1874 - 1958) - otherwise known as the Canadian Kipling and Poet of the Yukon. Service was a Scot who went on to become famous for his writings on the Canadian North, including the poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", "The Law of the Yukon", and "The Cremation of Sam McGee". The Burns Club is sponsoring a Robert W Service International Poetry Competition, believed to be the first such competition to be held, certainly the UK. It takes place in the Community Centre, Beith, Ayrshire on Saturday February 28 2009 beginning at 11 am. There are various sections for children and young people and the adult section is open to anyone age 15 or over. Each participant will recite a poem of Robert W Service. Anyone wishing to enter the adult competition can download a free entry form at Robert W Service or Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club.
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.
Buenos Aires Tartan ArmyThe Buenos Aires Tartan Army gathered earlier this month at the "Locos por el Football" where they watched the Scotland v Argentina friendly international at Hampden Park, Glasgow. They were joined by many Scottish fans to see Argentina (with legendary footballer Diego Maradona as manager) defeat Scotland by just one goal. The Buenos Aires Tartan Army is meeting again on November 29 (in anticipation of St Andrews Day) at "The Rozzo Pub" Medrano 152, between Diaz Velez and Mitre Street. The informal event starts at 7pm and is in a format known in Argentina as "Peña". There will be bagpipe music, singing of traditional songs, Scottish Country Dancing and Highland Dancing - with anyone being able to join in! For more information, see Buenos Aires Tartan Army
St Andrews Day in Budapest, HungarySince 2003, Adrian Gray, the general manager of the Hotel Le Meridien in the heart of Budapest, puts on a noisy celebration of St Andrew's Day. So this year a large crowd will be attracted by the skirl of the pipes as eight sturdy Highlanders of the World Champion Royal Caledonian Society of SA Pipes and Drums march through the narrow streets of downtown Budapest. The base drum bears the motto "Scotland the Brave" and those in the crowd shout out their varied connections to Scotland.
Picture of Budapest via Wikipedia.
League TablesCeltic are now 7 points ahead at the top of the Scottish Premier League after defeating Inverness by just 1-0 and Heart of Midlothian defeated Rangers 2-1. Hearts are now in third place in the SPL, 7 points behind Rangers.
In the First Division, St Johnstone could only manage a 1-1 draw against Dundee but are now ahead by 4 points ahead of Dunfermline at the top of the table
Aalborg 2 Celtic 1Celtic's inability to win away from home came home to roost in Denmark this week when they failed to defeat Danish side Aalborg. As a result, Celtic are out of European football for the rest of the season. Celtic gave their fans some hope when Barry Robson put the club in front. But Aalborg scored twice after that - and go on to the Uefa Cup as a result.
Scotland 0 Argentina 1The fact that Diego Maradona was the new coach of Argentina and was in charge for the first time somewhat overshadowed this friendly football international, with world media concentrating the manager, rather than on the game.. Which was probably just as well as Scotland have now won just one match in seven games under George Burley. Argentina scored after just 8 minutes and dominated the early part of the game. Scotland were unable to cope with their pace and movement of the ball.
Scotland 10 South Africa 14Scotland's rugby team produced a powerful aggressive performance against the South African side who are currently the holders of th World Cup. The Springboks were not at their best, with some of the top players being rested, and Scotland were in the lead 10-0 by half-time. But the South Africans bounced back in the third quarter - and scored 14 points. Although the Scotland team fought back in the fourth quarter, they couldn't penetrate the visitors' defences. The Scots did have some chances but failed to score from a number of penalties.
Scotland 41 Canada 0Last Saturday was Scotland's final rugby test match of 2008 and they went out with a bang, defeating Canada 41-0. Canada is not well known in the field of international Rugby but the team must have felt at home as snow swirled around Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen. This was only Scotland's second home victory in international rugby this year and they dominated from start to finish, scoring six tries.
David Coulthard Joins BBC TeamScots Formula One racing driver David Coulthard, who retired from racing at the end of the 2008 season, is to join the BBC TV presentation team in Formula One next year. He will join Eddie Jordan and Martin Brundle. Coulthard is to also continue as a test driver and consultant for Red Bull after a Grand Prix career that included 13 victories and runner-up in the world championship behind Michael Schumacher in 2001.
Picture of David Coulthard via Wikimedia.
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.
Great Places to Eat in Scotland
Stravaigin 2, Ruthven Lane, Glasgow West End
"Stravaigin" is the old Scots for "wander" and Stravaigin 2 and has built up a good reputation in the West End of Glasgow for a menu that combines dishes from various parts of the world as well as local dishes - their haggis has been "voted Scotland's best". The "Lonely Planet" travel guide says about Stravaigin 2: "The restaurant challenges patrons to 'get off the eaten track' and it boasts the best Scotch beef burgers (they also do ostrich burgers) on a chargrilled menu that also features cumin scented swordfish souvalaki." Stravaigin 2 has been successfully attracting discerning customers for many years, attracted by its ever-changing world-wide menu, created using locally sourced fresh produce and served by attentive staff. It attracts "foodies" who want to try something new, but less adventurous diners should find plenty to keep them happy too. I'll certainly have no hesitation about stravaigin again into Stravaigin 2... For a full, illustrated review, see Great Places to Eat in Scotland - Stravaigin 2.
Scottish Poetry and Song
Alexander Anderson usually wrote under the pseudonym of "Surfaceman" and indeed worked as a surfaceman on the railway, laying and repairing the tracks. Many of his other poems are fond reminisces of children, written with a twinkle in the eye - Cuddle Doon, for example. But in this poem, Anderson seems to be saying that when life is going well - everything seems to go well. But when life is difficult, everything seems to go wrong.
Langsyne, When Life was Bonnie
Langsyne, when life was bonnie,
An' a' the skies were blue,
When ilka thocht took blossom,
An' hung its heid wi' dew,
When winter wasna' winter,
Though snaws cam' happin doon,
Langsyne, when life was bonnie,
Spring gaed a twalmonth roun.
Langsyne, when life was bonnie,
An' a' the days were lang;
When through them ran the music
That comes to us in sang,
We never wearied liltin'
The auld love-laden tune;
Langsyne when life was bonnie,
Love gaed a twalmonth roun'.
Langsyne, when life was bonnie
An' a' the warl was fair,
The leaves were green wi' simmer,
For autumn wasna there.
But listen hoo they rustle,
Wi' an eerie, weary soun',
For noo, alas, 'tis winter
That gangs a twalmonth roun'.
Meaning of unusual words:
Langsyne = long ago
ilka thocht = everyone thought
happin doon = covering down
gaed a twalmonth roun = went a twelve month round
liltin' = singing sweetly
warl = world
simmer = summer
Limericks may have been named after a town in Ireland, but they have now become universal - and there is a wealth of examples with a Scottish flavour! Here's a couple which fall neatly between the song/poetry section above - and the Scottish Humour below.
A Scotland castle, bleak. The host,
"To all my ancestors, a toast!"
The front door opens wide
And enters there inside
A gust! A guest aghast! A Ghost!
Catriona, a pretty young lass
Had a truly magnificent ass.
Not rounded and pink
As you possibly think
It was grey, had long ears, and ate grass.
Never Underestimate the Guile of a Scotsman
A English lawyer and a Scotsman are sitting next to each other on a train. The lawyer is thinking that the Scots are so dumb that he could put one over on him easily...So the lawyer asks if he would like to play a fun game. The Scot is tired and just wants to take a nap, so he politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. The lawyer persists, and says that the game is a lot of fun. "I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me only £5; you ask me one, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you £500".
This catches the Scots attention and to keep the lawyer quiet, he agrees to play the game. The lawyer asks the first question. "What's the distance from The Earth to the Moon?" The Scot doesn't say a word, reaches in his pocket pulls out a five pound note and hands it to the lawyer. Now, it's his turn. He asks the lawyer, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?" The lawyer uses his laptop and searches all references he could find on the Net. He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail. After one hour of searching he finally gives up. He wakes up the Scot and hands him £500. He happily pockets the £500 and goes right back to sleep. The lawyer is going nuts not knowing the answer. He wakes the Scot up and asks, "Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?" The Scot reaches in his pocket, hands the lawyer £5 and goes back to sleep. And the moral of this little tale? Never underestimate the guile of a Scotsman!
Lachlan's Laws - # 79
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: "Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now."
What's the difference between a tightrope and a Scotsman ? A tightrope sometimes gives.
Where else would you like to go in Scotland?
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