topic: scotland

the Scottish Referendum and the community of Britain

The community of Britain and Northern Ireland, formed by hundreds of years of intermarriage and shared history, is too strong to be broken by Scottish independence. It seems likely to me that all that such independence would be is a ‘coup’ whereby the northern part of that community wrests back some of the political power that is increasingly concentrated in London. Before the north of Britain was deindustrialized, power and wealth was more equitably shared […]

an argument for scottish independence

(In the Autumn of 2014, the people of Scotland are going to vote in a referendum to decide whether they wish to separate from the UK. There are all kinds of arguments that can be made for and against this separation, I would like to add one of my own.) Humanity seems unable to focus on doing what would have to be done to head off global warming of 2ÂșC – and, the way things […]

the kindness of strangers…

I’m in Kermanshah at the moment where it is raining gorbehah and sagah. To be able to inflict this (feeble) joke on you, I wanted to confirm what “cat” was in Persian and, since my bad pronunciation wasn’t doing it, and because my taxi driver’s English was rudimentary, I had to resort to making animal noises and feline impersonation (worse than rudimentary, I’m afraid). After an embarrassingly long period attempting this he suggested, cooly, in […]

a new renaissance?

Sunday past I went to a performance of Philip Glass’ 1000 Airplanes on the Roof in a hangar, at East Fortune in Scotland, that has been built around a decommissioned Concorde. It was a promenade concert – allowing us to walk around as the piece – a “melodrama in one act” – was acted out, and the music played. I found the conductor Jessica Cottis to be more worth watching than the actor. She conducted […]

force majeur

Snow has fallen heavily along the coast of the British Isles – 60cm, perhaps. With our maritime climate, this kind of weather is unusual enough that it has never been worthwhile investing vast resources in proofing our infrastructure against it: but common enough that when it happens it brings chaos. From the midst of this chaos rises the usual outcry: why can’t they do something about it? The same voices would be the first to […]

perfume of rotting mouse

Every year we have had mice coming into out house presumably to find a place to hibernate. We would be perfectly happy to let them do so if they didn’t insist on scurrying around in the walls and invading our kitchen. Then there is the danger that they will chew through electrical cables and start a fire. They already gnawed through a water pipe and caused a flood. So, eventually, we put down poison. Now, […]

going barefoot…

I had a revelation some years ago while camping with some friends near Cape Wrath when, over three days, I went barefoot. Not only did I discover that my feet could cope with any kind of terrain (by changing shape, they proved to be the best all terrain ‘shoe’ *grin*) but, more importantly, I realized in what a profound way feet ‘feel’ the earth. We clump around our world with ‘space suits’ on our feet […]