Edinburgh September 2016 – National Museum of Scotland


In a fairly rare break from my normal life of work and family I took a few days off to treat my good lady to a birthday treat trip to Edinburgh at the weekend just past.  We had a really nice time and the weather held up for us too.  I want to share a few things we did (not all of them as I do not want to bore you or make you faint!) while there.  The main thrust of this posting is the National Museum of Scotland which we spent a very enjoyable full morning inside (it would have been longer if there had been seats in the tea room for a lunch date too!  But alas too busy) and here are some photos I took of objects and such that most interested me.


Above is the view to the right of the main group floor of the museum and it was a delightful surprise to see the natural light entering from the glass ceiling of the nineteen century iron structure and around its floors.  To the left you can see the main light taken from a late Victorian light house.  Below is a photo I just had to take of a small part of a mid twentieth century ‘Atom Smasher’ used by several different universities in the 1950’s..sadly not in use.


The museum is divided into several sectors which are represented upon each of the floors as you ascend.  With each telling a rolling story they are excellently done and while the nature element does not especially interest me the Great White Shark hanging from the ceiling upon invisible wires was actually rather scary and you can see it below.  I was more interested in the civilisation (read as Mankind but sadly that is not a word allowed anymore) and the science hall.


A superb presumably solid gold Japanese planetsphere which dates from the seventeenth century which shows the night sky not as pictures but as a series of straight lines.  The photo does not do this object justice at all and the level of detail is amazing and its finish is undimmed by time.


The next two photographs appealed to the Flintloque writer in me.  The uniform of Thomas Cochrane worn upon the ship Liberator which is well worth looking into and an oil painting by Arthur William Devis.  The fall of Seringapatam and the death of the Tipu Sultan (not actually killed by Richard Sharpe!) in 1797 which was an event one of my favourite British officers was part of; Major General David Baird.



The reality of biological sciences was brought to life for me in the next room in the form of the actual (I checked!) Dolly, the world’s first cloned animal in 1996.  For more on Dolly follow the link here as it is a fascinating and important area of research.  After this was Wylam Dilly locomotive which while not being anywhere near as famous as the ‘Rocket’ is one of the oldest surviving machines there is from the early age of steam and rail along with Puffing Billy.



The resourcefulness of human nature and in war caught my eye with a suit of armour plus weapons from Kiribati entirely made of coconut fibre.  While utterly useless against any firearm and most bows as well it does stand up to crushing and impacts from wooden weapons rather well.


One of the real highlights of the whole museum was the change to read up upon and actually see (yes, I touched it, naughty me) a part of the acceleration cavity assembly from CERN which as you will know is the place of the Large Electron Positron Collider.  Twenty seven kilometres of underground tunnels to smash electrons and positrons together.  I find this actually more impressive than four thousand year old tombs and such as it is the future and an incredible feat of engineering and physics.  Peter Higgs nobel prize was ensured when the ring proved the existence of the ‘god particle’.


After all this I took the time to get a snap of the view down to the entrance foyer from where we had started our experience in the museum.  An excellent idea for a half day visit and for children lots to do as well.


Edinburgh was mobbed with tourists…I mean really busy…so I gave up trying to get into any other events or places and instead just went for a sunny stroll in the park getting a good shot of the castle upon the rock from an angle not normally used by TV reporters or postcards and such.


Lastly a shout out to a great traditional Scottish pub that does excellent food and service too along with some superb ales.  It is small but try to get a table and a late lunch at the World’s End pub at the foot of the Royal Mile. Friendly and with a great atmosphere I took a few photos to show you firstly what I had to drink (Saltire is not easy to get in Ayrshire) and then the outside wall of the pub with its origin tale.



Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you get the chance I do recommend heading to the historical capital city of Scotland for a weekend.  I had the choice between this trip and possibly Madrid.  I did not get the heat but I got a bloody good time!


The 2016 EU Referendum – Brexit


This week the United Kingdom makes one of the biggest choices it will ever make by public vote. To leave the European Union or to remain in the European Union. On Thursday 23rd June 2016 voters will turn out and decide with a result which will decide the future of the nation. It has been a constant for me for months now and after all the ‘fun’ of the Scottish referendum of 2014 which lasted many months I am frankly tired of it all.

This short posting on my own personal blog is not exhaustive by any means and it is not meant to be either. The whole matter is so complex that it is virtually impossible for any mere mortal (believe me I have watched and read so much it is a joke that any normal person would subject themselves to such dry torture) to make an informed choice as to how to vote. What I know for certain is that you have to choose if you wish Westminster to be sovereign in law making, if you wish to have politicians who are accountable to be voted out if you do not like them, if you believe fundamentally that diversity is vital, if you think political expansion over all other concerns is the goal and so on. In the end do you side with a corrupt but expansive market or with a smaller corrupt but accountable one. Certainly no one in power who has a vested interest in remaining in the EU gives a toss about normal people; that has been plain to see. I think the EU has been a bain upon the normal poorer people of Britain (and other member nations) who have born the brunt of its policies in the last twenty years in many areas while the wealthier have reaped the benefits. If you are liberal and see it as all and only good then you see only half of it; which is your choice. There is room enough for all argument in a future too vague and wide to see properly. I think the Euro zone will collapse and that Turkey is a mistake which will be made by the EU. No more political or economic integration.  Enough.  This island is full and diverse enough.  We have enough unemployed of our own and the world is not our problem.  If we remain the UK will regret it…in ways too horrid to list here.  Sad I had to say that but it is what I think will happen based on investigation.

For me issues of sovereignty are paramount and that is how I came down during the 2014 referendum (I voted to stay in the UK if you are interested). A political choice for me and on that basis alone I will vote Leave with my one ballot paper. I think to be able to decide things on our own is better. Better for me, for my children and better for Britain. I respect your choice if you respect mine. Don’t call me racist or xenophobic. I am not and it makes me sad you might think that for speaking my refined opinion which I am entitled to. I give to charity and I have friends all over the world. Ask anyone who knows me I am a great guy and very helpful to those who need it. It is my choice and I have made it based on months of thinking and reading. The last item here and longest to finish but well worth it to understand macro power structures like the EU…


So what will happen? I will make my prediction so that I can point back to it rightly or wrongly after the 23rd what I thought would occur openly. I think that this week the UK will vote to Leave and it will be down mainly to the bulk of the silent population being fearful of immigration and that the Westminster village has once more, as it did with the last general election, totally failed to read the mood of the nation correctly. Was I right?

Two points to finish on before I sign off. Another prediction firstly that on November 8th 2016 in the American presidential election that Donald Trump will win. He is coming to Turnberry up the road from here in Girvan to open his golf resort personally on Wednesday 22nd June and from what I know has done a lot of good for the people here in terms of jobs and pride. If Clinton wins then America is tragically racing for the cliff edge. Secondly a very sad admittance that all the politics are actually a side show to something much larger and more sinister and that is the world now. There are structural challenges in population shifts, wealth going to the 1%, climate change, religious radicalism and so on which threaten us all regardless of our geographical location….fun eh.

I prefer wargaming and writing books so normal service resumed in the next post here. I just had to make my statement.


NO and perhaps its change or its trouble…

I don’t get involved in politics, I don’t get involved in religion,  I don’t get involved in social movements if I can help it.  Sometimes it cannot be helped.  I have to still see and listen to it and act.  The Scottish Referendum was one of these occasions and on 18.09.14 Scotland voted and decided to stay part of the United Kingdom; what had once been Great Britain the nation that built and ruled the modern world.  The vote was NO to the choice of independence by a margin of 55% to 45% and I think it was the result most people kind of knew was going to happen.  While I had prepared myself for either event I had noted down my own result and I was pretty close to what occurred.  I avoided putting this up publicly as I wished to stay neutral since I have friends on both sides.

So what now?  Well firstly politics will sink from this blog until and unless something big happens and it will be back to fun and games and family which is what I like (I still have eighty odd prog rock albums to source and listen to for the top 100 count I blogged about last month).  Secondly aside from some thugs causing problems in Glasgow city centre this weekend which frankly, take it from me, had little to do with the vote and more to do with being scum that take any chance to cause problems most people have accepted the result.  Some are trying to create a ’45 rebellion through social media which is amusing since from what I have seen they on the whole seem unaware of their own history and the coincidence of the actual ’45 Rebellion and Bonnie Prince Charlie.  Thirdly and most vitally I would like to follow up on the passionate speech former Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave yesterday as it links to my own feelings on what will come next.  Let me tell you what I think is going to happen for Scotland and the UK over the next couple of years.

Well Scotland said NO as I predicted.  The SNP were voted into power in Scotland to govern not as a signal for a thirst for separation but as a protest to the Labour Party who had been in power really forever in Scotland and had produced such failures and third raters for leaders such as Jack (now LORD!) McConnell.  The same thing happened a year plus later in England as Labour was put out and a Conservative and Liberal coalition took power.  Since then the financial crash and recession that followed it has shown the total lack of spine of the political classes in London, in the ‘Westminster Bubble‘.  Despite putting the UK nearly to the wall not a single banker or politician (don’t forget the expenses scandal too) was jailed or even seriously penalised.  The people of the UK have lost their remaining faith in the political class, of career politicians who have never worked in the real world and frankly stand for nothing as they are all ‘consensus’ and ‘middle of the road’.  The end result was a scare for Westminster as this all added fire to the YES campaign but also to the rise of UKIP as a party in England on the issue of Europe and the loss of power there which again no politician will even admit never mind speak about or do anything about.  So where from here.  Well promises were made to Scotland for further devolved powers being granted to Hollyrood in the event of a NO vote.  The BBC and the political classes have it seems already put the issue of Scotland Independence behind them saying ‘that’s it for a generation’.  Trust me its not.  Here we go.

If Westminster forgets or reneges on enough of these promises from September 2014 then I think the election next year in Scotland will see the SNP remain in power (they may well do since I also think the Labour Party is finished in UK politics as it stands) on a new mandate and will push again for another referendum.  If that is the case then the next time the YES vote will win as the momentum combined with swinging the NO voters who believed in union who will have seen the lack of action after the last time will move to YES.  It would only take a 5% swing.  Meanwhile in England the voice for a devolved English parliament will continue as will the one for a Welsh and Irish one too.  David Cameron will not be prime minister after 2015 regardless as to which party wins (the men in grey suits will ‘retire him’ from leadership).  The Labour Party will shrink and other parties take its place.  Then there is the promised vote on membership of the Euro Zone….

Pessimistic yes but based on this week I think Gordon Brown was pretty much right.  This is not over, not by a long shot.  The Scottish debate is a small part of something happening the UK over and actually all across the Western World too.

I am not interested in Politics beyond the local but as I said I thought I might put something out about it since its happening here and now.


This Week Destiny….YES or NO

Democracy.  Mob Rule.  Politics and all the dirt that comes from it.  It comes to Scotland this week in the biggest electoral decision that I and my Celtic brothers and sisters will ever have to make.  Its been getting increasingly rapid and even bad tempered in the streets of Ayrshire and elsewhere as the time grows close.  Both camps are hard at it putting their cases and belittling the case of the other side.

YES is focusing in on the failures of history and of distant rule from London while NO is focusing on the fails of the future and the terror of near rule from Edinburgh.  Frankly its all been a storm of smoke and sometimes outright lies.  I don’t really know what to believe but nothing YES has said has gladdened me and nothing NO has said has made me think that remaining is also a good idea.  More than a year of reading everything and pondering it all and I am no closer to knowing which way to go would be better.  Actually I could have written an entire new Flintloque book in the time I have spent on this and had way more result from it.  My notion of reporting here something solid to go on have vanished.

I must make note of the level of anger in me at some of the online comments left on Facebook, Gplus and Youtube aiming not only hatred but sheer idiocy towards the Scottish people.  I will not recount them but it is very saddening to read.  Actually its more upsetting the level of poor grammer, education and outlook presented that gets to me.  Is Great Britain or the UK one nation…no not really.  There is a real divide in climate, in attitudes, in populations, in wealth, in ideology and more before you even get to gender, race, religion and creed.  Perhaps we cannot all get along any more.  Or perhaps being as one will make us get along better.

I shall vote.  It is my right and my duty this week of all weeks.  For which case..alone or together…that remains to be seen.

I will end with the video clip below.  Perhaps Willy makes more sense than Cameron or Salmond.  He certainly makes clear points; something the others don’t.


(p.s. if you found this post confusing as to YES or NO from me..you were meant to!)

Entering Endgame YES and NO Positions


I had planned a long blog post here outlining the YES and NO campaign’s leaflets now that we are entering the end game period.  Leaflets that layout why you should vote yes or no.  I was then going to follow it with a run down of the last TV debate two nights ago and end with my own take on the referendum at this stage with only weeks to go.  BUT.  Life gets in the way.  I don’t have the time.  Various projects at work have me running at 95% of full and added to this a bulk of email to answer means this is all the time I can spare.  So it will have to do.  Typed and posted so my apologies for grammar errors and such.  These are my own thoughts.

The debate was much like the last one with Salmond the showman dominating while saying little.  Darling held his own for most of it but its always hard to argue for NO on any topic rather than YES.  There was actually little said except on the issue of currency.  This was actually explained finally and it runs like this.  If the vote is no then everything remains as it is with a hint of more devolved powers.  If the vote is yes then the preferred option is a currency union with the rest of the UK with the Bank of England being Scotland’s paymaster.  Will this work, well its frankly insane to me to think that any Prime Minister will just kick Scotland out and by denying Scotland its share of the sterling assets will remove its share of the UK’s dept.  So that being assumed I think a currency union would happen but it would not work.  After all its done nothing for nations that use the Dollar and its been a bane for Greece being controlled by Germany in the Euro Zone.  Therefore after it breaks down (Salmond tries to explain why London will not give Scotland more money etc) the options are joining the Euro or a separate Sterling Pound (like before the Union).  The Euro has been ruled out (but trust ye not any politician for I think Salmond would run for Brussels given a chance) and my own thinking here is that is a good idea as its a sick man as it were and its not going to last as it is.  A new currency for Scotland would be really hard as Edinburgh has no history of credit, no gold reserves and so on.  We would be starting at the bottom.  So the debate was just like the rest of this process…loose and ongoing.

The leaflets I have pictured above are the last national printed communication for each side and its telling I have had to try and make people read them.  As you would expect NO focuses on what we know and the fear of the unknown.  YES focuses on what we could do without the solid facts for it.  As publications go the YES one is better as it gives you more information and it has the ability to dump on the NO campaigns failures over the last 300 years too. What is noticeable in the leaflets is that YES focuses on children and the young and NO pretty much focuses on the older and pensioners.  So again fear vs optimist and youth.

I understand that people will disagree with me on this and I EXPECT IT as there is nothing solid here only opinions.

My take on this at this point is that its still all to play for.  While YES seems to be winning and is way more vocal its vital to remember that its s tiny minority who are online and in the media or on Facebook or Gplus etc. The majority are silent and I think that silence is more NO than YES.   I have not decided what I will vote as yet and I will admit this is tearing me up.

Another post on this nearer the time of course.  I am of course concerned as I am one of those rare creatures now…a man who makes his living publishing, manufacturing and exporting to the world.  A money maker, a wealth creator.  It will affect me in every facet of life.


Salmon tonight Darling? A useless debate on Scottish Independence

I watched it last night.  I listened again in bed this morning before getting up for work.  I listened again to it this afternoon while typing emails. It was billed as being that important.  Three times last nights debate between Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond has played through my mind so important is the vote now only six weeks away.  Scottish Independence is coming up to be voted upon and am I closer to a choice.  Am I closer to a decision based on rational arguments, evidence and calm debate through answering questions from a studio audience?  Simply put no I am not.

In a ninety minute exchange the two representatives of the YES and the NO campaigns put forward their cases or rather they repeated the same waffle without concrete facts that I have been hearing for months.  Over all I thought that Alastair Darling came out on top but that was mainly due to Salmond’s personal attacks upon him and childish rhetoric rather than any other reason.  Honestly it is starting to make me sad.  I have been avoiding posting on this subject waiting for something vital that I could point to and run with to voting day…but it has not come.

An in depth look at the debate can be seen HERE on the BBC website for news.  Its worth reading but the debate is not worth watching in full.  I am likely to believe anyone who can actually prove, prove mind not tell, me what will happen.  The truth…I think no one actually knows what will happen.

My own opinion at this moment?  Well despite the excellent result of the 2014 Commonwealth Games for Glasgow and the fun it inflicted on those trying to work about these parts there is no swell of feeling for separation and I think that on the day the result will be a majority return of NO.  That is unless something radically changes soon.  I have yet to make up my own mind as it is on 6th August 2014.


Queens Baton Relay 2014 – June 20th 2014 Girvan


While work prevented me attending the Queens Baton Relay today as it went through Girvan on its way up the coast and through South Ayrshire (well local big wigs get paid for standing in the sun and I don’t hey ho) my good lady got me some pictures and a little booklet.  You can see the cover of the booklet above and a picture of the baton carrier who had done some good work for local children at Girvan Hospital below.  It has been a lovely week of sunny weather and it shows in the pictures.  Such a blue sky and the heat made for fine baton walking conditions.


My eldest son as a part of his class attended the event (one of the last things he had to do before his primary / elementary schooling ends for good in a week or so) and was given the distinction of carrying the flag for his class’s chosen commonwealth nation South Africa.  He had a smashing time and a well deserved way to end his last little school year.  Top of the class and a thoroughly nice child who is turning into a young man that I am rightly proud of to my core.  Have a look below and check out that springing step and grin!


As for the Baton Relay itself I really don’t care about it but it was nice to see some crowds and smiling faces in the town.  Interestingly enough when you read the baton booklet a sizeable piece of the text is given over to ‘Business Branding’.  While it urges that everyone have fun and benefit from the relay it makes it clear that again and as always know your place.  Don’t be naughty and try to make a few quid off the back of the games (just like the Olympics in 2012) as copyrights and brands are jealously guarded.  While I agree and understand this after all big companies have paid big to advertise and we want to keep it clean it does make me grin falsely when I consider that a local person baking little cakes for 50p with the word’s ‘Queen and Baton’ on them to sell for an hour in their little town will be coshed all the same.  Heck if I was to say the name of my employer and put it in this posting I would be breaking the law….gotta love sport eh.

Well got to get on….


The Ramp Down of Salute 2014


Here be Dragons!

Salute 2014 is over and I am back in Scotland now.  I got back on Sunday afternoon but its taken until now for me to take care of all the email and other matters to have time to make this posting.  My own blogging comes last on the list and is mainly for my own amusement here on this domain.  That being said I hope the three thousand of you who look at it each week enjoy the read.   Anyway with the dust settled and some time to muse on it…just how was Salute this year for me and as an event?


Come and look at the table!

For me this Salute was the most easy going ever with the entire event going off without a hitch and even the traffic in London being remarkably light.  I was tired sure but nothing like the mad days of 2004-2010 for this wargames show.  I met a lot of nice people and in among the praise of how much they were loving The Ion Age and wishing it good growth I also took some flak from Flintloque fans.  Did I not know this was the first Salute since the 1990’s that Flintloque did not dominate the trade stand?  Well I did and I did it on purpose; sorry guys!  Makes me think though Flintloque has been ‘me’ for so long now that it did feel a bit strange not to have it there.  We did fine in terms of our sales and I was happy with that and as always we dropped off a stack of ‘collect on the day’ pre-orders.  I want to thank all those who supported us and me and I wish them well.


The Ion Age in the ‘flesh’ got a lot of admiring looks

As an event this Salute was rather more quiet that previous years.  Less excitement and buzz in the massive hall at Excel and without the bring and buy the gaps between the rows of stands was very wide indeed.  I think attendance was down a bit as well.   Certainly I tend to notice things like this and my notes from 2013 said the same thing down on 2012.  Not to be pessimistic but it seems possible to me with the changing nature of the hobby that such a big show might not continue as it is.   A smaller trade stand suited us and other traders had done the same thing perhaps noticing what I had.  I have not seen this opinion online elsewhere but then maybe I am wrong on this…when I look back at this post in a year I will know for sure.  Just call me Hari Seldon perhaps!


Perhaps this sign will be gone next year?

Now.  On with life and with business.  Its Malig Madness release week on The Ion Age and its the Maginot Turret kit on 15mm.co.uk and Slaughterloo is back in stock from the morrow on Alternative Armies.  Plus the sun is shining.  Life is mighty fine by the sea here in Girvan and there is a LOT coming your way over the coming months.


Scotland passes same sex marriage bill today

A bill which allows same-sex weddings to take place in Scotland has been passed by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament. MSPs voted by 105 to 18 in favour of the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Bill. The Scottish government said the move was the right thing to do but Scotland’s two main churches were opposed to it. The first gay and lesbian weddings could take place this autumn. Religious and belief bodies can “opt in” to perform same-sex marriages. Ministers said no part of the religious community would be forced to hold such ceremonies in churches.

That is the first paragraph from a BBC News post online HERE.  Its a good day to be Scottish.  My country just got a bit more liberal and bright.  Another piece of medieval darkness removed.

As for me I am all for love be it of any Human kind and I hope to get some more blog posts up soon.  Its been a mad hectic week for me but the reasons will come clear soon enough.


180914 a Year to the Day to Go

Daily Mirror Cartoon (Alex Salmond SNP, George Osbourne Conservative)

It is a year to the day until the referendum for independence is to be held here in Scotland.  With one simple question the voting age population of Scotland will make the single biggest choice likely in their lifetimes.

“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

Head on over to this BBC news page for the facts thus far about to whom and what else the vote will affect next year.  As I said in my previous posts here on the label 180914 there is a long way still to go and my own mind is not made up.  Perhaps its the cynicism over politicians and politics in general or the potential loss of Great Britain, a nation which did an awful lot to shape the modern world, or if the facts and figures prove Scotland would be better on its own.  Perhaps even it is just that I don’t really care I just want this national paralysis over and a choice made.

Either way I will certainly keep posting and as it nears I will do more in depth.  For now…well I am just too busy working to pay taxes to prop up whatever side wins the vote!  After all the economic figures from the YES and NO side are so radically different that one or both of them must be fibbing; they will either need the money or just send it back to me.