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….
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.
My good lady enjoyed a weekend away with her best friend which left me at a loose end (only kidding I just kept working of course). She travelled to Edinburgh to spend a night in a swish hotel and to take in the stage version of The Lion King at the Playhouse. I am pleased to report that my treat which included an excellent gift bag went down well and that a super time was had by both of them.
Perhaps I am too nice…but I do love her dearly.
The Granite Milestone that faces Girvan
A constant view on the horizon for me each day is the isle of Alisa Craig. This solid granite plug sits in the sea off Girvan and has done so since the eruption of a massive volcano in the very dim and distant past. It’s stone was and still is used to make curling stones renowned the world over and its home to a mass of Gannets and Puffins too. Due to the extremely changeable weather that Girvan gets being where it is you can, if you are there are the right moment, get some superb images of the ‘Tunnocks Teacake’ or ‘Paddys Milestone’ with cloud formations. This image above was taken by my good lady while out on a walk. I have posted it here in a large size so feel free to copy it and use it for a desktop image or such if the mood takes you.
Anyhow the reason for this little post. One of my news feeds told me that the little island of Alisa Craig has finally found a buyer. Its been up for sale for many years and it seems to be a British based group for possibly ecological reasons. You can read about it here. And before you ask…it was not me…I haven’t got 1.5 million sterling in my account, not quite!
From BBC early this morning central Scotland
I am typing this post between the roar of the wind and the losses of electricity that have been battering Girvan since late last night. Although the weather service did warn us all that high wind was to be expected I think the country got more than it was expecting. Early this morning the power went out but not before the local radio reported that the Scottish Government had upped the yellow weather warning to a full red top level alert. By that time the whole rail network had closed down, part of Glasgow Central Station’s roof fell in and many roads were shut with fallen trees and tipped over vehicles. Girvan primary school was closed and going to work impossible due to the debris and high wind. See the BBC for more. Look at this video for what is happening in South Ayrshire.
Scotrail Train with a broken window
What does this mean. Well it means no work today and maybe not on Friday depending on the damage and the roads. No email from me and while I did manage to get The Ion Age release out for today I did that on battery power on an Ipad! No orders will be leaving Alternative Armies, 15mm.co.uk or The Ion Age until next week (I am told Royal Mail has stopped for the moment too). Apologies to all but there is not much I can do about this….
Its not been a good week for Central Scotland really.
I got an email in my inbox today that made me smile. I support several charities and don’t talk about it much but one of the ones I enjoy supporting the most is Visibility a charity that assists those in the West of Scotland who suffer sight loss or blindness in their efforts to live a normal life. With the small support of myself and many, many others the charity won a prize of more than thirty thousand pounds with the Peoples Millions prize. This will allow them to do so much more excellent work.
The news this weekend in Scotland has been all about the terrible helicopter crash in Glasgow in which, it seems now, several (now confirmed nine) people lost their lives. People in the helicopter died and also in the Clutha Vaults bar that it landed upon. This is very sad and the reasons are not quite clear as yet. I actually got two emails to Alternative Armies and some to my own email account asking if I or anyone I know had been involved in the accident. The answer is no. Everyone I know is safe (I checked all my friends who live in the city too). I used to go into the Clutha when I was a student (scene of many fun evenings but no more about that) but its been years since I have been in that part of Glasgow. My thoughts are with all involved. A sad weekend for Scotland.
The one in the middle is the most real
But the other news item this week that caught my attention came from one of my favourite places, the land of the rising sun Japan. Lady Gaga, there on promotional work, unveiled two singing life sized dolls. Creepy in the extreme but ultimately disappointing as the early twitter and news posts spoke of them being actual AI (Artifical Intelligence) capable of hugs, kisses and conversation. Robo Geisha! But no. They are impressive constructs certainly, but just a gimmick. Seems I will have to wait a bit longer for Bladerunner to become real. Have a look at this video for the build guide.
A weekend of sadness and weirdness. I am glad to see it over.
Today is the annual Children in Need event on television and I, along with the rest of the family have done my part. I enjoy watching the televised event and I do not donate money by phone. I donate money by hand held boxes, by boxes in shops and by way of Girvan Primary School’s events. Today’s event was a ‘wear your pyjamas to school’ day which mercifully it stayed dry for. After what has been a hectic week at work (see the Havelock ESO results over on the Ion Age blog) I finished up a bit early and picked the three offspring up at the school gate.
There are a lot of charities out there…a whole lot. In fact I have got to the point where I ignore almost all of them as the feeling of guilt at not dropping coins into every hand that reached out was getting me down at a deep level. This does not make me a bad person. In fact I am a ruddy good person as all who know me will point out but my resources are limited. So I choose which I support and Children get some priority in this as does the UK so Children in Need is near top of the list (after Sense). It is a very worthwhile cause.
So have a look, have a read. Have a watch if you can. Give them some money too. If you live in the UK and you walk home after work, sometimes the child you see in the street needs your help more than you might know.
Sally Magnusson, Horace and The Poet
Yesterday I attended the 2013 Wigton Book Festival and I had an excellent time. The weather was warm and sunny and there were a great many events and readings taking place across the pleasant little town of Wigton. This was not the first time I had been, in fact last year I attended and posted here about it. This time my prime reason for attending was once more Sally Magnusson and her creation Horace the Haggis who was out and about promoting his new book for the kiddies.
My middle son, The Poet, was literally vibrating with excitement to get into the large tent where the reading was to take place and he enjoyed it greatly. He even got his copy, being held up proudly above, signed by the authoress who remembered him from the previous year. My eldest went to a talk being held by Robert Harris who while discussing his new book is also the author of Talisman a board game from the 1980’s by Games Workshop which was a firm favourite of mine. If Mr Harris was distracted by being asked about it rather than his new work he seemed delighted to discuss the game! The smallest of the wee chaps went to a talk on Dinosaurs where he put forth his theories on evolution and asked if birds would turn back into T-Rex’s any time soon. A picnic lunch was spread and the drive home was very nice too with the choice of music being two albums by The Alan Parson’s Project.
Books from the Book Festival
I trawled the book shops in the town and managed to find three gems among the literally thousands of volumes in each and every shop. You can see these above. There is also a flyer for the special exhibit for ‘Wigton 2113’ which sadly I could not get into as it was booked out…sci-fi denied!
Fantasy Wargaming edited by Bruce Galloway is an excellent find as books about wargaming, what I do for a living mainly, are thin on the ground. No training manual for my profession no. I have several of these titles about different periods and genres and they are all very useful. This one pre-dates the whole modern fantasy wargaming movement but it does give solid grounding in what is to be expected. I look forward to reading it. The other two are a pulp science fiction art and story book made for children in the 1980’s in a series which if you can believe I own the others but have never seen this one missing volume EVER before. Awesome! Lastly a heavy weight academic text on Three Tomorrows examining tropes in sci-fi from a British, American and Soviet perspective. Yes, Soviet. Its not new but it dates from the same period as Terminator and Blade Runner.
If you can get to Wigton for next year’s festival then do so as it is an excellent day out.
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.