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Ulster Says No!

Or Ulster says phowar!

BBC Northern Ireland reports:

The Bangor farmer who asked pop star Rihanna to cover up has said he has no regrets about his stance on the matter.

DUP councillor Alan Graham was at the centre of a worldwide media storm after he called for filming of the Barbadian’s video in his field to stop.

Mr Graham was fetching his tractor when he saw Rihanna and thought her topless appearance was “inappropriate”.

He said on Friday he did not “believe young ladies should have to take their clothes off to entertain”.

“I am entitled to hold that opinion,” Mr Graham said.

“I would have more respect and more care for that young lady than lots of the people running about who want to see her taking her clothes off.

“I wish her no ill.”

Mr Graham told the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster it was “sad that in the modern entertainment world pretty young women have to take their clothes off to entertain what I would describe as frustrated billy goats”.

Rihanna (Billy goats not pictured)

He said he had made no objection to the filming of Rihanna when she was wearing beachwear.

“I didn’t stop the video because of that,” he said.

“It was when the filming went into another field and I coincidentally happened to be there.

“I have a tractor over the field, my tractor was there to pull some of their equipment out of the mud.

“Some people think I just drove over there conveniently in my tractor, I was helping them with my tractor.

“I was heading home, but before I got home I realised ‘hold on this is getting to a stage I am uncomfortable with and I can’t allow this to go on’.”

The farmer said Rihanna had been “very gracious and respectful” when they spoke and that they had “parted company on good terms”.

He said he had not received any money at this stage for the filming and was not “particularly fazed” about the media frenzy which had followed Monday’s events.

“I have had to carry on with my day-to-day work, get my barley cut and tend to other business, but it is quite interesting,” he added.



I’m quite ambivalent at the suggestion ( a popular measure made rather conveniently on the first day of the Tory conference) about increasing the speed limit on motorways.

Cars these days are much, much safer and more fuel efficient than when the current limit was introduced in the 60s. I can well remember an old car I had when I was 19.

It was a Triumph Herald 13/60 convertible – in Dumbarton FC’s colours natch.

I bought it for £200 and it was a death trap. The fibre glass bonnet would fly open if the wind caught it the wrong way.

It could do 70mph and frequently did.

With its inefficient 1300 engine, at that speed there wasn’t a part of the car that didn’t rattle at any speed over 40 mph.

It struggled to do 30 miles to the gallon.

Recently a friend of mine hired a Peugot saloon with a 1600 engine that he said performed like a 2 litre. It was so fuel efficient it doesn’t attract any road tax. It does 80 to the gallon and has every refinement and safety feature built in.

Such cars can travel at 80mph on motorways far more safely than my old Triumph could have at 50 all those years ago.

Motorways are however far far busier than they were then, so I’m sure a convincing case still needs to be made.

It’s All Greek

Greece is going to default on its debt sometime.

This is obvious.

It’s obvious to commentators, politicians and citizens.

The reasons are many and varied but it was surely also obvious to anyone that the solution for the Euro was to remove Greece from the currency and allow a managed default?

Instead, by their decision yesterday to make a further bail out, the German Parliament has just set up the dominoes.

If, as now looks increasingly likely, the great Euro experiment fails and countries go back to their own currencies, these will be devalued quite seriously. Their purchasing power will be a fraction of that of the currency they have replaced.

Writing here last November I made a comment to a correspondent who had linked to an article that the crisis made Britain joining the Euro more likely, I said the following:

I actually had the paper but only just read the article. Ian McWhirter is a smart cookie and whilst I agree with him on many things I feel that in this particular article he is working on many assumptions of how governments will behave.

In brief my view is this:

1) The switch to the Euro has coincided with the biggest debt crisis in Europe in living memory. Maybe there is no connection between the two but you know how people think.
2) At every limited opportunity (save for the staged re-run in Ireland) the citizenry have had a chance to offer their opinion on the closer integration of the EU, they have rejected it.
3) France and Germany despite being the pivotal axis on which the Union revolves are going to expose their own economies to huge risk in sorting out the “PIIGS”
4) As people struggle with economic hardship they might actually sit up and take more notice of the pish that rains down on them from Brussels and they will be holding their domestic governments more to account for that.

The consideration of these particular components lead me to conclude that the notion of the end of the crisis seeing the Euro survive in its present form and Britain joining it, are far off if not far fetched.




Luss – Village of Light

History, almost everywhere, is bound up with religion. This is particularly true of the village of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond which is associated particularly with Saint Kessog for whom there have been claims to be Patron Saint of Scotland. He was a martyr having been executed at Luss sometime between 520 and 530 at Bandray Bay just south of Aldochlay which in turn is just south of Luss.

Regular readers will know my views on religion in general so no need to go back into all that (apart from a few references below!).

I am fascinated by the history surrounding it though and having parked my vehicle in Glen Luss this morning I took a walk down to the village beside the River Luss via an old slate quarry. I have lived within a few miles of this location for most of my life but today was my first time in this particular area.

As I approached the village, I saw signs for the Glebe and the St Kessog’s Trail, which I followed. it led me into a field where there were several (many) little plates with vignettes of the history of St Kessog. I didn’t have my camera, so phone shots will have to suffice:

It was doing really well until the last bit!

If you’ve read the above link to St Kessog, then you’ll have read the story of him swimming in Ireland with some fellow Princes who drowned but the power of prayer brought them back to life. All complete fairytale of course, folklore but there are seemingly sane, intelligent people that believe this stuff.

Strange isn’t it that these miracles are all unverifiable? All taking place in a time when word of mouth by holy men was……er gospel!

Anyhoo, at the Glebe there is a rather impressive Celtic style wooden and glass cross, erected last year to commemorate St Kessog and celebrate 15 centuries of Christianity on Loch Lomond

Once a tree......

St Kessog’s church was on the island of Inchtavannach which I’ve written about several times.

After the Glebe I wandered down by Luss Parish Church

And then to the shore and pier.


A fantastic walk and only about an hour and a half in total. You can access it from Glen Luss and follow signs for the quarry or from the village itself and go the other way round.

As for the name of Luss, one theory is that as the Christians settled, displacing the Druid population, they saw themselves as bringing the village “into the light” and thus named the village Lux which is the Latin word for light. It later became Luss.

And talking of light, I was quite pleased with the photographic results, courtesy of Nokia!


Mansfield Latest

Not that I’m obsessed with this story or anything! Claret and Amber sends me a lnk to this fantastic article in Newsthump

When’s the Stags Party?

I wrote here about Mansfield Town owner John Radford (45) appointing Carolyn Still (29) and a “former escort” as chief executive at the club.

Now comes this news from the BBC. Touching how even in the hard world of business and sport there’s room for lurve!


Here is a list of collective nouns. I’ve noticed that the compiler has fallen into a familiar trap in describing a “school” of fish.

That’s a whale of an error.

My favourite here is a charm of finches. I actually thought that a charm applied only to goldfinches. Certainly when applied to goldfinches it seems apt.


I wonder if anyone has any suggestions for some new collective nouns? A bore of bloggers? or maybe a scunner of reality TV shows? What about an annoyance of politicians?