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Oh Danny Boy!

Danny Alaxander, quoted on the BBC. From the Lady Thatcher school of political humour:


“The Liberal Democrat MP for the Highlands said: “There is actually one Scottish myth I absolutely cannot and would not be able to disprove.

“She’s about 40-foot long, publicity-shy and she lives in my constituency, and if anyone here today or any of your families wants to come up to Loch Ness and spend a weekend looking out for her they will be very welcome indeed.

“In short, there is more evidence for the Loch Ness monster than there is for many of the calculations and the claims that have been put forward by the nationalists to support their case for separation.”

What a funny chap he is.

Holiday Snaps

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Removal – Amsterdam style!


On a (Swiss) Roll!

My team, Dumbarton, secured their highest finish in the league for 27 years yesterday with a 4-1 victory over league leaders Hamilton Accies. The game was on a knife edge until sub Colin Nish put them ahead on 77 minutes to make it 2-1. The Accies lost the plot after that and player manager Alex Neil head-butted Mark Gilhaney on the touchline.

Accies ten men then chased the game and allowed Sons to add two more to their tally.

The atmosphere at the match was enhanced by our Swiss Supporters Club – A very good humoured crowd of guys who make the long journey to Dumbarton once or twice a season. Great to hear them in full voice yesterday.


Ther Swiss Sons before the game ‘Fly like an elephant – sting like a rock!’

A Black Country?

I see the wide eyed loonies are at it again…..


When I say wide eyed loonies, I’m talking about the party who is leading the polls in England for the Euro elections.

Maybe Mr Henwood in saying that Lenny Henry should go and live in a black country is just saying that he should go back to where he came from -where he was born.

That is Dudley in the West Midlands. The heart of the area known as the Black Country

Print your own house….

Can you imagine the headlines in the Express and Mail about the effect on house prices?

printed house

From the BBC

A company in China has used giant 3D printers to make 10 full-sized, detached single-storey houses in a day, it appears.

A private firm, WinSun, used four 10m x 6.6m printers to spray a mixture of cement and construction waste to build the walls, layer by layer, official Xinhua news agency reported.

The cheap materials used during the printing process and the lack of manual labour means that each house can be printed for under $5,000, the 3dprinterplans website says.

“We can print buildings to any digital design our customers bring us. It’s fast and cheap,” says WinSun chief executive Ma Yihe. He also hopes his printers can be used to build skyscrapers in the future. At the moment, however, Chinese construction regulations do not allow multi-storey 3D-printed houses, Xinhua says.

That CBI Scotland statement in full

We’ve really made a right arse of this one We have taken legal advice and we have found that our application to register as campaigning for a No vote should not have been made. Whilst we said recently that the vast majority of our members supported our stance, we now realise that no one had actually asked any of the members  we hadn’t fully appreciated the neutral position required from public bodies amongst our membership.

Actually, some clown in the office took this action and no one knew about it until it was in the papers. A big boy done it and ran away. CBI director-general John Cridland said it had made an “honest mistake” and was now seeking to reverse its decision on the basis it had not been approved by the CBI board and was not signed by an authorised signator.

Christ! if we don’t reverse this there’ll be nobody attending any of our events! He said the registration took place in order to ensure regular Scottish events, including its annual dinner and lunch, complied with regulations during the referendum period.

I mean everyone knows we’re Tories but that is just kind of accepted isn’t it? Mr Cridland said: “The CBI is politically independent and impartial”

“Although the decision to register with the Electoral Commission was taken in good faith, in order to carry out normal activities during the referendum period, it has inadvertently given the impression that the CBI is a political entity – we are not and never will be.”


Begin the Beguine

I was in Amsterdam for a break recently.

Just off one of Amsterdam’s busiest streets, the Kalvestraat, is the Begijnhof which was originally a beguinage and is one of the oldest parts of the city. To this day it houses both a Roman Catholic and an ‘English Reformed’ church. The latter is also a Church of Scotland.


The Beguines /bəˈɡnz/ and the Beghards /bəˈɡɑrdz/ were Christian lay religious orders that were active in Northern Europe, particularly in the Low Countries in the 13th–16th centuries. Their members lived in semi-monastic communities but did not take formal religious vows. That is, although they promised not to marry “as long as they lived as Beguines” to quote one of the early Rules, they were free to leave at any time. Beguines were part of a larger spiritual revival movement of the thirteenth century that stressed imitation of Christ’s life through voluntary poverty, care of the poor and sick, and religious devotion. (Wikipedia)

We discovered the Begijnhof on a previous visit to Amsterdam quite by chance and sought it out once again on this visit. The city’s oldest house is here – the Houten Huys 34 Begijnhof, the black timber building photographed here by my daughter.


This is the small but ornate chapel in the Begijnhof.


And the rather more plain kirk.


I’m not religious in the least but there is a need for places like this in a bustling city and I can’t deny the presence of some kind of spiritual calm in the Begijnhof. It is incredible that the Kalverstraat with all its trams, cars, people, barrel organs, buskers and the like is a mere few yards away. And yet the only sounds in the Begijnhof are the respectful hushed tones of the visitors and birdsong.

In the chapel, a lady was lighting a whole host of candles:


If my understanding was right, I think they would, for a small fee, (50 cents I think) dedicate a candle and say a prayer for a departed loved one. A nice gesture if you believe in that kind of thing and pretty businesslike given the amount of visitors and the costs of keeping the building.


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