SNP MSP Invites Group Named After 1980s Animated Series


From Better Together, an SNP MSP identifies with a group called “Ninja Militant Turtles” and advocates heckling a public meeting of pro-Union supporters. David Torrance, who arrived from nowhere with a majority just 150 to win the Kirkcaldy Holyrood seat from Labour; and would appear to be another of the untested candidates whom the great panjandrum will have to contend with over the next few years.

The public meeting is to be co-hosted by Gordon Brown and Tom Devine, and Torrance provided the contact details for the former’s Westminster office. If anything, any public appearance by Brown should be allowed to proceed for sheer novelty sake.


You Can Say She Is a Dreamer


But the yogatastic Googoosha is a practical dreamer.

As if the knock to their self-image as above reproach in foreign matters following revelations of underwriting debts with North Korea and turning a blind eye to the latter’s narco-diplomacy was not bad enough, the Swedish press now is dealing with reports that the partly State owned telecommunications firm, TeliaSonera has paid backhanders to Tashkent.

Fifty Three Year Old Teenagers


For any popular popular (sic) entertainer to proclaim their support for the Conservative Party – in definance of the easy credit in calling oneself “Left-wing”, with all the unchallenged positive virtues this attracts – is intriguing. And that includes Simon Cowell.

Yet, he seems to have reached for the outrage button too readily following Martin Gore’s announcement that:

In an interview with MusicWeek, guitarist Gore reportedly said: “I’m not advocating violence but I think somebody should shoot Simon Cowell.”

What a dimbulb. Gore is 53. But a credible incitement to violence it is not, regardless of Cowell’s need to beef-up his personal security following previous and unrelated threats.

Then again, Cowell did have a point when he called Gore a “weirdo” in response to:

He [Gore] added: “His influence on the industry over the last God knows how many years… It’s just like, so many people think that’s what music is.

Gore was in Depeche Mode.

Public Display in Thurso For Tesco Plans


After three years with no traction on their Thurso site, Tesco’s lease runs out on 17 January 2013. They are seeking another three years, and this week held a public display at their current store in Thurso.

I do not go in for reflexive Tesco-bashing. Anyone who remembers the dismal selection available in Caithness shops in the 90s cannot, in all seriousness (or, rather, would not, if they were being serious) bash a major co-operation with the money to spare which gives selections otherwise found at the end of a 200 mile round-trip. And, when criticism of Tescopoly with the inevitable call for Asda as the Prince Across the Water strikes as odd considering Asda is owned by that behemoth, Wallmart… but, c’mon, this is getting ridiculous.

State of Scottish Roads


Bad editing in the listing of Noel Donaldson’s column on regarding the state of public roads in the Highlands and Islands:

Highlands & Islands road safety campaigner and MSP, David Stewart has highlighted the fact that 61% of Scotland’s road markings are barely visible.

David Stewart said “ We have about 1030km of roads in Scotland and we are the worst in the UK when it comes to the visibility of road markings. 40% of markings on our motorways and dual carriageways need immediate replacement and there is evidence which supports the fact that clear road markings can reduce road collisions”

He continued “ The Scottish Government through Transport Scotland have signed up to the maintenance standard of markings on our roads, but clearly they are falling short. I will be writing to the Transport Minister to ascertain what plans the Government have for addressing this less than satisfactory issue”

Reading that as it was written, my first thought was… only 1030 km of road in Scotland? What are we? Iceland? Checking the North Star, I see that the 1030 km figure refers to the length of sub-standard roads which rank amongst the worst in Britain.

Grim stuff, all the same.

Whale Hunt in Thurso


Taken from the Northern Ensign, 27 June 1899.

In many parts of Caithness it was at one time a common thing, when any dispute arose as to the date of an event, to say that it happened in the year of the “muckle win”, or so many years before or after that event. That must, indeed, by the way have been a “muckle win” if one story told about it be true. A bower man was “winowing” corn, standing, as the old practice was, between two opposite open doorways, when the sieve was swept out of his hands, and never “lichtit” till it fell in the German Ocean, where it was subsequently found floating on the surface water. Henceforth, however, when any similar dispute arises in Thurso, in many ways (says out correspondent) be settled by saying that it occurred in the same year that the shoal of one hundred odd whales was stranded on the sands which, for the benefit of future generations, it may as well be here to state that it was on Monday, the 19th of June, 1899. According to common reports, shoals or schools of bottlenoses had been “knocking about” off our shores for a week or so previously, and about mid-day, on the 19th curt., one of them got quite close inshore. At first no one could hardly say whether their visit was anything more than an act of courtesy, but as soon as it became clear the shoal meant to stay, a number of small boats put out from the river harbour in order that their advent on our shores might be turned to profitable account. The occupants of the boats were armed with guns, sword-bayonets, knives, and any other weapon that could be got hold of. For several hours the whales continued swimming about, but never made any attempt to go to the open sea, and were, as the opportunity arose, knocked on the head one by one, or as many of them could be got at. This went on for hours, until the even, when favoured by the tide, they were driven on to the sands near the harbour. The greater number survived their arrival there for some hours, but gradually they were disposed of – their number when ultimately counted having been found to total up to 104. All next day and the day following they lay on the sands, and were visited by hundreds of people, as their capture had been visited by almost every man, woman, boy and girl – at least while the scene in the bay was taking place, a part of the Victoria Walk, the Esplanade, and many other places being crowded by people watching the (for this quarter) the novel sight of what is generally described as a “whale hunt”. On Thursday, Provost Mitchell of Montrose arrived here, and purchased the bottlenoses, and since then a large number of men, at 6d an hour have been engaged in taking the blubber off them, and otherwise preparing them for their future destiny, whatever that may be.

It is not, of course, bottlenoses as the article states but pilot whales. This would have been an understandable mistake as very few people would have seen a cetacean up close, and certainly not in these numbers. Their understanding of cetology would have been based around Chapter XXIII of Moby Dick.

Note also the well-dressed little boy, perched on the corpse of a whale. The idea of a child being allowed now so close to such a germ factory is unimaginable.

The scene on Thurso Beach still is immediately recognizable, although it is arresting to think of teams of men up to their elbows in whale guts working as the water ran red with their blood. I wonder if there still are trophies from this muckle win still in Thurso.

Jigsaw Morning


As a term for the main evening meal in the more northern parts of the larger of the two principal islands off the north-west coast of Europe, teatime is a contraction of high tea or meat tea.  Afternoon tea, on the other hand, was the equivalent of a mid-afternoon snack consisting of cakes, scones with cream and jam or, even more luxuriously, cucumber sandwiches.

I found a battered jigsaw case in a cupboard, and spent the better part of this morning laying out its one thousand pieces. Sunday Teatime (still in production) is based on a painting by landscape and interior painter, Stephen Darbishire.

(It has been almost 60 years since he produced an… erm… imaginative photographic representation of a UFO; also available as a jigsaw.)

Still operating from his 17th Century cottage in the Lake District, Darbishire has used the above scene for several of his several paintings based on permutations of scrumptious snacks, cut flowers, lazy dogs and shafts of sunlight.

Darbishire’s daughter, Naomi also has a web presence where she touts her specialty cooking oils and vinegars. Checking her recipe page, I see I am not the only person to consider drinking dilute vinegar.

From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli


Far from an uncoordinated outbreak of violence following a minor online film, it became apparent in whole hours that the invasion of the US Consulate in Benghazi and subsequent murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three colleagues was pre-planned; either in revenge for the drone strike in Pakistan in June which killed al Qaeda regional commander, Abu al-Libi or vicious synchronicity to coincide with the anniversary of 11/9.

(Likewise, immediate and entirely unverified claims which could be seen to be wafer-thin by the MSM that the producer of said minor film was an Israeli Jew with the backing of over a 100 other Jews have been refuted by, amongst others, Jeffery Goldberg.  The cast of the film also appear to have been duped; believing that they were participating in a production about an unnamed Egyptian figure.)

No doubt aware of the fate of the last PotUS to have been in office during an embassy invasion, Obama has dispatched 50 US Marines to Libya to seek-out the perpetrators of this attack and, presumably, give them the “knock knock, your dead” treatment.

Buy a Fucking Shovel


The first frost in Caithness was yesterday morning (the last day of August), and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland has gone a’ Tweeting after the first snowfall of the year.

Do not worry. There still is time to buy a fucking a shovel.

Complaint to Police Regarding Caithness Councilor’s Expenses


It is being reported that a complaint has been passed to Police regarding expenses claims of a Caithness local Councillor during the May 2012 election campaign. Although not formally named, it is understood to be Landward councilor, Alex Macleod.

The complaint relates to Macleod’s non-filing of his stay at a hotel flat in Wick as part of his declarations which were £88.43 below the limit for his ward. As yet it is unclear if the first point of call were the Electoral Commission, which considered similar complaints against Conservative MP [and, admittedly, considerably more wealthy] Zac Goldsmith during the 2010 General Election.

Ultimately, Goldsmith was spared a Police investigation although he was admonished by the Electoral Commission for sharp practice. This is not the first time the question has has been of whether nor not Macleod’s expenses were made within the spirit as well as letter of the law.

Now 20, Macleod was the youngest local councilor elected in May 2012 when he made the rather grandiloquent promise that the Highland Council would “not know what hit it”.