Monday, 29 October 2007

Scottish Independence

Yesterday I watched Alex Salmond, the new Scottish First Minister, deliver the keynote speech at the SNP conference in Aviemore. I was hugely impressed, just as I have been impressed with the performance of the SNP since they took power in May.

And now David Cameron is playing into the hands of the separatists with his populist bandwagon to deny Scottish MPs a vote on English matters at Westminster. A cynical opportunistic ploy.

For the first time, I now think that full Scottish independence is likely within a decade. And I wouldn't be unhappy to see that take place.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Getting Older

I get out of bed more slowly than I used to because of my sore back. My left knee hurts every time I play tennis. My shoulder hurts every time I play golf. I've just had to get a stronger paid of glasses. My teeth are starting to crumble. In the evenings I sit and watch TV because I have no energy to do anything else. Jobs around the house remain undone.

I guess it is called old age.

On Friday we were invited to a function in Piccadilly by the organisers of Chateau Mystique, an upmarket weekend break for affluent gay men. I was the oldest person there.

Last week in Malaga I watched groups of people in bars and restaurants having a good time and regretted the fact that my Spanish was not good enough to start a conversation with any of them. But in reality, even if my Spanish was fluent, they would not have wanted me to speak to them because I am 30 years older than most of them.

More signs of old age.

Then last night, I was invited to a quiz night in a church in Potters Bar. Not only did our team win, but looking around I realised that almost everyone there was older than I am. Yes, older.

Thank God, literally, for the Church of England. The only place these days where I can still feel young!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

malaga beach

I have never seen the beaches here in quite such a state. Apparently it is all due to storms a week or so ago. There are stones, bits of wood and huge amounts of bamboo canes strewn all over the beach, especially just above the high water mark. A lot of work will be needed to get the beaches back to their previous state.

Today was sunnier and I went out to Guadalmar and to the naturist beach there. It was quiet but I enjoy the freedom of that beach and spent about three hours in the sun.

This evening I will find a bar, I hope which will be showing the rugby world cup final, probably an Irish bar. So a Scotsman will be supporting England in an Irish bar in Spain. I am sure they will lose, but they have done extremely well. Now we need Scotland to qualify for Euro 2009 by beating Italy in their final match. It´s a big ask I know.

I enjoy my visits to malaga.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Back in Malaga

Currently I am relaxing in Malaga. On my own unfortunately as Andrew couldnt make it this time. Yesterday I had a short swim in the sea but today the waves were really high, so I didnt bother. Rushing back to the flat now as I have some lamb stew on the boil.

Visiting Scotland

This weekend I went up to visit my parents in Scotland. On Saturday I played 13 holes of golf with my father at Keith, then took my parents in the car to Inverness, up the Bealy road, across to Drumnadrochit, stopped at Urquhart Castle and then returned to Inverness. We had an excellent meal at what was the Kingsmills Hotel, now the Marriott Inverness, before we stopped at Dalcross Airport for me to catch the flight south. My father then drove back to Keith. He did really well to cram that all into one day at the age of 91.

The weather in Scotland was amazing for October, warm and sunny with not a breath of wind. It was a short visit but very enjoyable.

Thursday, 4 October 2007


Today I sent an email to my friend Yura in Tomsk in Siberia trying to explain to him the battle of Culloden. This was the last battle on British soil, in 1746. As a kid in Inverness I often used to cycle to the battlesite at Culloden.

Wikipedia says the following -

The Battle of Culloden (April 16, 1746) was the final clash between the French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverian British Government in the 1745 Jacobite Rising. It was the last battle to be fought on mainland Britain. Culloden brought the Jacobite cause—to restore the House of Stuart to the throne of the Kingdom of Great Britain—to a decisive defeat.
The Jacobites—most of them Highland Scots—supported the claim of James Francis Edward Stuart (aka "The Old Pretender") to the throne; the government army, under the Duke of Cumberland, younger son of the Hanoverian sovereign, King George II, supported his father's cause.
The aftermath of the battle was brutal and earned the victorious general the name "Butcher" Cumberland. Charles Edward Stuart eventually left Britain and went to Rome, never to attempt to take the throne again. Civil penalties were also severe. New laws attacked the Highlanders' clan system, and even highland dress was outlawed.

Then I was browsing YouTube and I searched for The Skye Boat Song. This was written about Bonnie Price Charlie's escape after Culloden to the Isle of Skye, helped by Flora MacDonald. From Skye he set sail for Rome and ended his days in France. This version is sung by the Corries, the best of Scotland's folk duos. Ronnie is sadly no longer with us. But anyway here is the Skye Boat Song.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The golf is getting better

Ever since The Shire opened in July, I have struggled with it. There is so much water, loads of bunkers and some fiendish rough. The picture is of the short par 3. Off my 17 handicap it has proved to be really difficult and I have lost many golf balls.

But in the last 2 rounds I have started to improve. As a discipline I have tried to keep a score each time I play, even if I start with an 8. Well last Saturday I managed to go round in 88 and this week I had a 91. That's 71 and 74 net which I am quite pleased about. I have the day off tomorrow and am playing at 8 am, so I hope that the good form stays with me.