And so today the realisation of 6 years of disruption! As the Edinburgh Trams finally rolls into action, the question still remains as to whether this project has been worth the expense, traffic/parking chaos and the general nightmares caused for businesses, residents and visitors to our Capital.
The first tram service set off at 05:00 from the Gyle shopping centre in the west of the city to York Place in the city centre, before heading out to Edinburgh Airport and then back to the Gyle.
In case my readers aren’t fully aware of the back story, the Edinburgh tram route cost £776m and covers 8.7 miles (14km) from the New Town to Edinburgh Airport and in the decade since the first money was allocated to the project, the price has doubled, the network has halved and it has taken twice as long to build as originally planned.
Only time will tell but I can’t help but admire the work of a mystery prankster who decided to re-design the logo and plaster the City with his work.
3 Naval Ships – love this, particularly given the location of my job for the past 6 months!:
1. USS RONALD REAGAN
Seeing it next to the Arizona Memorial really puts it into perspective… ENORMOUS!…
When the Bridge pipes ‘Man the Rail’ there is a lot of rail to man on this monster: shoulder to shoulder, around 4.5 acres. Her displacement is about 100,000 tons with full complement.
2. USS BILL CLINTON
The USS William Jefferson Clinton (CVS1) set sail today from its home port of Vancouver, BC
The ship is the first of its kind in the Navy and is a standing legacy to President Bill Clinton ‘for his foresight in military budget cuts’ and his conduct while holding the office of President.
3. HMSS ALEX SALMOND
Details are a bit vague ….. But don’t you worry ….. He has a plan !!!
Heee Haw, Heee Haw, Heee Hawlways says that !!!!!
So this morning it has been confirmed that Brussels will definitely refuse to let Scotland automatically join the European Union if voters back Alex Salmond’s plans for independence. Officials at the European Commission have revealed Scotland’s EU membership will ‘cease to apply’ if it is no longer part of the UK and the Spanish government has made clear it would ‘veto’ any attempt by Scotland to join since this would likely bolster calls for Catalonian independence.
Since the acceptance of any new member must be unanimous, this is a major blow [and embarrassment] for Mr Salmond, who has publicly claimed that Scotland would automatically continue to be in the Euro bloc.
Surely the last nail in this particular political coffin?
If this story is true then it’s a sad day for anyone with any national pride – and I’m not just talking about Scotland!
A firefighter is claiming that Grampian Fire & Rescue Service (GFRS) chiefs have removed the Saltire from the front grille of two new appliances after just 2 complaints (one internal and the other from a member of the public) which branded the use of the national flag as “offensive”. It is understood the complaints centred around the Saltire’s link to the SNP and fears the flag could be viewed as a sign of support for Scottish independence, but Grampian Fire and Rescue said the move was simply to bring the two appliances into line with the rest of the fleet.
The new engines, which cost just over £200,000 each, were given the Saltire logo in advance of Scotland’s eight fire brigades being merged into one unitary authority next spring and when they were unveiled in August, Grampian’s fleet manager Raymond Cheyne said: “The badging for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is needed because of the new single Scottish service coming into being next April. We wanted to celebrate the new Scottish Service coming into place so chose to use the Saltire. We’ve used high-visibility striping to make it part of the functional design of the appliance.” However, when contacted by the press over the removal of the Saltires, Mr Cheyne stated: “I don’t want to comment.”
And there was me thinking that the Saltire is the national flag for ALL Scots and as such should not cause offence to anyone living in Scotland. And, surely 2 complaints are not a reflection of true public opinion – that can hardly be called “public outrage”! What is the world coming to?
First we had the deep fried Mars Bar, reportedly invented in 1995 in the Haven Chip Bar (now the Carron), in Stonehaven near Aberdeen. Originally a novelty item it has now become synonymous with Scotland’s notoriously unhealthy diet. After an item on the Channel4 programme, the Big Breakfast, chip shops around the country started putting it on their menus. One phone call to a local paper and in the space of just a few days a bit of fun between a chip shop owner and some local children in a Scottish fishing town, the dish was transformed into a global cultural and gastronomic phenomenon. The product is “not authorised or endorsed” by Mars Inc.
But like all phenomenons, there is always someone who wants to take the theme still further and today we read that an ex-pat Brit, Chris Sell from Rugby, Warwickshire, who has a New York chip shop, has come up with this “tasty” treat to satisfy hungry Brits living in the Big Apple who love fish and chips and a traditional fry-up – a 1,200 calorie battered sandwich with a full English breakfast filling!
Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of anything deep fried makes me cringe! On the rare occasions I do find myself having a fish and chip supper I always strip the fish of all the batter before eating but I do know people who love this type of fatty food – each to their own.
However, why ruin a perfectly good English breakfast by wrapping it in batter? This type of heart attack on a plate needs to be consigned to the nearest dustbin – unless you’ve got a hangover of course when I’m sure it will hit the spot nicely! And the next big decision you will need to make? Will it be red or brown sauce with that?!?
They really haven’t thought this whole referendum thing through!
Mr Salmond and his cronies in the SNP continue to tell us that Independence is what the people of Scotland want. But let’s have a look at the population and who actually are “the people of Scotland”.
When the referendum is held in the autumn of 2014, only residents of Scotland will be eligible to vote. As a result, almost 400,000 living north of the border but born in other parts of the UK will get to take part, while 800,000 Scots living in England, Northern Ireland and Wales will not. Given that Scotland has a population of just five million, 800,000 is a huge number.
In protest at being disenfranchised, James Wallace, a 23-year-old Dumfries native turned London resident, has launched a petition demanding that expat Scots in other parts of the UK be allowed to participate in the referendum. Scots ministers say this simply would not be practical. And, indeed, it’s difficult to imagine how an electoral register of everyone who considered themselves a Scot might be drawn up. Who, after all, is Scottish? Those born in Scotland? People with Scottish ancestry? Anyone who is partial to Haggis and the Proclaimers?
For James Mitchell, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, residency is the only logical definition of Scottishness in terms of political representation. If you want a say over Scotland’s constitutional status he believes you should move back there. “It would be absurd to allow anyone who claimed to be Scottish a vote,” Mitchell says.
So Mr Salmond, after reducing the voting age to 16, perhaps you should now try winning the hearts and minds of those of us who live in Scotland but come from different parts of the UK and are eligible to vote if you are to stand any chance of realising your dream – you’re not achieving this at the moment sunshine!
We spend weeks, sometimes months, looking forward to our annual holiday and all too soon it is a distant memory. The suntan starts to peel and/or fade and the harsh realities of everyday life come crashing back almost before the wheels of your returning aircraft have hit the home tarmac!
So what’s the answer? In years gone by I have come straight home and booked the next holiday, thus ensuring that I do have something else to look forward to, away from the uncertain climate that we live in here in the UK. Perhaps this year I will try something different …
How about actually doing something positive and trying to eat more healthily and lose weight? Sounds simple doesn’t it, but the reality is always so much harder!
As the southern half of the UK is bathed in sunshine and enjoying record temperatures, up here in Scotland it is naturally grey and cloudy with little hope of the sun breaking through the storm clouds that are gathering. So when I saw this poster, it made me laugh out loud – just about sums up my mood perfectly!!!
But seriously and more importantly, it is Armistice Day – the day which commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front which took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.
In many parts of the world, people take a two-minute moment of silence at 11:00 a.m. local time as a sign of respect for the roughly 20 million people who died in the war. In the United Kingdom, beginning in 1939, the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest to 11 November in order not to interfere with wartime production should 11 November fall on a weekday. After the end of World War II, most Armistice Day events were moved to the nearest Sunday and began to commemorate both World Wars. The change was made in many Commonwealth countries, as well as the United Kingdom, and the new commemoration was named Remembrance Sunday or Remembrance Day.
The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields”. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.
After initially forbidding the England football team from wearing an embroidered poppy on their jerseys during their match against Spain at Wembley Stadium on 12 November 2011, FIFA eventually agreed that the team could wear the poppy on armbands instead. It is also hoped that the Scotland team are able to wear poppies on black armbands when they tackle Cyprus in their international friendly in Larnaca tonight. Let us hope that common sense prevails!