Category Archives: Highland Life

Random maunderings from life off the beaten track.

Read. The. Memo.

So I did my democratic duty today and rocked up to the “Bollocks to Boris” demo in Glasgow’s George Square. There was a fairly decent turnout, with a diverse crowd pretty much filling the square, music at the east end and the speakers to the west. Lots of EU and Scottish flags at the musical end, whilst the speakers’ end was dominated by what I can only describe as the “Rent-a-Banner” contingent: The Communist and Socialist Workers’ Parties (bless their pointed little heads), assorted 1930s-style union showings and, in the midst, some white-bearded bloke mumbling away into a microphone. Now, I couldn’t actually hear what Corbyn was saying, but the cohort around was definitely pitching the same tired old mantras that we’re all familiar with, from any decade: Destroy the Tories; Resist Racism; Nationalise Everything; Soak The Rich (or whoever they consider “The Rich” to be at any given moment), not one of which is remotely germane to – and which in fact get in the way of – the issue facing us here and now. Didn’t they get the bloody memo?

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How hard can it be…

…to buy a car? I may have mentioned this before, but I hate buying cars. Or rather, I love the process, spending way too long playing with online configurators and researching deals, to the point where I feel sufficiently equipped for the really negative part of the process: dealing with car sales people, a sub-species whose means of sustenance I have never quite managed to understand as, like the Chameleon of antiquity, they appear to exist on air alone. They certainly don’t do so by selling cars.

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Brexit Local

Health of Government Warning: this is an intensely political post. But it is not a party political post. And, yes, it’s about Brexit, two years after the referendum. Mostly though, it’s about the integrity and principles of politicians, and of our local MP in particular.

Still here? I commend you…

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Evening on the Loch

A solitary canoeist was enjoying himself this evening, powering his way up Loch Voil into a golden sunset.  He rounded a headland, to see a large bloke lying prone on the shore, pointing a camera and long lens across the loch. At the other end of the scene, a Black-Throated Diver is floating serenely on the water.

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The Darker Side of Rewilding

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of rewilding: of restoring impoverished habitats and reintroducing species that we’ve intentionally or carelessly wiped out over the millennia. Re-establishing diverse, self-maintaining and resilient ecosystems can only help us weather the storms of anthropogenic climate change as well as reduce our species’ footprint on the planet. So I’m generally pro-Beaver, pro-Lynx, pro-raptor and, lest we forget, pro-random-small-but-useful arthropods. I’ve also previously noted that the re-introduction of wolves and bears would help simultaneously solve multiple local environmental and social issues, which itself is a metric for a successful re-introduction.

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The Whatness of Where

This is for the couriers, media (including the BBC) and assorted others who have no idea what this part of the world is called or where, specifically, Balquhidder is. Although it’s entirely true that they do have no idea, they’re not helped when they do try to find out, thanks to multiple and mutually contradictory databases. So we don’t get so much lost as regularly misplaced. Mis-spelling we take for granted.

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The Bookshelf Constant

It is an invariant law of the universe that books expand to fill the space allocated to them, plus ten percent. I call this The Bookshelf Constant. You can’t outwit this any more than you can gravity and it is entirely independent of how many books and bookshelves you buy.

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Tweedageddon

The Royal Highland Show is the third largest ticketed event in Scotland, after the Edinburgh Festivals and T in the Park. It has been an annual event for nearly two hundred years and now exists as a four-day celebration of the cultural collision between acres of tweed, forests of wellington boots and great steaming piles of manure, all worn or produced by attendees from a wide range of species. It is, definitively and definingly, Country.

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The Great Frozen Pollock Scam

A parable for our times.

I have been rumbled: as of yesterday, the Great Waitrose Frozen Pollock Scam is, officially, over.

It all started out – as such things often do – with the opportunity to get something for nothing, or at least for very little.

Back in the day, life was simple: in our rural economy, the cats would occasionally get a treat, a pack of frozen pollock fillets from Waitrose, at £2.99 a pack. And, whilst that remained a luxury, all was well.

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Spice Miscalculation

It’s the Fourth of July so, to celebrate our independence from those turbulent colonials, I’m making that staple of Imperial India – a Kedgeree – for supper this evening.

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