Archive for July, 2008

The loss of normal Newsnight last night, and the complete absence of anything relevant to Scotland in the entire The World at One program on Radio 4 yesterday lunchtime has got me thinking about the news in Scotland.

The Times newspaper in Scotland has dedicated coverage to Scotland, with pages that the rest of the UK simply don’t see.    Yet this regional coverage is not available on their website, while the UK stuff is.    And of course, there will be other stories which Scotland does not get because there has to be room for the Scottish pages.

It has all become a bit messy.    I like a UK, and indeed a worldwide perspective on things, yet like to know what is happening in Scotland too.     I would like to think that those living outside Scotland would be intested in what is going on in Scotland.     Perhaps there is a bit of ‘having ones cake and eating it’ about this, but it needs sorting out, and I am not sure whether a ‘Scottish 6’ (campaign for a Scottish 6 o’clock news) will improve things.    Probably not – we already have Reporting Scotland on the BBC which does OK, and the early evening mix of national news at 6 and regional to follow works as it is.

I like Newsnight, and I tolerate Newsnight Scotland – tolerate, because the program is too rushed, the technical presentation is typical BBC Scotland (not as good as it should be) and the presenters don’t exactly set the heather alight.    I also resent being deprived of the last Newsnight story every night.

 The BBC were taken to task recently for not covering important regional stories in the National News.    I agree with this, and the organisation will have to get smarter about how it handles stories from around the UK.

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I have just turned on the TV tonight hoping to see Newsnight, but instead there is a program interviewing the main candidates for the Glasgow East by-election.    They have spent all the normal Newsnight time doing this, and now are in over-run time interviewing the minority candidates ‘in the interest of fairness’.    I can’t say I have been very impressed by any of the candidates, major or minor, and for my money the Lib Dem performed best on this program.   

Newsnight Scotland has been featuring the Glasgow East by-election nightly for the past while.   I know that this is an interesting by-election, but this coverage is overkill.

I want BBC2 Newsnight back please.   There is a lot going on in the world beyond Glasgow East.   And it is now midnight and I can’t even see tonight’s Newsnight on BBC i-player yet, which makes it missable on the day of transmission, which kind of misses the point after all.

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Wild Oat Time

It is wild oat time again, and the wolf spiders are back.

I reckon that walking over 9 acres taking in a 25 yard swathe at a time equals one mile.   So two of us each walked almost 6 miles each today just going up and down the fields through the crops.     Pleasant way of keeping fit, especially when the sun shines.

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Wing Clipping Time

Our 13 hens are enclosed in a paddock and have lots of space, shade, sun and a nice henhouse to come and go from as they please, although they are shut up at night from the fox.

Over the last few weeks, we have had about four hens desperate to escape, and managing to fly quite a height onto the gate to get out.    Once out, we are not sure if these hens are laying away or not, as they have plenty of places they can go and hide out, such as under hedges, in a small wood or anywhere in the farm buildings.   

So time to clip the wings.    Last time we did this, the hens went into a serious sulk and were not impressed.    But anyway, we got at them today, and clipped back the feathers of one wing on each bird.    The theory is that this unbalances them enough to make flying difficult.

We shall see.   Once a hen is used to the exciting world outside the paddock, she will be pretty determined to escape at any cost.

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I don’t know what’s going on with the weather and all that, but our local Chanterelles have made a ridiculously early appearance.    Normally these sprout up in September.   

We had a little expedition this afternoon to harvest a few to put into a risotto, but the July weather has dried them out – they were pretty small anyway.    Will we get more in a month or two?   I hope so – they are delicious.

And I found a few wild mushrooms the other morning while walking my dogs.

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Elton John – Perth

The Elton John concert was the first really big stadium concert Perth has held.    16,000 people poured into the football stadium which normally takes 10,000 in the stands.     It was a huge operation with various car parks in neighbouring businesses and farmers’ fields being pressed into service, and we were all told to get there early.    The weather looked decidedly mixed as we left home.

But what a concert this was.   The rain held off, and we listened to two good support bands, and had fun doing some Mexican waves round the stadium.     Then Elton John’s band came on and launched into Funeral for a Friend, with the man himself joining them performing  song after song after song for an incredible two and a half hours.    

It was simply without fault – crystal clear sound, amazing light show, absolutely first-rate band, including long time members Davey Johnstone, from Edinburgh, on guitar and Nigel Olsson on drums.     But Elton John himself was on top form – his voice still so good after all these years – belting out the hits we all grew up with – right in front of us.     The big finish was cranked up with Pinball Wizard and then slowed down with Your Song.      We were all singing.    What a night.    What a complete legend.

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