General

Dancing

Everyone in this country is familiar with Ceilidh dancing. What makes Ceilidh dancing good is that you can learn a dance in 5 minutes. None of the moves are very subtle and everything is coreographed so you get told where to step and when. By contrast Salsa dancing is freeform which means you have to […]

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Pointy Things in Bags

When I was in Australia I found two screwdrivers in my hand luggage that I had completely failed to remember were in there when I packaged and carefully took my swiss army card out of my wallet and swiss army knife out of my bag. Then on the way back at Heathrow the man discovered […]

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Sydney and Fan Mail

Sydney is nice. It’s nice how people drive on the correct side of the road even if they have silly power socket designs. The opera house is nice too as is the bridge in the middle of the city. And it’s fun seeing sky scrapers for the first time I can remember in my life. […]

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Australia

Today I flew for 24 hours from Edinburgh down the west coast of Britain (no idea why but that’s what the wee TV screen showed) to London. At Heathrow I had to run across the terminal to get a bus to terminal 4 then run to the gate where they said “take a seat please […]

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Surf

Gnarly surf at St Andrews the other day as we did a risk assesment on these boogy boards and the open canoe-kayaks on top of the trailer. It confirmed my belief that board surfing is far too much like hard work to achieve very little while canoe surfing is the best fun you can have […]

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Lectures

Recently I’ve gone to some lectures. Two were part of the excellent Edinburgh Lectures series. High quality free public lectures are a sign of a first rate cultural and intellectual environment so I consider it my duty to go to them. The first was from Kim Winser who runs Pringle the borders knitwear company (Pringle […]

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Crumpets on Arthurs Seat

Me and some Friends were eating toasted crumpets and drinking tea at the top of Arthurs Seat last week when up popped this young lad or lass (the helmet made it hard to know which) carrying a bike who then cycled all the way down the steepest face. That’s extreame cycling. by

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The Scottish Enlightenment – Africa & Conclusion

The last part of my notes from The Scottish Enlightenment Africa was the final continent to be explored and colonised by Europeans. Malaria was the main reason why it was impossible to discover its hidden depths. Journeys up the Congo usually ended in death for most of the crew. David Livingstone was a mill worker […]

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The Scottish Enlightenment – the new world

The second last part of my notes from The Scottish Enlightenment Scots had been among the first to colonise Canada through Nova Scotia. Orcadians particularly were successful in the fur trade, they were able to suffer the cold of Canada. Alexander MacKenzie became the first person to cross North America in 1789 by following what […]

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The Scottish Enlightenment – Colonies (part 6)

Part six of my notes from The Scottish Enlightenment Scots played a huge part in the shaping of the British Empire. The first part of the history of the British empire died when the trade monopoly over the Atlantic was stopped by the American revolution. The second was shaped by the ideas of Charles Pasley […]

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The Scottish Enlightenment – Walter Scott and the engineers (part 5)

Part five of my notes from The Scottish Enlightenment. In the lowlands a revival of highland culture took place. Rabbie Burns produced his great poems and the works of a long lost Gaelic poet called Ossian were translated by McPherson into English. The Ossian poems included epic works of beauty and courage including one of […]

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Scottish Enlightenment – The Jacobite Rising

Part three of my notes from The Scottish Enlightenment Charles lived in Rome but left in 1744 for France to try and gain political support, including an army and supplies to try and retake the Scots and English crowns for the Jacobites. France decided instead to fight the British on the continent by attacking Germany […]

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scottish enlightenment – founders and culture

Part two of my notes from The Scottish Enlightenment The founding fathers of the Scottish Enlightenment were Frances Hutcheson and Henry Home (Lord Kames was his judicial title). Frances Hutcheson managed to become the chair of moral philosphy at Glasgow university to much opposition from the Kirk which still had a lot of power over […]

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The Scottish Enlightenment (part 1)

Scotland genuinly has a history to be proud of. From a backwards nation it became a country which changed the world in many areas. First with free education and a legal system based on reason not precedent (as in England) it created thinkers who changed the world forever. The Scottish Enlightenment by Arthur Herman is […]

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Hitchhikers Theme Tune

Eilidh became an evil pirate last week when she copied some music being shared by flurble. Among them an interesting find: Journey of The Sorcerer by the Eagles which is the theme tunes to the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy radio series. Looking forward to the fourth radio series, not looking forward to the […]

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Public Art at St John’s at the West End

I like this bit of public art from St John’s at the West End of Princes Street. Digging at Identity Cards, the problem of Palestine (not many visitors to Bethlehem this year I hear) and a wee bit of Christianity for good measure. by

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Cabogganing at Hillend

Yesterday we reinvented the legendary extream sport of cabogganing (kabogganing?). A cross between canoeing and tabogganing we squashed 4 people and a canoe into a car and took a joyride up to hillend ski centre in the dead of night to make best use of the empty slopes. It works very well and makes for […]

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Skyride at Ratho Adventure Centre

For my birthday my family went to the Ratho Adventure Centre a very impressive and large climbing centre built on two sides of a quarry. Sadly they don’t actually let you in to do any climbing unless you can pass a test, possibly why they’re going bust. This skyride assault course is fun though. by

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