As we reach the centenary of the end of the First World War and reflect upon the sacrifice of all the young men who fell it is clear that, statistically, Scotland had a higher percentage of soldier deaths than elsewhere in the union. Often, the kilts and bagpipes that marked their heritage also marked their bravery as they led the troops into battle. Everyone will have their own stories or their own local folklore but the stories I probably find the hardest to understand are those when multiple members of the same family were lost and Caithness has plenty of these to remember. I sawRead More →

Due to work commitments, I’m missing another Annual Conference and keeping my fingers crossed that the dates for the next one fit better for me. As always, the photos and the tales from those attending are fantastic but you know that they only scratch the surface of the enthusiasm and buzz of the delegates. There are many resolutions that I will follow with interest and am gutted that I will miss Fringe events that look interesting and informative to my job in a primary school Nurture Room. I was also interested to see several information and training events published in the handbook that will alsoRead More →

All day today (Tuesday 18 September) there have been postings on social media about it being the four year anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum. I heard no mention of it on the mainstream media. To be fair, I didn’t have the radio on as much as normal. I did catch most of the lunchtime and teatime TV news though. What were they hiding? Half the programme on Brexit. Nothing new, just spouting the same old scare stories. A comment from one of my facebook friends caught my attention this afternoon. After commenting that it was four years he went on to say ‘just thinkRead More →

The day had started dark and wet. Heavy rain was showing no sign of easing and, for a split second, the thought of not going crossed my mind. The girls were grumping and a social gathering the night before had been a bit too enjoyable meaning we were running behind schedule but I then thought of the buses that I knew were coming up the A9 and decided that they had no choice about attending in the rain so why should I have it any easier. Thankfully by mid morning it had eased and Inverness was reporting brilliant sunshine once again. The bus was surprisinglyRead More →

Last week I visited the amazing recreation of a World War 1 battlefield at Leckmelm near Ullapool. Built as part of a transition project for the Primary 7 pupils moving onto secondary education, the community assisted the local History teacher to create this very time limited display. Situated next to Loch Broom, British and German trenches at Arras had been authentically replicated and rows of crosses bearing the names of the men of Lochbroom who never returned home stood under the shadow of the towering mountains. Although just a tiny number of the 140000 Scottish soldiers who lost their lives in the war to endRead More →

Four years ago, our summer holiday comprised of a week camping at Loch Lomond and travelling into Glasgow to attend events at the Commonwealth Games. There was a fantastic atmosphere everywhere and it was a privilege to see the athletes compete. That the subsequent games have just finished in Australia’s Gold Coast is proof that time really does seem to pass quicker the older you get! Scotland’s medal haul totalled 44 consisting of 9 Gold, 13 Silver and 22 Bronze – a remarkable achievement. From Duncan Scott’s outstanding collection of 6 medals to the heartbreaking end of Callum Hawkin’s marathon, there were many memorable momentsRead More →

I’ve not long returned from a few days in Athens with my daughter where we enjoyed some glorious weather compared to our usual Scottish temperatures yet started the final day in a hailstorm as the Beast from the East struck even there! Torrential rain and a thunderstorm then followed; the Parthenon illuminated by lightning was an eerie sight and you could almost imagine the fury of the Greek gods as the Acropolis seemed to be a magnet for the phenomenon. Something I couldn’t fail to notice was armed police whether it be the tourism police or traffic officers to the van loads of riot policeRead More →

In the week that it was reported that a customer received an email response from Marks and Spencer to a complaint about Scotch Whisky being branded as British, advising her that Scotland was now part of England, more and more instances surface of the unconscious view held by many south of the border that Scotland exists only as a dependency to its larger neighbour. After writing to voice her displeasure that Whisky produced in Scotland and therefore protected in law as being Scotch, was not afforded Scotland as its country of origin but was instead labelled as being British; the matter was further compounded byRead More →

In September 2013 I travelled to Barcelona for a long weekend. Staying in the Hotel Continental on Las Ramblas, the very place that Orwell penned Homage to Catalonia, I hardly slept instead sitting on the balcony for most of the night watching everything that went on below me. The speed at which the street traders switched from selling sunglasses to umbrellas was fascinating as was where they stashed their wares and the “International Street Dancers” quickly drew large crowds yet sidled away unnoticed when the first look out spotted a policeman. The weekend before Independence Day, Placa de Catalunya had stalls similar to our ownRead More →

My two elder children received their first mobile phones last week in preparation for starting high school and although a means to an end for my son, it’s been hard to separate my daughter from hers whilst the novelty is fresh; I apologise to the few family members whose numbers she has for the bombardment of text messages they have been receiving! As well as the expected texting, phoning and selfies that have ensued, I have also been surprised by the amount of interest that she has been taking in the news when on the internet and I’ve frequently had breaking news headlines relayed toRead More →