Scottish Parliamentary Elections

This year we’re going to be holding Scottish Parliamentary Elections on 6th May – there have been two local elections since we moved up from London 18 months ago, but this is our first ‘big’ election since living in Scotland again.

We’ve already had our voting cards arrive in the post, and a useful Government leaflet explaining the whole Scottish Parliamentary election process, but so far only one candidate flyer has dropped through out letterbox. Hopefully we’ll be getting some more through soon or we’ll have absolutely no idea who’s actually going to be running in the election, and so who to vote for!

There’s been a right stooshie lately – no, probably more of a stramash – relating to the way the Scottish Government have (mis)handled a lengthy investigation into past allegations of inappropriate behaviour by the previous Scottish National Party First Minister, leading last week to a failed Parliamentary vote of no confidence in the current Scottish National Party First Minister.

Hmmm… Not exactly setting a good example of a strong and stable leadership, having such serious squabbles at such a high level of Government just a few weeks before an election – recently it’s been far more of an ongoing soap opera saga within the highest echelons of the Scottish Parliament than pedestrian politicians on the ground doing their usual pre-election propaganda stuff.

I suppose we’ll just have to see how it all plays out in the ballot box locally and nationally in about six weeks’ time… 🙂

PS A stooshie is a row or a fracas, whereas a stramash causes more of a commotion and uproar!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Run

Caledonian Canal: Clachnaharry Sea Lock

One of my favourite walks close to home in Inverness is to tramp along to the very end of the Caledonian Canal where it finally meets the sea at Clachnaharry Sea Lock. I’m a creature of habit so walk here a lot, sometimes with my camera and sometimes just my phone, and tend to take very similar photographs every time I go. I’d really struggle to choose a favourite image out of all I’ve ever taken because I genuinely love them all in different ways. The scenery remains pretty much the same every time, but the weather changes along with the seasons and the tides. This morning it was dry and cloudy with intermittent sunny spells but OMG it was really windy – my hair was whipping about in all directions and was in knots when I got home! 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Starts with ‘Cal’

Photo A Week Challenge: All About the Scenery

Winter Walk on a Monday

It’s been five weeks and three days since I last went for a walk along the canal, but today the weather was so lovely (well, for the middle of winter, anyway) I decided to give it a go, so wrapped up warm and off I went, taking my time, and my camera of course.

Inevitably I was out far too long and walked far too far for my first ‘proper’ post-Covid convalescent walk, but I felt the need to really get my lungs working properly again and however exhausted I may feel now I’m home again, it was well worth the effort.

Blue water, blue sky, rosy cheeks and a huge sense of satisfaction! Smiles all round for me today 🙂

Weekly Smile

Six Nations Rugby

We sat and watched the first two matches of the 2021 Six Nations Rugby on TV today. There were no spectators present due to Covid restrictions but ambient atmospheric sound was played which mimicked the noise of a crowd, and it worked surprisingly well.

The first match was France against Italy played in Rome, and France won as expected but by a hugely ridiculous number of points – 50-10 – so the outcome was easily predictable early on. The second game played later was Scotland against England at Twickenham (England’s home ground) where minimal points were scored overall, but oh, what a surprising match that turned out to be!

This particular clash of UK nations was an important match as it marked 150 years since Scotland first played England at rugby for the historic Calcutta Cup – and just for the record Scotland last won against England at Twickenham in 1983, so one way or another there was a lot of national pride riding on the outcome for both sides.

And amazingly for us, Scotland ran rings around England for once and won the match 11-6, although the low points score belies the enjoyment of the game. I’m not usually one for flags and national pride and all that patriotic stuff but I must admit I love singing the national anthem at the beginning of the game, and it does feel good to have a really good reason to feel proud of your country, even if it is just because of a sporting competition.

So I don’t actually own a Scottish flag to wave, but if I did have one, I’d have waved it tonight because for once, we did well in something! Woo-hoo! Roll on Ireland against Wales tomorrow… 🙂

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Flag

Winter Walk

While the world is still mired deep in the pandemic, while so may of us remain socially shut in and economically shut down, the familiar seasonal colours of nature continue to inspire, to bring a little normality to such an oddly altered reality. Life goes on, albeit differently, firmly grounded in the continuity of the lovely landscape and all the joy it brings… My first Weekly Smile of the New Year, and here’s to many more… 🙂

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Inverness – the view across the Beauly Firth, Ben Wyvis, the Black Isle, and boats moored in Muirtown Basin taken this afternoon. It was chilly and grey, but at least it was dry and we were wrapped up warm, so we really enjoyed our brisk and bracing New Year’s Day walk 🙂

Boxing Day Sales

I should have been out at work from 10am today, facing the flurry that is the Boxing Day Sales in the department store where I work. Not that there’s often much selling going on, more a mass returning all of the unwanted gifts that other people have been busily buying for them all month. But instead of being rushed off my feet at work as expected today I’m sitting here on the sofa alone as new Scottish Government Covid restrictions have closed all non-essential retail businesses from one minute past midnight last night for the next three weeks at least. My husband is still out at work, a key-worker in a supermarket, but I’m kicking my heels at home.

And to be honest this morning all I feel is overwhelmingly relieved that I’m not actually out there today. I’m emotionally exhausted, it’s been an awful month with all of us working loads of extra hours in a business currently in liquidation with no fixed date for closing, made even worse by the last-minute panic of pre-lockdown purchases mixed with the usual vociferus vultures thinking we were shutting up shop for good on Christmas Eve, complaining loudly and none too politely that our pre-Christmas sale prices weren’t reflecting the last-chance-to-buy rock-bottom levels they were looking for.

So I have three weeks of staying at home quietly to look forward to and then… what? Well to be honest we’re not sure. Will the store open again to clear the last of the liquidation stock, or will the administrators give up the ghost and call it quits? Will there be a last minute reprieve in the form of a new buyer, or will the hundreds of redundacies go ahead in the new year as previously planned? The future for us employees doesn’t look good, but it is what it is. We are where we are across the globe, not just in retail but in hospitality, in travel, in countless other business sectors.

It’s wonderful news that we now have a Covid vaccination programme rolling out – well, several viable vaccines in fact – and hopefully internationally we will all soon have the herd immunity protection we need to stop this deadly virus. But logistically it will inevitably take time and effort to innoculate entire populations of nations – long months not short weeks – and in the meantime businesses are going to the wall the world over. People continue to lose their livelihoods, other people continue to lose their lives. We will get there eventually, but not without cost.

So on this uncertain, sale-free, Boxing Day with a difference I’m sending love and peace to everyone across the world from the cosy comfort of my sofa, with the hope for a more positive 2021 for all of humanity ❤

Stream of Consciousness: Box

Postcards from the Heart

When kindness is shared, it grows ❤

We picked up a pack of 10 of these lovely postcards in our local Lidl supermarket and sent them out to various Scottish friends (those we inevitably haven’t seen for a while due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions across the country) for St Andrew’s Day on 30th November 🙂

One Liner Wednesday

Sunday Stroll: Along the Canal

It’s been a while since I’ve been for a Sunday stroll along the Caledonian canal from Muirtown Locks to Clachnaharry Sea Lock, and although the rain threatened a few times I had no more than a few spots here and there to contend with. But oh, it was bitterly cold today, especially with the bracing sea breeze that’s never far away.

Whenever the sun came out (decidedly intermittently) I snapped whatever I could landscape-wise, and whenever the dark rain clouds dampened the light I concentrated on close-ups of whatever I could find around me. I was out for an hour or so and came home with frozen fingers, pink cheeks, windswept hair, and a big happy smile 🙂

Weekly Smile