SOPPY SUNDAY

 

n orang1
It’s my Sunday job to welcome you…

n blaze from skye
Blaze on Skye.

n portree
Portree.

n pufferfish-inflated-closeup.jpg.adapt_.945.1-768x432
Puffer Fish.

n dunquin ireland
Dunquin.

nwild
Wildflowers.

ndonegal rain
Twin rainbows in Donegal.

N rambo
Rambo the donkey.

n bridge
The Bridge.

n foxes
This is so we don’t get lost…

n creag nan clag
Creag nan Clad.

n rainbow octopus
Rainbow Octopus.

n hedge
I’m not as prickly as you might think… 

n gaspart 3
Any danger of dinner for a hungry fox?

n king cobra
His Majesty King Cobra.

 

n li river
Li River mist.

n equator
The Equator in …erm the country named after it.

n shetland pony on n Uist
Shetland Pony in Uist.

n squ
I’ll find a way to this dinner. This will NOT beat me.

n strathisla distilery
Strathisla Distillery.

n orang
OK. Is that you off then? Close the door after ya, See y’all next week.

 

SO HOW ARE WE DOING?

 

Just to cheer you up…

££
Well, unemployment is down. ..

£
…and growth is up…

£££
…and we seem to be doing better with wages…

££££
And foreign direct investment is ahead of the other two Celtic countries and all the regions of England with the exception of the London powerhouse.

 

It’s not all peaches and cream, and we’re not claiming all the credit for the Scottish parliament and government (before you start, Niko!).

Economic levers are massively (or bigly as Trump would say) in the hands of London so unemployment, for example, may be affected by decisions taken in London as well as Edinburgh. But there has also been good news for NHS Scotland with our waiting times lower than the other three countries and our university students are the most likely to be employed.

The Ernst and Young survey is largely positive but it warns that once the uncertainty surrounding Brexit takes hold, we could be in for a bumpy ride. As I said, decisions taken in London can affect our economic outlook.

BREAKING: performance now moved ahead of Improvement Plan target. PPM 93.7% (4% ahead of Eng/Wales) well done to railway workers!

And yes, even the trains are more likely to be on time here than anywhere else.

HOW’S BREXIT GOING AGAIN?

 

ab
Ironic when we’re the ones that DIDN’T vote for this. Made worse by the fact that we’ll be paying for HS2 which is also going to take business from Scotland.

a sun.
NO, you Neanderthals. In Europe that means Victory.

abre
That’s quite inspired for that lot.

achorine
But all is not lost. A trade deal with Mr Trump awaits within days of us leaving the EU

agreece
So we are striking ahead, taking back control and… erm… Oh, well.

aknife
Oh well, I suppose there are others just as bad out there. Jacob?

bre
Brexit. Good for the taxi business.

amay1
Hmmm, yeah, well, moving on…

atess
Enigmatic? 

may
I can’t wait to make all these decisions… Oh wait, it won’t be us, it will be Westminster, and the decisions will be whether or not we should eat the chlorinated chicken or give it to the dog.

cars
I thought all the money we saved was going to the NHS, not the foreign car makers.

Liam Fox
Don’t ya just love all this freedom we are going to have?

 

A TRIP ON THE TAY

IMG_20170721_150251734

Friday last we went on a little trip down the Tay hoping to see some dolphins.

We didn’t, although we did manage to see a seal and loads of birds… and of course, we saw Dundee and Broughty Ferry from angles we’d never see them before. The guys who were in charge of the ship were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable about what we were seeing and it was a really interesting hour (more or less).

IMG_20170721_144520313

We learned that the organisation that runs these trips is a charity and the commercial trips (it was a snip at £10 for an hour) help to pay for free trips for sick kids and their friends. They also work with ex-offenders, teaching nautical skills, and with people recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. Pretty worthwhile, we thought.

IMG_20170721_144727309

It was a grey day, and so the photographs are even less stunning than my normal poor camera work, but, although I rarely advertise anything here, it was such a fun experience that I thought I’d let you know about it. (For those of you who aren’t from Scotland, we do sometimes have bright sunny, warm days! It’s not always like this.)

IMG_20170721_144617817

I know that there are quite a few readers in the Angus/Dundee/North Fife area, and if any of you fancy an hour’s excursion and the possibility of some wildlife close up whilst knowing that your fare will be helping folks, it’s well worth getting in touch with these guys and booking a trip. (If you do, remember that once you get out of the harbour and into the river, you lose a few degrees in temperature, so take a coat, and be prepared to get a bit wet. It can be a little rough out there.)

IMG_20170721_145252089

You can contact the guys through this website, or by phoning 01382 542516. (And yes, you ever get to steer the boat, although Munguin was in the first class cabin and declined to do so!)

IMG_20170721_150656606

And especially for Danny, I’ve included a picture of Broughty Ferry Castle (coz he likes castles) which is situated right where you embark.

IMG_20170721_150300832

Apologies again for the quality of the pictures.

SOPPY SUNDAY

 

N O1
Morning all. Happy Sunday.

N Ocean sunfish
Ocean Sunfish.

a botswana lion
Meeow.

n bison
Bison for Danny.

n county mayo
County Mayo, Ireland.

n Edinburgh 20ws
Edinburgh in the 1920s

n flower urchin
Flower Urchin.

n cephalopods2
Cephalopod for Douglas.

n polar
Polar Bear.

n portuguese mow
Portuguese Man of War.

n deer glencoe
Deer in Glencoe.

n finland midnight
Midnight in Finland.

n Gaspard the friendly fox
Gaspard the London fox and…

n gaspart 2
…the Friend of actor and newsreader Zeb Soanes.

n giant pacific octopus
Giant Pacific Octopus.

n glengarrif
Glengarriff, Ireland.

n goatyMcGoatface
Mrs May’s done WHAT?

n happy
Please don’t let the next one be Liam Fox…

N puglia
Puglia.

N O2
I’m not being rude. I thought you were the doctor. I’m saying AHHHHHH.

 

From the office of the prime minister of the UNITED kingdom of England and its lesser possessions and territories

eaaaaa

Dear Nikolas,

We were very tolerant towards your lesser self in the early stages of our taking over the top job at the centre of the Empire at No 10 Downing Street, London ENGLAND. We think we may even have done you the honour of visiting you in your bedsit at Bute Cottage in Aberburgh, although, of course, we do not recall.

However, following our tremendous and spectacular General Election victory,  and now that we have grown in stature in our position as triumphant leader of OUR United Kingdom and become close to world statesmen such as Mr Netenyahu and Mr Erdogan, not to mention HRH Excellency Trump and His Majesty King Salman, we feel that further discussion with a junior minister of a mere district would be inappropriate. Besides which, as I am now busily (and successfully) engaged in a red, white and blue Brexit, which means Brexit (including for your district) so that Britain can take back control of everything from the foreigners who are out to get us British people, I’m simply too busy to be bothered with inferiors.

It has been decided, therefore, that if you have anything that you wish to discuss with your superiors here at Empire Central, in our great capital city of London, you should address those matters with the Rt Hon David Mud… Mund… well, you know who I mean, and of course, if you can find her (she seems to have gone walkabout since Ms Arlene and I struck up a friendship) the Rt Hon and Gallant Lady, Colonel Davidson. Alternatively, you may try to approach the Noble Lord Duncan in his Baronial Castle, although I understand that he doesn’t much like commoners. A curtsey is appropriate.

You will not, any longer, be allowed to address yourself directly to us personally, and we intend to instruct the queen that she is no longer to grant you an audience, but must hold herself always in readiness for any occasion on which we wish to have a photo-opportunity with her, or get her to open our parliament.

Do not let any of that make you feel any less important than you already are.

Rule Britannia. God save the Queen and Theresa May

a££

Her Britannic Empr ,  sorry, Prime Ministerialness

Signed per pro

in her absence.

(Note to Cabinet Secretary: Send same sort of thing to that Welsh blokey, and the people in IOM, Channel Islands, and Gibraltar, Falklands and the rest of my empire. DO NOT ON ANY ACCOUNT SEND TO BELFAST on pain of death.)

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

AAA

A few months ago it was announced that, for the first time in a long time, life expectancy in Scotland had stagnated. Mr Tomkins was quick to imply that blame lay with the Scottish government.

Photo of Adam TomkinsAdam Tomkins Conservative

5. To ask the Deputy First Minister for what reason life expectancy is no longer increasing in Scotland. (S5F-00982)

The Deputy First Minister will know that life expectancy levels in the east end of Glasgow are dramatically lower than those in other, more affluent parts of the city. The Commonwealth games offered an unparalleled opportunity to take specific action to reduce health inequalities and mortality rates in the neighbourhoods that hosted the games, yet it seems that no targets were set to achieve that. The London boroughs that hosted the 2012 Olympics set themselves the explicit target of narrowing the gap between male and female life expectancies in the east end and those in the rest of London. Does the Deputy First Minister agree that Glasgow should follow London’s lead on that? What actions will the Scottish ministers take to address the health inequalities that persist in Glasgow?

 

afrankie
Glasgow

Today, we note that the same observation has been made about life expectancy in England.

 

Rising rates of life expectancy are grinding to a halt in England after more than 100 years of continuous progress, says a leading health expert.

University College London expert Sir Michael Marmot said he was “deeply concerned” by the situation, calling it “historically highly unusual”.

He said it was “entirely possible” austerity was to blame and said the issue needed looking at urgently.

But the government said its policies were not responsible.

The Department of Health said ministers were providing the necessary support and funding to ensure life expectancy “continues to increase”.

 

A!
London

 

Going back to Mr Tomkins’ query, I’m a little bemused as to why he thinks we would have seen an increase in life expectancy so soon after the Olympics or the Commonwealth games. The “healthy” legacy in terms of increase in sporting participation was not designed, in either London or Glasgow, for those who might be in the 70s, 80s and 90s. Rather, it was directed towards the young.

We won’t be able to tell for many a year whether this has worked to lengthen life, the main benefactors of the sporting legacy being likely still to be in their teens and 20s. However, the Scottish professor might like to note that (according to Wikipedia) :

Criticisms and concerns:

Criticism of the London 2012 legacy includes the legacy not meeting its original ambitions with a decrease in 2014/15 in the number of people playing sport for at least half an hour a week of 125,100.[29]

 

England Fans
It would, I suppose, be fair to mention that an interest in sport is not always as much of an advantage as we might at first assume.

 

A report on the legacy of the Commonwealth games (dated 2015) shows an increase in some sporting participation. Does anyone know if that has been maintained? It could well be that Scotland has followed the English legacy, despite the spending of a considerable amount to try to encourage young people into sport. At the end of the day regardless of nationality, no matter how many facilities you provide, if young people prefer video games to actual physical exercise, there is not a lot anyone can do about about it.

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

 

It also seems appropriate to point out that as we helped to pay for the Olympics in London, we should also have been on the receiving end of the legacy from the English games.

I’d like to suggest that in all probability, the reasons for the levelling out of life expectancy   are far more complex than could be covered in this post, but that one of the many contributing factors might be austerity which has been forced upon people from the four nations of the UK by the Conservative government in London.

Whatcha say Mr Tomkins?