1. Indonesia, Borneo, East Kalimantan | 2017 08 02 | A FOUR PAWS team and the Indonesian partner organization Jejak Pulang have taken an orphaned orangutan baby from the Indonesian authorities into their care. The orangutan baby named “Gonda” is the first orphan who can move into the new orangutan forest school.
2. Uncle John… is my breakfast ready yet?
3. Bulgarian silk tree.
4. Close up.
5. Way down upon the … nah, not there.
6. Oslo.
7. Cluck cluck, would you look at that cat!
7 Places to See Penguins in the Wild
8. The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Penguins.
9. Dear heavens, what have we come to?
10. What a motley crew wanting access to my field. Go smarten yourselves up first.
11. Fancy a race?
12. What do you think of the garden then? Nicer than Munguins?
13. Just in time for breakfast. It’s last night’s left over grass, but still fresh… help yourself. Oh, no, not that bit… erm that’s where I… ummm!
14. What is generally known here abouts as a Puddock Stail.
15. Welcome to my humble abode!
16. Incase you want to know, he eventually stirred his stumps and got me my breakfast. Now I need to stretch and stuff before I settle down to 40 winks…well, maybe 50 winks actually.
17. La Paz, Bolivia.
18. Could you let Munguin know I’m here for morning coffee. What d’ya mean, where?
19. Do I remind you of Joan Hickson in Miss Marple?
20. Oh, before you go, I don’t suppose I could borrow your comb, could I?

Thanks to Kay, John and Dani. And Marica in advance! (Maybe, after me not putting chocolate in yesterday’s post, we’ll be flat out of luck)

90 thoughts on “SOPPY SUNDAY”

  1. Pic 10 reminds me of the occasion when I climbed that mountain on the Austrian/Liechtenstein border.
    (I will refrain from posting the story I wrote about it.)
    I descended by a different route, and about the 1600-m contour line on the Austrian side I reached a beautiful Alpine meadow, just like in the Sound of Music.
    There was a herd (flock?) of goats there, and every blessed one wore a collar with a bell on it.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. DonDon…..I like the penguins reenacting the Sound of Music scene. Fascinating about the location of the hilltop! A couple of days ago, I noticed a series of uploads on YouTube which were clips from an ABC television documentary about the making of the movie. They indicated that the hilltop location has not been popularized by the Sound of Music tourism business in Austria, and the local farmers charged money for the TV documentary company to go there to film. I wonder if all that sounds right. The livestock that are shown do have bells around their necks……and it says that the location is near the border of Austria. (The hilltop scene starts at about 5:00 into the video clip.)

      Another YouTube upload in case the official ABC upload does not open. (Sometimes American TV is picky about international copyrights.) (Also from 5:00.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “. . . near the border of Austria.” Probably means the border between Germany and Austria,

        Danny, one thing that bothers me is how movies consistently misrepresent the the border between the Third Reich an Switzerland.
        I am thinking specifically about The Sound of Music, The Great Escape, and Hannibal Jones.

        And another thing: nobody ever wonders why the Nazis wanted Admiral von Trapp (Chistopher Plummer) to join their navy.

        In the first World War, he was Austria’s premier U-boat commander.
        Imagine if von Trapp had made a better hash of the Battle of the Atlantic than Dönitz.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. DonDon…..I was thinking about Diane Sawyer’s comment that on the way to the hilltop they crossed into Germany. Actually, I don’t have a mental picture of how Austria, Germany, and Switzerland fit together in that area. It’s been a long time since I saw the movie. It was only recently that I learned about von Trapp’s U-boat career.

          His Wiki article is interesting. I see that they toured the United States after first leaving Austria, but went back to Europe to tour in 1939. They returned to the US from Norway in September, 1939, just as WWII broke out.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. Not sure I’d get used to it every time I rolled over… but hey, maybe they are better tat putting irritations out of their mind.

          I mean probably Gove doesn’t bother them at all… Oh, to be a goat!


          1. There was a friendly cat of no fixed abode that lived wild in the holiday park my mum and dad used to have a caravan in. The cat was so friendly that it regularly took folk wee presents like mice and cute baby rabbits. In an effort to remedy the situation, the 2 guys that lived a few doors along put a collar on it with a jangly wee bell to warn the wildlife.

            Nobody saw it for a while then about 2 weeks later it arrived at a neighbours door emaciated and starving.

            A few days of good food and a warm bed and it strode off into the gorse bushes minus the collar and bell to resume its homicidal, albeit perfectly natural cute baby rabbit exterminating.

            Absolutely nowt to do with goats but the story does have a bell in it and that’s what triggered the memory. The moral of the tale for me, is that well meaning but misguided acts of kindness can come with undesirable implications and dire consequences.🤔 That’s either a thought for today or a load of shite. You decide.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. LOL. It’s a good story.

              A wild cat (or one left to run wild) is a hunter and a hunter needs to use stealth. Bells tend to get in the way of stealth.

              It’s good that the cat was treated well when it turned up hungry, though. I hate to think of an animal going without food because of human interference.

              Fortunately in the case of the goats, the grass doesn’t have great hearing… and even if it did its roots are a bit to firm to enable much vaulting and agility!

              I wish, however, that our neighbours, who have THREE cats in a small flat, would attach bells to their animals which are more than adequately fed but who enjoy, for sport, killing birds and mice in Munguin’s grounds.

              In fairness, they are SO adequately fed that pretty soon they’ll be too fat to do much hunting.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Some of the little buggers are actually wise enough to muffle the bells and still successfully hunt although it is generally held that bells are mostly effective. I think bells should be mandatory because when you add domestic cats to all the other human pressures on our wildlife it’s no wonder almost everything is in decline.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Well, I’m all for that, as Bertie the Blackbird and his family, who seem to eat regularly at Munguins (bird) table will attest to.

                  Robbie the Robin and Percy the Pigeon too. NOt to mention Tom and Jerry in the shed… and all the little Toms and Jerries.

                  Yep, I’m mad.


                  1. We have always had cats, and dogs, and in the past have had mice and rabbits brought to us (mainly alive and rescued and set free). The cats we have now (Extremadura) have shown no interest in catching birds, mice, rabbits or whatever. In fact we have lots of birds, (sparrows, blackbirds, hoopoe, rabilargo, collared doves, starlings, shrikes, to name a few) that come and visit our “garden” and are only troubled by one of our dogs who likes to bark at them.

                    Liked by 3 people

                    1. That’s lucky, Tatu. We have neighbours with three cats. They are pampered and adored by their humans, yet they kill bords and mice for sport I assume, because they never eat any.

                      It seems yours may have had an instinct to bring home food for the family, but these cats don’t bother with that. They kill and then leave the dead animals where they killed them for me to bury.


                2. I have noted a distressing tendency among those who are opposed to wind turbines on grounds that they kill birds (they don’t actually, or very few), to have cats which they don’t keep in the house. This proves that they lack legs to stand on, as the primary killer of birds is your domestic cat.

                  Liked by 2 people

              2. The fattening up might well work, plus a bell to be shure.
                One of my sheep dogs, when still young and in training, was so fast that his outruns were too tight. It would disturb and excite the sheep, I tried all sorts to rectify the fault. Jock was a sensitive type of dog and you couldn’t raise your voice, display anger or he would sulk.
                I then started increasing his food intake and he quite quickly lost his trimness and his speed. He had to start using ground cover, a much wider outrun to leave the sheep unconcerned and nonchalant. He also paid more attention to my instructions now, possibly realising it could save him effort.
                Jock became one of the best dogs I ever had, or experienced, a remarkable animal.
                Maybe I should have tried a bell before overfeeding. I say that not just to get a bell in the story : -)

                Liked by 4 people

        1. Just noticed… what happened to the ‘auld’? Choc rejuvenation properties? Elixir would be a good brand name. Have that one on me and sell it to Cadbury’s or Nestle in exchange for a lifetime’s supply.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Welcome back, self-styled Auld. Did you spot Tris’s typo that turned you into Marica? Who? Are we now getting cryptic references to Jacques Brel songs thrown as part of Sontag entertainment? I’ve been putting up with Auld Yin for years, even when my own auld yins were still alive. I take it as a compliment now, as I’m sure you do.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. My spelling has been pretty grim today. I think I should put back on the autocorrect.

                Or maybe just check my work.

                Mais j’aime tellement la musique de Brel. C’était un homme formidable. (There my spelling’s a bit (a bit) better in French.)


              2. Aye, Marieke, John. I love that song. I first came across it many years ago when I was having a passionate affair with a Fleming who didn’t look in the least like Hercule Poirot. I used to take the train from Ostend via Bruges and Ghent to meet up with him. Many years ago. Many, many years ago. Etc.

                Here’s a recording (does it sound a bit dated now?) of Brel signing it:

                And here are the lyrics (Google Translate works tolerably well, and I’m far too old, grand and bone idle to translate it myself):

                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Je t’aimais tant
                Entre les tours
                De Bruges et Gand
                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Il y a longtemps
                Entre les tours
                De Bruges et Gand

                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Waait de wind, de stomme wind
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Weent de zee, de grijze zee
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Lijdt het licht, het donker licht
                En schuurt de zand over mijn land
                Mijn platte land, mijn Vlaanderenland

                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Le ciel flamand
                Couleur des tours
                De Bruges et Gand
                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Le ciel flamand
                Pleure avec moi
                De Bruges à Gand
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Waait de wind, c’est fini
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Weent de zee, déjà fini
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Lijdt het licht, tout est fini
                En schuurt het zand over mijn land
                Mijn platte land, mijn Vlaanderenland

                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Le ciel flamand
                Pesait-il trop
                De Bruges à Gand
                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Sur tes vingt ans
                Que j’aimais tant
                De Bruges à Gand

                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Lacht de duivel, de zwarte duivel
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Brandt mijn hart, mijn oude hart
                Zonder liefde, warme liefde
                Sterft de zomer, de droeve zomer
                En schuurt het zand over mijn land
                Mijn platte land, mijn Vlaanderenland
                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Revienne le temps
                Revienne le temps
                De Bruges et Gand
                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Revienne le temps
                Où tu m’aimais
                De Bruges à Gand

                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Le soir souvent
                Entre les tours
                De Bruges et Gand
                Ay Marieke, Marieke
                Tous les étangs
                M’ouvrent leurs bras
                De Bruges à Gand (x4)

                Liked by 1 person

                    1. Don’t remember the orange. Seems to be the way of things, mirroring the natural foodchain, wee things being gobbled up by the bigger.
                      To paraphrase the bard,
                      Like the snowflake in the river,
                      Once a glory then gone forever.

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. Picking up on AOY, AND containing mountain scenery…….so maybe only slightly OT! 😉

    A video of a scenic mountain road in Colorado. One that C.W. McCall wrote a song about.

    Wiki: “Black Bear Road or Black Bear Pass, and officially Forest Service Road 648, is a notorious jeep road trail that starts from 11,018-foot (3,358 m) summit of Red Mountain Pass on U.S. Highway 550 (between Ouray and Silverton) to Telluride, Colorado. The road crests at Black Bear Pass, elevation 12,840 feet (3,910 m), and descends over a set of infamous switchbacks as it navigates the heights above Telluride, which is seen FAR below at an altitude of only 8,750 ft.”

    First the song by C.W. McCall:

    The sign really does say:

    The video:

    (The comments are obviously from a German lady who has never driven Colorado roads at 12,000 ft, and may be needing more air to breathe than is available at that altitude anyway.)

    At the opening you see Telluride far below, along with some of the bigger rocks on the road. The famous W and Z switchbacks are nearer the end. The waterfall at the close is Bridal Veil Falls, the highest waterfall in Colorado.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Wow! I’m feeling like the passenger and in need of a glass of something – and that’s just the vid. Must be real brown-trouser stuff in the flesh. Thanks for this one, Danny. ‘Scary, but really LOL too with the German lady’s commentary. When I saw it runs for 20 minutes, I thought Id just watch the beginning and come later for the rest, but once started you’re hooked. Tris, with your famed step-ladder vertigo, perhaps not recommended viewing, unless you’re feeling really masochistic.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. John……I did enjoy the German lady’s driving instructions. 😉
        As a flatlander, I find Colorado’s narrow mountain roads to be more or less terrifying under the best of conditions. But that one is unbelievable.

        I had planned once to traverse Rocky Mountain National Park on US Highway 34……”Trail Ridge Road”…….the highest stretch of continuous paved road from point to point in America. (Leaving aside a couple that go to the top of 14,000 mountains and stop.) Trail Ridge has long stretches at elevations above 11,000 ft, up to more than 12,000 ft. I found a wide spot at 11,000 and turned around. I figured I could be satisfied with pictures of the last 1,000 ft. That’s about the same altitude as Black Bear Road, which is narrow and has big rocks in it. Unbelievable!

        Trail Ridge on the other hand is a good highway and does have fantastic views of the Colorado Rockies in the interior of the National Park. At about 3:00 it’s above the timberline and the views are beautiful. But it’s also easy to see that if you drop off, there’s no trees to stop you rolling. 😉


        1. OH… wow.

          That Bear road was something else, but honestly, if I’d been driving (fat chance) I have told her to get out and walk. Oh, and the song, Danny… What language was he speaking? 🙂

          You’re bang on, John. Two steps up on the ladder and I’m shaking, so I’d have given that a miss, or maybe I’d have sounded like the German woman…

          The Rocky Mountain road wasn’t unlike some in Scotland and I noticed the speed limits were quite low… I didn’t notice any speed signs int eh first video, though. 🙂 🙂

          The things people do for fun, eh?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Tris……Yes, they do need to post speed limits on Black Bear Road…..LOL. I’d say that C.W. McCall’s song about it is in the American redneck language (rapidly spoken.) 😉

            Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park is well maintained with moderate grades, and is a good quality two-lane mountain road by 1930’s standards, when it was built. But for a flatlander, the lack of a shoulder or guard rails, and the steep embankments off the edge if you DID drop a wheel off the pavement, are scary. You would start tumbling, and if you’re above the timberline at about 10,000 ft, there’s no trees to stop you. Mostly, those switchbacks on the way up bothered me. Your car seems to be driving into the sky at every turn. The views of the mountains are awesome though as you hug the centerline of the highway and can’t much enjoy them. They do have nice wide overlooks though where you can drive off, park, and take pictures. Trail Ridge is closed in winter. It reopens after the heavy snow is cleared in the late Spring.

            For the braver souls, the Park Service still maintains a long stretch of the Old Fall River Road….the WWI era Park road that predated Trail Ridge. It’s unpaved and is now just one way. Not the road for me! 😉

            There was a time, before the Intestate Highway System was built, when the main cross-country highway west from Denver was a two-lane road over Loveland Pass at about 12,000 ft. You can still drive that road, but I’ve always taken Interstate I-70 through a tunnel that’s 1,000 ft below the pass. The highest elevation on the entire US Interstate highway system is on I-70 at about 11,000 ft, INSIDE Eisenhower Tunnel UNDER Loveland Pass.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You miss the scenery that way, Danny, but that said, on the actual road, you can only catch a quick glimpse here and there while your hands grasp the wheel, in a shaky kinda way.

              I’m not sure I could ever learn that Redneck language. How does Trump communicate with his base?

              Nods and grunts?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Tris……Yes, I always suspected that Trump and his followers must be communicating in some language other than English. 😉

                Those high altitude views of the town of Telluride from Black Bear Road are nice. I’ve been to Telluride, but took a better highway to get there. The view UP from Telluride is nice too. It was a nineteenth century mining camp, and is now a ski resort. The town itself is at an elevation of 8,750 ft.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Did you get breathless that high up.

                  I’ve a mate who has to travel all over the world (or rather had to as he now appears to work from his flat on Skype…) but he had to go to Denver for a conference, and they let him go there quite a few days early to acclimatise.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. It’s certainly a good idea to acclimatise, and it always pays to be aware of altitude in Colorado. Although Denver isn’t IN the mountains, it’s on the high plains and is called the “Mile High City”, at 5,280 ft officially. Then the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains starts on the west side of town. It seems odd, that as you drive the 600 miles and 12 hours (with stops) from Kansas City to Denver, you climb more than 4,000 ft in elevation onto the Rocky Mountain uplift of the high plains……and have never even seen a high hill……even AT Denver.

                    I have a couple of stores about acclimating to altitude. I drove to Denver and stayed the night. The next day I drove I-70 into the mountains. I stopped at a turnoff to take pictures at the western end of the Eisenhower tunnel. The parking area was sloping, and I walked at a brisk pace up the slope. I was suddenly gasping for air. I was worried, but immediately realized that I was at 11,000 ft, where bomber pilots in WWII were on oxygen. The one hour drive up to 11,000 ft hadn’t acclimated me from the 5,280 ft at Denver, where I’d experienced no problem.

                    A friend of mine in Kansas City went with a group of four guys for a long ski weekend at Vail….which is about 2 hours west of Denver. The town of Vail is 8,150 ft, but the ski runs go up to 11,500 or so. My friend didn’t want to lose a MINUTE of his Colorado ski holiday, left work at 5:00 PM, and without sleep (dozing in the car as they traded off driving) hit the road for the 12 hour drive to Denver. After the night of driving, they grabbed breakfast at about sunup in Denver, and headed for Vail, where he grabbed the ski lift to the top of a mountain, and as he describes it…..perched on his skis at 11,000 ft, looked across the mountains at the morning sun…….and FAINTED! He woke up in the aid station and spent the rest of the day resting and recovering from lack of sleep and oxygen deprivation. He was kidded unmercifully. I’ve had no problem at the town of Vail after a night at Denver…..but haven’t tested the elevations above 10,000 ft there.

                    Liked by 2 people

                    1. LOL……Good point! Fainting BEFORE the ski run is certainly the time to do it. You really can be too eager for a Colorado ski holiday. 😉

                      Liked by 1 person

          2. I used to love mountain driving when I lived in Austria and Switzerland. I used to plan trips along minor and unsurfaced roads… also in the south of Spain, and a couple of places in Kenya too! The road to the Kylerhea ferry was something else as well – single track, at one point a hump so steep that there was nothing visible out of the windscreen but sky… Parping the horn felt like a good idea. I was using that one because the Kyleakin ferry was stowed out with what the locals call bonglies, with waiting times of a good couple of hours or more to cross.

            Liked by 3 people

                  1. Further education, Tris: Gaelic bonglies = eager, wide-eyed romantic and linguistic types who come on summer courses to Skye to learn Gaelic at lovely places such as Sabhal Mòr Ostaig (part of the University of the Highlands and Islands), have cèilidhean and get pissed in local hostelries. There may even be dancing and bagpipers.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Sounds like a good career move, Ed…

                      But I worry about the dancing. As our pal, John (Brownlie) who lives in Stornaway, always says… “you know what the dancing leads to…”

                      I don’t of course, but I can make a shrewd guess.


                    2. Not me, Ed. I’m too young and innocent to know… but that John Brownlie… he’s a man of the world, apparently. He told me it led to something. He didn’t say what though.

                      Liked by 1 person

    2. I remember in 2005 driving along a narrow dirt track up into the hills in southern Spain and my sister screaming the whole way 🤣. But she managed to go with us again a few days later as there was a great bar/restaurant at the top.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. Danny, that was insane, the music, his out of tune whistling through his teeth, her vocalising of her artery bursting blood pressure all contributed to me holding my tablet far too tight, so tight the screen started to distort!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Alan…….The old country music tapes (or CD’s) was an interesting touch. I think I heard Tennessee Ernie doing Shotgun Boogie (circa 1955)……and then Tammy Wynette…..LOL.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I wasn’t giving critique on the music Danny, the playlist escaped me as I participated in the white knuckle descent. It was the incongruity of it, juxtaposed as it was to the high voltage drama going on centre stage, like a Tarrantino film.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Alan……I felt the same way. The video is gripping, as well as entertaining in light of the C.W. McCall recording that I’d heard before. But in particular, the eclectic mix of country music and country artists from the 50’s to the 70’s formed a soundtrack that added to the incongruity. A very odd mix it was. “Tennessee” Ernie Ford doing Shotgun Boogie (released 1950) for example is odd to hear today.

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Lovely stuff. Despite not really being a fan of the creepy crawlies, I thought No18 was a brilliant picture as was the Owl (and the pussycats!). If you gave an orang a comb and they’d seen humans using one, they actually would use it, not necessarily successfully!

    Anyway if you’d like to see our favourite cousins giving us the run around, this doesn’t need a TV licence (or indeed a TV, only a pc) to watch!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s brilliant, PP…

      Incidentally, I don’t know who the old boy in the video was, but are ministers in Scotland, not the Queen’s ministers?

      In that she is still queen of Scotland, I’d have thought that they were.

      Maybe he’s still living in the 1950s?


      1. It’s that doctrine of the infinite sovereignty of the British / English parliament again, Tris: when They start interpreting it as meaning They can scoff at any law and throw off all restraint and moderation, the rest of us are in deep, deep trouble.

        With great power comes great responsibility, as the old cliché goes, but the current Westminster régime pays zero attention to the last bit. English governments used to be restrained by the thought of what the Other Side might do if they started playing the same game, but the regime has now purged all the old-style Tory moderates and Remainers from the parliamentary Tory party to become a hard right, authoritarian, delusional, fascistic bunch of real ar*seholes. Their electorate too has been subsumed into Farage’s UKIP – or vice versa – so their core constituency is now largely comprised of deplorables.

        With that strength and type of voting bloc behind them, and with Labour now so pusillanimous and strife-rideen that it has relegated itself into complete irrelevance in Scotland and near unelectability in most of England, the ba*starding Tories are so puffed up with hubris and entitlement that they think they can get away with anything and still be voted in under the undemocratic and even antidemocratic FPTP electoral system: they think they’re seeing the beginnings of a 1000-year Tory Reich, and oh, don’t they just love it.

        I’m just waiting for them to start talking about themselves as “the natural party of government” again, thereby identifying the party with the State. They don’t realize, I believe, that this is just “c’est moi l’État” in another guise.

        We can see the regime’s dangerous penchant toward authoritarianism and self-perpetuation in the way it has arrogated and continues to arrogate power to itself: it has already seized power from the legislature so that it can legislate on its own, as the Hitler regime did in the 1930s, and it has more and less successfully hamstrung the power of the legislature to oversee and control its actions. Now it is going after the courts’ power to thwart it, which will also curtail the legislature’s power to check and balance it.

        In our Scottish context, we can see clearly how the regime is going after the Scottish Government and Parliament in so many ways, not just by acting to overturn the devolution settlement: ignoring and sidelining the SG, treating Holyrood – members, ministers and decisions all – with contempt… Authoritarian regimes always clamp down on other centres of power in their States, because that mindset cannot but see them as rivals and threats. They don’t do tolerance, they don’t do social, legal or economic equality, and they don’t do subsidiarity.

        The current Westminster regime, to use another self-evident and hackneyed truism, does not govern for the whole UK, all it cares about is enhancing its own power to perpetuate itself and advance the interests of its own constituency, meaning in the first place the interests of its own members and their cronies, and secondarily the interests of the voters who keep them in power. Like all such regimes, it is high on the crony capitalism / kleptocracy scale.

        One of the contradictions at the heart of such regimes’ philosophies is that whereas they claim to believe in limited government and unleashing the “animal spirits”of the moneyed, their records on individual and social freedoms are generally poor, as it inevitably is in States where democracy and the rule of law do not prevail. Such regimes govern, heavy-handedly and generally inefficiently, by force and fiat, not by the consent of the governed. Democratic governments do not treat the poor, the disabled and other vulnerable members of society the way the Westminster regime does.

        In Englandshire, since the egregious Jeremy Hunt, the Westminster regime has been attacking their NHS. We know this. We know that it is looking forward to privatizing, and selling it off not necessarily to the highest bidder but to whomever will most benefit its members’ self-interest and its party’s political cause. We know how UN Rapporteurs have slammed the Tories for their treatment of the poor and the disabled. Over in Trumpland, things are even worse. The regime there is currently trying to get rid of Obamacare through the courts – in the middle of a pandemic that has already killed over 200,000 Americans! – and the Republican party in the Senate is doing its damnedest to stuff the Federal courts, and now the Supreme Court, with partisan Republican judges. Danny would back me on that, I’m sure.

        In other words, under Trump the situation in America is worse than in England under the Johnson-Cummings regime, but the Americans are far more likely to throw Trump and the Republican party out of office than the English are likely to dump the Tory regime and party, and the Americans will have the opportunity to throw out their regime much sooner than the English will theirs.

        As I said above, if not in so many words, the regime views the devolved administrations – and the courts – as rivals and threats. In the devolution settlement, Westminster reserved power over constitutional matters to itself, and in the hand of the current regime that means that Scottish democracy is under direct threat. The limiting factor on this regime is only what it thinks it can get away with, and the only comfort we can draw from that is that the regime does not and cannot understand Scotland and the Scots: it cannot help behaving in ways that offend us, so the factors driving support for independence among our people will continue to pile up and the public pressure for radical change will increase along with it. That should be understood too in the context of increasing support in England for dumping Scotland: we can call this “English independence”.

        We can see how well this fits in with the whole “England for the English” goal of the hardest possible Brexit, whereby all the restraints imposed by the European Union, the European courts and European law are thrown off. The populist, demagogic con is that the restraints will be removed not from “plucky little Britain” but from the regime itself, allowing it to behave just as badly as it sees fit. And if that project requires dumping the other three countries in the Union because their opposition to the regime is too much of a hindrance to the regime’s goal of a 1000-year Tory Reich in England, then that is what the regime will do.

        It has become quite evident that the regime wishes Northern Ireland were someone else’s problem. For us in Scotland, I now rate the likelihood at significantly better than 50:50 that the regime’s opposition to a second independence referendum will suddenly crumble, and the §30 problem will be over too. We know already that a majority of Tory voters in England believe the propaganda narrative put out by successive Westminster regimes since way back that Scotland is an economic basket case dependent on subsidies from the long-suffering English taxpayer (and Northern Ireland and Wales ditto). The Great British Meeja Machine can always be enlisted to spin the story in such a way that none of it is the regime’s fault, it’s all the fault of those ungrateful, grievance-mongering Jockanese (and Johnny Foreigner). I am sure Munguinites can imagine exactly how it will sound.

        The likelihood of Westminster dumping us should be understood also in an electoral context: minus the Scottish MPs, the current regime would have a majority of 80 + (59-6) = 133 at Westminster, the second largest Tory majority since 1945 after Margaret Thatcher’s 144 in 1983 in the wake of the undeclared Falklands / Malvinas war. For both those reasons – electoral support among the core Tory constituency, and Parliamentary arithmetic – we can say that the regime will keep up its aughsome faughsome shtick only for as long as it thinks there’s some (short-term) political benefit to it.

        The regime will be able to blame the COVID pandemic and the Europeans for the inevitable economic catastrophe that will hit England if and when Scotland or England ends the Union. Both the pandemic and Johnny Foreigner are very convenient and attractive excuses and scapegoats for a regime as mendacious, antiscientific and xenophobic as this one. Exercising responsibility means accepting blame where it’s due, and we all know that the regime and its members have no shame: they are sociopathic enough that they simply do not accept blame or responsibility for anything negative which they have a hand in. They are following in Margaret Thatcher’s hallowed footsteps in that: in Thatcher’s time, the Bovine Spongiform Encephalitis (BSE) epidemic which was caused by her government’s abolition of the sanitary regulations which prevented sheep offal being used as cattle feed was blamed by Tory politicians on anyone else but themselves, to the extent that certain leftie wags such as myself used to call it BSE (Blame Someone Else) disease. We can securely expect that the regime will take no responsibility for “losing” Scotland, or for the threefold economic catastrophe caused by its mishandling of COVID, Brexit and future Scottish independence.

        I say “mishandling” because I have no reason to expect that the regime’s management of the English economy in the context of Scottish independence will be any better than its handling of the economic effects of COVID and Brexit. I take no joy in the prospect: we all know that when the neighbour’s house is on fire, it puts ours at risk as well.

        For years now, Cassandra has been shouting about the existential threats which Tory regimes represent for the ordinary folk of the United Kingdom in general and for us Scots and our country, but it hasn’t done her a bit of good: she hates being right so much that she’s well down the Laphroaig and ready to start on the Talisker. The longer we remain in thrall to this despicable regime, the more I fear not just for Cassandra’s liver but for what lies in wait for us all.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Wow…

          That was a good rant, Ed. May I point out that Munguin has just noted that, in the interests of Cassandra’s health, you should wrest those bottles from her hand and have them delivered with haste to Munguin Towers, where Munguin will have Tris put them somewhere safe.

          The current Tory government is either very wicked, or devoid of talent or both. I’ll go for both.

          I’m always wary of people who eschew the advice of experts and who then blame experts for all that goes wrong, even when their advice as been eschewed.

          Perhaps had “experts” been involved, Grayling wouldn’t have handed millions to a ferry company that turned out to be a wholly owned subsidiary of a pizza delivery company. Perhaps they wouldn’t have spent quite so much on PPE that was unsafe, and maybe Gove and Johnson wouldn’t have handed out contracts to ex-girlfriends…

          I, too, noted the situation in the USA over the death of the Supreme Court judge.

          I seem to remember the same situation 4 years or so ago, when the Senate refused to endorse Obama’s choice for a replacement, nearly a year before the election.

          With what was indecent haste and total lack of respect (ho hum, no surprise there) Trump was talking about her replacement before her body was cold.

          And Mitch McConnell has said the Senate is ready to vote through Mr Trump’s nominee immediately.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Listened to this and thought
    Wouldn’t it be nice to live in
    the kind of world we belong.

    And not the present one whereby to many bad people are winning .

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older
    Then we wouldn’t have to wait so long?
    And wouldn’t it be nice to live together
    In the kind of world where we belong?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. It would be nice to live in a world where we belong. And maybe one day we will. I certainly don’t think I belong here right now.

        I’d never heard that Beach Boys song, but it conjures up summer and surfing and … funnily, considering the lyric, the joys of being young. They have fantastic harmonies, but, a bit like The Jackson Five, I read that they were controlled by a terrible father, never content with the quality of their work, who made their lives a misery… and that kinda takes the happy edge off their music.


        1. Well, being a well-read man, Niko, I suspect that Conan knows the works of Jean-Paul Sartre.

          He wasn’t that far wrong though… at least sometimes… present company excepted, of course.


    1. Tasmania looks amazing. It’s pretty far south. I guess there must be some seriously cold winds blow up from Antarctica.

      But they have some beautiful waterfalls.

      Thanks Marcia.


  5. Uncle John, maybe, but Mama Kay two houses up the road is responsible for Tom’s breakfast – and for the photography. I just send them in. Thought Tom was a contortionist of some skill till seeing white cat in Rees Moggy pose, with the chooks looking on. More LOL. Brilliant! And can anyone tell us ore about the lovely googly-eyed crawly wrapped round the stalk or twig?


      1. Thanks, Conan. Not only the story of the damsel fly but another whole collection of brilliant photies. Indeed a bonus start to Monday morning.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Love Oslo, been there a few times. A wèe bit like Edinburgh, in that you can walk about the city centre very easily. It is just a shame it is so expensive. The one thing that you will find surprising that it’s a wee bit untidy. Just like Scotland people seem to dump their litter, which I always hate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dani said that even though he was living in Sweden at the time, and working part time while he did his masters (earning Swedish wages and therefore pretty tidily off) he was stunned by the cost of everything there. Another mate, from Scotland, went with him. He lived on bread and water while they were there.

      Some other friends were there on a cruise and bought a bottle of wine to have with some sandwiches at midday… it was ordinary supermarket stuff and I can’t remember how much it cost, but it made my eyes water.

      Iceland is a bit like that too, but for the natives, the prices are fine.

      I remember meeting some Icelanders in Turkey. I got speaking to them with my limited Icelandic. (Although, needless to say they spoke fluent Danish and English as well as Icelandic.) They few out for a holiday to buy their kids’ clothes (and some for them) for the year in Istanbul. The holiday was paid for by the cheapness of the clothes compared with what they would have cost back home.

      Some Icelanders used to take a flight from Reykjavik to Glasgow or Edinburgh to buy groceries. With the flight it was still cheaper than shopping in Bónus, Iceland’s cheapest supermarket.

      Liked by 2 people

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