Thursday, 20 October 2016


Last week I was going about my business as you do when I received two communications from friends who reside in England and news of a third person who also resides in England.

Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland and SNP leaderWhat were these communications about? Was it something in their respective cities of Sheffield and Manchester (and also Nottingham)? It wasn't. It was about something happening in Glasgow and someone in particular and it was all good.

My first friend resides in Manchester. He has never understood my pre-occupation with Scottish independence and was against it, from the point of view (which I can understand from a person who doesn't know a lot of Scotland's position) of 'we should all stick together'. After all I have never subscribed to the view of independence for Scotland just because....

Nicola Sturgeon, FM of Scotland reassuring EU nationals that they are welcome and that their contribution is valued.However Nicola Sturgeon's first speech at the SNP conference in Glasgow last week seems to have changed his views, although I had obviously working on him for some time. Recently it has not been that difficult to dent his belief in the UK, since he voted 'remain' in the recent UK wide referendum on membership of the European Union (when the UK as whole on the back of England and less so Wales voted 'leave'), he is a left of centre voter who is not a fan of Jeremy Corbyn and has no time for the Tories. He wishes Nicola Sturgeon was leader of a party which covered the whole of the UK as, he said, she is speaking his language as far as Brexit, services in Scotland, compassion and general style of leadership. If in Scotland she and the SNP would definitely be getting his vote in any imminent election. Unfortunately he can't vote for her however.

However this revelation was closely followed by another one, this time involving two people which made it even more amazing.

My second friend lives in Sheffield. He also voted 'remain' in the recent European Referendum and has been appalled by the fall out so far, from the xenophobic rhetoric of the campaign, to the rise in hate crime in England, and then on to the shambles afterwards. I have never 'worked' on him with any Scottish independence propaganda, as I never thought I had a hope of persuading him, although he is aware I am a member of the SNP and have been on and off since 1992 and was also aware of my involvement in the Yes campaign in the first Scottish independence Referendum campaign.

Headless chickens. Tory and Labour MPs in Westminster after the Brexit vote.To quote...
Nicola Sturgeon has been very scathing about the Tories and she's right to be so. She is the best Prime Minister the UK has not had, yet?
He also has a close friend this time who stays in Nottingham which the next part of his communication was about...
I have a friend who is English from Nottingham and he has never had any faith in any of the political parties. When I called him today he had just joined the SNP and he said he was proud to be a card carrying member. He had voted 'leave' and now realised he had been conned into voting that way and had been sickened by the vacuum created by there being no plan of action to actually carry Brexit out.
Voting patterns UKHe then went onto say of himself...
The SNP are the only way forward and I want them to be a UK wide party. Nicola Sturgeon is probably the only one who could help save the country. I don't agree with everything she says but I do agree with a lot of it and I am seriously thinking of joining the party myself. Theresa May is continuing the destruction of the country so we need Nicola Sturgeon to fight for our rights.
I am as astonished as anyone that an Englishman wants someone who stands for Scottish self determination to fight for everyone in the UK's rights. Not that I have any problem with it and indeed this is what seems to be her purpose i.e. in addition to protecting Scotland and Scots she is also trying to do the same for those in other parts of the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon pulling Scotland towards Europe, Theresa May pushing England away from EuropeI stated in response the obvious, i.e. that Nicola Sturgeon is leader of a party that only stands candidates in Scotland as the SNP is fighting for Scottish self determination and the best possible deal for Scotland as long as it remains part of the UK. Therefore Nicola could not without a major re-alignment be Prime Minister of the UK. His replied...
I would be happy if Edinburgh became the capital of the UK. People in the north of England have more in common with Scotland than London. Nicola Sturgeon is feisty and strong and knows her own mind. She isn't scared to fight her corner and would be a great UK Prime Minister. She couldn't do a worse job than Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May.
So there are my revelations from England! They definitely do set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Bloody Nationalists

UPDATE: As of 10.11.2016 I shared this article to my Google Plus account and was most surprised to have the hashtag #utterhorseshit attached by someone named Paul Baker. I want to tell him that I would not have believed the above if it hadn't actually happened! And therefore Paul Baker is in #truthdenial.

UPDATE: As of 14.11.2016 yet another English friend has contacted me this time from Somerset stating that as a Remain voter tired of the British Government's insular Brexit anti-foreigner rhetoric he too has come round to Nicola Sturgeon and her positive inclusive vision for Scotland and the UK and would have no problem the next time a Scottish independence vote comes around of being whole heartedly in favour of it. He just wishes he could be part of it with the same values in what would be left of the UK.

Monday, 17 October 2016

W H Auden: The Night Mail, and the related film

This film is a favourite of mine so much so my VHS video recently wore out and it is on my Xmas list to have it replaced. I love the poem too by W H Auden.

Night Mail (poem)
This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor, 
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient's against her, but she's on time.
Past cotton-grass and moorland boulder
Shovelling white steam over her shoulder,
Snorting noisily as she passes
Silent miles of wind-bent grasses.
Birds turn their heads as she approaches,
Stare from bushes at her blank-faced coaches.
Sheep-dogs cannot turn her course;
They slumber on with paws across.
In the farm she passes no one wakes,
But a jug in a bedroom gently shakes.
Dawn freshens, Her climb is done.
Down towards Glasgow she descends,
Towards the steam tugs yelping down a glade of cranes
Towards the fields of apparatus, the furnaces
Set on the dark plain like gigantic chessmen.
All Scotland waits for her:
In dark glens, beside pale-green lochs
Men long for news.
Letters of thanks, letters from banks,
Letters of joy from girl and boy,
Receipted bills and invitations
To inspect new stock or to visit relations,
And applications for situations,
And timid lovers' declarations,
And gossip, gossip from all the nations,
News circumstantial, news financial,
Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled on the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, the adoring,
The cold and official and the heart's outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and the printed and the spelt all wrong.
Thousands are still asleep,
Dreaming of terrifying monsters
Or of friendly tea beside the band in Cranston's or Crawford's
Asleep in working Glasgow, asleep in well-set Edinburgh,
Asleep in granite Aberdeen,
They continue their dreams,
But shall wake soon and hope for letters,
And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart,
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?

If the above film doesn't work for any reason, it can be found on youtube at the following...

It is taken from the film 'Night Mail' made in 1937. 

If the above film doesn't work for any reason, it can be found at the following...

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Yoga Classes in GLASGOW with Caroline Smart

I love yoga and it has been of considerable assistance with my ME and dispraxia even although I didn't realise I had either when I originally took it up about 15 years. It has made me much more physically flexible, and on the days I manage to do it in my flat it improves concentration, balance and generally makes my day better. 

Yoga Classes in Glasgow by Caroline Smart

Evening classes
I currently teach for Glasgow Life (the leisure centres) in Glasgow:
Tuesday (7.45pm to 8.45pm) at Whitehill Pool (best to book if possible)
Thursday (7.30pm to 8.30pm) at Whitehill Pool (booking necessary as it is a small room)
Friday (6pm to 7 pm) at North Woodside Leisure Centre.

Daytime yoga class
(2.30pm to 3.45pm) Gentle Hatha Yoga (£8 per class)
At In The Moment Centre, 72 Berkeley St, G3 (2nd floor studio).
Class focuses on energising and strengthening the internal organs which are so important for vitality and health. Ideal for older people, overweight people, anyone suffering from ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or digestive disorders such as IBS.The class takes place in a lovely studio with a padded floor and lift access.

Further details regarding Caroline can be found at this website

Caroline has also co-authored a book with another yoga expert and it won't break the bank. It is available at Amazon on the below link, and all other good booksellers, 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007196845
Collins Gem Yoga, co-authored by Caroline Smart