The Winds of Change

They change for no man, or so we are told, or was that The Sands of Time?.  Well the winds have certainly blown across this little acre or three these past few days.  But I did finally manage to give The Grasshopper an airing this lunchtime, with gusts reduced to a mere breeze, and temperatures seeming to have risen above the 7 or 8 degrees marking this final week of May as June looms large, with the summer solstice just around the corner.  It fair makes thoughts of taking the ferry across the Firth and pitching a tent this weekend, seem silly.

On the road today however I took a very satisfying change from the usual run.  Starting with my short run, Meadowfoot, in fear that the wind on the Stobieside route might be unpleasant, I took a left turn at our wee cross instead of the usual right for the short homeward leg.  The mid road took me round past the school and back up to the church, thereby to end with a second haul down that long straight home which today was spared from the usual headwind.  It was an interesting variation and one I shall use more often, though there was little to see today and nothing of note until chasing sheep from the garden upon my return home.

The new Parliament of this new Scotland is now firmly up and running, but to look at the output of our wonderful media chums, and in particular those at the BBC, you’d be spared for thinking that there was any change at all, or even that there was a political process in Scotland.  I had intended to link to an excellent article on Newsnet Scotland on the perceived failings of our publicly funded broadcaster, but the technicalities seem to have blown away on the wind.  A search on Pacific Quay-Stone Cops Need to Change, may find it, for it is well worth a read.

But the only change blown in at the BBC seems to be a new format for the blogs, a real dumming down and a discincentive to any structured debate.  Now we are restricted to a mere 400 characters in responding to the political editor’s musings at Blether With Brian.  It’s soundbite stuff, and will turn away many valued contributors.  That said the early responses have seen direct mentions of Newsnet getting through moderation  – a major change for what has been unmentionable down PQ way.  My guess is that once the moderators get the feel of the new set up, anyreference to Newsnet will revert back to the way the winds previously blew.

And so the Parliament starts off intent on dealing with sectarianism and with the booze.  Minimum pricing should get a clear run this time, and if we can get powers devolved from Westminster allowing us to charge extra duties and keep those duties in Scotland, then even better.  Another target ought to be a Scottish Digital Broadcaster, as we try and escape the clutches of the BBC.  It is a concept that had cross party support in the previous administration.

On the domestic front we’ve had loft insulation done here today, in less than an hour and at minimal expense.  Hopefully we can start reducing our oil usage as prices continue to rocket.  Next up is a survey on solar management though I fear that the return on investment may be a deterrent, even if I did have any confidence in the state-owned and funded banks being able to provide borrowings.  Wind turbines remain a dream, but in the new Scotland with a real focus on renewables, we may get to the stage where such facilities can become domestically affordable.

For the wind blows yet, and time passes.

Meantime I rattled off a few words to form a competition entry this week.  My effort probably did not justify the prize, for if you can turn 250 words into a three week jaunt for two in the railroads of Canada then it is certainly worth entering.  We shall see what happens.  Much more important is the Bradt competition, entries for which should now have closed, with judging under way.  The awards ceremony will be in London in July; and perhaps my wee jaunt south for the jazz concert will have me in the right place at the right time, or not.

But it is good to get the thought process moving once again, and news on various courses are tempting, whether it is Dubrovnik with Jon and Dan, or Istanbul with Dea and Rory.  Either way there will be the usual issues about time, cost and, more importantly, brownie points.  October though is a good time for any plans.  There is always a third alternative, and an independent break in the company of The Jeweller, at budget prices and with budget airlines, may also be reviewed.  Dreams, they blow in the wind and linger in dark corners.

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Filed under Broadcast & Written Press, Scotland's Future

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