Tryst on Februar Fowerteen – A Scots Allegory

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Pic: Rod Fleming

A fell cauld wind wis sauchin ower the muir as the bonny wumman gart her wey tae tryst her jo. For the necht wis Februar the fowerteen, an aabody kens at’s the necht for luve.

She wis winsome eneuch, tho the first blush o youth, it maun be said, was left ahent her a lang while syne. A body mecht hae speirit at himsel how comes a lass o sic natral attractions hidnae been wad this mony a lang year.

At last she reached the spot ablow an auld aik whaur she an her jo hiv met this necht mony mair years nor either of them wad care tae hink on. Her jo wis aaready there, a puckle fashit, ye mecht hink, wi the wye he wis stridin up an doon, his een flashin faniver he luikit up.

“Ah, here you are, at last,” he intoned, as the lass presented hersel. Continue reading “Tryst on Februar Fowerteen – A Scots Allegory”

The Vampire Rises : Roads to Referendum 3

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Pic: Rod Fleming

Eight years after Scotland voted ‘Yes’ to Devolution, but had seen this victory snatched away by Westminster, things were very different.

The most hated Prime Minister in recent history – possibly all history as far as the Scots are concerned – Margaret Thatcher, had focussed minds on the fight against her all over the UK. Scottish Labour rode high on this wave of anti-Tory sentiment, and lost no time in asserting that it was the only way to be sure to get rid of the Tories. A vote, they claimed, for any other party, was a ‘vote for the Tories’.

But it was a gamble. Thatcher’s popularity in England had increased radically since she first had been elected. In England, though far less in Scotland, her resolve in fighting and defeating the Argentinean invasion of the Falkland Isles, had played well for her. She called an election in 1983 and found her majority increased.

In 1987, Thatcher called another General Election. Continue reading “The Vampire Rises : Roads to Referendum 3”

The Empty Palace: Roads to Referendum 2

old-royal-high-schooloDuring the 1980s, Scotland’s political scene was polarised by a cathartic and visceral detestation of the UK Tory Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This, for perhaps the last time, caused a genuinely British response, in that many Scottish opponents of Conservatism, badly discouraged by the calculating and dishonest way which the Home Rule that Scots had voted for had been snatched away by a self-interested Westminster, fell back to old loyalties, and threw their weight behind the familiar Labour Party, in an effort to rid themselves of the hated Tories. Continue reading “The Empty Palace: Roads to Referendum 2”

French Onion Soup! in the News

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Those avid readers who live in Scotland will be able to see yours truly’s geggy mutt plastered all over the pages of The Courier newspaper today. Support those who support me, I say, so get out and buy a copy! You can download the full page image HERE.

It’s publicising my hilarious collection of memoirs on life in France called French Onion Soup!, which you can download FOR FREE from Amazon today and tomorrow, as part of the promotion.

Please, please, though, if you like it, please leave a review on Amazon.

Happy Imbolc!

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Pic: Rod Fleming

Imbolc, (pr EEmulk), is an ancient fire festival that marks the end of the dead part of the year. Originally it was celebrated at the midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Vernal Equinox, and in other traditions on the night of the first full moon after that.

At the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, in Ireland, the inner chamber is aligned with the rising sun at the midpoint between solstice and equinox, and so marks the dates of Imbolc and Samhain. Many other megalithic monuments in Northern Europe also have this characteristic, showing how important these dates were. They delineated the dead period of the year,  which began at Samhain, when nothing grows and the shades of the dead and other supernatural beings walk freely in the world. Imbolc is the day the Goddess returns, not yet in her full glory and majesty, here a girl full of promise, one of the three forms of a triple-goddess. Continue reading “Happy Imbolc!”

Muslims we Must Support: Maajid Nawaz

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Maajid Nawaz

Last week, Maajid Nawaz, a United Kingdom Liberal Democratic Party parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, became the centre of an attack from the Islamic fundamentalist right wing because he stood up for free speech. This is not, in itself, unusual; fundamentalists of any religious persuasion detest free speech. Nor is the chorus of death threats raised against Nawaz in any way uncommon from Islamic fanatics. However this case is important because it illustrates a divide which we must not only recognise but decide on which side we stand.

Nawaz’ crime? After taking part in a BBC debate in which two students were seen wearing ‘Jesus and Mo’ tee-shirts, Nawaz tweeted the image, saying, “As a Muslim, I did not feel threatened by it. My God is greater than that”.

For most people, that would not seem anything other than a reasonable point of view. Continue reading “Muslims we Must Support: Maajid Nawaz”

The Roads to Referendum: 1

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A campaigner in the 1979 Scottish Devolution Referendum

This year’s Scottish Independence Referendum is  one of the most important political events in the lives of most living Scots. It outweighs in importance, for Scotland, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. It outweighs the powerhouse rise to prominence of a rejuvenated China or an India that is on its way to being not just a regional, but a global, superpower. It is even more important, though perhaps less so, than the accession of the UK to what was then the EEC and is now the European Union. In this series of articles I am going to outline the history of the Referendum, as I saw it evolve.

The coming Referendum is the single most significant event to occur in Scotland since the end of World War Two. That event brought about the end of the Imperial era, in which European states used their military strength to dominate the planet. With Europe in ruins, and the United Kingdom pauperised, the control systems that had held empires in place collapsed. The British Empire, which Scotland had been a part of, was consigned to history. Continue reading “The Roads to Referendum: 1”

Word of the day: Religionard

word-day.smI’m going to do a series on words and phrases. Some of these will be ones I made up, others will be borrowed. I’ll tell you which ones those are. First up, one of mine :-

Religionard

Now before we go any further, let’s make something clear: I don’t hate all religious people, in fact I’m very fond of quite a few of them, even though we will never agree about this. I do have serious issues with some religious people, though, and that’s why I need a new word, to differentiate between the nice people I know who happen also to be religious, and the nutjob fruitcake headbangers whom I would cheerfully strangle if only I were allowed to, in order to get them to shut the fuck up. And stop them trying to interfere in my life, or anyone else’s, because of their absurd delusions. Continue reading “Word of the day: Religionard”

Whither Now Scotland

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Pic: Rod Fleming

Whither Now Scotland:
Dateline: Friday 19 September 2014
By Rod Fleming, reporting from Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland, for Rod Fleming’s World.

This morning, the whole of the United Kingdom woke up to the most important announcement in its history: the Scottish people have voted to bring it to an end.

After 307 years of often troubled partnership, in two years the partners in the unitary state will separate and become independent states, Scotland and what has been christened the ‘rUK’, the ‘rest of the United Kingdom’.

In a speech delivered, unusually, on the steps of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh after the poll result was announced, Scotland’s First Minister and the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Alex Salmond, was statesmanlike but clearly delighted. Congratulating the Scots on their momentous decision, he called on ‘All the people of Scotland to put their differences behind them and work together for our country, our nation, and our future.’ Continue reading “Whither Now Scotland”

Pursuing the Goddess

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Aset or Isis, Egyptian Queen of Heaven

Since 2002 I have been researching into something that I felt more than anything else. Something was nagging me. At the time I lived, as I do now, in France, and the signs of Goddess-worship were all around me. Cathedrals were full of images of the Goddess, the art replete with them. I could see this but I couldn’t define it, I couldn’t understand what it meant.

When I returned to Scotland I was a very busy man for a long time, building a house and trying to make ends meet from my freelance work, and also my own mother became ill and died, so the research went on hold. But it was always there in the back of my mind, and as I travelled round Scotland, that epicentre of dry Presbyterianism, I saw again and again the unmistakable mark of the Goddess all over the architecture and in the symbolism.

The Goddess was the principal focus of my Masters’ Degree research and even though I came a long way, I didn’t reach the answer I sought. When I came back to France I began to write, but in April of 2012 I had to stop. I was getting too confused. Continue reading “Pursuing the Goddess”