Monday, October 21, 2013

Made in Scotland

Over the years the Scots its true to say have had a hard time from the English – so much so that they have spent lots of time trying to define themselves in terms of their historic defeats e.g. songs like Flower of Scotland and Scots wha hae BUT although the following pro-Scottish tirade to be found on the internet is true of people both globally and in England – the one humbling fact that although one folklore source MM Banks accredits football to originate in the Scottish borders towns – its certainly true that its not a game that we have evolved the ability to play !!
The legend goes of the Englishman …..
He cooks his breakfast at the gas cooker with coal gas invented by William Murdoch who was born near Cumnock, East Ayrshire
The average Englishman, in the home he calls his castle, slips into his national costume, a raincoat, patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, Scotland. En route to his office he strides along the English lane, surfaced by John Macadam of Ayr, Scotland.He drives an English car fitted with tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland, arrives at the station and boards a train, the forerunner of which was a steam engine, invented by James Watt of Greenock, Scotland. He then pours himself a cup of coffee from a thermos flask, the latter invented by Dewar, a Scotsman from Kincardine-on-Forth.
At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps invented by James Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland, then a fax from the machine invented by Alexander Bain from the Caithness village of Watten near Wick.
He operates a computer whose inner workings maximise the use of the logarithms of John Napier of Merchiston, Edinburgh who enabled first Kepler then Newton to measure the universe.
He would see his marketing charts and maps but find no comfort in the fact that these were invented by William Playfair of Dundee.
During the day he uses the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland.
He watches the news on his television, an invention of John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland, and hears an item about the U.S. Navy, founded by John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland.
Overhead on the airport flightpath, jets are  being guided safely in by the radar invented by Robert Watson-Watt  who was born in Brechin.
He would head out for a game of golf but that too was invented in Scotland – the first ever documented round at Gosford links near Gullane in the time of Mary Queen of Scots.
He has by now been reminded too much of Scotland and in desperation he picks up the Bible only to find that the first man mentioned in the good book is a Scot, King James VI, who authorised its translation.
Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots.
He could take to the countryside but discover that Englands green and pleasant land is being harvested by the Threshing machine invented by Andrew Meikle of East Linton, East Lothian
He could take to drink, but the Scots make the best in the world.
He could take a rifle and end it all but the breech-loading rifle was invented by Captain Patrick of Pitfours, Scotland.
If he escapes death, he might then find himself on an operating table injected with penicillin, which was discovered by Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland, and given an anaesthetic, which was discovered by Sir James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland.
Out of the anaesthetic, he would find no comfort in learning he was as safe as the Bank of England founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland.
Perhaps his only remaining hope would be the fact that the adaptation of the Scottish Highland outfit called the Plaid by an English Mill-owner in the 19th century to prevent the Scottish migrant workforce from getting g entangled in the machinery gave us  the kilt as we know and love it today !!!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond

"The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond", or simply "Loch Lomond" for short, is a well-known traditional Scottish song (Roud No. 9598) first published in 1841 in Vocal Melodies of Scotland.[1][2] (Loch Lomond is the largest Scottish loch, located between the counties of Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire.)

Played here by Andrew Hennessey, (fiddle), Martin, (guitar) and Guy (bodhran) at the Kings House Hotel in Glencoe, Scotland.

The song ‘The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’  was written in 1746 in Carslisle when some supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie retreating from England were captured by the English. The words of the song are the words of Macgregor of Glen Eldrick who faces execution for his support of the Bonnie Prince to another who is to be freed. Macgregor who is about to die tells his friend that he will take the ‘Low Road’ back to Scotland. The Low Road was the name of the spiritual path that was believed to exist for the spirits of those who died far from home who could return to the place of their birth. The Low Road, in the spirit world would speed the executed soldier to Scotland faster than his compatriot who faced many miles of hard marching, but although he might return to his homeland swiftly enough after death, he would never meet with his sweetheart again. I like to think he made it home to his love, albeit his Ghost and she took him into her heart forever. Eventually both as loving spirits walking again hand in hand. The tune is an older air called Kind Robin, although it may have another name.
Another interpretation of the 'Low Road' is that it refers to the traditional underground route taken by the 'fairies' or 'little people' who were reputed to transport the soul of a dead Scot who died in a foreign land - in this case, England - back to his homeland to rest in peace.[8][7]
Another similar interpretation also attributes it to a Jacobite Highlander captured after the 1745 rising. The Hanoverian British victors were known to play cruel games on the captured Jacobites, and would supposedly find a pair of either brothers or friends and tell them one could live and the other would be executed, and it was up to the pair to decide. Thus the interpretation here is that the song is sung by the brother or friend who chose or was chosen to die. He is therefore telling his friend that they will both go back to Scotland, but he will go on the 'low road' or that of the dead, and be home first. Another supporting feature of this is that he states he will never meet his love again in the temporal world, on Loch Lomond. Some believe that this version is written entirely to a lover who lived near the loch.[7][9]

By yon bonnie banks an' by yon bonnie braes
Whaur the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond
Whaur me an' my true love will ne'er meet again (alternate: Where me and my true love were ever lak/wont tae gae)
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'.
O ye'll tak' the high road, and Ah'll tak' the low (road)
And Ah'll be in Scotlan' afore ye
Fir me an' my true love will ne'er meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomon'.
'Twas there that we perted in yon shady glen
On the steep, steep sides o' Ben Lomon'
Whaur in (soft) purple hue, the hielan hills we view
An' the moon comin' oot in the gloamin’.
The wee birdies sing an' the wild flouers spring
An' in sunshine the waters are sleeping
But the broken heart it kens, nae second spring again
Tho' the waeful may cease frae their greetin'. (alternate: Tho' the woeful may cease from their grieving)

Scottish Andrew