Some Scottish News & Views #77

I’ve had a couple of emails asking if this little effort can revert back to being  published on a weekly basis - so here goes another trial with this little effort for the week ending Saturday 5th March 2011. In this issue I’ve been able to include a couple of small named articles which I think you will enjoy. - Robin

It is Quite All Right to Be A Wee Bit Forgetful Like Nick Clegg By iain maciver
You know when you forget to put the bin out? It’s really annoying. I do it sometimes – or rather I don’t. Anniversaries keep slipping my mind. And as for Valentine’s Day? Pfft. I never, ever remember that one. No guilt, though, because I never get anything from anyone else in mid-February, either. Wonder why that is?

At the foot of my to-do list is a jumble of forgotten plans that were important once upon a went. Now I just never get round to them. Some have been slipping through the net for weeks.  Every night, I think I must make an appointment with the dentist. Something else comes up and I just never get round to it. I’m just too busy. Busy, busy, busy. Busier than a one-toothed man in a corn-on-the-cob-eating contest. I could be exactly like him if I don’t make that appointment soon.

So it was a bit careless of Nick Clegg to forget that he was supposed to be running the country while David Cameron was away in the most unstable parts of the world with a lot of arms dealers. Tsk Tsk.  But he had a lot on his mind. Leave him alone.

It’s not just the deputy prime minister who forgets wee details. There are many people who forget which phone number they should be calling. Some of these forgetful people even get through to me. I shouldn’t do it. It is very bad of me. I can’t help it. I do sometimes wind them up. Since there is now long enough since it happened, I can tell you about the absent-minded young woman who called me a few months ago.  “Hi, is Calum there?” she asked. Rather than be honest and tell her she called the wrong number, I said Calum was out. She asked where the chap for whom she evidently had a certain fondness had gone. I thought “they” were off to the castle grounds.

Who was with him, she demanded, tetchily. Keeping piling on the agony, the love of her life, I suggested, was stravaiging with a well-built Glasgow lass. Her name? Oh, let me think. Mary something . . . Mary Hill. Yeah, that was it. My forgetful newfound friend was fizzing. She didn’t suspect a thing. What was this Ms Hill like? Was she minging? No, I had no idea what she was talking about, either.  When I said she was much nicer than the one he went out with last week, that was it. She went doolally. Apparently, young buck Calum was supposed to be away in Aberdeen on a training course the week before. My made-up nonsense became real. She began calling him all the names under the sun.

Where do young people today get that awful language? I’d never heard anything like it.  Taunting the poor creature for six or seven minutes with my tissue of lies, I sympathised and suggested ways in which she could seize revenge. I’m nice that way.  Start another relationship immediately to show him you’re over him, was my main point. If she fancied an older geezer, well, here I was.  I was right, she decided. She had wasted the last 18 months on that waste of space and was ready to move on with her life. I was to tell him never to call her again.  I was truly “a darling”, she said. Yeah, I know. Did I have any other advice for her? she asked.....Yes. Next time you call Calum, try to remember to dial the correct number.

A long silence. She was checking the numbers she had called. And then . . . well, where do they get that foul language from?

That night, I got a call from poor, innocent Calum. He thanked me for winding up his dizzy girlfriend.  It was the best thing that could have happened. It made them appreciate each other. They were getting engaged. No? Yep.

Forgetfulness has consequences. It’s embarrassing. It can affect so many aspects of your life – even your sense of identity. That is why I’ve had to write This Is You on all the mirrors in my house.   Sshh, but it afflicts the female of the species, too. Officially, though, it’s only me that’s losing my marbles.  I can see the signs. The house is getting untidy. I have noticed my pants can sometimes, hours later, still be on the floor where I left them. I tried tackling Mrs X about it. All I get are excuses like: “I clean this house from top to bottom every other day. Today is one of these other days.”

She sent me out to the shops to get a couple of things last week. Teabags and spaghetti. Knowing how forgetful I was, because I somehow forgot to get the cheese and milk that I went out for the week before, she would write it down for me. Och, be quiet, woman. That was only cheese and milk. Hardly a crisis, was it?  No need to write it down, I said. I am not wandering round the Co-op consulting a list like all those saddos who have taken early retirement from the council. It’s only two things – teabags and spaghetti. Not a problem. I am not senile yet, by the way. Bye.

Off I went muttering teabags and spaghetti, teabags and spaghetti, teabags and spaghetti, to myself. Anyway, you know how it is. I got talking to all sorts of people. It was a while before I actually did any shopping.  You know what happened? I got it wrong, didn’t I? All that talk of cheese and milk had confused me. That’s what I bought instead of the teabags and spaghetti.  She went ballistic. I was hopeless. She knew she should have written it down for me. But no, I knew best. As always.  And then, without pausing the tirade to take breath, she said: “And how could you forget the biscuits and jam?”

Airgun Victim May Lose Eye After Shooting
A man who was shot with an airgun in an unprovoked attack outside a Scottish hotel may lose an eye, police have said. The 23-year-old victim left the Fullarton Park Hotel in Tollcross Road, Glasgow, at around 12.30am on Saturday with his girlfriend and a few other friends following a night out.  Police said it appeared some words were exchanged between them and another group who were nearby as they waited for a taxi. One of the men in the group then fired at the victim with what is thought to be a BB gun, before leaving the area in an unknown direction.  The victim was taken by ambulance to Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and later transferred to the city’s Gartnaval Hospital for surgery on a serious injury to his eye.

Deciding who’s the biggest menace behind the wheel By Derek Lord
My first  reaction to the news that the European Court of Justice had ruled that it was illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against men on the grounds of their gender was one of mild satisfaction.  At last, the sisterhood were going to be made to pay through their purses for their endless campaign for total equality with the opposite sex. But this was an unworthy thought on my part. If, as it has been proved, young male drivers are more likely to kill themselves and others than their female counterparts, it stands to reason that the insurance companies should make them pay more for the privilege of hurtling around our roads as if the hounds of hell were snapping at their heels.

Of course, the trouble with this blanket discrimination is that it punishes the young, careful male motorist as well as the brainless, testosterone-fuelled eejit who regards driving as a test of his manhood.  Mind you, the flip side of that blanket discrimination is the perception that all young female motorists are angels at the wheel. There may have been a time when the female of the species was a demure creature who wouldn’t dream of driving as if her pants were on fire, but in this brave new world “demure” is not an adjective that is applicable to the majority of young women, raised as they are on the exploits of such role models as Katie Price and Amy Winehouse.  I still shudder at the memory of a young woman cutting me up on the inside doing nearly 60mph in a 30mph zone at the height of the rush hour in a nearby town.

And it’s not only the younger women you have to watch out for.  I heard of one female, who was eligible for a bus pass but refused to apply for one because she didn’t want anyone to know how old she was, who wrote off her third car in the space of five years. When her husband was asked why she was having so many accidents, he shrugged mournfully and said it was because she was as blind as a bat but she refused to wear glasses because she didn’t feel she looked good in them, and contact lenses hurt her eyes. So, when she is out on the nation’s roads, other cars are not even a blur; they are completely invisible until they are about 10 yards away.  Her last smash occurred when she came out of a side road on to a rural highway. The main road was perfectly straight for half a mile in both directions, but that is of no advantage to someone for whom the world is just a jumble of colour. But at least she was spared from seeing the look of horror on the face of the poor man that she drove out in front of.  You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’ve stood right in front of that woman in our local supermarket and she has looked straight through me, without a shadow of recognition crossing her exquisitely botoxed features.

A favourite joke among drivers of the female persuasion goes something like this: An ashen-faced man turns up at the office, shaking like a leaf. A male colleague asks him what’s wrong with him. “I’ve just had a bad experience on the dual carriageway,” he says. “I looked across to the inside lane and saw a woman driver using the rearview mirror to put on her make-up. It gave me such a shock that I dropped my breakfast roll into my coffee and disconnected an important call on my mobile. No two ways about it, women drivers should be banned.”

It’s not much of a joke, but in a week when the traffic police revealed that they had caught a male truck driver travelling along the motorway while using a laptop the story has some substance to it.  Although I would contend that women are every bit as guilty of using a mobile phone while driving as men are and, to make matters worse, women do have a tendency to talk for longer on their phones than we do.  My front door opens on to a busy trunk road and I can vouch for the fact that the percentage of women who fly by with phones glued to their ears is much higher than the percentage of men doing the same thing.

But I don’t want to seem as if I’m taking sides on the issue of using a mobile phone while driving. Since it has been established that even using a hands-free kit affects the driver’s concentration worse than if he or she was as drunk as a skunk, I would like to see the perpetrators given a lifetime driving ban, fined at least £1,000 and have their vehicles confiscated and crushed.

The bad news for young women drivers is that they will probably have to shell out an extra £500 a year for their car insurance. The good news is that the insurance companies will no longer be allowed to discriminate against them when they apply for a private pension on the grounds that women live longer than men and therefore should pay higher premiums.

It’s a case of swings and roundabouts.

So, girls, as long as you make sure you don’t swing out too wide on those roundabouts while telling your best friend what a bargain you picked up at the sales, and take your last breath wrapped around a lamp post, you can console yourselves with the thought that it’s going to cost you a lot less to provide for your twilight years. Insurance companies who have until now offered lower premiums to the fairer sex, including Sheila’s Wheels, whose TV ad has brightened up the commercial breaks for so long, have assured their female clients that they will still be given special consideration, such as handbag insurance and special counselling. So that’s all right, then. But don’t put your holiday money in that handbag. It’s only covered up to £300. Those insurance companies aren’t daft.


“Forces of Darkness Repelled” From the Western Isles
The Scottish Government  has welcomed the news that the UK Government has abandoned its plans to move the clocks to European time. Plans to move the clocks forward by one hour had been expected within the UK Government’s tourism strategy published today (Friday).

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil, who has tabled an amendment to the Scotland Bill to ensure that any future Westminster proposal to shift the clocks would require the consent of the Scottish Parliament, said: “I am delighted that the forces of darkness have been repelled, and that the Tory/Lib Dem government in London has dropped this terrible idea.  “Moving to double summer time would have condemned everywhere north of Manchester to dark mornings. It was a daft idea which would have had a damaging effect on safety, health, energy consumption and commerce. The evidence put forward supporting this change was dubious at best and ignored the sound reasons why this change was abandoned after being trialled in the 1970s, and more recently by other European neighbours.”

Proposed Pot for Wind Farm Benefit 'Blatant Thievery' Claim
A proposal by the local authority to skim off a percentage of all future wind farm community benefit funds and put it into a pan-Highland pot has been lambasted as blatant thievery.  Creich community councillor Russell Taylor said the authority was desperate to get its hands on the cash available to communities directly affected by on-shore and off-shore developments.  The move could lead to thousands of pounds being lost to Sutherland - parts of which are a preferred area for wind farm development.

Highland councillors were due on Thursday to discuss the controversial proposals put forward by a recently established Community Benefit Working Group (CBWG). The 11-strong, politically representative group was set up in June last year and has met on five occasions since.  Members have come up with a complicated and convoluted "three-tier" system to govern the payment of future on-shore community benefit funds and a "two-tier" system for funds emanating from off-shore developments.  They are suggesting that communities directly affected by on-shore farms should be allowed to keep everything under a £100,000 threshold.  But funding above that threshold should be split, with 55 per cent going to the communities; 30 per cent to the wider locality and 15 per cent to a pan-Highland fund.  The group has also come up with a complex formula to assess which local communities should benefit and by how much. Factors include proximity to the site, visual impact, construction impact and population figures.  Regarding off-shore wind farms, the group wants to see 80 per cent of funds going to the pan-Highland fund with just 20% directed to coastal communities.

Meanwhile members are also keen for Highland Council to have a far greater role in the negotiation and management of future funds.  A paper on the issue, prepared by Bob Cameron, corporate manager for Ross, Skye and Lochaber, is before councillors.  It stated: "Given the complexity of dealing with three different tiers of funds, it is necessary for the council to consider how to administer these. This could be a new body or, alternatively, it may be appropriate to consider the use of Highland Opportunity Ltd. This latter approach is favoured by the CBWG."

The report stated elsewhere: "The involvement of the council would offer an opportunity for the whole of Highland to benefit from an industry that might otherwise pay little or no community benefit.  "Whilst communities may be able to negotiate local benefit without seeing some of that go to localities or the pan-Highland fund, the prize from offshore developments would mean that they would have a share of a much larger pot. "Similarly, if the council can achieve higher rates of benefit from on-shore development, there will be more benefit to go around."  Substantial streams of cash from wind farms are beginning to seep through to Sutherland communities with parts of the county identified as preferred zones for wind farm developments.

Community councillor Russell Taylor said earlier this week: "I'm in no doubt that the local authority are thieves.  This is all down to one or two councillors who don't have community benefit in their area and are jealous of the fact that other people do.  We get community benefit for the inconvenience and the possible damage to our environment. That's why it is paid. We don't want the Highland Council to get their hands on the community benefit that we receive. Let's be honest, if we get all the community benefit that is in the pipeline for us, then it will make a difference to our area - but not if they top slice it."

Bettyhill Hotel Will Re-open in April
Bettyhill Hotel, which has been on the market since May - its last owners went into liquidation in November - is about to gain a new lease of life.  The 20 bedroom hotel, with its outstanding views over the magnificence of Torrisdale Bay and beach, has been acquired by a North Yorkshire family - the Jeffries - who arrived in the village last weekend and immediately began work on readying their new enterprise for reopening.  Carl Jeffries, MBE, his wife, Gaby, and their middle son, Chris, a Business Studies graduate of Northumbria University, intend to have the pub and restaurant elements of the business up and running by April and be fully ready for the coming summer season as soon as possible thereafter.

Family and Friends Mark Passing of Senior Clansman
Aristocrats and local people gathered at St Mary's Roman Catholic Church in its picturesque Eskadale setting yesterday to bid farewell to Hugh Fraser, a senior member of the Lovat Fraser clan.   Mr Fraser, a son of the legendary war hero, the 17th Lord Lovat, died at his home, Balblair House near Kirkhill, aged 63 after a battle with cancer. He leaves a widow, Drusilla, to whom he had been married almost 35 years, and three children plus a brother, Kim.  He was buried in the family graveyard close to his father - whose escapades as a Commando during World War II were recalled in the film, The Longest Day - and two of his brothers, Andrew and Simon, who tragically died within weeks of each other in 1994.

Among those who attended the service at the small white church, built in 1826 by the 14th Lord Lovat, were the present-day Lord Lovat, Mr Fraser's nephew who works as an investment banker in Paris, Dowager Countess Angelika Cawdor and Lord Burton. Also present was Lord Lang of Monkton, former Secretary of State of Scotland.  The service was conducted by the Archbishop of Glasgow, Mario Conti, who was a personal friend, while another friend, Francis Russell, deputy chairman of Christie's Auctioneers, gave the address. The piper was Duncan McGillivray, of Nigg.  Prayers were said by his son, Raoul Fraser, while readings were given by his daughters, Eloise Fraser and Poppy Macdonald-Buchanan. The hymns were Be Thou My Vision, The Lord's My Shepherd and Dear Lord and Father of Mankind. Donations were invited for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity.

Salmond’s Action Call After Old Firm Chaos
First Minister Alex Salmond has called a top-level meeting with football chiefs and police after senior officers pressed for matches between Celtic and Rangers to be played in empty stadiums.  Strathclyde Police had asked the Scottish Government to intervene after Wednesday’s Old Firm fixture was once again marred by shameful scenes inside and outside the ground.  Three Rangers players were sent off during the cup tie, while there were several touchline and tunnel confrontations and 34 arrests inside Celtic Park in Glasgow.  Assistant Chief Constable Campbell Corrigan said sectarianism driven by the Protestant-Catholic divide between the clubs was an “embarrassment to our country”.

The Scottish Police Federation said forces no longer had the budget to deal with match-related unrest – and called for the derby to be played behind closed doors or banned altogether. Mr Salmond spoke about the “repugnant” connection between football and violence during first minister’s questions at Holyrood. He said: “I’m happy to confirm that this summit will take place (in Edinburgh on Tuesday) and that all parties have agreed to attend.”

The Gordon MSP criticised the conduct of the Rangers players, as well as that of Ibrox assistant manager Ally McCoist and Celtic manager Neil Lennon, who clashed after the final whistle. “In terms of how people’s actions have an impact on society, the fans at football matches are representatives of their clubs, the players at football matches are role models for society and the management of football clubs have a particular responsibility,” the first minister said.  “They are people in positions of responsibility and they must – absolutely must – behave responsibly.”

Mr Lennon moved to defuse the row last night, saying things were said “in the heat of the moment” but he and Mr McCoist had sat down after the game and the matter was now “closed”.  The Scottish Football Association has announced it will conduct its own investigation into the events at the ill-tempered Scottish Cup fifth round replay.  Chief executive Stewart Regan said: “The unedifying sight of two of the country’s most recognisable and respected coaches engaged in an angry confrontation was not only unsavoury but exacerbated an already incendiary atmosphere inside the stadium and throughout the west of Scotland.  The clubs have a duty of care to ensure that the image and integrity of the game is upheld at all times. This was not adhered to.”

A total of 50 arrests have been made at the last two Celtic-Rangers matches, during which violence has spilled out into the streets, pubs and homes, putting a strain on police resources. A Scottish Premier League match on February 20 at Celtic Park led to 16 arrests in the ground and more than 229 in the area. In some cases, prisoners were said to have been driven 50 miles as police cells filled up.

Chairman Les Gray said: “We simply don’t have the money and resources to do this. Everyone involved needs to sit down and look at this. Something has to give. This madness cannot go on. What happens on the pitch is reproduced throughout Scotland, on the streets, in pubs, in homes. You cannot justify it.”  Mr Gray added: “It is horrendous after games, sheer bedlam – walking home, the noise of police and ambulance sirens fills the air. It is like a war zone in Glasgow.  Anyone who walks the streets after an Old Firm game is taking their life in their hands.

Betrayal Claim Over Plan to Cut Island Fuel Prices by 5p
Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander was accused last night of betraying motorists after revealing plans for a cut-price fuel scheme for the northern and Western Isles.  Opposition politicians and motoring organisations insisted action was needed to cut the cost of petrol and diesel “across the board” and ease the burden on hard-pressed families.   There were also fresh calls for Chancellor George Osborne to scrap the planned 4p increase in duty and introduce a regulator to lower tax when the price of oil increases. An energy expert, meanwhile, warned that oil prices would remain high, even after the crisis in Libya was resolved.  Andrew Reid, managing director of Aberdeen consultancy Douglas-Westwood, said growing world demand meant the price of crude would not fall below $90 a barrel when production in the north African country returned to a sure footing.

Mr Alexander confirmed at the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference at Perth that the UK Government would ask Brussels to clear the way for the cut-price scheme in the islands. He said he was confident that the price of petrol and diesel in the Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland and islands in the Clyde would be reduced by 5p a litre “in a matter of months”. Mr Alexander said the discount was intended to help “hard-hit families” who generally paid higher fuel prices because of their remote locations.  “These are places, more than anywhere in the country, feeling the pressure of high fuel prices,” he added.

Edmund King, president of the AA motoring organisation, said: “Incomes in these island areas tend to be lower, and pump prices are always higher than the national average, hence many hard-pressed families just can’t afford to fill up. However, with record prices at the pumps across the UK at 130.68p a litre for unleaded and 136.14p for diesel, there is a very strong case for fuel-duty reductions across the board.”

Highland Labour MSP Peter Peacock claimed the Lib Dems had “betrayed” people – because the party had promised fairer fuel prices for all.  “For years, the Lib Dems have paraded around the Highland mainland promising a fuel deal for them too,” he said.  Now they break another promise by limiting any such scheme to the islands only. Even in the islands, the scheme is no great shakes.  The Lib Dems have just added 3p to petrol through putting up VAT so, even if they get their small scheme approved, it is worth virtually nothing. No wonder their vote is in freefall.”

Inquiry to Be Held Into Death of Plumber Killed in Causeway Crash
A court inquiry is to be held into the death of a Sutherland tradesman after his pick-up crashed off a causeway.  David Bowes, who ran his own plumbing business, was seen in the wreckage of his 4x4 by the driver of a passing ambulance shortly after 10am on February 2, 2010.  A fatal accident inquiry is scheduled to be heard at Dornoch Sheriff Court on June 13 at 2pm. A preliminary hearing has been set for the same court on Monday, May 16, at 10am.

Mr Bowes’ pick-up had gone through the barrier on the eastbound carriageway of the A838 and landed on rocks that form the Kyle of Tongue causeway, about 6ft below the carriageway and almost in the sea.  Fiscal Alasdair MacDonald later said that Mr Bowes’ death certificate gave the cause of death as drowning.  Stornoway coastguard helicopter, Thurso lifeboat and Melness coastguards were all called out to search the area in case there were other people in the vehicle, but it is believed the driver was the sole occupant. It is thought that the road was affected by wintry conditions at the time of the crash, which happened towards the west end of the causeway.

Why Time is Fast Running Out for the Cheap 'Uns O' the Pudding Race
The campaign to secure special protection for one of Scotland's top national delicacies - the Stornoway black pudding - gathered pace yesterday as the initial consultation by the Scottish Government ended.  It is understood that no objections have been received at Holyrood against the move for the Hebridean pudding to join the Arbroath smokie, champagne, Roquefort cheese and Parma ham in being granted special protection by the European Commission.

And the government is now set to draw up a formal bid for the pudding to be granted protected designation of origin status. Protected product status, if granted by the commission, will prevent "imposter puddings" - labelled as Stornoway-style black puddings - from being made outside the Western Isles.  Richard Lochhead, the rural affairs secretary, is backing the bid by the four butchers in Stornoway that produce the distinctive delicacy to protect what he has described as their "premier product".

Claire Macleod, the secretary of the Stornoway Black Pudding Producers Association, said yesterday that all the signs pointed to success in the bid to safeguard the delicacy, which is still produced according to a recipe devised by crofters more than three centuries ago.  Ms Macleod, whose family firm is one of the leading producers of the pudding, said: "We are very encouraged by the support we have had, not only from the Scottish Government and our local politicians, but from all over the world. We have more than 4,000 members now on our Facebook page. The response has been tremendous."  Ms Macleod added: "Subject to there being no objection - and it is my belief that there haven't been any objections lodged - the Scottish Government will now formally submit the application to Defra. They will hold it open for 14 days for any appeals and subject to that they will then submit the application to the European Union."  It was, she said, vital that the special heritage of Stornoway black pudding was protected. Said Ms Macleod: "There are two main drivers. One obviously is commercial. Our product has been produced here in the Hebrides for hundreds of years on the crofts and the four butchers have been trading the product since the 1930s.

Making Up for Lost Time After Historic Clock Found in Church
It seems time really is precious. A rare 250-year-old gilded clock, worth thousands of pounds, has been found beneath a pile of leaves in one of Scotland's most historic churches.  The ornate ormolu clock once adorned the wall of Stirling's Church of the Holy Rude, which was founded in 1129 during the reign of King David I and is the only active church in the UK, apart from Westminster Abbey, to have held a coronation - James VI was crowned King of Scotland there in 1567, in a service conducted by John Knox.

The 2ft-tall clock with a silver-engraved dial was acquired between 1760 and 1780, when the Rev John Muschet was a minister there, and it would have told him and his congregation how long his sermon had gone on.  The church was divided in two in 1656 and the clock is thought to have hung on the dividing wall in the East Kirk.  When the wall was removed and the congregations reunited in 1936, the clock was put into the church's boiler room for storage - with a tag reading "Not To Be Taken". It was not seen again until former watchmaker Douglas Tod, the church's property convener, decided to clear a pile of leaves and dirt that had gathered near an air vent and found the artefact underneath.

The clock, made by Goodfellow of Carlisle, features its original movement. Mr Tod said: "I cleared some of the dead leaves and grime with my hand and saw emerge the gold leaf. It was so dirty, I didn't realise it was a clock at first."  Current minister the Rev Allan Miller said: "It is worth a lot of money, but we have no intention of selling it - it's part of the church's heritage. It would be nice to have it restored and brought back in to working condition."

Elspeth King, director of Stirling's Smith Museum, said: "It would have been very expensive, and must have been a gift from a rich benefactor. Many ministers in those days timed their sermons by an hourglass. Some had them made bigger so they could talk for longer, although, for some in the congregation, to sit through a two-hour sermon would have made them feel even holier."  If James VI's coronation is the highlight of the church's history, the low point came in 1656 when an argument between the Rev James Guthrie and a colleague resulted in a wall being erected to divide the nave from the choir, with the church serving two divided congregations.  Guthrie, a Covenanter, was executed for treason in Edinburgh in June 1661.

Clan Gathering 2014
The Scottish Government has announced that another Homecoming year will be held over the course of 2014, in honour of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, though exact dates of events associated with this new Homecoming (such as another "Gathering" in Edinburgh) are not yet established. Recalling the event in 2009, reminded me that I had missed buying a copy of the DVD at the time. But while browsing on the Web site of the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations I found that there was still a limited number of copies of the official DVD for sale - see http://www.cosca.net