Saturday, December 13, 2014

Sorry about that. All well here. Yesterday was a confusion of multiple breakfasts and trying to persuade Old Slowcoach to print Archie's boarding passes – two, because he was flying to Heathrow and then on to Athens; and re-packing with the addition of presents from us, and things his mother Helen had recently ordered to be sent here. We got the suitcase closed, but remained worried about weight.

All went well, except that it was a cold and brilliant day and the journey to the airport was a nightmare of Low Winter Sun. The suitcase was 0.2 kilograms over the limit and they waved it through. We parted just before noon with mutual good wishes for the festive season.

British readers will have spotted the flaw – maybe others as well. Archie phoned in mid-afternoon to say that he was still here. There had been a computer failure at air traffic control down south, and Heathrow was effectively closed. This item has been top-of-the-news ever since, and still is, this morning, We felt rather smug, having heard it from Archie first.

He got to London in the early evening and thought that he would still be able to get the flight to Athens, which had been similarly delayed. That was the last I heard. I hoped there might be a message on my little telephone this morning, but there isn't. I'm sure I'll hear something today, both about Archie and about the suitcase.

Otherwise, life goes on. Christmas cards have started arriving, and today I hope to put into practice my new idea of answering them as they come, rather than a year later. I have reached the half-way point on the edging of the final side of the Unst Bridal Shawl – no recent disasters. So this baby should reach FO status somewhere in January, surely. Archie's sweater progresses steadily.


Thank you, everybody, for your comments. I love Scotland – I love Alyth, come to that. When I was young we used sometimes to drive out at the weekend to a place called Franklin. It's presumably very near Detroit. Cider (=un-fermented apple juice) was a feature of Franklin. It was billed as “the town that time forgot”. I always think of that phrase when we go to Alyth. I could live there rather happily, given a good broadband connection.

(I've just google'd Franklin. It's still there, and still makes cider. I didn't get far enough to find out whether it's still the town that time forgot.)

But I don't like Mr Salmond. Nothing wrong with that. I am sure I could find you lots of people who love England and don't like Mr Cameron. I think Scotland is better off in the United Kingdom than otherwise, and I am glad that well more than half the population agrees. It was rather nice, in the days before the referendum, how we could and did talk to each other about it everywhere, over the counter at the butcher's, drinking beer at the Games, and disagree with each other without rancour. It isn't like that in the days before a General Election, when good manners dictate that the subject isn't mentioned.

As for oil, a lot of Mr Salmond's case was based on the wealth it brings Scotland. I'm sure I haven't imagined that. The recent, extraordinary fall in the price is already bringing changes – jobs lost, exploration cancelled. Scotland will be better able to weather this as part of the United Kingdom. All oil-exporting nations are affected – Saudi Arabia, Russia. It's worse in Scotland because North Sea oil is so expensive to extract.

Perhaps even Mr Salmond, lying awake at three in the morning, is a bit glad he doesn't have to deal with this.


  1. Anonymous9:47 AM

    Well said Jean!!! Glad all is well with you and yours.

    Jan in North Yorkshire

  2. Second Knitalot!
    The thing that worried me most about Mr Salmond was the large number of things that he didn't say, or, when pressed, brushed aside as of little consequence.
    The thing that worried me about Scottish independance was where would it stop? There are plenty of bits of Scotland that would not want to be lumped together with other bits, but are fine with all being part of the UK. We should hang together, or else we may well have to be hanged separately!

  3. p.s. Forgot to add the hope the hope that young Archie is not stuck in traffic, and has safely arrived by now.

  4. Hi Jean..
    Franklin Village and the Franklin Cider Mill are still for the time forgot? It has become a very posh address, hemmed in by very large, expensive homes crammed on small lots. Still some charm...but time has it's way with everything.
    Hope Archie's travels have smoothed out since yesterday.

  5. I do hope Archie and the suitcase are now in Greece. I wish we were having some low winter sun or any sort of sun. We haven't seen any in over a week.

  6. read about the air control mess (pity the poor IT guys at that airport!) and wondered if Archie's travels had been affected. hopefully he is in Greece by now! and his suitcase with him!

    I love reading of your views on Scotland and politics and life there - in fact you are living one of my dream lives as I fell HEAD over heels in love with the Highlands on a visit and would move there at the drop of a hat. if i could retire to a Highland village I would be in heaven on earth. (agree about the broadband access tho).

    i wasnt able to make it to Edinburgh or Glasgow but did Aberdeen and Inverness as the biggest cities - we were mainly in Ballater and Nigg although we drove ALL over the Highlands (up to Handa and over the Queen Mum's Castle and all points inbetween).

    sigh (i had one of those weeks where i wish i could say SOD ALL and get on a plane and Scotland would be my first choice )

  7. It was nice you were able to spend some time with Archie. Hopefully he has arrived safely in Greece by now.

    When Kath and I got to Alyth after day 4 of our walk on the Cateran Trail it felt like we had entered a 1950s movie set. I remember going into a nice butcher shop there - I think it might be one you used to shop at, Jean, but maybe I've got that wrong.

    1. I should clarify that Alyth was very charming. When I said it was like walking into a 1950s movie set I meant that as a compliment.