Saturday 23 June 2018


I had often wondered why odd trees are left standing when a forest is harvested. It's only recently that I discovered the answer.

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Almost Foiled

I've been in Glasgow for two days of scans and, today, my Drugs Trial review. All that was very successful and routine. I'm on the Trial for another 16 weeks until the next review.

However after my MRI scan at Ross Hall Hospital on Monday I decided to have a bite to eat. All that was left was some excellent soup and a sandwich. I can't even remember what the sandwich was because all my time and mental effort was taken up trying to get into the sandwich wrapper.

Am I the only person who finds some of these things absolutely frustrating?

Thursday 14 June 2018

Midges and Storms

After many weeks of no rain and pretty good weather the inevitable June scourge arrived: the Dreaded Midge.  Today, however, there will be no midges. Storm force winds blew last night and midges definitely don't like that.

It reminded me that many years ago I blogged about the Scottish midge and I decided that it was about time I did it again.

The midge bible is Midges in Scotland by George Hendry.  A must read for anyone coming to or living in the Highlands if only for the humour of which this cartoon is a taster (used on the basis that the copyright holder won't mind given that I'm giving this plug and using it as a 'quotation' for the purpose of honest comment).  The work is otherwise an exceptionally readable treatise on how and why the midge plays such a dominant role in the ecology and human life of the Highlands.

When I first came to live on Lewis in the mid '70s I was told that more people left the Islands because of the midge than because of unemployment, that every midge represented a sin of mankind, and that for every midge killed a hundred came to seek vengeance. I didn't believe such superstitious nonsense.  But do you know what?  There are days when I could believe that it wasn't superstitious nonsense after all.

These days however when the midges get bad even the hardy road workers wear midge protection clothing such as the Midge Head Net or Midge Jacket which were probably inspired by this Punch cartoon from 160 years ago.

Writing this post reminded me that some of my readers have been with me for a long time and I'm sure at least two will remember the first post.

Sunday 10 June 2018

On Being Called Edwards and Wearing Tartan

Heron recently made the following statement in his comment on one of his posts: " what clan tartan is it that is aligned with the surname of Edwards because I have always thought that name was Welsh".

As a youngster I always thought that too and aligned myself with all things Welsh from an early age.

We then had a discussion on his blog on the subject of the tartan which I wore for my kilt. 

This raised various matters which I though might be of interest to those who read my blog.

Firstly the name 'Edwards'. This surname, with variant forms Edwardes and Edwardson, is a patronymic form of the early medieval English male given name Edward, itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Eadward", composed of the elements "ead", prosperity or fortune, plus "w(e)ard", guard; hence, "prosperity guard".  However apparently it is supposed to have arisen separately in Wales.
Edwards is the 14th most common surname in Wales and 21st most common in England. 

Examples of Edwards Tartan
So why the tartan question? Well the Welsh as well as the Scots wear kilts and have tartans. The Edwards tartan is a dour and uninteresting cloth (in my opinion) and the idea of having a kilt in the Edwards tartan did not appeal to me at all. However for my son's wedding I could not go kiltless so had to take a decision.

Having lived the majority of my life in the Western Isles of Scotland the obvious choice was the Western Isles Modern tartan and that was what I wore. For the record my son wore the Macrae Dress tartan in the old Scottish tradition of marrying into the bride's family (Macrae).

Tuesday 5 June 2018


Introducing Brodie aged five months: