Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Marjory Sinclair Cameron - Rest in Peace

My mother died early last Tuesday morning and her funeral service will be held this coming Tuesday. Neither my brother nor me will be wearing black at the service, as we wish to make the occasion one to celebrate her life as well as to mourn her passing. Below is a brief photographic history of her life, starting with a photograph taken around 1930 when she would have been 9 or 10 years old and ending with a photograph of my mother and myself taken around a month prior to her death. For the last 17 months she has been living in a care home and, apart from the initial few months settling in, was very happy there; we are very lucky that the level of care and the kindness shown to her (and other residents) by all of the staff there was of a very high standard indeed. We are so grateful for this.

Marjory Sinclair Cameron (née O'Keeffe)
26 December 1921 - 19 October 2010

- Rest in Peace -

Click here to see enlargements of all these photographs,
together with detailed descriptions.

Click here to see enlargements of all these photographs.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Dear BBC: Can we have the Radio4 "UK Theme" back, please?

Just before the start-up of regular programming in the early morning on BBC Radio4, latterly as a break between the re-broadcast during the night on Radio4 of BBC World Service programmes and the start of domestic Radio4 programmes, a charming musical interlude comprising traditional songs from all four constituent parts of the UK was broadcast between November 1978 and April 2006, when it was 'axed' by the then Controller of Radio4, Mark Damazer, because he concluded that a vanishingly small number of people would have been listening at such an early hour of the morming and that, anyway, those who were awake or up and about would prefer a news summary. No doubt this is why about 6,000 people made formal complaints to the BBC, asking for it not to be 'axed' and/or to be re-instated?! It now turns out that Mr Damazer's decision was based upon flawed listener statistics. It seems that hundreds of thousands were in fact listening at that hour, so complaints from 6,000 is an unprecedentedly high number!

If you don't know what I am talking about, then you could do worse than spend 5 minutes of your life listening to a recording of the medley in question:

Mark Damazer is no longer Controller of Radio4, so I think his departure should be marked by the speedy return of this lovely music. Although it comprises traditional British songs it was in fact compiled by an Austrian refugee to this country in the late 1930s; perhaps it took someone originally from outside of these islands to encapsulate in music just what a wonderful country we have.

So, Dear BBC:
Can we have the Radio4 UK Theme back, please?

Monday, 11 October 2010

France Gall (Hommage à Daniel Balavoine) - Evidemment

(Please see UPDATE at end)

I came across this song from France Gall on YouTube this morning; I haven't heard it for years, but it still has a haunting quality for me. It was sung as a tribute to Daniel Balavoine, tragically killed in a helicopter crash during the Paris-Dakar rally of 1986 - he was one of my favourite singers (and very good-looking), although was also very politically active and is famous for a televised confrontation in 1980 with the soon-to-be French President, François Mitterand:

Daniel Balavoine

(there's another nice tribute to Daniel Balavoine from another of my favourite French singers, Jean-Jacques Goldman, here.)

UPDATE (Friday 14JAN2011 17.55 GMT) I've written a memorial article today, on the 25th anniversary of the death of Daniel Balavoine, and you can read it here.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Cameron's 'Rap' in the national interest

I thought the Prime Minister's conference speech was excellent and it is nice to see that someone has turned salient parts of it into a 'rap' song:

No doubt sad left-wingers mocked the speech and will ridicule this 'rap', but they're the ones sadly out of touch with the public's determination to repair the damage done to the country by Labour's thirteen years of mismanagement.

Tea-times in Scotland out of danger

A threatened strike at Tunnock's bakery in Uddingston could be avoided as a result of an agreement (details yet to be announced) with the union, you guessed it Unite.

I have fond memories of both these 'delicacies' from my childhood, but haven't tasted either in years - my efforts at weight loss take precedence now.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Overblown corporate hype of the day?

Maybe I need to start a new series of posts (or perhaps not - it wouild rapidly become tedious), but I just noticed one of those ubiquitous 'white vans' parked at the building where I live and the 'corporate slogan' under the name of the [appropriately enough] enterprise struck me as just a teensy-weensy bit grandiose:

maintaining the infrastructure of the UK

Mind you the company Enterprise is not a small outfit, but nor is it absolutely huge; perhaps it is only one of the 'enterprises' maintaining the infrastructure of the UK?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Digital switchover is coming to Nairn

Nairn is within the area served by the broadcasting transmitter at Rosemarkie, on the Black Isle just north of Inverness. Areas served by this transmitter are broadly known as 'Inverness and the Great Glen' and it is the last area within what is known as the 'STV North transmitter group' to be switched over from analogue to digital television reception. The switchover does not affect those who receive their television programmes via a satellite dish (whether Sky or Freesat for example) or those on cable television systems. But anyone who receives television programmes through an aerial is affected and must equip themselves to receive the Freeview digital broadcasts that will be the only ones available through an aerial once the analogue signals are switched off in the next week or so in this area. You can download a brochure in .pdf format giving full details of the switchover in this area here. The main digital switchover website is here; in it you will find full details of switchover information for every part of the UK; some regions have already been converted, but the final areas to be switched are not scheduled to be affected until 2012.

Most people in this area who will rely on Freeview digital signals through an aerial will probably already have converted existing television receivers by adding a Freeview digital 'set-top' box, or have replaced their television(s) with equipment which has a built-in Freeview digital tuner. However, if you have not done this (or have not signed-up for some form of satellite or cable television reception) you will lose the ability to receive television programmes once the analogue signals are discontinued on the five 'terrestrial' television channels - BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel4 and Five.

There are two important dates to remember for those affected in the 'Rosemarkie - Inverness and the Great Glen' reception area:

Wednesday 6th October 2010

- on this date the analogue signal for BBC2 will be switched off, so you will need to re-tune all Freeview digital television equipment to continue to receive BBC2 digital transmissions.

Wednesday 20th October 2010

- on this date the analogue signals for the other four terrestrial channels (BBC1, ITV, Channel4 and Five) will be switched off, so you will need to re-tune all Freeview digital television equipment to continue to receive Freeview digital transmissions on those channels.

Once the digital switchover is complete you will lose all television reception if you have not equipped yourself to receive Freeview digital transmissions or satellite or cable reception. The advantage of these methods of transmission is that there are many more television channels available to choose from, as well as the bonus that many radio channels (including most BBC radio channels) can also be received digitally via your television.

For myself, I have been watching Freeview digital for some years, in earlier years by the use of Freeview digital set-top boxes to convert all my ordinary 'analogue' television equipment to digital reception, but during this year I have replaced almost all of these (bar one) with televisions having built-in Freeview digital tuners. I expect I shall replace the final television before Christmas, although of course as I already have a Freeview digital set-top box for that unit there is no particular urgency.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

How the fanatic eco-watchers lost their way - in a big way!

It is shocking to see the propaganda posing as 'humour' that some groups, in this case eco-fanatic group 10:10 (the UK wing is discussed here) feel justified in indulging. They have produced a video seeking to further their aims which they imagined would be 'funny', but which most right-thinking people consider to be a crude exercise in manipulation and intimidation:

- the mealy-mouthed apology which 10:10 have posted in their website is a classic example of insincerity, as I see no real sign that they understand the enormity of how badly astray they have gone, their 'apology' being a mere damage-limitation exercise:


Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure’.

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain's leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis - writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website. We won't be making any attempt to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet.

We'd like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.

At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

Onwards and upwards,

Franny, Lizzie, Eugenie and the whole 10:10 team

- this kind of organisation really does need to stop and think what it is doing; its moral compass must be very badly out of order for it to have ever contemplated such a way of promulgating its message.
(thru the mr eugendies blog here)

Article heading list for latest 6-month period (April to September 2010) now up

The archive of 'Article Headings' for the latest 6-month period is now available - click here for the period April to September 2010.

There are permanent links in the right bar to this and earlier 6-month 'Article Heading' indices, immediately below the standard 'Blogger' monthly archive links.