Friday, September 15, 2017

Shetland Croft for Sale

My old buddy Tom Thumb has suggested that I retire with my lovely bride to Fethaland, a (presently) uninhabited Shetland isle. We traded a couple of jokes on the topic. A good chuckle was had by all.

I could be convinced to visit Shetland again. Under virtually any realistic circumstances, actually living there would be a pretty tough sell.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Debacle in Shetland: More Chaos Down South

I've been doing a pretty solid job at posting on this blog, so let's keep it rolling!

In 2013, I posted about chaos at the south end of Shetland. This morning, the BBC reports that pilot error was to blame for a January incident at Sumburgh Airport in which a test pilot overshot the runway. The BBC neglects to mention whether the intersection of the runway with the road played any role in the incident.

The Shetland Ponies may comment on this... If I can get my PowerPoint file opened up at some point soon. I'm getting behind. Oof!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Brexit and Scottish Fishing

A few years ago, the BBC's Coast program did a segment on fishing in Northeast Scotland. The presenter interviewed several Scottish fishermen about the impact of European Union fishing regulations upon their livelihood. Yesterday, NPR ran a segment on Brexit's impact on French fishing, eighty percent of which takes place in British waters. Some casual Googling yielded three interesting articles.

  • Scottish fishermen given Brexit assurance
  • Scottish government says UK is right to leave fishing deal
  • Brexit: Gove confirms foreign access to UK fishing grounds

    I'll be honest: watching from afar, I'm torn on Brexit. I listen to Around Orkney most mornings, and there's been no shortage of news reports about how difficult Scottish farmers have it under the European Union. The fishing example is another big example of this: Scottish fishermen have seen their livelihood threatened by EU fishing restrictions, but we're supposed to be concerned about the livelihood of French fishermen and their French customers who may no longer be able to take eighty percent of their daily haul out of British waters. And the European Union might impose harsh tariffs on British industry as a result. A few weeks ago, I also saw an article about the European Union banning loud and/or inefficient vacuum cleaners. Recognizing that there are very real practical concerns about how Brexit will impact both United Kingdom subjects and Europeans, it seems like these concerns stem in large part from proverbial "too big to fail" root causes.

    I dunno. I realize this post really isn't very coherent, but that's how confusing this Brexit business is. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it seems like stuff like this fishing issue would have made it difficult for some folks not to vote "yes" on this thing. Then again, the unknowns make it pretty easy to sympathize with those who thought that the nebulous drawbacks outweighed the potential benefits of a "yes" vote.
  • Monday, September 11, 2017

    RAF Saxa Vord to Reopen

    BBC Radio Shetland and Shetland News report that the British Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the Royal Air Force radar station at Saxa Vord shall be reopened. Readers of this blog may remember that I saw RAF Saxa Vord during my ill-fated geocaching adventure in the adjacent Hermaness wildlife refuge. As terrifying as that particular debacle ought to have been, I enjoy fond memories of looking across the little harbor to see the disused radar station.

    I've lost track of the number of times that British interceptors have been scrambled to "escort" Russian military aircraft in the last eight or nine years. RAF Saxa Vord was disestablished in 2006, and the MoD cancelled the procurement of the BAE Systems Nimrod MRA4 maritime patrol aircraft in 2010. It stands to reason that with Russia flying sporadic bomber patrols adjacent to British air space, and generally attempting a post-Cold War strategic resurgence, the current coalition government's decision to reverse the Blair era decision to close RAF Saxa Vord makes strategic and economic sense.

    I can't guarantee that the Shetland Ponies will refrain from comment on this topic in the coming days.

    Sunday, September 10, 2017

    A Scottish Twist on an American Wedding

    Let me start this post by saying that I feel awful for having neglected this blog for the last couple of years. There's plenty of stuff of Scottish interest that could have been posted, and going forward, I hope to pick up the pace. First up: a post about a very special wedding. Ours!

    In nine of the more than four hundred posts I've published to this blog, I've mentioned someone named "Lady Jaye". She and I "met" digitally before I left for Scotland, but didn't meet in person until I came home. In 2016, my dear friends at BBC Radio Orkney helped me to propose to her using their Friday request program(me) and a classic Proclaimers song that was featured in the phenomenal 2013 film Sunshine on Leith...


    ... and she said "Yes!", and we got married in her hometown in August. The crew at Radio Orkney did a follow-up interview with us the morning after the wedding, which ended up being retooled as a BBC Radio Scotland segment and making the BBC News website. In the words of Ron Burgundy, "That escalated quickly!" You can listen to that radio segment here, and check out the article here. Someone at the University of Aberdeen obviously caught wind of it, because we were also congratulated via the University's alumni relations Facebook page.

    We're hoping to get to Scotland at some point in the foreseeable future. In the mean time, we're pretty thrilled to have added a bit of Scottish flair to our otherwise American wedding.

    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    One More Edition of the OHBC

    Continuing on the theme of Scottish comedy, here are the last couple of clips of Gregor Fisher as Angus, presenter for the Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation on Naked Video.



    That's some first class Scottish comedy!

    Monday, March 13, 2017

    Reaction to the Proposal for Another Scottish Secession Referendum

  • BBC: Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum
  • BBC: PM: SNP 'tunnel vision' over independence 'deeply regrettable'
  • UK Government for Scotland Facebook Page: The UK Government Response to the First Minister
  • Sky News: British public opposes second Scottish referendum - Sky Data poll

    I suspect that Scots get as frustrated with me commenting on Scottish politics as I get when folk in the United Kingdom comment on American politics. Even so, I find myself hard pressed to explain why the SNP is angling for another referendum. I may comment on it further in the coming weeks and months, or I may leave well enough alone; but it didn't seem right not to post a little something on this occasion.
  • Saturday, February 18, 2017

    More Scottish Comedy from the OHBC

    Continuing on the theme of Scottish comedy, here are more clips of Gregor Fisher as Angus, presenter for the Outer Hebrides Broadcasting Corporation on Naked Video.


    There's one more installment yet to come.