Mike Vickers' Blog

May 18, 2019

A Day in the Garden

Filed under: Gardening, Local Government, Personal — derryvickers @ 10:03 pm

To the two inevitables; Death and Taxes, add a third, Weeding.

Earlier this week I was at a meeting, at Castlebank Park in Lanark where the Aileen Campbell of the Scottish Government released a paper on Democracy Matters.
The Community has done wonders in re-establishing the gardens. They have also created a market garden, a real market garden where they grow a range of plants and vegetables for sale. I was intrigued that the growing benches are almost a metre high and I asked the workers why the height. They didn’t know but one thought for a while and said it was so much easier to work at the potting plants; and it was so obvious!

I have real experience after todays’ gardening as I have backache weeding and planting the borders!

A Happy Story

Filed under: Notre Dame, World Class — derryvickers @ 9:31 am

A happy story at last

Wood for Notre Dame

Wood for Notre Dame

May 5, 2019

It IS Cricket

Filed under: Britis Empire — derryvickers @ 2:04 pm

It’s Not Cricket

Odd what’s survived of Empire!

It Is Cricket

 

May 3, 2019

Beethoven’s 5th

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, RSNO — derryvickers @ 10:05 pm

 

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony: The most triumphal music ever written.

Music for the EU. Luckily it will be still available should we leave the EU: But why should we?

A spectacular performance this evening by the RSNO (Royal Scottish National Orchestra) in the Usher Hall Edinburgh.

Conducted by Sharon Roffman, Lead Violin. The orchestra all stood to play (except Cellos and Double Basses) just like the Scottish Ensemble.

A rapturous reception. Just read what the Scotsman hade to say not only about the 5th Symphony but the whole concert including Mozart’s Flute and Harp Concerto with Katherine Bryant on flute and Pippa Tunnell of harp; both regular players in the RSNO.

A nice touch, she led her team off the stage and back again (as a play).Review of Concert

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April 30, 2019

Hamlet – In Our Time

Filed under: Hamlet, In Our Time, Literature, Shakespeare — derryvickers @ 6:03 pm

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the play’s context and meaning, and why it has fascinated audiences from its first performance.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Shakespeare’s best known, most quoted and longest play, written c1599 – 1602 and rewritten throughout his lifetime. It is the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, encouraged by his father’s ghost to take revenge on his uncle who murdered him, and is set at the court of Elsinore. In soliloquies, the Prince reveals his inner self to the audience while concealing his thoughts from all at the Danish court, who presume him insane. Shakespeare gives him lines such as ‘to be or not to be,’ ‘alas, poor Yorick,’ and ‘frailty thy name is woman’, which are known even to those who have never seen or read the play. And Hamlet has become the defining role for actors, men and women, who want to show their mastery of Shakespeare’s work.

With

  • Sir Jonathan Bate Provost of Worcester College, University of Oxford
  • Carol Rutter Professor of Shakespeare and Performance Studies at the University of Warwick
  • Sonia Massai Professor of Shakespeare Studies at King’s College London
  • Producer: Simon Tillotson.

For me Melvyn Bragg’s colleagues reveal so much more about Hamlet than just the revenge of Hamlet against his father in law and his compliant mother. Even Polonius comes to life and Othelia is a real person. As to poor Yorick ‘I knew him well’.

An Alliance Made in Heaven?

Filed under: Brexit, Europe, Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 9:04 am

Well perhaps not!

A Heavenly Alliance

April 29, 2019

Two Scottish Museums

Filed under: Museum — derryvickers @ 10:18 pm

The first – the new V&A museum in Dundee. Built to look like a ship but the structure more like two upturned interlocking pyramids. You get some idea of the outline at

V&A Musuem

V & A Museum Dundee

Technical feat in concrete with concrete beans attached and steel girders tying the sides together. Still need to get to grips with architectural innovation in the construction. Situated on the waterfront right next to Scott’s Discovery. A must see. Dundee is getting to be a tourist must.

Architects Kengo Kuma and Maurizio Mucciola. They talk of ‘A Living Room for the City’. The bigger pyramid is just an open space for the future exhibits while the smaller does have some exhibits from the V&A in London, but its centre piece is MacIntosh Café interior recovered from Glasgow. Not surprisingly the present main exhibition is of computer games as Dundee is the world games centre.

Need to go back again to admire the Structure and hope that a few more exhibits have been extracted from London.

The second is the much more traditional Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow. Good solid stone work when Glasgow was the second city of the Empire. The attraction this time is a full-sized dinosaur in the main hall; but I can’t get too excited, but the read gem is the Leonardo Drawings from the Queens Gallery. Leonardo was above all a supreme draughtsman. Just one simple example from the 10 in all.

Drawing by Leonardo

But if like me you like the Scottish Colourists then the Kelvingrove Museum is for you.

And Glasgow just buzzes on a Sunday – The well-known expression‘Glasgow’s miles better’ or now ‘Glasgow is for people’.

PS I have now watched a programme by Foina Bruce on BBC4 covering Leonardo’s development.
The programme leads up to revealing of a new portrait of Christ.  Find it at
https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b016xjq6/da-vinci-the-lost-treasure

 

April 27, 2019

New Sleeper – forget Brexit and arrive refreshed

Filed under: Brexit, Personal, Railways, Scotland, Travel — derryvickers @ 8:28 pm

This post is purely personal.

Scotrail, after months of work, have now got their Sleeper Fleet together and the first journey north is from Euston tomorrow evening.

The Sleeper is the way to travel for that full day’s meeting in London or Edinburgh or Glasgow. Forget the Red Eye flight where you have to turn up at the airport at 6 am. The sleeper gets you there in comfort by 8am in plenty of time for the 9am meeting. Some may say the journey is uncomfortable and I admit I occasional wake up going through Rugby when the train slows; sometimes it has even stopped for ½ hour so as not to arrive too early but that has been the exception. But the real benefit to me is that you can board the train at 11 pm and the new service offers 10am and just go to sleep and just sleep knowing that you will be at your destination on time effortlessly.

The new service offers full Scottish Breakfast rather than the current ‘packed breakfast’.

The service is extended to Fort William and Inverness during the Summer months; which means that you can enjoy crossing Rannoch Moor from the comfort of the buffet car and even an early dram ; and if you want you can travel on from Fort William to Mallaig and Skye on the steam hauled Jacobite. Alternatively, you can go to Skye via Kyle of Lochalsh via Inverness; not so, glamourous but beautiful scenery all the same, and over the highest mainline railway at Drumochter.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-pty-pty_extension&hsimp=yhs-pty_extension&hspart=pty&p=fort+william+to+mallaig+by+steam+train#id=1&vid=9dfef8efa0bf7896e073328f8d515555&action=click

Anyway, just get a flavour of the benefits of the new sleepers at:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/27/london-scotland-revamped-train-sleeper-romance-revival

End of Personal Blog – Brexit free

April 26, 2019

The Good Friday Agreement resurrected – we can only hope on this Friday one week on

The British and Irish governments have reached an agreement to establish a new round of talks involving all the main political parties in Northern Ireland, starting on 7 May.

Theresa May and the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, credited the public response to the killing of Lyra McKee with the announcement on Friday of a fresh attempt to restore power sharing in Northern Ireland.

But see the small print

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/26/northern-ireland-fresh-attempt-to-restore-power-sharing

There’s a Hole in my Bucket Dear Theresa

Filed under: Brexit, Politics, Security, Theresa may — derryvickers @ 10:46 am

“The Huawei 5G row took a very serious turn yesterday after Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill (pictured above) wrote to all ministers, special advisers and officials to demand answers on who was responsible for the leak. In what looks like the inverse of Murder on the Orient Express – “none of us did it!” – all those Cabinet ministers who were said to have raised concerns at the Chinese firm’s role (Williamson, Javid, Hunt, Fox, Mordaunt) have now put out categoric denials that they were responsible for the breach of confidence.”

“One Tory MP told me the UK’s industrial strategy should now focus on how to help Huawei’s rivals like Nokia.”

Read Paul Waugh at PAUL WAUGH <dailybrief@huffpost.com> for 26 April 2019

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