Tuesday, 21 October 2014

ABC Wednesday, O, for Oban

McCaig's Tower,

Oban ( An t-Òban in Scottish Gaelic meaning The Little Bay) is a resort town within the Argyll and Bute council area of Scotland. Despite its small size, it is the largest town between Helensburgh and Fort William and during the tourist season the town can play host to up to 25,000 people.

The site where Oban now stands has been used by humans since at least mesolithic times, as evidenced by archaeological remains of cave dwellers found in the town. Just outside the town stands Dunollie Castle, on a site that overlooks the main entrance to the bay and has been fortified since the Bronze age. Prior to the 19th century, the town itself supported very few households, sustaining only minor fishing, trading, shipbuilding and quarrying industries, and a few hardy tourists. The Renfrew trading company established a storehouse there in about 1714 as a local outlet for its merchandise, but no Custom-house was deemed necessary until around 1760.

The modern town of Oban grew up around the distillery which was founded there in 1794, and the town was raised to a burgh of barony in 1811 by royal charter. Sir Walter Scott visited the area in 1814, the year in which he published his poem The Lord of the Isles, and interest in the poem brought many new visitors to the town. The arrival of the railways in the 1880s brought further prosperity, revitalising local industry and giving new energy to tourism. Shortly thereafter McCaig's Tower, a folly and prominent local landmark, was constructed, as well as the ill-fated Oban Hydro.

Oban in 1900

During World War II, Oban was used by Merchant and Royal Navy ships and was an important base in the Battle of the Atlantic. The Royal Navy had a signal station near Ganavan, and an anti-submarine indicator loop station which detected any surface or submarine vessels between Oban, Mull and Lismore. There was a controlled minefield in the Sound of Kerrera which was operated from a building near the caravan site at Gallanach. There was also a Royal Air Force flying boat base at Ganavan and on Kerrera, and an airfield at North Connel built by the Royal Air Force. A Sector Operations Room was built near the airfield, and after the war this was extended to become the Royal Observer Corps Group HQ.

Oban was also important during the Cold War because the first Transatlantic Telephone Cable (TAT-1) came ashore at Gallanach Bay. This carried the Hot Line between the US and USSR presidents.

Since the 1950s the principal industry has remained tourism, though the town is also an important ferry port, acting as the hub for ferries to many of the Hebrides.

With thanks to Denise Nesbitt,  who created ABC, and Roger, who took over from her. For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar. This week we are looking for words beginning with O.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Our World Tuesday, ABC Wednesday, N for Naarden, Nederland

The Great Church (Grote Kerk). The church is situated on the Markstraat and dates from the 15th century. Prior to the Protestant Reformation it was named for St Vitus. It is one of the oldest surviving churches in The Netherlands, having had the good fortune to survive the Spanish invasion of 1572 and the subsequent burning of the town. The church has numerous wooden vaults that are painted with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. These were hidden for many years and were only rediscovered in a recent restoration. The church is the venue for a number of cultural activities such as organ music nights and the bi-annual Naarden Photo festival.

Great Church Naarden

The city of Naarden is famous for its cathedral, where the annual performance of the St Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach takes place. This musical happening is so popular that in order to get to experience this, one has to buy a ticket years in advance. Naarden and Bach are so closely connected that the whole city is dedicated to this great composer and his musical sons. This year May I was so fortunate to attend the Magnificat by J.S.Bach.My daughter treated me to this concert. It was marvellous. Naarden is also the domicily of the Dutch Bach Society and they organise many more concerts every year. My daughter and her partner are members of this society.

Naarden itself is a very old and interesting place from a historical point of view.

The history of the City of Naarden dates back to about 936 - 968.
 It  was then not situated on the same spot as it is now.
Due to the rising water level the city was rebuilt on a safer place.
In the Eighty Years'War Naarden had chosen the side of the Protestant Prince of Orange, which caused a massacre on the first of December in 1572.  The Spanish forces killed 700 inhabitants ,men, women and children, in front of the townhall, which is still in use and is called now The Spanish House.

Townhall Naarden

The massacre by the Spaniards in 1572
To punish the population even more the town walls were demolished. New fortifications were built, consisting of ramparts, moats and townwalls. They still exist.

With thanks to Denise Nesbitt,  who created ABC, and Roger, who took over from her. For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar. This week we are looking for words beginning with N


Welcome to Our World Tuesday! This meme continues in memory of the work of Klaus Peter, whose "that's My World" brought people together from around the world every Monday to share the wonders therein--big and small.Please click on our  logo for "Our World Tuesday" in the sidebar. Thank you Team of O. W. T.!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai: ‘Nobel award is for all the voiceless children’

At 17, campaigner Malala, the schoolgirl the Taliban could not silence, becomes youngest Nobel peace prize recipient

Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafz
Pakistani rights activist Malala Yousafzai, stands with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, as she holds bouquets of flowers after her Nobel peace prize win. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
Malala Yousafzai once wrote: “We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced. I was shot on a Tuesday at lunchtime, one bullet, one gunshot heard around the world.”
Two years and a day after her attempted assassination by Taliban gunmen, that shot continued to reverberate with the Nobel committee’s announcement that the 17-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl is to share the peace prize, its youngest recipient ever.

When the news broke, Malala was in a chemistry class at Edgbaston high school for girls, Birmingham, far away from the mountain-fringed city of Mingora in the picturesque Swat valley where she was born, and where she began her outspoken campaign for the right to education, and where she almost died on 9 October 2012.

Malala – a name now instantly recognisable worldwide – shares the 8m kronor (£690,000) prize with Kailash Satyarthi, 60, an Indian child rights campaigner, as both are lauded for their “struggle against the suppression of children and young people”.
Malala’s campaign, noted the Nobel committee, has been carried out “under the most dangerous circumstances”, and it places her alongside previous recipients Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Congratulations to Malala Yousafzai!

She is still a teen-ager, and she has done something so important and great, that nobody will ever forget her.  Taliban has drawn the attention to this girl and to all the girls who are not allowed to go to school.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Our World Tuesday, ABC Wednesday, M for Money

 The heads of the coins are different in every country. Spain, Belgium and  the Netherlands  have the heads of their kings. Other countries have a famous statue or another national symbol instead of a head. The tails are all the same in all our countries.

Great Britain and the Scandinavian countries are not participating.

Welcome to Our World Tuesday! This meme continues in memory of the work of Klaus Peter, whose "that's My World" brought people together from around the world every Monday to share the wonders therein--big and small.Please click on our  logo for "Our World Tuesday" in the sidebar. Thank you Team of O. W. T.!

With thanks to Denise Nesbitt, who created ABC, and thanks to Roger. For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar. This week we are looking for words beginning with M.

"Money Money Money" (by Abba)

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay
Ain't it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me
That's too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn't have to work at all, I'd fool around and have a ball...

Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the rich man's world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the rich man's world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It's a rich man's world

A man like that is hard to find but I can't get him off my mind
Ain't it sad
And if he happens to be free I bet he wouldn't fancy me
That's too bad
So I must leave, I'll have to go
To Las Vegas or Monaco
And win a fortune in a game, my life will never be the same...

The introduction of the Euro was not easy. Many European countries were against the adoption of this  coin the Dutch included, as you can see from the sticker.But as always the population gave in and we have been using the Euro for 14 years now.


Which countries have adopted the euro - and when?

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

ABC Wednesday, L for Loch Lomond, Loch Katrine and Loch Ness

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine

Nine years ago I had a holiday in Scotland. We made a boattrip on Loch Katrine which was really beautiful and peaceful like in the fjords of Norway and yet....

Norway has no castles like Scotland, but typically Norwegian farmbuildings with grassroofs.

The other two lochs we saw were Loch Lomond and of course Loch Ness!! But Nessie kept quiet and didn't show himself. May be he was intimidated by the Dutch language.

 With thanks to Denise Nesbitt, who created ABC, and thanks to Roger. For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar. This week we are looking for words beginning with  L.

What does the Loch Ness Monster look like?

It has a brown body with 4 flippers. Has a dragon like head. There is allot of evidence to prove that the Loch Ness Monster does really exist.
Alternative answer: There is absolutely no scientific evidence to prove that a 'monster' exists in Loch Ness. Many people believe that the 'monster' story was simply dreamed up to atract tourists, if this is true it has certainly worked. Those who believe in the 'monster' seem to think it is some sort of marine dinosaur yet seem unable to explain what a creature that has been believed extinct for tens of millions of years is doing in a Scottish loch which was buried under a kilometre or more of ice during the last Ice Age, only ten thousand years ago. 


Sunset over Urquhart Bay, Loch Ness

Although Nessie was sighted as far back as the 6th century a.d. it is the modern day sightings that have captured the public imagination.
In the early part of the 1930's a new road was built around Loch Ness which in turn brought in a spate of new sightings from road users and sightseers. Up until this time stories of the monster circulated more within the local community but talk of other sightings were spreading outwith the village.
The first recorded sighting of Nessie on land was made by Mr Spicer and his wife, on July 22nd 1933, who were driving down the road between the Loch Ness side villages of Dores and Inverfarigaig. They caught sight of a large cumbersome animal crossing the road ahead, which was some 20 yards from the water. They first saw a long neck, forming a number of arches, a little thicker than a elephant's trunk and a huge lumbering body heading towards the Loch. It disappeared into the bushes out of sight. After this sighting reports flooded in and interest grew on an international scale. Speculators offered huge prizes for the animal, dead or alive. The preparation of a cage for Nessie Circus owner Bertram Mills promised a sum of £20,000 to any man who could bring the creature alive to his circus.

On the 5th of January, 1934, a motorcyclist almost collided with the monster as he was returning home from Inverness. It was around 1a.m. and was bright due to the moonlight. As Mr Grant approached Abriachan on the north-eastern shore of the Loch he saw a large shape loom on the right side of the road.As he approached the object he saw a small head attached to a long neck.The animal saw Grant and promptly crossed the road back down to the Loch. Mr Grant, by this time, had jumped off his motorbike and followed the path it took to the Loch only to see the rippling water where thecreature had entered.In April,1934 the most famous photograph was obtained by a London surgeon as he heading towards Inverness along the new road.

Nessie The Surgeon's picture. There is some dispute as to the authenticity of this photograph.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ABC Wednesday, K for Kilt, Scotland,

From Wikipedia:

"Today tartan may be mostly associated with Scotland; however, the earliest evidence of tartan is found far afield from the British Isles. According to the textile historian E. J. W. Barber, the Hallstatt culture of Central Europe, which is linked with ancient Celtic populations and flourished between the 8th and 6th centuries BC, produced tartan-like textiles. Some of them were recently discovered, remarkably preserved, in Salzburg, Austria Textile analysis of fabric from Indo-European Tocharian graves in Western China has also shown it to be similar to that of the Iron Age Hallstatt culture. 

Tartan-like leggings were found on the "Cherchen Man", a 3,000 year-old mummy found in the Taklamakan Desert in western China (see Tarim mummies). Similar finds have been made in central Europe and Scandinavia. The earliest documented tartan in Britain, known as the "Falkirk" tartan, dates from the 3rd century AD. The fragment was stuffed into the mouth of an earthenware pot containing almost 2,000 Roman coins. The Falkirk tartan has a simple check design, of natural light and dark wool. Early forms of tartan like this are thought to have been invented in pre-Roman times, and would have been popular among the inhabitants of the northern Roman provinces as well as in other parts of Northern Europe such as Jutland, where the same pattern was prevalent."

John Campbell of the Bank, 1749. The present official Clan Campbell tartans are predominantly blue, green and black.

The nationalism of the kilt is relatively recent. It was only with the Romantic Revival of the early 19th century that the highland kilt was adopted by Lowlanders and the Scottish diaspora as a symbol of national identity. People from other countries with Celtic connections, some Irish, Cornish, Welsh and Manx, have also adopted tartan kilts in recent times, although to a lesser degree.Not every Scotsman or Scotswoman wears a kilt nowadays, but at festivals or special occasions they make a wonderful show in their kilts, while playing their bagpipes. Up until the eighteenth century, clans in Scotland had little or no association with particular tartans."

And tartans that were worn back then, were more likely to be associated with a district rather than a clan.Here are some patterns of tartans used for kilts. I couldn't find out which kilt belongs to which clan. I should like to know more about the clans and their kilts. I fear, however, that it is a rather complicated thing.

The kilt first appeared as the great kilt, a full-length garment whose upper half could be worn as a cloak draped over the shoulder, or brought up over head as a cloak. The small kilt or walking kilt (similar to the "modern" kilt) did not develop until the late 17th or early 18th century, and is essentially the bottom half of the great kilt.

With thanks to Denise Nesbitt, who created ABC, and thanks to Roger. For more interesting ABC posts click on the logo in the sidebar. This week we are looking for words beginning with K.

This tartan is worn on various occasions by the Queen


Monday, 22 September 2014

Scotland and England

Hadrian Wall built by the Romans to keep the Picts( early Scots) out of England occupied by the Romans

Thanks for your comments on the referendum, held in Scotland. You can see by the result of it, how civilized countries deal with issues like independence. If only the governments of all countries stop fighting and start listening to their people, like  in the UK, many  countries in the world,would be a lot better of. Scotland and England are a good example for the rest of the world. 

A long time ago the Scots were fighting bloody wars for their freedom , now they showed their wishes in a wise and mature way by this referendum, and they can discuss the matter like civilized people. We can say the Scots didn't lose. They deserve a lot of respect, and will eventually get what they want. Fair enough! And that goes for Ireland, Wales and other regions in the British Empire.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

To all Bonnie Lads and Lassies of Scotia

Scotland, we are all thinking of you! Choose well!

The Palace of James V


Loch Ness Urquhart Castle

Pass of Glencoe

Voters cast their ballots at polling stations across Edinburgh as the Scottish vote on independence opened on Thursday. Polling opened across Scotland at 07:00 local time (06:00 GMT) and will close at 22:00 local time (21:00 GMT).

Ninety-seven percent of eligible Scots are registered to vote in today's referendum on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom and become fully independent. Voters will must answer either yes or no to one question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Official national results are expected to be announced on Friday morning, though regional results could start coming as of 02:00 local time (01:00 GMT).

I like the melody and the poetical beginning of this song. The end however is violent but I can understand it. Of course I prefer a referendum to a bloody battle.