1. A Busman's Holiday

    A Busman's Holiday

    A Busman’s Holiday

    Well you know how it goes, the prospect of a significant birthday and the weather at home isn’t all that, so a birthday abroad is just what the doctor, if not what the bank manager ordered. And being well, in the business of fine glassware why not take a peek at the making of glass across the narrow sea. The first stop on the holiday though was to Rome. There were plenty of glass artefacts on view as it’s well known that only two things pass the test of real time and they are glass and pottery. Roman glass wasn’t quite of the sophistication that we know now, but some of it is very pretty and delicate, with beautiful colours and it probably was made in a day. The highlight for me though was a trip to the Colosseum that ancient entertainment space where as many as half a million went to die for the amusement of the Roman throng. It had sixty lifts and it seems that Emperors didn’t really want gladiators to die, because then they had to compensate the owners, because g

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  2. A Celebration of the Life

    A Celebration of the Life

    “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

    In the words of the great Joni Mitchell, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone,” and this must apply to our late monarch Queen Elizabeth II. The lasting memory should not be that with Paddington Bear for the Platinum Jubilee, but the steady hand she held on the tiller of monarchy for seventy years. Although the animated bear episode did show that she was always a ‘sport,’ just as when she ‘sky dived’ out of a helicopter to open the 2012 Olympic Games. She ruled in an era of tremendous change and despite her youth when she was made queen, she was just twenty five years old on holiday in Kenya at the Treetops Hotel, she was always a uniting figure.

     It was so long ago that Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and many years older than the new monarch.  She had been the quiet favourite of the public since she had put on uniform to serve in the ATS in the Second World War and then married Philip of Greece in Westmin

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  3. A Favourite Little Train, Snow and Sales

    A Favourite Little Train, Snow and Sales

    Taking the Piste

    Now I’m not a skier, I was brought up in the suburbs of the city where only the posh people went skiing and I didn’t know any posh people. I get the attraction of the sport, the clear skies and air, the rapid descents and the après ski, but it’s always been a little bit iffy taking up the sport in Scotland. I’ve just now been looking at the snow forecast for the Cairngorms and it looks positive. The freeze and thaw cycles are creating a good base on most runs above 700 metres they say, but below 700 metres you won’t find much snow. There have been recent snow showers which haven’t helped a lot, but there has been some drifting above 800 metres. They warn skiers “Hard snow conditions off the pistes – take care!” All very interesting, but I’m a train man, not a flinger o myself down mountains.

    And the lovely little train that is the Cairngorms mountain railway is running again for the for the first time in four years. It won’t be providing a service just yet, as

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  4. A Guide to the Day and to Our Memorable Items

    A Guide to the Day and to Our Memorable Items




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    Now I don’t know about you but I doubt I’ll be up at 6 a.m. for the start of the proceedings and as you can tell from writing this I’m not one of those hardy souls already camped out on the Mall in London to get the best perch for the Coronation day. But if you want an early start then it all kicks off with a formal procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. And radio coverage will date from that o’clock. But the main event the big procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey will signal the start of the coronation ceremonies at 10.20 a.m., sharp! After the procession with Horse Guards, Beefeaters and soldiery aplenty and loads of the pomp and ceremony the new monarch, King Ch

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  5. A Present for the Future

    A Present for the Future

    It’s a funny thing how you meet someone these days, but whether you’ve been together for 50 years or 5 weeks it’s important not to ignore Valentine’s Day. People always ask how I met the missus ten years ago now, but I always say it was how I asked her to marry me that was the important bit.

    You have to show a bit of savvy. It was second time round for both of us and so I wanted to demonstrate I was a least a bit on her wavelength so I sat up into the wee small hours one night and composed a crossword. It was a terrible crossword, but she’s always done them, learned about them from her mother and I figured the way to her heart was 6 down and 14 across.  You see inside the clues some of the answers were asking her to marry me. And of course it was 22 down and “I do.” And that's her holding the heart!

    And because we get a bit wound up in our own world and lots of us are still working from home, so we see the object of our love a bit too often you have to fight against

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  6. A Recipe for Success - Coffee Makers and Prize Winning Haggis

    A Recipe for Success - Coffee Makers and Prize Winning Haggis

    I’m in shock at the moment, I was cleaning the missus’s pride and joy, her DeLonghi  Magnifica coffee making machine, and  it managed to get mangled it in a way the manufacturers might has said was inventive. So I’ll be forming an orderly queue at the telephone for when they open on this grey Monday morning. They pick them up and take them back to the repair shop for fixing, no roving engineers for them,  I sincerely hope it can be fixed in my case that it isn’t for embalming and that the poor thing can be nursed back to full coffee making health. It’s the problem with modern technology that when it goes wrong it goes catastrophically wrong at a stratospheric price.  I expect you know that sinking feeling when something expensive has hit the bumpers and leaves you with that sinking feeling last felt by the Titanic. Oh deary me!

    In my dismal state of reflection at the coffee maker I imagine the dismay of haggis makers in the nation when a haggis, made by a Sout

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  7. A Right Royal Occasion

    A Right Royal Occasion

    There are going to be a lot of bank holidays shortly and none more important than the coronation of the new king, the first for 70 years. The scramble for invitations to the ‘do’ is well under way and there are many fewer attendees this time around for safety reasons, so many will be disappointed. So if you don’t have one like me, you’ll be watching at home, or perhaps you’ll venture down to the Metropolis and take a gander the royal couple on the 1.3 mile route from Buckingham Palace to Admiralty Arch, then down Whitehall and finally to Westminster Abbey. This is much shorter than the 1953, Queen Elizabeth II route which was over five miles long and allowed a great many people to see Her Majesty before the ceremony.

    The Stone of Scone is being borrowed for the occasion, but it will speed back north straight afterwards. The new monarch and his Queen will travel to the coronation at Westminster Abbey in an updated version of the Cinderella vehicle used by his mum. It’s an all mod

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  8. A Right Royal Whisky Bargain

    A Right Royal Whisky Bargain

    How Scottish can you get, well the Lord of the Isles also known as the King found out when he visited a distillery in John  o’Groats just a few miles from his summer home at the Castle of Mey, which featured in the hit Netflix series The Crown, alongside Bridgerton the historical romp famous for featuring our classy glassy wine suites. The monarch was greeted by kilts and whisky galore and horizontal rain, and indeed he was wearing a kilt of his own. The essence of the nation’s historical reputation! The king filled an oak hogshead cask with whisky on its way to becoming a single malt whisky and had a few drams to sample the nectar.

    The distillery is at the forefront of sustainable production methods and among other things it turns the distillers waste into bio gas which sits well with the monarch’s wishes for industry. Indeed Charles owns an Aston Martin DB6 which runs on bio-fuel made from grapes harvested on the Duchy Estates. His Maj will not b

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  9. A Toot to Say Hi or Bye!

    A Toot to Say Hi or Bye!

    When I was just a little scrap of a thing, maybe two or nearly three years old I was crying sitting on the toilet- having got into some trouble or other and my dad shouted: “Put a sock in it!” And not wanting to get into any more trouble I dutifully took off my socks and flushed them down the toilet. Oh, be careful of what you ask for with literal minded children! The plumber’s bill was immense.

    And now some of the inhabitants of a highland firth have asked those pesky cruise ships to do the same thing and put a sock in it! Cruise ships have been warned not to sound their ships' horns as they depart port. You see it’s all a part of the tradition of the sea to make a racket as you are leaving port and the ships made the signal, or noise depending on your viewpoint, when departing the Cromarty Firth, near the communities of Cromarty and Nigg.

    After a single gripe the Port of Cromarty Firth had told the boats to put a sock in it, but they weren’t sure how widespread the disli

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  10. A Touch of Glass - Royal Scot Crystal Stars in Regency Drama

    A Touch of Glass - Royal Scot Crystal Stars in Regency Drama

    A Touch of Glass - Royal Scot Crystal Stars in Regency Drama

    Dearest Reader, you will be astonished to know that the makers of a hit television series have come to us for their finest on screen crystal. Yes, it’s true. The glasses featured heavily on the Netflix romp and which have been seen by millions upon millions around the world are from Royal Scot Crystal. I jest not! So as Lady Whistledown would say in the hit TV series Bridgerton, ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife or at least a bit of Regency  action in the shrubbery.’ Before she added: ‘It is also true that the Producers of the hit series in need of some prime crystal would look to the makers of Royal Scot Crystal for some wonderful glasses to be used in the period drama.’

    The Marriage Merry-go-Round

    The series is the creation of the amazing Shonda Rhimes who also invented the long running Grey’s Anatomy

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