06 August 2007

Scotophile Monday

Whisky-Heated Hospital
Whisky distilleries use a lot of heat in their processes and normally that heat just gets lost in the atmosphere. But Pulteney Distillery in Wick in the far north of Scotland is already piping its waste heat to local homes and from October, Caithness General Hospital will be connected to the system - making it the first in the UK to become heated by a whisky distillery.The plant is already using an environmentally friendly biomass, wood-burning power source to provide the heat used in the distilling processes.

Campaign to Honor the "World's Worst Poet and Tragedian"
Scotland may have produced Robert Burns to delight the world with his poems and songs in his short but boisterous life, but we also managed to spawn a rhymester who vies for the dubious title of "World's Worst Poet". During his lifetime, William McGonagall (1830-1902) used to carry an umbrella to ward off the rotten tomatoes hurled at him. He was certain of his own genius, however, believing that he was second only to William Shakespeare. In recent years, however, he has attracted a growing band of admirers (who relish the sheer awfulness of his excruciating rhymes, metre and word choice). He often wrote about events of his day - and had to do a hasty rewrite of his eulogy on the railway bridge over the river Tay when it collapsed: Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay! Alas! I am very sorry to say That ninety lives have been taken away On the last Sabbath day of 1879 Which will be remember'd for a very long time. Despite a growing fan base for McGonagall, the literary establishment turns up their snobbish noses at him - and refuse to agree to a proposal to erect a memorial to him at Edinburgh's Writer's Museum alongside the recognised greats such as Burns, Stevenson and Scott. His supporters are undaunted and hold an annual "McGonagall night" when the courses are served back to front, starting with dessert and ending with the starter.

A Whiff of Change
The women's British Open golf championship was being played at the Old Course at St Andrews this week - the first time that the ladies have been allowed to compete on the hallowed ground and use the previously "men only" club house facilities. There were no doubt some old colonels who disapproved of the development - and they perhaps felt vindicated when it emerged that one of the lady players had changed her child's nappy (diaper) in the changing room. Janice Moodie, a Scot married to an American and based in Florida, admitted afterwards that it "was a particularly stinky one" but it was a choice between the club house and the car.... Although no record books were consulted, it is confidently being said that it is the first time such a task has been performed there in the 253-year history of the St Andrews club, which governs golf outside of the US and Mexico.

This Week in Scottish History
August 5 1388 - James, Earl Douglas, died out of sight of his army, in a bush, at Battle of Otterburn in which Scots defeat Henry Percy, (Hotspur) but with the loss of the Earl of Douglas.
August 5 1695 - The Scottish Parliament established a General Post Office.
August 6 1678 - First Glasgow/Edinburgh coach service began from White Horse Inn, Edinburgh.
August 6 1820 - Donald Alexander Smith - later Lord Strathcona - born in Forres. A pioneer of the Hudson Bay Company in the North-West, he later championed the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada and drove the last spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia.
August 6 1881 - Birth of Sir Alexander Fleming, discoverer of penicillin.
August 8 1946 - Former World flyweight boxing champion Benny Lynch died.
August 8 1296 - King Edward I removed to England the Stone of Destiny on which generations of Scottish kings had been crowned.
August 8 1503 - King James IV married Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England. The marriage was known as the Union of the Thistle and the Rose.
August 9 1757 - Civil engineer Thomas Telford born in Dumfries.
August 9 1935 - Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire opened after David McIntyre set up Scottish Aviation Ltd. Aircraft had been flying from the area since 1913.
August 10 1460 - King James III crowned at Kelso Abbey.
August 10 1872 - Education (Scotland) Act passed, providing elementary education for all children.
August 10 1935 - Perth Museum and Art Gallery opened by the Duke and Duchess of York.

Source for all of the above: Rampant Scotland.com

Rare Bird Victim Of Night Attacks
Experts studying the decline of a seabird have observed it being hunted at night by another rare bird. The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has been recording "alarming" falls in Leach's storm petrels on St Kilda. Researchers from Glasgow University have now calculated great skua, or bonxie, may be eating up to 14,000 of the smaller bird every year. The hunting has been witnessed with the use of night vision equipment. The research will run until 2009. NTS said the Leach's storm petrel colony on St Kilda, which it owns, is the largest in Europe and numbers about 40,000 pairs. Bonxie are regarded as the chief suspect in its decline. BBC-Scotland

Wet Weather = Slow Beer Sales
Scottish & Newcastle will reveal the "good, the bad and ugly" in its half-year figures this week which are likely to show that the wet British summer has led to a 5% fall in beer sales. Scotsman Online

Scottish Blog of the Week
Gaelic Blog

Videos of the Week
Edinburgh Military Tattoo Opening Night
Whale Trapped in Harbor


FRIGGA said...

Oh wow that was a lot of info in that post. Pretty interesting how the whiskey folks are heating the homes :-0

I stopped by to let you know I posted the results of last weeks TT13 the Food Edition. It's up at http://anyapples.blogspot.com/ if you want to take a look :P

Carolan Ivey said...

Hi Frigga!

I normally truncate these long posts behind a "Read More" link but the link inexplicably stopped working last week and I can't figure out how to fix it. :(

Thanks for the heads-up - I'll check it out!