07 October 2007

Scotophile Monday

Welcome back to Scotophile Monday! All sources credited. Enjoy!

Stolen DaVinci Painting Found
Leonardo Da Vinci's painting "The Madonna With The Yarnwinder", valued variously between £25 to £35 million, was stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway in August 2003. The late Duke (who died last month) was most distressed at the loss, which occurred when two men dressed as tourists overpowered a guide and stole the painting. Now, four years later, four men appeared in Dumfries Sheriff Court in connection with the robbery and the painting has been recovered from a lawyer's office in Glasgow. The current Duke of Buccleuch is reported to be "overjoyed" at the prospect of the return of the masterpiece. But he said that his delight was "tinged by sadness" that his father did not live to see the precious artwork returned to Drumlanrig. Watch video

Recycling in Scotland Reaches New High
Data from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) show that more than 28.4% of household waste in Scotland is now recycled - 4% up on the previous year and 11% up on two years ago. Recycling hardly existed in Scotland five years ago. But with government (and European) encouragement, great strides have been made. Even so, Scotland (and the UK) is still far behind many other European countries, where 70% is being achieved in some parts. Efforts are being made to improve on the present level in Scotland. There is clearly plenty of room for improvement in some parts of the country - Glasgow, the largest of all the local authority councils, has only managed to reach 16.8% and is bottom of the league table. Clackmannanshire, the smallest county, has the highest recycling rate (43.6%).

Best UK Workplace
Few Edinburgh staff working for Scottish Natural Heritage wanted to relocate to Inverness when the government forced the agency to move its HQ to the Highland capital. Moving government jobs out of the capital was a flagship policy of the previous Scottish administration - but caused a lot of controversy. But the new HQ building, named "Great Glen House", aimed to be as environmentally friendly as possible and it is now one of the biggest employers in the Highlands. Now the British Council for Offices has voted their building as the best workplace not just in Scotland but in the whole UK. Judges said the building met the aspirations of staff and was welcoming to the public. The building has already achieved the highest-ever environmental assessment rating, using recycled materials and locally sourced timber.

Scotland Calendar 2008
With the end of the year fast approaching, it's time for many of us to start thinking about Christmas and sending gifts abroad. Calendars are always a popular item and the attractive Scots Magazine Calendar certainly fits the bill - either as a gift for a relative or friend - or for yourself! The large format pictures range from Devorgilla Bridge in Dumfries to the autumn colours of Loch Dunmore near Pitlochry and a snow-covered West Highland Way. Each month also has a light-hearted collection of facts and figures to educate and entertain. A bargain at two calendars for £10 (delivered to the same address). Browse the pictures and order the calendar at Scots Magazine Calendar 2008

The Royal Air Force (RAF) were embarrassed this week when they had to admit that a practice bomb had been accidentally dropped from a Tornado GR4 aircraft over Scotland - and they didn't know where they had lost it on the 90 minute flight. The aircraft was on a routine mission from its base at Lossiemouth in Moray. The RAF have warned the public not to touch it if it is found, even though it is unlikely to be a significant danger.

Scrooge McDuck
"Research" by Glasgow City Council has shown that the Disney cartoon character Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck's skinflint uncle, came from Glasgow. You might think they would want to keep quiet about that fact, but instead he has been included in a list of the city's "great and good" which the Council has published. The discovery about his origins was made in a US comic called "The Life And Times Of Scrooge McDuck, published in 1996. He is shown becoming enraged after being paid a US dime for cleaning a pair of shoes. The coin inspires him to stow away on cattle ship sailing from the cLyde to the US. There he makes his fortune and becomes the richest duck in the world. He later buys a castle on "Dismal Downs" which is supposedly near Rannoch Moor. Now he is listed in a guide to Glasgow's "who's who" and rubs shoulders with architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Sir Alex Ferguson. For the full list, including Scrooge McDuck, see Glasgow City Council - Famous Glaswegians.

This Week in Scottish History
October 7 1782 - Birth of Charles McLaren, one of the founders of the "Scotsman" newspaper.
October 8 1774 - Rev Henry Duncan, founder of the first savings bank, born in the Manse at Lochrutton.
October 9 1506 - King James IV ratified the Charter incorporating the Surgeons and Barbers.
October 9 1995 - Death of Lord Home of the Hirsel, also known as Sir Alec Douglas-Home, formerly Foreign Secretary and UK Prime Minister.
October 10 1802 - Writer and geologist Hugh Miller born on the Black Isle, Cromarty.
October 11 1297 - Letter from Wallace and Moray to the mayors of Lubeck and Hamburg saying that "The Kingdom of Scotland has, by God's Grace, recovered by battle from the power of the English".
October 11 1511 - Ship "Great Michael" launched for King James IV.
October 11 1797 - The British fleet, under the command of Admiral Adam Duncan (born in Forfar in 1731), defeated the Dutch off the village of Camperdown, Holland
October 11 2000 - Scotland's first First Minister Donald Dewar died suddenly after a fall on the steps of his official residence in Edinburgh.
October 12 1866 - Ramsay MacDonald, first Labour Prime Minister of UK, born in Lossiemouth.
October 13 1644 - Battle of Aberdeen, James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose, sacked the city.
October 13 1713 - Birth of Allan Ramsay, painter and son of Allan Ramsay the poet.

Scottish Proverbs
A collection of all the proverbs published in the last few months in the Rampant Scotland newsletter.

Lachlan's Laws No. 12
"No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes."

All of the above are from the RampantScotland.com newsletter.

More Protection for Scotch Whisky
Scotch whisky is to be given greater protection against counterfeiting, the UK Government announces. Read more

Porridge Contest Causes a Stir
A dozen cooks from across the UK had gathered in Carrbridge, in Strathspey, for the contest to see who can make the finest bowl of the oatmeal dish. Judges marked the entrants on their porridge's appearance, consistency and taste, before deciding on a champion. The winner of the coveted Golden Spurtle, or stirrer, was Maria Soep from Kilchrenan. Read more

Bid to Save Ancient Orchards
Laura Maciver examines the plight of Scotland's ancient pear and apple orchards for BBC Radio Scotland's Newsweek programme. Watch video

Killer Rabbit!! Er, Cat!!
WE HAVE real-life beasties such as the midge and fantastical monsters such as Nessie, but now investigators believe they have found a new fearsome creature roaming the forests and glens of Scotland. Researchers have produced two carcasses of what they hope is a previously undiscovered species - a large rabbit-headed wildcat. The mystery black mammal has a small head, a large snout, long canine teeth and - most distinctively - long ears which bear a resemblance to a rabbit or hare.
Big cat hunters are calling on gamekeepers to help trap a live rabbit-headed cat so its identity can be established once and for all. Read more

Web Page of the Week
The Scotsman's page for all things Macbeth.

Scottish Blog of the Week
Not updated recently, but has lots of good links and pictures.

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