Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Scottish Dreams and Late English Summers

It's a surprise to me but Sunday will see in a year since I left on my trip for Europe (and also the election of the Abbott government which may or may not thrill you depending on your political leanings) and I was feeling a little melancholy and wondering where the last twelve months have gone!

 Loafing through London seems only to be a recent experience and I was lying in bed the other night thinking of how nice it would be to once more be striding along the Thames taking in the sights and sounds of the hustling, bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis which is the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

  Of course the United Kingdom may be on it's way to being a little smaller come September 18. The Scottish people will go to the polls to determine whether the Union of 1707 between their own nation and England shall continue to exist. A pivotal moment in the history of the British Isles and will be historic if Scotland decide to leave London to it's own devices and strike out on it's own.

 It does seem that with a touch over two weeks until the vote that the motion for independence will be defeated but the polls are narrowing and the age old nationalism which bubbles under in Scotland seems to be rising to the boil and it may be a lot closer vote than what many believe.

 Scottish independence does seem to be a dubious ambition given that there is obviously a lot more strength in unity and who is to say the old enmity between England and Scotland won't reassert itself? There will also be the unknitting of unification which will take years and cost money and argument over who gets what assets, particularly when it comes to splitting military hardware and personnel and most importantly revenue from North Sea oil drilling which seems to be at the heart of the Scottish push for independence.

 The Scots seem to believe "their" oil is being used to prop up the rest of the United Kingdom although one can only imagine the powers in London will have a bit to say about just how such a split will fall should it come to it. Another point of contention which will arise should Scotland vote to go it alone.

 From a distance it seems the push for a yes vote on September 18 is a wild fancy and the true ramifications of the split have not been thought through. No one seems to know whether or not the Queen will continue to be head of state in an independent Scotland and there is much more that is in question which seems to have been left hanging in the air.

 At the end of the day it is of course a question for the Scottish people and whilst I can see the independence camp's  point, their argument I think it is ultimately flawed. But good luck to them either way.

 My "photo of the day" is of myself at an old English manor house, the name of which escapes for the moment, situated between Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick. Linda was very keen to see a lordly mansion but in October it seems that most of the aristocratic families of England who open their houses to tourists in the summer have returned from their holidays and are back in residence.

 The house in the photo, although not being a true manor house such as is seen in "Downton Abbey" or "Pride and Prejudice" was the seat of a minor lord and has an impressive history of it's own going back to the Norman Conquest. It had been inhabited up until the 1970's when the last childless lord died and bequeathed it to the national trust for the comfort and pleasure of folk such as myself to see. A very nice place and I could see myself living there as Lord Muck! Maybe when I write my best selling novel, eh?!

Here is a shot of Linda in another part of the sprawling complex with the main living area of the house behind her. The house was full of hiding places and secret passages as Catholic priests had been hidden here during the reformation at great risk to the noble lord of the time and the home had been raided by soldiers looking for the rebel holy men but thankfully for them and their protectors the secret room where they hid was never found. Part of the home is now a small chapel dedicated to those who hid from Henry VIII's wroth inside these walls. An interesting place.

 If I ever go back to the United Kingdom it may well be a different place to what it was when I was there a year ago. Scotland may be going it alone and the Great Britain may only consist of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It probably won't come to that and in these uncertain times when Islamic militants are rising in the middle east and Russian tanks are in the Ukraine it is surely time for unity in the British Isles. I think the world would be a better place if the status quo remains.

 Let's wait and see.

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