Is that the end of February already? My, how the winter weeks have flown by. Not that I have been cosy indoors, mind, oh no. I boldly said to a friend at Christmas ‘Oh yes, I have a bike.’ You know what she said? ‘I’ve known you for five years and I’ve never seen you on it.’ It made me think, so it did. If that was true, which it was, ownership of said bike was pretty abstract, I reflected. So I’ve got it smartened up, new batteries for the lights, everything, and I go for a spin most days. Magic!
And I’ve been busy with the day job too. There have been lots of ships in the port of Leith this winter, many of them off-shore vessels with no work. This is a direct consequence of the state of the North Sea oil industry, what with the price of a barrel. Where would we be if we had believed the SNP lies(*) about the future of oil and voted to go our own way in the referendum?
Meanwhile, we should worry about the good health of the union we voted to maintain in September. It’s crazy – the biggest threat comes from the Conservative and Unionist party, the Tories. The latest nonsense is giving control over NHS funding to Greater Manchester – ‘devo-Manc’ they call it. We’re all in favour of localising power and joining up care and health budgets and strategies, but this piecemeal devolution is certain to lead to problems and resentments, which is meat and drink to the parties that want to de-stabilise the Union. The more we see of the SNP and UKIP the more we see what they have in common: no great strategy, just a separatist agenda.
So OK, there’s been a pause in the finalising of the book. I need to find out more about the range of publishing options, and I need detailed discussions on maps and images. Maps are going to be important, since much of the material is put on location in virtual tours.
I haven’t had many tour bookings since Hogmanay, but I’m just about to sign up again for a wee programme of tours in the Leith Festival in June. They are always good fun – come if you can.
(*) Now I’m not given to strong language, as you know. But the SNP knew fine they were over-stating the realities of Scotland’s oil wealth in the run-up to the Referendum. They needed to – they couldn’t make their broad figures on the economy stack up without an extremely simplified and unwarrantedly optimistic assessment. That’s lying. And they also over-estimated the contribution of wave power; no-one can even qualify for the competition they set up as long ago as 2008, to great fanfare.