Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Whiskey and the Loch Lomond Distillery

"If you mean whiskey, the devil's brew, the poison scourge, the bloody monster that defiles innocence, dethrones reason, destroys the home, creates misery and poverty, yea, literally takes the bread from the mouths of little children; if you mean that evil drink that topples Christian men and women from the pinnacles of righteous and gracious living into the bottomless pits of degradation, shame, despair, helplessness, and hopelessness, then, my friend, I am opposed to it with every fiber of my being.

However, if by whiskey you mean the oil of conversation, the philosophic wine, the elixir of life, the ale that is consumed when good fellows get together, that puts a song in their hearts and the warm glow of contentment in their eyes; if you mean Christmas cheer, the stimulating sip that puts a little spring in the step of an elderly gentleman on a frosty morning; if you mean that drink that enables man to magnify his joy, and to forget life's great tragedies and heartbreaks and sorrow; if you mean that drink the sale of which pours into our treasuries untold millions of dollars each year, that provides tender care for our little crippled children, our blind, our deaf, our dumb, our pitifully aged and infirm, to build the finest highways, hospitals, universities, and community colleges in this nation, then my friend, I am absolutely, unequivocally in favour of it.

This is my position, and as always, I refuse to be compromised on matters of principle.

(Address to the legislature by a Mississippi state senator, 1958, "Whiskey Speech")

Loch Lomond Distillery Company Limited

Winged Messenger - Feed the Birds

Hedghog visitor

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tartan Sheep, ......but is it art

Stirling Castle: Palace Project Video

Renaissance heads of Caesar and Henry VIII to return to Stirling Castle

Painted carvings showing the heads of Henry VIII, Caesar and King James V which were lost when a Scottish castle ceiling was torn down more than 200 years ago have been restored as part of a six-year, £12 million project by the Scottish government’s Historic Scotland campaign.

The oak Stirling Heads, which measure a metre wide each and decorated the ceiling in the Royal Palace of James V at Stirling Castle with the faces of Royalty, ancient heroes and members of the Scottish nobility, were destroyed and scattered across the UK after being removed in 1777.

Thirty-four of the “magnificent” medallions have now been created by Livingston-based master craftsman John Donaldson.

“Carving new versions of the Stirling Heads was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the new ceiling looks absolutely stunning,” he said.

“It’s quite a feeling to have your work included in a project of this scale and importance and which will hopefully be enjoyed by millions of visitors for many decades to come.”

Leith expert Graciela Ainsworth led a specialist art conservation and restoration team in restoring the original colourful look of the heads, painting them after they had been attached to the ceiling.

“There’s nothing quite like the Stirling Heads anywhere in the world, so it is fantastic to be involved,” she said.

“I really love Scottish Renaissance styles, they have a distinctive boldness, strength and raw energy – what Historic Scotland is doing really recaptures the character of the art of the time.”

The original heads were commissioned by James V while the castle was being built, celebrating his marriage to Mary of Guise. Historians believe the building was still under construction when he died at the age of 30 in 1542, leaving the decadent home to his widow and the infant Mary, Queen of Scots.

A special gallery on the upper floor of the palace will show the new heads, ranking the King and his ancestors alongside other European rules of the time and leading historical and mythological figures such as Hercules.

“We’ve been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” said project leader Peter Buchanan.

“The new versions of the heads took five years to carve and since then a great deal of work has been done to create the ceiling and get the painting just right.

“The original ceiling was a masterpiece of Scottish Renaissance art and craftsmanship and our recreation is designed to be just as impressive.
“When people see it for the first time they sometimes just stand and say ‘wow’.”

The building is expected to open in June 2011.

Eddi Reader sings 'Aye Fond Kiss'

Mhairi Campbell sings 'Auld lang Syne'

Eva Cassidy Signs 'My Love is like a Red, Red Rose'

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Spring Hare