The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

This morning the snow is still with us, the promised rain has not yet arrived to wash it away. Making the coming spring all the sweeter.

The old adage states – feed a cold, starve a fever.

Yesterday I had an e-mail from one of my nurse nieces, who never seems to take off her nurses cap, she told me that I should take it easy for two or three days, and to eat well.

Yesterday I starved a fever, I fasted. Today I will take my nurse’s advice and feed a cold, even if I do not have one.

I made myself a thick sandwich on ham and settled back to watch two episodes of Jesse Stone. Jesse, as he likes to be called, is an acquired taste, my sister did not like him, calling him an old drunkard. I guess she simply did not get the flawed hero thing, her taste was more Miss Marple, or Murder She Wrote, which of course I could not stand.

What I liked apart from the clever staccato dialogue, was the intertwining relationships, and of course the storyline. Then again “Everyone to their own ways”.

About a year ago in the Scottish parliament the First Minister was asked about money given to Leonardo for what she called “aid diversification efforts”. We know now that the money from Scottish Enterprise had been used by Leonardo to fund the development of military radars.

Leonardo

Now Scottish Enterprise is being used to facilitate high-level meeting between Senior Scottish Ministers and arms industry “clients” (much as we see at Westminster). MSPs wined and dinned by arms companies in the Scottish Parliament itself. But I’m sure they were only discussing the horrific death and destruction reaped by the arms trade and how Scottish taxpayers money could be used to “aid diversification efforts”.

Scottish taxpayers may like to ponder the fact that Scottish Enterprise money is begin paid to companies such as Raytheon, the 4th biggest global arms company, and its Glenrothes factory is among the biggest in terms of its weapons production line outside the U.S.

Raytheon Glenrothes

It would seem that the Scottish government is slowly but surely becoming a branch office of the corrupt Westminster government, begging the question, where really does the First Minister stand on this? Find the answer to that question and you may unlock the reason why the SNP are dragging their feet on independence.

Follow the Money.

We have all heard and seen the storming of the Capitol building by supporters of Donald Trump on our televisions. Many, like me, have wondered why the Democrats are making such a big thing of it? The answer may lie very close to a lot of congressmen’s pocketbooks rather than their moral standing on democracy.

Boeing, BAE Systems, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are amongst the companies that have announced they are pausing political donations in the US. This follows the storming of the Capital by supporters of Donald Trump. If you are looking for answers, follow the money. I’m sure that as soon as the congressman fall back into line with the arms traders wishes, the money tap will once more flow their way.

The Long Way.

Just finished re-reading Bernard Moitessier’s book The Long Way, (Translation by William Rodarmor). I’m not sure this is a book that will interest too many people outside those who have a history of sailing. There is lots of nautical language in the book, and since unlike Slocum’s wee adventure around the world, stopping off as he went, telling tales of people and their customs. Moitessier, never leaves his boat. Still, he managed to keep readers happy and experiencing the highs and lows of his voyage.

The idea came about when Bill King and Joshua were preparing for the long way. Before leaving Toulon for Plymouth, Moitessier was, as he put it, incensed by the Sunday Times, which decided to organize a solo non-stop race around the world, with two prizes: a golden globe for the first to finish, and £5000 Sterling for the fastest voyage. There was no need to be officially entered, and the rules were simple: all you had to do was to leave from any English port between June 1st and October 31st then return to it after rounding the three capes of Good Hope, Leeuwin and the Horn.

There were other in the race, but Moitessier of all of them had many, many more sailing sea miles under his keel than any other. By the Cape of Good Hope, only Knox-Johnston, who had left much earlier and Moitessier was in with a chance of finishing. Knox-Johnston’s lead would surely see him finish first, but Moitessier had the faster boat. He himself helped built Joshua and had input into her design. Knox-Johnston had a secondhand boat that had non of the attributes of Moitessier’s little ship, and many faults, if memory serves, from reading his book on that voyage. With all Moitessier’s sea knowledge built into Joshua It was not really a fair contest in that respect.

You will possibly know the ending, and if not I will not spoil it for you. Only to finish with Moitessier’s words at the end of part 3 of the book.

“I wonder. Plymouth so close, barely 10,000 miles to the north ….but leaving from Plymouth and returning to Plymouth now seems like leaving from nowhere to go nowhere.”  

Keep safe.

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