The Grand Tour: Fife and Beyond

Ramblings of an inveterate cyclist

The good and mighty from around the world will descend on Glasgow later in the year (if it is not cancelled) for a summit on climate change and what can be done to arrest the devastating effect that climate change is having on our world. They will dine on the best that Scotland can provide and no doubt, talk for hours. Then after signing up to a commitment that will have little or no effect on global warming, there will be photo opportunities galore, column inches will be written, that could stretch from here to the moon and back. And after all this, the delegates will get back in their polluting limousines and aircraft and head home.

The biggest group there will be the Americans, who I am sure will make some grand speeches and talk of change.

Today I watched a documentary on Sky, from the great river delta, near to Windhoek in Namibia, on the south-west coast of Africa.

The Okavango River
The Okavango Delta

This is one of the last places where wild animals still live as they have for centuries, the last great delta basin where you will see many animals that were once commonplace right across Africa, alas all but gone now after the ‘White Man’ came to Africa to steal its wealth and enslave its people. Now the Americans are back in Namibia drilling for oil in this unique and unspoiled river delta.

Of course, the American company will give all sorts of assurances that there will be no pollution and will bring much-needed jobs to the area, just as they did off the great river delta of Nigeria. The oil was bought cheaply enough, with only one corrupt president to pay off. America was quick to back his claim when he said ‘all the oil, offshore in Nigeria belongs to him. A percentage of the revenue paid into an American bank account in his name.

The great river delta in Nigeria is now a stinking polluted hole from the oil spillage. The environmental damage has been enormous. Local indigenous people have seen little if any improvement in their living, whilst suffering serious damage to their natural environment. More than 7,000 oil spills between 1970 and 2000 and it is estimated that a clean-up (if this were ever to come to pass) to restoration the swamps, creeks, fishing grounds and mangroves, it would require millions and take at least 25 years, this will never happen, for who would pay for it, not the American oil companies that for sure. Namibia will suffer the same fate, the people will receive not one penny in compensation, or will even be asked for their approval. American foreign policy personified, whether it be oil or any other raw mineral.

What makes all this so unpalatable is there is more oil in the countries around the world then America could ever need. Countries in the Middle East, and South America, this is not about a shortage of oil, it is about oil that is easily accessible and more or less for the taking and American companies will exploit any rich picking regardless of the environmental damage they may do,

“Just so long as the buck stops here”

American foreign policy has distorted the market for their own ends, buying oil from the Middle East (even if it were needed, which it is not) is not profitable and America has placed sanctions on countries such as Iraq, so that their oil can not be sold on the open market. Now the Chinese are buying up Iraq’s oil at a knocked down price, what choice do the Iraqi people have?

Climate Change Conference in Glasgow will change nothing,

“When we play our charades, we are like children playing”

I was in the common room, reading and listening to Etta James at the time. I like it in the common room for it gets the sun most of the day through its floor to ceiling Edwardian windows.

“Do you have a minute – could you come out and have a look at these?”

no point in doing anything other than what you are told, I went out to see what the girls wanted from me.

“We cut the Geraniums back in the winter, they don’t seem to be doing much, what do you think?”

how long have they been in those pots? I asked,

“About four years now” was the answer.

Maybe the soil is tired, unless you have been feeding them, then again Geraniums are a poor soil plant. I would try changing the soil, maybe even move them out of the pots altogether and into the garden proper.

Back inside the conversation had reminded me of a lad I knew when I lived and worked in Edinburgh. Tam and I would acquaint the same West End pub and would sit together for a blether. One day Tam told me his grass was not doing well at all, yellow patches everywhere, he said.

Well it can’t be the lack of water I said, all the rain we’ve been having, maybe you could try feeding it, I told him, it may simply be short on nitrogen, if you come in tomorrow around the same time I will drop you off a bag of fertiliser. Which was not a problem for me since I worked for the Scottish Agricultural Industry at the time. I filled a small bag with fertiliser, that was high in nitrogen and dropped it off for him that evening.

It had been a while since I had seen Tam, he called me over to his table as soon as he saw me coming at the door of the pub. I carried my pint over and sat down, to get the conversation going I asked him how his grass was doing.

“Oh fine” he told me, “I don’t bother putting away the lawnmower, I just leave it where I finished”.

Sky Art has some great programmes but why so early? yesterday morning starting at 6 am the Royal Ballet performing Sleeping Beauty, the dancing was superb, but why so early? I could only watch a little of it during breakfast.

The other day it was “Ancient Land” – Celtic Women from Johnston Castle in Ireland, but again at an inappropriate time. The morning is for getting on with work, the evening is a time to relax and watch such splendour.

this morning Berlioz Requiem, from Notre-Dame Cathedral, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, and a choir of many. But once more on from 6.30 am until 8.30 am. Again brilliant stuff but I could not sit for two hours at this time in the morning and only listened in for half that, during breakfast and tiding up.

Once-upon-a-time we would set the machine to recorder and watch programmes later in the day,. Sadly the BBC (especially channel 2) never kept to scheduled and you missed either the beginning or worst still the end of a programme.

Yesterday (at a more reasonable time of the day) I watched Handel’s Messiah, on the BBC, I wonder if the Frenchman that misspelt the name in the carving he did of Handel, did ever received his money when he presented his bill?

Messiah was writing in double quick time, less than a month if memory serves, as Handle neared the end of his life. It was written for Easter, however, it is mostly performed at Christmas time for some unknown reason. Me well I play it all the year through, I just love the work, there was a time when I had a voice and would sing along, mostly with the contralto parts.

“He was despised, rejected, a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief”

“And he shall watch over us, like a shepherd, and he shall gather unto him the lambs with his arms.”

Handel in his masterpiece puts wonderful music to major writings by the prophets of the Old Testament this evening it was an edited version so much was left out, however this did not distract from the performance, and during this time of coronavirus lockdown, there would have been a restriction on what soloists would be available on the day, cutting your coat to the cloth.

In today’s performance the choir was outstanding, “Behold the Lamb of God”, moved me greatly, then again I am just an old romantic, full of emotion when it comes to such music.

In the film “Pretty Woman” at the end of the opera,

“Did you enjoy the performance, my dear?”

“Oh yes, I near peed my pants”

Yes, music can move people in strange ways.

Keep safe.

One thought on “Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

  1. Sustain blog says:

    Climate Change Conference in Glasgow if it is not cancelled again. Thank you 😊

    Like

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