“The party’s over the candles flicker and dim…………”

Today I am preparing to head out for Scotland’s Capital City, Edinburgh where the AUOB March will be held. There will be the usual playing down of the numbers attending, but it matters little for thousands will attend and that is all that really matters.

The frustration of the Scottish people is growing and sadly it is growing against the SNP lead government. Nicola Sturgeon had her third mandate from the Scottish people on holding a referendum on independence; however it will never be acted upon by her.

We know she has thwarted many attempts to move forward on independence, I have covered that ground so often now, spilt milk, move on.

The SNP are now an established part of the Westminster government of the UK and that is all Nicola Sturgeon ever wanted, and ever will want, the SNP party in power at Holyrood. Holyrood had become an appendix of Westminster under her term in government.

Oh, she will stand up in parliament and spout off about independence and the Tory leader will call out that she should forget independence and get on with the day job.

When we play our charades, we are like children playing.

The government of Holyrood have never been as close to the government at Westminster at any time in their history as they have become under Nicola Sturgeon, they are now part of the Tory establishment, no matter the pretence to be on opposite sides of the fence.

The Tories will win the General Election in 2024, and it will be aided in victory by the SNP, for so long as Scotland keeps voting for the present SNP party, Labour will be kept out of power at Westminster. I am not saying people should not vote SNP I am just stating the arithmetic at Westminster. As it stands Labour can not command enough votes in England; they need the Scottish vote, but the present leader of the Labour party is more British Establishment, than Boris ever will be, and the fight still goes on within the Labour party for the soul of the party.  But what I am saying is that the Tories and the SNP are now in collusion to keep each other in power, no matter the faces they show to a gullible voter.  

I thought that the Alba Party might be the catalyst for change, but where are they?

Will there be a big contingent of Alba party members marching today, flying the Alba flag?

Will there be any elected members of the Alba party leading the march?

We have up and coming elections in Scotland, next spring, 2022, is it not time therefore for all parties to nail their colours to the mast, and say what they really do stand for?

“The party’s over my friend.”         

I spend a fortnight’s holiday in the Dordogne, with my girlfriend at the time; it was April (knowing how hot it can get in the Dordogne region in summer.) She was not into cycling as I was and although we did take two bikes with us, the cycling was slow and sedate and a lot of sightseeing. I would ride solo in the early morning, and on my return we would go for a dip in the river, I am a very poor swimmer and stayed in the shallows, Janet on the other hand struck out like a torpedo through the water. However the Dordogne did leave a lasting impression on me and we did get to know the area, and each other, very well. I loved it so much I have always wanted return. 

The D675 takes you due south travelling through the Parc Naturel Regional Perigord-Limousin. The region is a patchwork of postural land, green meadows and lashings of wild flowers, even this early in the year. Small chestnut woodlands are a feature of Dordogne and use for making charcoal, fencing and furnisher. The cattle you see are the red Limousin cattle famed for their quality of beef. Not that I had a chance to sample the quality of their beef, Janet being a vegetarian, made me, more or less at that time, a vegetarian too.  The roads, defined as a main road, but the traffic is very light in this sparsely populated part of France.  Although the landscape is flat, the roads meander, a pleasant change from the rule-straight roads of the Loire.

The Dordogne architecture is very different to what you will have seen in other parts of France. The towers are squat with square bases, and have a soffit that overhangs like a brim of a hat.

As a treat we indulged ourselves by booked into Le Chatenet, for a night, a grand Perigord stone manor house built in  the 17th-century by Lord de Giry, the room was very quaint 1920 decor, Adn did not smell at all like our tent. It had the biggest bed I have ever slept in, and the biggest bath tub I have ever shared with a woman.

One of the places we stopped was Nontron, famed for its knife-making techniques, and reputed to be the oldest knife-making foundry in France. The carnival des Soufflés, held in Nontron, dates from the Middle-Ages, a bi-annual affair, held every other April. We were fortunate enough to be there on a year that it was being held.

The townspeople dress up in nightshirts, cotton caps, clogs and masks and each carried with them a pair of bellows. The object of the exercise is to attempt to blow air up each other’s nightshirts, in order to chase away evil spirits! It looked like a lot of fun and I would have loved to have join in. That is something I find on holidays out-with Scotland, you have less inebriations about letting your hair down.

canoeing in Brantome

The ‘Venice of Perigord’ is the title given to Brantome, which is a bit strange for the area dose not have any canals. Over one thousand years ago the monks cut a mill-stream across the corner of the Dronne River, and as a result, Brantome sits on an island in the Dronne. Six bridges link it with the mainland, and where the name originates from. This area of the Dordogne is so popular with British tourists it is often referred to as ‘Dordogne-shire’ although, blessedly, when we were there we never heard another English voice.  

Stay safe.   

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