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Writings of Albert Morris
Article 7 - The nationís meteorological pulse


AS A practising hypochondriac, I was delighted to read in a press report that the un-failingly-cheerful and warm-fronted, often despite drizzle and depressions, Heather "the weather" Reid, the BBCís Reporting Scotlandís silver-tongued spokesperson for the stern and wild Scottish climate, is to participate in a weather-forecasting project, organised by the NHS and the Meteorological Office, to warn and advise viewers about meteorological changes that could trigger arthritis, strokes, heart attacks and other ills that Caledonian flesh is heir to.

As one suffering from a particularly persistent cough that, I imagine, has been connected to our house via the national infection grid and lurks behind curtains, under carpets and in seldom-used cupboards, I was interested to note from the report that a common cold front with sporadic outbreaks of flu is sweeping across the country and, I suspect, that the affliction, of which there is always a lot going around and includes variable temperatures, severe wind and high pressure to go on the sick list, is appearing in patches all over the country.

While I applaud the link between weather and health that may enable us to indicate, for instance, whether severe conditions coming in from the Azores are responsible for creaking joints and an inability to raise our arms above our head - "Itís the same with my legs, doctor" - this column, purely because I am an unsleeping watchdog of the public weal, will offer occasional, political-socio-emotional forecasts covering all areas from Cape Wrath to Carter Bar.

Here is next weekís forecast: General synopsis: Bleak at first but moderating to mild gloom. Midweek optimism outbreaks quickly dispelled by persistent press flurries hinting of more sleaze revelations around The Mound in Edinburgh. Light western chicanery at local government level should reach all areas later.

Monday: Areas of high indignation pressure develop as realisation of MSPsí pay rise settles into the nationís consciousness like a heap of pig iron, bringing flurries of fury and the cold shower suspicion - perhaps unfounded - that never in the annals of Scottish political history has so much been lavished on so many for so little.

Tuesday: Cool to cold, but with hint of temperature-raising trolley rage in supermarkets, noisy children rage in public libraries, pavement rage among pedestrians and, predictably, road rage. Parking attendants and traffic wardens will gather like arrested thunderclouds before ticket precipation. Good day for horn-sounding motorists to blast antics of rival drivers, madcap cyclists and errant pedestrians scurrying on roads like lunatic hens. Later, freezing, fiscal fog seeping into bank balance bones, indicating severe council tax rises, should settle everywhere.

Wednesday: A build-up of almost unbroken cynicism will move slowly across the country in connection with the efficiency of call centres, the promises of tradesmen to turn-up for work at houses and offices at a prearranged time, the criminal sloth of public transport, the increasingly sporadic nature of postal deliveries and the often near-impossibility of getting a plumber at the week-end.

Thursday: Winds of little change maintain air of distrust over the effectiveness of police, judiciary, councils, Scotlandí s parliament, the NHS, public services, education and private finance initiatives, the church, the Deity, Scotlandís place in an expanding or contracting universe and central-heating system maintenance operatives.

Friday: Hot air from the nationís municipal debating chambers will linger and create tepid, intellectual thermals, difficult to disperse. Behind each silver cloud over Scotland, there appears to be a grey lining. Is it caused by the ozone layer or the English? Weathermen are investigating. Eveningís TV viewing likely to be a frost.

Saturday: Brighter conditions, with Scotlandís mind blissfully detached from trivia like the Land Reform Bill, ban on fox-hunting, rising crime, the war in Afghanistan and the risibly rising costs of the Holyrood parliament building, and concentrated on sport, especially football - the physical and intellectual national Nirvana - with its invigorating hatreds, jealousies, boastfulness, tribal loyalties and mindful violence. Rising temperatures will increase as pubs fill up. Situation fluid. Enjoy.

Sunday: Occluded front sweeps across Scotland bringing heavy rain of press terror and horror headlines including bolts from the blue of chaos, fury, rage, shock, shame and sleaze. Disclosure thunderclouds likely to accumulate for another revelatory and, probably, unsettled week. Is our climate of opinion changing? Is the country unravelling? An expert should tell us. Over to you, Heather.


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