bookmark_borderWhich tartan?

Originally uploaded by edwardaggie98

Given that I’m about to get married, I have to give serious thought to the question of which tartan to wear.

Should I go for Buchanan because that’s the clan I’m marrying into? It’s not normally the done thing, although my daughter of course is a member of Clan Buchanan.

Or should I go for a non-clan tartan, such as the Danish one? Another option along these lines would be Glasgow, but it’s not exactly pretty.

A somewhat humorous choice would be McNeil, based on my mother’s maiden name, Nielsen. Not sure whether this would be considered a serious crime in some circles.

Finally, I could go for one of the really common ones that Scots tend to wear if they can’t get hold of the proper one, but that would be a bit boring, wouldn’t it?

bookmark_borderBird’s Eye

Houses and cars
Originally uploaded by viralbus

I just discovered the other day, that Multimap have added a wonderful Bird’s Eye view to their maps.

It basically means the photos are taken from an angle, rather than directly above – see the examples next to this.

I find this much easier to recognise and understand, but of course it means some objects are invisible because they’re obscured by other objects.

Our house looks pretty much as it did when we bought it in the summer of 2007, and our car is not there.

On the other hand, there’s a car that looks a lot like ours in two places: In front of our old flat in Rose Street, and in front of Phyllis’s parents’ house.

Funny how it makes Scotland look like a sunny place, by the way.

bookmark_borderHouse prices will keep falling for another 3½ years

Houses for sale
Originally uploaded by I See Modern Britain

I forgot to blog this at the time, but there was an very interesting article in The Economist a few weeks ago.

It was about a recent statistical study of recessions that had come up with some interesting results.

  • House prices tend to fall 36% from their peak, and this fall takes five years. These two figures are fairly uniform.
  • Equity prices fall even more, by 56%, but this is faster: Only 3½ years. These figures are also rather uniform.
  • Rises in unemployment, on the other hand, varies a lot from one recession to another, but on average it rises by 7% over almost five years.
  • And finally, the fall in GDP is typically 9½% over two years, but again with large variations.

In Glasgow, house prices started falling in the autumn of 2007, so prices are likely to keep falling until 2012.

bookmark_borderDönererfinder gestorben

Originally uploaded by cyclone bill

Der Erfinder des Dönerkebaps, Mahmut Aygün, ist gestorben.

Er hat nicht das Dönerfleisch erfunden, nur das Fleisch mit der Joghurtsoße in eine Pita gefüllt, aber das allein ist ja auch eine hervorragende Erfindung!

Ich finde es übrigens interessant, wie der Döner verschiedene Namen in verschieden Sprachen hat: Deutsch Döner, französisch kebab (und es gilt da als griechisch, nicht türkisch), dänisch shawarma (arabisch statt türkisch).

bookmark_borderVincent, Thomas and Charlotte van Gogh

About three years ago, I decided to teach myself to paint.

I bought a lot of oil paint, an easel and lots of canvases, and even more importantly, I found a most wonderful book called How to Paint Like the Impressionists by Susie Hodge.

It basically shows step by step how to copy parts of well-known impressionist paintings.

I wouldn’t claim for a second that I was very good at it, but it was good fun.

Shortly afterwards, Phyllis, Marcel, Charlotte and Léon moved in with me, and I haven’t had the luxury to think about such things since then.

But now the book is being used again…

Charlotte got an acrylics painting set from my parents for her birthday.

She didn’t really know where to start, so I found the book again, and it seemed to inspire her, too.

So today she copied a painting by van Gogh that I myself copied three years ago.

See the original and our two copies on the right. Who’s the better painter? 😉

bookmark_borderCouncil areas

map of scotland
Originally uploaded by duncan

The Herald today was full about some ideas they’ve got about redrawing the council area map of Scotland.

Basically, they want to reduce the number from 32 to 10.

However, the resulting councils would still vary wildly in size – the largest (Greater Glasgow) would be the size of a small country with more than a million inhabitants.

Brian Taylor of the BBC has written some good comments, pointing out that it is necessary to look at the tasks the councils have to perform before it makes sense to decide on how many are needed.

I also think one should be wary of making them too large, or there will suddenly be a demand for a subdivision of them, and all the savings will go out of the window.

I think the best size is one which will make a good democratic unit, in that it has a clear centre, a physical size that makes it possible to attend meetings in one place, and a certain degree of uniformity so that people can agree on priorities.

Because of this, I’d tend to prefer more councils rather than fewer, perhaps around 100.