Due to a system glitch, readers were unable to contact us via the Contact button on our home page and a valuable letter was missed. We apologise to the writer and to anyone else who may have been inconvenienced. The problem has now been sorted.
The missed letter, from Geoffrey Botterill, appears below, and it raises an important point. Much of the frustration felt by Arran people on such vital concerns as planning decisions has nothing to do with Westminster. These are in the hands of our local authority, North Ayrshire Council, and it is here that some constructive thinking is needed. Lesley Riddoch correctly noted that most European countries have much smaller local authorities than the British Isles does. France has more than 36,000 village communes, each one of them with its own elected officers and civil servants. If an independent Scottish government is elected in September, it will need to square up to the implications of over-large, cumbrous local bodies that, because of their sheer size, tend to rely on inflexible rules rather than intelligent thinking.
On the 30th of this month it will be exactly 50 days until the independence vote. Although the Voice has carried a lot of information from the “Yes” campaign we would like to emphasise that, in the interests of fairness, we are equally happy to carry articles from “No Thanks” or “Better Together”. The closing date for publication is the 25th of the preceding month.
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Letter from Geoffrey Botterill
When the Co-op announced a few years ago that it was to double in size, a friend said excitedly, “We'll get cheaper messages!” There was, of course, no evidence of that, but that's what he wanted, so he was sure that's what he'd get. I was uncertain. I was concerned there was likely to be a knock-on effect on smaller, local shops, as usually happens when a big supermarket comes on the scene. And so it came to pass. Some village stores have closed, the independent butcher in Brodick is no more, the cd shop shut, the Good Food Shop shut, and eventually the garden centre, too. Whether we got cheaper messages as well, I'm not so sure.
All this came to mind when I read in last month's Voice of Chomsky's “few brisk words … about the market system and the unknown people who may be affected by the deal …” Another thought crossed my mind when I read the report about Lesley Riddoch's meeting [Lamlash High School last month], in which she compared Scotland to Norway, where “the regulatory hand is light”. The report said “On Arran, we all know people well able to build a home made of the abundant timber, and anxious to do so. But they are not allowed to. Instead, we watch tree trunks being hauled to the pier and shipped off to the mainland to be pulped for paper. Is this not crazy?”
I agree. It is indeed. So what is the answer? There's a broad hint in the article: Scottish Independence. Scotland could then become much more like Norway and all would be well. But would it? Planning policy is already completely devolved to Holyrood. Perfidious Westminster has nothing whatever to do with it. There is nothing at all to prevent the Scottish Government implementing a regulation-light, Norwegian-style policy right now. It chooses not to do so.
I have spent the past three years fruitlessly trying to get permission to use one of our spacious, high-specification holiday cottages as a permanent home for a local family to live in. While our councillor, our MSP and the chairman of the planning committee all promote the boundless benefits of independence, none has ensured that common sense prevails in this instance, even when they already have all the powers to do so.
That, I'm afraid, is the reality. By all means, dream of sunshine and “freedom”, but be prepared to be disappointed. All too often would-be messiahs have feet of clay. Personally, I'm hoping for a unicorn and trying not to think about “the unknown people who may be affected by [the] deal”. As for cheaper messages, there's 15% VAT on food in Norway. Zero in the UK.
The next musical treat will be in Whiting Bay Hall on Wednesday, 9th July, with the arrival of three jazzmen who already know Arran well, though each one of them is an international star. The Ugly Bug Ragtime Three consists of John Burgess, Duncan Findlay and Andy Sharkey, who between them supply vocals, clarinet/sax, banjo/guitar and a string bass. The fun starts at 7:30 pm, tickets cost £10 at the door, from Inspirations in Brodick or online from www.arranevents.com.
This fabulous group brings together 3 of Scotland's finest jazzers to play a wonderful mix of hot rags, blues and stomps from the golden age of jazz, all delivered with real drive, swing and verve. Ugly Bug has been described, accurately, as ‘the wee band with the big, big sound.’
All three of the Ugly Bug Ragtimers also play in the award winning Nova Scotia Jazz Band. Fans will be familiar with John Burgess (clarinet, alto sax and vocals) who has played at jazz festivals and clubs all over the world and is featured on about a hundred recordings. He is the leader of the hugely popular Nova Scotia Jazz Band and has played with Roy Williams, Forrie Cairns, Digby Fairweather, Jim Mullen, Harry Becket and Alan Skidmore.
Equally popular is Duncan Findlay, banjo and guitar, who in 45 years of professional musicianship has performed and recorded with just about every famous name in the book, from Oscar Peterson onwards. Duncan has played on thousands of sessions and recordings over the years and he remains one of Scotland’s most sought-after jazz musicians.
Andy Sharkey on string bass was last on Arran with clarsach player Rachel Hair's group, but he has performed with just about every well-known Scottish artists, including singers Todd Gordon and Niki King, pianist Brian Kellock and guitarist Nigel Clark. He is also an instrumental tutor at the University of Strathclyde. If you enjoy an evening of glorious old jazz, performed by three absolute masters, this is for you.
Rehearsals have been going on for six month to combine two choirs – the Rowan Singers and the Lochranza Choir – into one, and the result can be heard and seen in two concerts this month. The first is in Lochranza Hall on Friday 4th July, and the second two weeks later, on Friday July 18th in the Community Theatre at Lamlash High School. Both begin at 7.30 pm.
The programme is a highly entertaining, with numbers from the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel at one end and some lovely classical songs at the other. Soloists and small groups will add their talents to make the events varied and lively.
On Sunday July 13th at 8.00pm, Corrie Film Club will be showing this 2012 Canadian documentary, written and directed by Sarah Polley and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. It won the $100,000 prize for best Canadian film at the Toronto Film Critics Association Awards and went on to sweep the board internationally. One critic called it ‘a brilliant film: an enthralling, exquisitely layered masterpiece of memoir that unravels an extraordinary world of family secrets through a maze of interviews, home movies, and faux home movies. It is also honest and revelatory, laying bare Sarah’s own story of finding out only belatedly who her true father was – but its power lies in its extraordinary technical skill. Polley uses a patchwork of material and techniques to piece together what is happening, and the result unfolds itself like a slow blossom. Many people in the industry had known her secret, but strangely, none of them had betrayed her, so the film has real impact.
All are welcome at Film Club showings, and there is no charge, though a small contribution to Corrie Hall’s running costs would be welcome.
On Tuesday 1st July, the gardens at Strabane will be open to visitors from 11am - 4pm. Entry is £5 per adult, children under 12 free. Refreshments and raffle. All welcome.
For anyone unfamiliar with Arran, Strabane is on the road leading north out of Brodick. Turn right at the junction with the String, and Strabane is on the right hand side of the left hand bend before you get to Duchess Court.
Arran High School surpassed itself with last week’s run of Grease. The show was packed with energy and verve and sheer, ebullient sexiness, and wowed the audience from the first beat of the highly professional band. By the end, everyone in the packed house was on their feet, shouting and applauding and doing their best to join in the snazzy arm movements of Three Sided.
Let’s face it, Grease doesn’t give its players a lot of help. The story is minimal, following Little Miss Modest from jilted misery to putting on the slap and getting her man – but such progress can be truly meaningful when you are seventeen and in love. In any case, the plot was hardly the point. This was a celebration of youth and energy and roaring hormones. The production went for that bare-fisted, with everyone concerned giving it all they’d got, and more.
The cast, with its gloriously assorted range of shapes and sizes, consisted of confident and assertive individuals who were amazingly funny as well as dancing and singing like true professionals. Clearly, David Lambert and Nicola Jane Swinton had done a tremendous job with the music and choreography, creating a solid skill in the whole cast that enabled individual actors to grab it with both hands and make the most of it. Huge credit, though, must go to Heather Johnston, the director, who brought her years of stage experience to the job of creating an astonishing production. In the short time available, the learning and rehearsal added up to an almost impossibly daunting task, but somehow, the strength was found to make it work. From the opening number, Summer Nights, the show was sassy and assured, the punchy chorus creating a solid setting for the star roles – which, in every case, were stunning performances.
Robert Ingham’s Danny exuded laid-back charm. He had the easy movement, big smile and rumpled, ‘don’t care’ look that clearly made him every girl’s dream, and yet he was matched by an equal level of talent from the other guys, each of whom brought a distinctive personality to the gang. Their customised car, ‘Greased Lighting’, created by Steve Garraway, made almost surreal bonnet-first appearances when needed, and somehow added to the sense that this was a magical summer that held a group of youngsters captive and would never be forgotten. Céile Swinton-Boyle in the lead role of Sandy was vulnerable and diffident and very chaste, until through desperation she donned the sexy gear and transformed herself into a star who swept the opposition aside. Eilidh Blair as Rizzo (the opposition in question), acted, danced and sang like a true professional, a Bluebell Girl hoofing her way through the show with a pizzazz that wowed the audience and left them amazed. Gabrielle Allison, playing Jan, the goofy, bespectacled food-gobbler of the girl-gang, was amazingly funny and managed to disguise her real talent as a dancer until it was at last called for – but the show depended on every member of the cast for its knock-out effect. The big numbers were solidly together, every player confident and exuding an energy that hit the audience between the eyes and left them still hit when they staggered out of the roaring auditorium into the summer night.
A full gallery of all the pictures from Grease (there are nearly 300!) generously supplied to the Voice for Arran by Arran Photography can be found on the Grease Gallery Page.
Robert McFall has long been at the centre of Scottish musical ideas, and the Arran Music Society was thrilled by the suggestion that Arran could be included in a major tour on the theme of Islands, both Scottish and Caribbean. On Thursday 19th June, an intrigued audience gathered in Brodick Hall to hear five string players and Susan Hamilton, soprano, performing music that ranged from Purcell onwards and spanned continents.
Sadly, the Burmudan composer commissioned to write three settings of poems by Scotiish and Caribbean writers had not been able to complete the work, but few people regretted the fact that this made space for other treats. Susan Hamilton’s glorious, heart-breaking performance of Dido’s Lament will remain in every mind, and there were original and very beautiful settings of Burns poems.
The playing was masterly, from a smoochy violin/viola duet to a marvellous suite by the Cuban composer, Fabio Landa, and each player astonished the audience with glorious performance. Brian Schiele is an outstanding violist and Rick Standley on double bass was constantly sensitive, while the violins of Rosenna East and Robert McFall himself wove their linked yet separate melodic lines. Nobody was left unmoved by the skill of Su-a Lee, a cellist of extraordinary quality, or by the subtle balance and communication between the five players. Add to that the astonishing, clear soprano voice of Susan Hamilton, who made the Dunedin Consort famous, and there is a recipe for sheer magic.
Following a highly successful performance in Shiskine on the last day of May, this splendid young orchestra gave their second concert in Brodick Church on Monday, June 2nd. As one lady said afterwards, ‘There were so many of them! I’d expected something more like a string quartet.’
From the first kick-off, it was clear that their conductor, Michael Devlin, had set high standards. As they launched into the Finzi Romance for Strings in Eb Op 11, the crisp precision of the short notes and the insistence on dynamic expression made the listeners feel in safe hands. A clear, singing tone from the first violins established a joyous attack that characterised the group’s approach to their whole programme and made it fresh and vibrant. There were moments when the cello tone in quiet passages could have had more stability, but the overall performance had great vitality. In the absence of printed programmes, it would have been good to tell the audience how many movements to expect, as there was some doubt about when to applaud – but this simply reflected the warm response that the music elicited from the listeners.
A particularly interesting piece was the competition-winning Double Bass Concerto by Alex Lamb, played by the young Malaysian bassist, Myles Nadarajah. An approachable, clear composition, it began with a beguiling rhythmic motif then offered a slower, lyrical second movement – but its real triumph lay in the third movement, a jazzy, slightly salacious number that deserves to become a standard classic in its own right.
It was difficult to believe that almost all these players were studying subjects other than music. They brought great joy to their audience, one of whom, an elderly lady, said on leaving, 'It’s good to know music is in safe hands.’ Particular thanks to Mia Tour, violin, who also master-minded all the arrangements for getting the big group here. We hope to see them again.
The ever-enterprising Joni Keen, who is one of the best jazz singers in Scotland, has bought Altachorvie, the huge house in Lamlash that used to belong to the Holiday Fellowship. It’s basically a grand old hotel, but over the years has acquired attractive rows of holiday cottages that are comfortably reminiscent of beach huts, and its uses are already becoming obvious. In September when a large cohort of students from the Royal Northern College of Music will be here to take part in the McLellan Festival, Joni will be putting them up and feeding them. Altachorvie has a fully professional kitchen, with among the best cooking facilities on Arran, so it will be, she says, no problem.
Like all good hotels, Altachorvie has a ballroom, and Joni hopes that people will use it for functions of all kinds. The grouped ceiling lights can be adjusted as needed and Joni intends to provide a small stage. A cheerful event on Sunday June 8th featured Arran’s own Sheila Gilmore telling stories, backed by a man from Girvan who had his own fund of tales.
If you fancy trying Altachorvie for any function, from an afternoon tea to a concert, an art exhibition to a slap-up wedding (with a fabulous view over Lamlash Bay as well as much else) Google Altachorvie. You’ll find fabulous photos by Andy Surridge and full information, or you can phone Joni on 01770 600468.
In mid-July, Arran poets David Underdown, Cicely Gill and Tim Pomeroy travelled to Lancaster to be guests of the Lancashire group April Poets. The contact had come through last year’s McLellan Festival when an April Poet had been a prize winner in Arran’s poetry competition. The Lancaster group will be back on Arran for the coming festival, participating in a session on August 29th. For more details, contact Tim on 600287 or visit the website www.arranpoetry.co.uk. April Poets are on http://www.aprilpoets.org.uk/.
by Heather Gough
Arran is an amazing place. And one of the many amazing aspects is how truly talented young people often emerge in all areas of life. This summer two young people, known to many of us for their marvellous theatrical performances, will begin their theatre careers by studying at two of the most prestigious schools of drama in Britain. Katharine O'Donnelly has a place at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, whilst Christopher Jenks will be going to The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
It is extremely difficult it is to get a place at the best schools of drama in Britain. Both Katharine and Chris faced competition from thousands of other entrants and underwent gruelling audition stages in order to be considered. To have come through all this and be offered a place is a real achievement and a testament to their talent and also to their fortitude, determination, hard work and resilience.
Arran should be proud that it could provide a stimulus for two such talented young people, through school productions such as Oliver, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Wizard of Oz and The Importance of Being Ernest. Both were also members of Lamlash Junior Drama group over several years and gave performances with the McLellan Arts Festival.
Of course, both Chris and Katharine gained important experience off-island, which furthered their ambitions and enabled them to compete with the best in the land. This included the Scottish Youth Theatre, National Youth Theatre and various courses in stagecraft run by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. But Arran provided the start, and Arran is now very proud of Katharine and Chris, They have achieved much, and we wish them every success in the future.
John Roberts sends us an amusing story.
I was interested to read the article about Flora Drummond, and wonder if others have heard the tale about her taking part in a demonstration in Glasgow. A policeman questioned the legitimacy of her participation, accusing her of being English and therefore in the wrong place. She replied forcefully in fluent Gaelic - a language most members of the Glasgow police force could be expected to understand in those days!
selected by David Underdown, who also supplies the footnote
by Jane Hirshfield
The rat was fat and healthy and equally surprised,
almost insulted. Leaving only because I was larger
but renouncing no claim.
As I, at times, have looked my fate in the face
and acknowledged nothing.
Continued as if I could, as if this life were mine to choose,
and I the unquestioned lord of my basement kingdom
with its single, high, and unwashed corner window.
Hirshfield was born in New York but lives in rural California. Many of her poems have a visionary quality, meditations on transience and the Buddhist virtue of ‘mindfulness’ , yet they often use arresting imagery and are rooted in the living world. Here in just eight lines she allows a chance encounter with a rat in her basement speak about human mortality and our illusion that we are in control of our lives. The poem is taken from Hirshfield’s 2005 collection ‘After’, published by Bloodaxe.
On Friday 6th June a large audience filled the Community Theatre at Arran High School for a debate on Scotland’s future. Chaired with admirable firmness by Colin Turbett, the event was a courteous one, almost to the point of being muted, with no more than an occasional mutter of dissent, and little expression of real passion. Everyone was, it seemed, leaning over backwards to be reasonable.
Councillor Tom Marshall (Conservative) spoke on behalf of the 'Better Together' campaign and was backed by David O'Neill (Labour), President of COSLA, who put forward the middle argument of wanting Devo-max, in which Scotland had full control of its own affairs yet remained in the Union. Though a persuasive speaker, he thus seemed in a no-man’s-land situation of being unable to support either side with real conviction.
Dr Malcolm Kerr spoke with his usual good sense about the need for Scotland to take control of its finances, particularly with regard to preservation of the NHS. Pam Currie, particularly after the fiery performance of Dr Philippa Whitford in a recent Women for Independence, seemed curiously low-key, though in common with all the speakers, she gained animation during the subsequent audience contributions to the debate. With the exception of Tom Marshall, who thought Scotland was ‘stronger’ under the dual umbrella of London and Washington, there was universal condemnation of the continued presence of Trident. Other salient points were raised, including Scotland’s intention of developing renewable energy sources, and Sally Campbell of Lamlash put a vital question in asking when the question of land ownership was going to be tackled. There had been a promise from the Scottish Parliament to revise the feudal inheritance that leaves most of its land in the hands of a few privileged families, but nothing had been done.
Debate continued as people dispersed slowly from the building to their cars, still talking. It seemed that among supporters of both sides there was agreement that we need to see revision of out-of-date planning laws and more freedom to build houses where they are needed, using local materials such as the timber that grows on Arran in such abundance.
David Donnison, Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies at Glasgow University, only gave his support to the Yes campaign after long thought, but now sends us this excellent poem on the subject.
Yes or No?
Yes or No? They slug it out in headlines;
bribes are dangled, ruination threatened.
We'll give you each five hundred pounds a year;
you'll keep the BBC, the currency ...
Stop! I shout. Is that what it's about?
What kind of country will your U.K. be?
A London tyranny? Punishing
its poorest, its refugees and frozen homeless?
Enemy to human rights and common kindness?
Our sons to die in other countries' wars
while we bow down to Gods of competition -
leave the hindmost to Atos or the Devil?
If that's the world we're promised, let's take our chances
upon the lonesome oceans of the world.
Can South make three no-trumps against any lead from West?
West starts with the ♠A, ♠Q and another spade, East discarding ♣9 and ♣A so that West's ♣J becomes a possible entry. North unblocls and South wins the third trick with the ♠9. The ♦J to the ♦K and ♦A is followed by the ♣Q, a low club to the ♣K and the ♥Q to the ♥K and ♥A.
(A) If East has discarded a diamond and a heart, South wins two heart tricks (ending in either hand) and exits with the ♦9. East can cash a long heart but then has to lead to North's diamond tenace.
(B) If East has discarded two diamonds, North plays the ♦Q and another diamond. Declarer takes the last three tricks with two hearts and the fourth diamond.
If West starts with a low spade, East's return has to assist South with his entry problems so that he can come to four club tricks and five in the red suits.
Public meeting on Friday 11th July, Whiting Bay Lesser Hall 8.00 pm
Many people feel there has been little difference between the leading political parties since the Blair years. UKIP has provided a means of expressing dissent, but its policies are widely seen as distasteful. People with (loosely speaking) Green ideas abound on Arran, actively engaged in such projects as communally-owned land and the excellent Eco-Savvy shop, so a move is starting to bring this together and give it a political form. The national press pointedly ignores the Green movement, perhaps because it is robustly of the Left, but despite that, Green Party national membership grew by 23% in the first five months of this year.
There is already a Green Party branch in Ayrshire, and the proposed Arran branch will be part of that. However, no dreary officialdom is threatened. The public meeting in Whiting Bay Lesser Hall on Friday 11th July, 8.00 pm, is to exchange ideas, opinions and suggestions. Joshua McCormick from the Ayrshire Greens, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, will be there to chip in clear explanation of where the Greens stand and what they can offer. Everyone is welcome. There is no commitment, just an open exchanging of ideas.
Often what makes one place distinct from another is the architecture. In Sydney we were very aware of a different architectural landscape from Scotland. And the contrast we had felt between the harshness of life for the first colonists and the idealism of the later settlers was apparent in the buildings.
The brutality of the convict settlements could be seen on Goat Island – a small settlement in the middle of Sydney harbour which had once been the home of some of the most troublesome convicts to be transported. Here we could see buildings painstakingly wrought from rock and a miserably small wooden cell on wheels which could house 20 convicts lying chained at night which could be moved to wherever these unfortunate souls were set to work from dawn to dusk in appalling conditions. The stone buildings created by these men were, in their way, beautiful and expertly crafted as if somehow the souls of the convicts longed to create something meaningful in the midst of the horror they were experiencing.
Then there are the buildings descended from the nineteenth century settlers, many of them attractive wooden boarding with tin roofs painted in muted colours and all with a well kept garden filled with exotic flowers. Preserved as a museum are some of the other nineteenth century dwellings of The Rocks – terraced and more like tenements - inhabited by artisans and traders who arrived to serve the growing colonial population of Sydney.
Moving into the Edwardian era we could see streets which reminded us of images of the Wild West and of the Southern States of America – overhanging verandas to shade pedestrians as they walked along in the hot Australian sun and wrought iron work to indicate the house of someone who had gone up in the world.
And then of course, the late twentieth and twenty first centuries represented by gleaming glass towers emblazoned with corporate logos – signs of prosperity, commerce and industry. Curiously the older and more modern buildings often sit side by side, the past juxtaposed with and dwarfed by the present. Which is exactly how it is.
The motorcycle show at Arran Heritage Museum last July was the first ever event of its kind at the museum. Local motorbike enthusiasts joined forces with the Scottish branch of the AJS and Matchless Owners club to put on a great show of classic, modern and off road machines. In beautiful summer sunshine, more than thirty restored and gleaming motorbikes paraded on the lawn. A huge crowd of spectators packed the grounds to examine the motorbikes and were also entertained by Arran Pipe Band and singing group “Fish and Ships”.
The motorbikes, together with “other interesting vehicles”, will return to the museum on Sunday 6th of July. It is anticipated that even more machines will attend as an invitation has been extended to other clubs in Scotland, so why not come along and join the fun.
12th June 1951 - 16th June 2014
Sonnet for a Superstar
by David Underdown
(written for Margo's 60th birthday, three years ago).
Margo, how can you be sixty? There’s no way
you’re old enough to be a pensioner!
We gasp at what you pack into your day –
as Viking, vet-wife, rugger-mum, photographer,
piper, Hifar evangelist and now, Lord bless
us, hydro-electric entrepreneur –
the way you do it seems so stressless.
You are a bon viveur, a connoisseur
of life! And only yesterday you hitched
that ride home through Afghanistan, a Logan who
became a Wheeler (fixed but free) and pitched
back into life at Spring-well (as you do).
To the Logan who’s the Shogun of the Corrie Hall,
our high-tech priestess with the mostest of them all!
(Skipness 12 June 2011)
With the great generosity that was so charactistic of her, Margo helped to set up the online Voice for Arran, and we look back with warmth and gratitude at the time we spent working together. We will not see her like again.
by Dave Payn
1 Eastern native since he defected (7)
5 Watch send-up (5)
8 Brat, 2, over and out (3)
9 Somehow, am rid of tatty rags for carnival (5,4)
10 Experience refusal, one hears (4)
11 Maker of new tin over, right? (8)
12 Suggest odds for the Spanish novice (5)
14 Ensemble – eastern collection (5)
17 Introduced commercial with German bear (8)
19 Currency dispatched, it’s said (4)
22 Bravado shown when Russian turns up with band to a party (7-2)
23 Mostly present before (3)
24 Shape-altering aspect (5)
25 About to be surrounded by drunk this evening (7)
1 About to caress and get on (5)
2 Little devil bowled over? Correct! (7)
3 Yours truly turns up with my award (4)
4 Go wrong again on assignment (6)
5 A strange kind of respect when I replace Edward using muscle (5)
6 Deserve a broken type of 5 (5)
7 Start point again? Capital! (7)
12 Comic recycled dustpan (5-2)
13 John reliant on change (7)
15 Titanic hit (7)
16 The importance of William I’s octet (6)
18 Feeling in the morning returns to girl (5)
20 Crime article in newspaper (5)
21 Unhappy about plumage (4)
Answers for the June crossword
1 Fate, 4 Coarse, 8 Archivist, 9 Ion, 10 Eject, 11 Acolyte, 12 Abyss, 14 Yacht, 16 Tarnish, 18 Spasm, 20 Ego, 21 Leningrad,
22 Castle, 23 Wind.
2 Alchemy, 3 Evict, 4 Climate change, 5 Anthony, 6 Spiny, 7 Intent, 8 Ape, 12 Anthem, 13 Skillet, 15 Chagrin, 17 Rioja,
18 Sinew, 19 Mad.
On Saturday 14th June, COAST supporters set up their stall on the wee Co-op end of Brodick beach to meet a group called CAMASS off the 9.45 ferry. CAMASS stands for Cameroonian Association and Sympathisers in Scotland, and they were on a day’s outing to Arran.
Cameroon is in west Central Africa, bordered by Nigeria to the west, Chad to the north-east and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Its coastline is on the Atlantic Ocean. Oddly, Cameroon is often referred to as "Africa in miniature" because of the mixture of all African features that it contains. There is a large Cameronian community in Glasgow, so the Arran Day Out saw upwards of 100 men, women and children arriving to meet COAST members and learn more about island life and marine conservation.
Jim Henderson of COAST picks up the story:
Greetings and introductions led to a rather informal day with the group playing their traditional drums, singing and dancing. Soon we had a lunch break - all prepared in advance by the group and consisting of home made delicious Cameroonian food. Later some of us spent time frolicking in the sea and exploring the fishermen’s walk, and the kids had a rare old time in the play park. All the visitors were extremely gracious and accommodating, happy to talk to the many folks who stopped to take photos, attracted by the colourful Cameroon traditional dress.
The group was formed in Glasgow in 2002 after learning of the death of someone’s father in Cameroon, when they realised that there were so many of their kinfolk residing in the Glasgow area. The first president was Humphrey Sabi. Many Cameroonians had arrived in Scotland as asylum seekers. Separated from their families, language, finance, immigration and culture, it was hard to integrate into a new country, but from the first beginnings the CAMASS organisation created solidarity and enabled people to support each other when difficulties arose. It also assisted members with legal action when threatened with deportation.
Gradually, they began to prove themselves to be useful and responsible citizens. One of their biggest successes to date has been their involvement with a clean-up programme that began in 2008, improving some of Glasgow’s dirtiest areas. They have also helped to organise sporting events and excursions. They are rightly proud of their integration with the Glasgow community, who have made them feel at home and respect their culture.
Arran Visual Arts will be running its Summer Exhibition from the opening night on Friday 25th July, in Lochranza and Catacol Village Hall. It will be open from the next day, Saturday 26th, to the following Thursday, July 31st, from 10.30 am until 5.00 pm. As always, the show will focus on the work of Arran’s talented furniture-builders and craftspeople as well as its artist – a great place to pick up a present if you can bring yourself to look ahead as far as Christmas.
On both Tuesday and Wednesday there will be workshops for all members of families, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm – the ideal fun afternoon should it be wet outside – or even too hot. (Fingers crossed.)
Some news of various debates about the independence issue.
Anne Bruce sends us news on Arran Women for Independence.
An informal drop-in café will be held at the Ormidale Pavilion in Brodick on the morning of Saturday 12th July, from 10-12. No guest speaker, just an opportunity to exchangeinformation on the referendum debate, and to have a chat over tea and coffee.
The next Arran Women for Independence public drop-in will be held on Friday 25th July at Arran High School, 7.00 pm for 7.30, with guest speakers Isobel Lindsay (vice chair of Scottish CND) and Natalie McGarry (co-founder of Women for Independence).
Isobel Lindsay has been involved in Scottish politics for many years and had a long record as a peace campaigner. She brings a wealth of experience and a thoughtful approach to the independence debate, and, given Arran’s close proximity to the Faslane nuclear base, she will be able to address a number of relevant issues and concerns.
Natalie McGarry is a regular contributor to STV’s Scotland Tonight, and has made a name for herself as a political commentator and SNP candidate. A keen user of social media, she brings youthful enthusiasm to the referendum debate.
Some of her press articles can be read at http://nationalcollective.com/author/nataliemcgarry/ - she’ll certainly be a lively speaker and will have plenty to say to the women of Arran about the importance of a YES vote in the referendum.
It will be an informal evening with wine and nibbles, offering an opportunity to ask questions and chat about referendum issues.
Meanwhile, if you want more information, see http://www.womenforindependence.org/#!Isobel-Lindsay---Why-Women-Should-Vote-Yes/c8f9/AE2D19C0-E1E8-43FC-BF00-15A8EB2F9964.
You can also get a flavour of her talents as a political speaker at http://ayerightradio.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/isobel-lindsay/ and http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2014/06/21/jeane-freeman-and-isobel-lindsay
Firstly a nice story about a farm cat and some ducklings …
… and now a couple of videos from “Vivid Sydney” to complement Heather Gough’s series about her trip to Australia.