Forth Bridges from Distance

All three bridges as seen from Dunfermline:-

Forth Bridges from Dunfermline

From grounds of Dunfermline Abbey, bridges in distance on middle left, Dunfermline Great War Memorial to right:-

Forth Bridges and Dunfermline War Memorial

Zoom on Forth bridges from Dunfermline Abbey:-

Forth Bridges from Dunfermline Abbey

Falkirk 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 27/8/16.

Since I made my way up from Dumfries and Galloway where we’ve been for the past couple of days (yes, photos of deco buildings and of War Memorials were taken) I got held up at the roadworks on the M74 and as a result missed baout fifteen minutes of this. It seems we had a chance or two in that time but all I witnessed was Falkirk dominating possession – due mainly to our giving it away – for the rest of the first half. Alan Martin had two magnificent reaction saves in that time or else we’d have been right out of it.

The second half meandered along and we only really looked under threat when a header from a corner hit the bar and went over. Nevertheless we were defending for the most part, again losing the ball too easily or giving it away but a great passing move between Ryan Stevenson, Robert Thomson and Josh Todd carved out a chance which Todd couldn’t get past Danny Rogers in the home goal.

Sub Andy Stirling put in a great cross which Robert Thomson couldn’t quite get on the end of (and a later one which someone ought to have anticipated falling at the back post but no one did.)

We might have held out for the draw but the replacement of Stevenson by Darren Barr seemed to disrupt our organisation temporarily and they managed to get a man over in the box with only four minutes to go. Cruel.

I suppose Falkirk deserved the points on pressure and possession but our defence, where Mark Docherty was outstanding at centre-half,* didn’t deserve that.

Three of the five teams we’ve yet to play are at the top of the league, and unbeaten. It’s going to be tough again.

*Edited to add. Having looked at Sons TV’s footage of the game unfortunately he was the one playing their scorer onside for the goal.

Clarke Award Winner

This year it’s Adrian Tchaikovsky for Children of Time. As I mentioned when this year’s short list was annnounced I haven’t read this. The Clarke judges, though, usually choose a worthy winner. Mr Tchaikovsky will need to go on my list.

Interzone 263, Mar-Apr 2016

Interzone 263 cover

In his column Jonathan McCalmont extols the value of experimental narrative while in hers Nina Allan argues that there is such a thing as a daunting book and they may even be necessary. However is it possible that James Smythe’s position on “difficult” books can be interpreted more favourably? His Twitter quote, “Saying that patience is needed to read those books both demeans the books, and suggests that you’re not mentally able to read them … Here’s a novel thought: stop acting like a book is a mountain. Start acting like they’re a thing people read for fun, in their free time,” might mean that people ought to be encouraged to read them rather than discouraged from doing so. In the Book Zone Jo L Walton praises Catherynne M Valente’s Radiance and Ian Hunter suggests Adam Roberts’s The Thing Itself is already one of the books of the year. As to the fiction:-

Alexander Marsh Freed’s Ten Confessions of Blue Mercury Addicts, by Anna Spencer examines the effects of blue mercury, a drug that slows down time – or speeds you up, the experience is the same – but is addictive.
In Spine1 by Christopher Fowler, as an outbreak of deaths by sting occurs in Terrance Bay it seems as if jellyfish have become intelligent pack animals.
Not Recommended for Guests of a Philosophically Uncertain Disposition by Michelle Ann King features two workers at a tourist attraction known as the Fracture, a place where physical laws have broken down. This was neatly done and reminded me of the Eagles’ Hotel California.
In Motherboard: a tale from somewhere2 by Jeffrey Thomas the rather programmatically named Leep seeks refuge from his life by imagining himself into the world he perceives in the circuit boards he works on.
Lotto3 by Rich Larson is set in a transit camp where applicants wait for their number to come up for a slot on a colony ship.
Andromeda of the Skies4 by E Catherine Tobbler has a seven-year old girl fall through ice into a lake and travel two million light years to a cavern by a strange sea.

Pedant’s corner:- 1a missing “start quote” mark. 2Written in USian – except for the spelling “dialogue”, Down syndrome (Down’s syndrome,) space crafts (space craft,) held the circuit board it both hands (in both hands,) 3would make only the whole thing more exotic (would only make the whole thing more exotic,) stared up at quickcrete ceiling (the quickcrete ceiling.) 4the caves darknesses (the caves’ darknesses?)

Reelin’ In the Years 123: Ballroom Blitz

I remember my father having a fit at the sight of men in make-up and flirting with the camera on Top of the Pops.

The Sweet: Ballroom Blitz

Ceres Scenes

The village green, called the Bow Butts, taken from the site of the Bannockburn Monument:-

Bow Butts, Ceres

Ceres old bridge, from the car park:-

Ceres Old Bridge 1

Ceres Old Bridge 2

Ceres Old Bridge 3

Ceres Burn from the old bridge:-

Ceres Burn

A folly (to the left of the bridge, above):-

Ceres Folly

The Antiquary by Walter Scott

The Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels, Edinburgh University Press, 2011, 541 p, plus 37 p Essay on the Text, 48 p Emendation list, 2 p list of end-of-line “hard” hyphens, 7 p Historical Note, 72 p Explanatory Notes, 18 p Glossary, i p Foreword, vi p General Introduction to the Edinburgh Edition, and iii p Acknowledgements. One of the Herald’s “100” best Scottish Fiction Books.

See my review of The Heart of Mid-Lothian for the intent behind the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels.

The Antiquary cover

We start in Edinburgh where the titular antiquary, Mr Oldenbuck, known as Oldbuck of Monkbarns, is awaiting the arrival of a coach to take him to South Queensferry to catch the tide there. He makes the acquaintance of a Mr Lovel, also to be travelling on the coach and on to the same final destination, the town of Fairport, near which lies Oldbuck’s estate of Monkbarns. Oldbuck is forever animadverting on the derivations of place names and the like and seeking out antiquarian antecedents for objects – and is often mistaken in his attributions. The usual longueurs and prolixity which beset Scott’s novels are again present, here exacerbated by the novel taking a long time to get into its stride. Different plot strands are set off and pursued and these appear at first to be almost occurring at random. Only about two thirds of the way through do the connections between several of the characters become apparent and that in a way which is immediately obvious to the modern reader but may well have been more of a novelty in Scott’s time. As with The Heart of Mid-Lothian the strands are eventually tied together a bit too neatly and in this case perfunctorily.

Scott here rather over-indulges in nominative descriptivism. We have mention of a Dr Dryasdust, the local minister is Mr Blattergowl, the bailiff Mr Cleansweep, Mrs Mailsetter deals with the post, the butcher’s wife is Mrs Heukbane, Mrs Shortcake is married to the baker, and there is a German con-man, Herman Dousterswivel.

Despite its title the book focuses more on the gaberlunzie (i.e. licenced beggar) Edie Ochiltree, than on Oldbuck. We first meet Ochiltree when he contradicts Oldbuck’s views about the presence of remains of a Roman camp on the latter’s estate by saying, “I mind the bigging o’t,” (in other words the structure’s origins lie within living memory) but thereafter he is the active force in many of the scenes. He also speaks in very broad Scots. This surely must have been disconcerting to Scott’s English readers on first publication, but it is of course the marker of his importance to Scottish literature.

Pedant’s corner:- on the inside cover flap; Lovell (the text always has Lovel.) The usual Scott renderings, sprung, sunk, sung, etc as per the Scottish usage of the time but here also run for ran. Similarly we have the usual stupified, but then, surprisingly, stupefaction. In one case a new speaker’s new paragraph is not indented. “‘He had had the pleasure,’ Lovel answered, ‘to see her at Mrs Wilmot’s, in Yorkshire.’” (Since it is Lovel who is speaking – about himself – should that “he” not be “I”? Or else remove the quote marks.) “No. I.,” (Scott’s punctuation?) At least three different spellings of ecstasy (two of them with an x,) invaasion (an explanatory note says this is the spelling in Scott’s manuscript. I can only think this indicates an idiosyncratic pronunciation by Ochiltree.) In the explanatory notes; “(who gave his name both to the Cameronian sect)” (????) Hary (Harry, as in Blind Harry, author of the poem The Wallace,) tansfer (transfer,) marriage marriage (unnecessary repeat of marriage.)

Hugo Awards 2016

These were announced at the 74th Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II, last Saturday.

BEST NOVEL The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

BEST NOVELLA Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

BEST NOVELETTE Folding Beijing by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu

BEST SHORT STORY Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer

Of these I have read only Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, see here.

I have no idea whether any of these were Sad (or even Rabid) Puppy nominations – in the cases of Folding Beijing and Binti at least I would be inclined to doubt it – but “No Award” appeared only once in the full list this year.

War Graves, Ceres

In Ceres churchyard I found several Commonwealth War Graves and one for the Polish forces.

Private Mary Lindsay, Auxiliary Territorial Service, 20/8/1945, age 21:-

War Grave, Ceres Cemetery

Sister Mary Lister (Peddie) Waddell, Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service, 5/8/1947, age 30:-

Ceres War Grave

Corporal W Buchan, RAF, 7/9/1940, age 19:-

War Grave, Ceres

A family grave which commemorates William Husband, killed in action in France, 23/3/1918, age 20, and David Husband, who died as a result of war service, in Crail, on 2/4/1929, age 38:-

Ceres Cemetery War Grave

The Polish War Grave. Corporal Jan Niemiec, 1st Polish Rifle Brigade, 28/11/1940:-

Polish War Grave, Ceres

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Fife

Ceres is a village in central Fife.

The monument was erected on the six-hundredth anniversary of Scotland’s most famous victory in battle, at Bannockburn in 1314, to commemorate the men of Ceres who fought in it. It’s situated by the side of the “Bow Butts” as Ceres’s village green is called.

Ceres holds a Highland Games every year. It is said to have hosted a games every year since 1314 after Robert the Bruce granted permission in commemoration of the village men’s contribution to his victory.

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres:-

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Fife

Inscription:-

Bannockburn Monument, Ceres, Inscription

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