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Val Doonican

Yet another voice from my young past has been extinguished.

Val Doonican was always determinedly old-fashioned and was probably more famous for Irish novelty songs, wearing woolly jumpers and singing while reclining in a chair than for ruffling the charts but he had a good crooner’s voice and five top ten hits between 1964 and 1967.

Doonican’s biggest was What Would I Be – a no 2 – and his cover of Bob Lind’s Elusive Butterfly reached No 5 in the UK charts – as, curiously, did Lind’s own version.

Val Doonican: Elusive Butterfly

Michael Valentine “Val” Doonican: 3/2/1927 – 1/7/2015. So it goes.

Other Military Graves, Crail

There are several headstones in Crail cemetery which resemble Commonwealth War Graves ones but are in grey rather than cream/white.

Both the following two men died on 23rd November 1918, hence after the armistice:-


Lieutenant Clarence Reginald Mundy


Air Mechanic F Green

A differently shaped headstone is for an RAF man, Second Lieutenant Cecil Sealey Davis, killed while flying at Crail in May 1919.

There are also graves for a Navy Reserve seaman, who died on 16th March 1918, and an air cadet who died in December 1918.


R Watson, Seaman, RNR


Flight Cadet J A Scarratt

Birthday Present

My birthday is the day before Christmas.

I don’t usually get one big present but rather small ones two days in a row.

Here’s a photo of what my eldest son gave me for my birthday this year.

An old Quality Street tin.

You’d be excused for thinking I’d be miffed but I was actually delighted. In addition to the nostalgia trip the tin provided it added to my collection of old tins, which I mentioned a few years ago.

And he did fill it:-

He also gave me the latest Pink Floyd CD. (I’m not into downloads.)

Montgomery Scott

There is a plaque in Linlithgow which commemorates the birth of Starfleet Master Engineer Montgomery Scott, aka Scotty from Star Trek.

Here’s a photo of it.

You’ll note he was born in 2222.

Gregory’s Meridian, St Andrews

I was in St Andrews at the back end of September and spotted this on the pavement in south South Street. I don’t think I’d noticed it before. Is it relatively new?

It is Gregory’s Meridian line.

A plaque on the wall gives more information.

James Gregory looks to have been one of the 17th century’s greatest scientists. A meridian, Calculus, the diffraction grating and a type of telescope?

Great Book Cover

We were in Buckingham on a Saturday morning. There was a market. Some of it was vegetables and fruit etc but further on towards the old jail there were several stalls selling antiques/junk etc. A couple of them were bookstalls. The good lady bought a watering can with a hole in it – to use as a planter – and four books. She also persuaded me to buy The Splendid Book for Boys, typical 1950s boys book fare, whose cover I show below along with the two (facing) Contents pages which I had to scan separately as together they were too big to fit the scanner.

Nice space rocket!

When I get round to reading the book I’ll also post the interior ilustrations of the SF story.

Shore Coal

Many Fife coastlines bear the marks of past coal mining. A ribbon of coal particles can be found on Kirkcaldy and Burntisland beaches, whether washed there from mines or eroded from rocks I don’t know..

At Lower Largo the deposits are larger. Here are some seen through the shore barrier.

And these are lumps.

The industrial landscape of Methil can be seen from Lower Largo beach, wind turbines, oil rigs and all.

Rust Never Sleeps

About a month ago we went for a walk along the beach at Lower Largo in Fife. Old railway sleepers held together by well-rusted iron struts form a barrier to help shore up the … err.. shore.

There is the semblance of a face on the second sleeper from right here.

The texture of the rusted supports was interesting.

In this one the iron has almost reverted back to ore. It looks very like samples of haematite I have seen.

Cryptic Answer

From yesterday’s Guardian cryptic crossword:

Leading Tory: “I have come last in poll, schooling ultimately a fiasco” (7, 4)

Answer:- Michael Gove

For those of you who have difficulty decoding such things the clues have a definition part – here “Leading Tory” – and another part which guides you towards the answer. Here the word fiasco tells you to make an anagram of previous letters, specifically “I have come”, the last letter of the word poll, “l”, and the ultimate letter of schooling, “g”.

What makes the clue particularly delightful is that its last three words describe the gentleman concerned’s tenure as Secretary of State for Education down south.

Cryptic Clue

There was a brilliant cryptic crossword clue in today’s Guardian.

It read:-
Leading Tory: “I have come last in poll, schooling ultimately a fiasco” (7, 4)

I was flummoxed to begin with; it wasn’t until I got the down clue that connected with the first letter of the seven letter word (M) that I got it.

Answer tomorrow.

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