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Great Tapestry of Scotland and Edinburgh’s Art Deco Heritage 10: TSB Bank London Road

A couple of weeks ago, mostly on the good lady’s volition, we travelled to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland which was on show at the Scottish Parliament building. Its exhibition there finishes sometime in September and it will eventually end up in Melrose when the new rail line to the borders is complete.

It’s quite an impressive collection – of embroidery rather than tapestry but Hey-ho – of over 100 panels stitched by volunteers from round Scotland each one illustrating a piece of Scottish history.

I may get round to posting other views of the panels but this one featured Dumbarton Rock, which in 870 AD (or 870 CE if you prefer) fell to the Vikings:-

on the way back to where we’d parked I captured the building below on pixels. I’d passed it many times before in the car but never stopped near enough by. It’s the TSB bank in East Norton Place (London Road) Edinburgh.

The pillars on the corners are good. The street sign on the bank also says East Norton Place. From the other side the pillars are again stand outs. The style of the number 30 is nicely deco too.

The Stuarts on BBC 2

I watched the first episode of The Stuarts on BBC 2 tonight.

It seemed, like on its first showing on BBC 2 Scotland earlier this year, an odd decision to start with James VI (or James I if you prefer.) There were no less than eight Stuart monarchs before him. In the year of the Scottish Independence Referendum that could be interpreted as a slight, another piece of English ignorance/dismissal of Scottish History.

That the first episode dwelt on James’s desire to unite the two kingdoms as Great Britain might also seem like a dark Better Together plot as the Guardian noted today.

Yet (some, though not all, of) James’s ancestors were spoken of in the programme so the ignorance/dismissal angle can on those grounds be discounted. And the differences between the two countries that then existed (of religion principally,) and in some respects still do, were not glossed over but I was left wondering who on Earth thought broadcasting this was a good idea now. It can only lead to accusations of bias

I had another such disjointed TV experience with the BBC recently. Janina Ramirez in her otherwise excellent Chivalry and Betrayal: The Hundred Years War – on BBC 4 last week, this (and next) but also a programme that has been screened before – kept on emphasising how the events she was describing played a large part in how the country “we” live in now came to be as it is. (Note also the “us” on Dr Ramirez’s web page about the programme.)

Yet that country was/is England. Ramirez seemed totally unaware that her programme was to be broadcast not on an England only channel but one which is UK-wide. Indeed that the country all the BBC’s principal audience lives in is not England, but the UK. [Except for powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies legislation at Westminster is for the whole of the UK. No English elected body oversees the equivalent powers to those devolved elsewhere (arguably there ought to be one;) it is the UK Parliament that performs that function.]

Two parts of the UK share none of the history Dr Ramirez was outlining. Wales (having been incorporated earlier) was involved directly in the Hundred Years War but neither Scotland nor Ireland were. Yet she spoke as if that circumstance didn’t exist.

This sort of thing does contribute to a feeling among many Scots (and I suspect Welsh and Northern Irish viewers too) that the BBC is a broadcaster with a mind for England only and too often forgets the three other constituent parts of the UK.

Germanic Hegemony Looms

Over the past eight years Spain dominated the international football tournaments in which they took part – though they had a premonitory blip in last year’s Confederations Cup (and what a misleading pointer that final turned out to be.)

After the win by Germany in Rio on Sunday we could be in for a longer period of domination than the Spanish enjoyed as the German players are quite young and will only have gained in confidence from their achievement. I don’t know if I can stand that thought, though.

Still, at least it gives Scotland an early opportunity to claim their scalp as the two countries meet on Sep 7th in the first qualifying game for the 2016 European Championships.

The late World Cup has unified the FIFA and Unofficial Football World Championships. Going into it Uruguay were the holders of the unofficial title but swiftly lost it to Costa Rica.

For historical reasons Scotland is actually at the top of the unofficial football championship rankings. The September game will give Scotland a chance to reclaim the actual title – if Argentina don’t beat the Germans in their friendly a few days before.

Nigeria 2-2 Scotland

International Friendly, Craven Cottage, 28/5/14

This was quite a good game, chances at both ends. Nigeria had the best of the early exchanges but Scotland had the first close effort, Ikechi Anya’s shot deflected by the defender onto the post. Then a scuffed shot from James Morrison brilliantly flicked by Charlie Mulgrew for the opener.

The first equaliser came after Uchebo was allowed to run at the defence before shooting. Allan McGregor might have had it covered but it took a wicked deflection off Grant Hanley.

Scotland’s second was due to good play down the right. Alan Hutton’s cross came off defender Egwuekwe to end up in th enet.

The second equaliser was a case of the commentator’s curse. With about a minute or so of normal time left he had just informed us that it was in 1951 that Scotland last won four away games in succession when Nigeria promptly scored. Well; it still is.

A refreshing attacking performance by Scotland until Nigeria began to dominate in the second half. A draw was just about right.

Euro 2016 Draw

So Scotland gets Germany, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar.

It could have been worse, I suppose. (Could it have been worse?)

We won’t finish ahead of Germany. I don’t think we’ve beaten them for over forty years.

Ireland, Poland and Georgia are all tricky. And Gibraltar? That’s the sort of international team we have struggled against in the not so recent past.

Still, Gordon Strachan has improved things. Look on the bright side.

It’s Your Other Other National Day

Today is your other other National Day. (If you’re Scottish that is.)

St Andrew’s Day.

It is of course now more honoured in the breach as it is not a public holiday nor even – unlike in my young day – a school holiday.

I suppose 30th November isn’t a good time for a day off anyway; the daylight is too short and it’s liable to be considerably parky.

Norway 0-1 Scotland

International Friendly, Vasker Stadion, Molde, 19/11/13.

Grand larceny. Norway dominated this.

We were indebted both to David Marshall in goal and to poor Norwegian finishing for the win. It looked as if the team had never met. We survived a few bomb scares in the first half and at least two golden opportunities in the second.

Curiously the goal came after the only series of passes we managed to string together. (Passing! The secret of success at last!)

Napoleon famously asked of potential generals if they were lucky. This criterion may be applicable to managers too.

Scotland 0-0 USA

International Friendly, Hampden Park, 15/11/13.

Once again I only saw the highlights where it looked as if Scotland dominated the first half and the US the second.

I spoke today to someone who was at the game and he said the second half was more like 50/50.

It’s a lot better result for us than the last time the two countries met. Then again the US were without who are possibly their best players in Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey.

Scotland 2-0 Croatia

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A, Hampden Park, 15/10/13

Well, beating a team ranked in the world’s top ten twice inside a few months without losing a goal isn’t too shabby.

Again I only saw the highlights but it looked from them as if we played the ball about quite well – at least once we had scored. Croatia also seemed to play better this time than last and had a decent team out.

Encouraging signs, then.

It’s a long time till the next qualifiers, though, and fourth place won’t help our seeding any. (More than sixth or fifth would have done, right enough.)

I see our southern cousins managed to make it without benefit of play-off. Well done.

FYR Macedonia 1-2 Scotland

FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Europe, Group A, Philip II of Macedonia Arena, Skopje, 10/9/13

Two wins on the road is not to be scoffed at, but we rode our luck in the second half. Overall Matt Gilks had more saves to make than the Macedonian keeper had in the whole game.

Ikechi Anya, though, has a welcome injection of pace and willingness to get forward. His goal was very well taken.

Scotland had much the better of the first half and our failure to score could have come back to haunt us. Macedonia were much more positive in the second half and looking likelier to score just before we did but didn’t let us in the game after that. When the equaliser came it didn’t look likely they could lose. But up stepped Shaun Maloney to do what he’s done for Wigan and usually doesn’t get the opportunity to do for Scotland (because we don’t get free kicks around the area that often.)

If results in other games go against us it may still be we’ll need to beat Croatia – who have second place in the group in the bag anyway – next month to avoid bottom spot.

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