January 2020

Scotland and its History. The Crown Jewels.

Scotlands Crown Jewels.

The Honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny were both used throughout history in the crowning of Scottish, English and British monarchs. They might date back hundreds of years, but they’ve been well looked after and you can still see them on display today at Edinburgh Castle (pictured).

Becoming a king or queen means a big lavish celebration with lots of fancy traditions. Scottish ceremonies were no different – monarchs here wore a jewel-encrusted crown while holding an elaborate sword and a sceptre.

These are Scotland’s crown jewels.

It’s the collective name for a jewel-encrusted crown, an elaborate sword and a sceptre.

They date from the 15th and 16th centuries.

They are the oldest regalia in the British Isles (the emblems of royalty).


They were first used together to crown the infant Mary Queen of Scots at Stirling Castle in 1543.

They were then also used at the coronations of James VI in 1567, Charles 1 in 1633 and, for the last time, Charles II in 1651.

They were hidden in the mid-17th century to keep them safe from Oliver Cromwell.

Firstly they were hidden at Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, then were smuggled out during a siege and buried a few miles away in Kinneff parish church for nine years – until the monarchy was restored in 1660.

They were then used at sittings of the first Scottish Parliament to represent the monarch.

After the Treaty of Union in 1707, they weren’t needed so, just like in a fairytale, they were locked away in a chest in Edinburgh Castle and forgotten about for over 100 years.

It wasn’t until 1818 when pressure from Sir Walter Scott brought about a search for them in the castle that they were found.

They were hidden again during the Second World War for fear of a Nazi invasion.

In total, they’ve been hidden away three times.

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My Poetry. Magnetism

 Your charms are like a magnet
I'm drawn inside by you
friends I have a plenty
but close ones there are few.
Long drawn days in silent dreams
could never replace this wonder
booms loudly in the skies
this place is full of thunder.
I am back and all is well now
to this place I call my home
I have been empty without you
I need no longer roam.
Blue skies dawn this wondrous place
singing is loud and clear
to all you people I call friends
I love and hold you dear.
I end this poem with a smile
to be back is all Gods will
you all make me so happy
and your poems are such a thrill.

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My Poetry. Little Joey.

 Joey sat in the chair he called home
 watching the world go by
 at ten years old he could not walk
no matter how hard he would try.
 His mom was a working lady
 she had to make ends meet
 a streetwalker making her wages
 making money on the street.
 Joey was left alone at night
 dreaming of what life could be
 all he saw was a window
 and outside an enormous tree.
 He imagined climbing to the top
 and shouting with all of his might
 hey you down there, look at me
 I got here and I can fight.
He dreamt of someday being a firefighter
saving many lives
children rescued from the heat
husbands and their wives.
Or maybe he could be a doctor
to end all disability in life
settle down with children
be happy with a wife.
But for now he was so lonely
in a World that made no sense
being poked at and humiliated
at everyones expence.
Despite this Joey was humble
he cared for people like him
thats why he would exercise
and go out to the gymn.
He was told he would never walk
or enjoy a stroll in the park
instead he sat there dreaming
alone and in the dark.
There are lots of Joeys in this world
who simply want their health
but sadly there are many more
who only think of wealth.    
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My Poetry. The pain she bears.

What can anyone do to relieve
the pain she feels inside?
why does this woman suffer
she only has her pride.
What happens to a flower
when it loses its perfume?
what is the point of furniture
in a well stocked room.
Why do the good always suffer?
when evil lives care free
why is it always sadness
That comes for you and me?
This lady is a diamond
pure and loved by all
so why does she always suffer
to rise and then to fall.
Maybe in a short while
a cure will be found for you
to see you smiling once again
to live your life right through.
The pain and suffering you endure
is painful not just for you
your in the hearts of many
an abundance of love you accrue.
Determination is your middle name
a fighter you are till the end
so know that you are a lot more
than just a loving friend.

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Famous Scots. Kirkpatrick Macmillan.

(1812 – 1878)

Macmillan was a Scottish blacksmith who is credited with the invention of the pedal bicycle.

Kirkpatrick Macmillan was born in 1812 in Dumfriesshire, the son of a blacksmith. He did a variety of jobs as a young man, before settling into working with his father in 1824. At around that time he saw a hobbyhorse being ridden along a nearby road and decided to make one for himself. Upon completion, he realised what a radical improvement it would be if he could propel it without putting his feet on the ground. Working at his smithy, he completed his new machine in around 1839.

This first pedal bicycle was propelled by a horizontal reciprocating movement of the rider’s feet on the pedals. This movement was transmitted to cranks on the rear wheel by connecting rods; the machine was extremely heavy and the physical effort required to ride it must have been considerable. Nevertheless, Macmillan quickly mastered the art of riding it on the rough country roads and was soon accustomed to making the fourteen-mile journey to Dumfries in less than an hour. His next exploit was to ride the 68 miles into Glasgow in June 1842. The trip took him two days and he was fined five shillings for causing a slight injury to a small girl who ran across his path.

He never thought of patenting his invention or trying to make any money out of it, but others who saw it were not slow to realize its potential, and soon copies began to appear for sale. Gavin Dalzell of Lesmahagow copied his machine in 1846 and passed on the details to so many people that for more than 50 years he was generally regarded as the inventor of the bicycle. However, Macmillan was quite unconcerned with the fuss his invention had prompted, preferring to enjoy the quiet country life to which he was accustomed. He died on 26 January 1878.

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My Poetry. Newly formed Love.

Heal my wounds 
free my chains
bond our love
with the time that remains.
Sacrifice your destiny
forget about your fate
chase away the devils
wipe clean my slate.
Play softly your music
with symphonies of power
witness my new entrance
from the dark and lonely tower.
Resuscitate my heart
with passion alive
breathe life within me
helping me to thrive.
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Scotland and its History. (Inventions)

Toasting began as a method of prolonging the life of bread. It was initially toasted over open fires with tools to hold it in place until it was properly browned. Toasting was a very common activity in Roman times; “tostum” is the Latin word for scorching or burning. As the Romans travelled throughout Europe vanquishing their foes in early times, it’s said that they took their toasted bread right along with them. The British developed a fondness for the Romans’ toast and introduced it in the Americas when they crossed the ocean.

The First Electric Toasters.

The first electric toaster was invented in 1893 by Alan MacMasters in Scotland. He called the device the “Eclipse Toaster,” and it was manufactured and marketed by the Crompton Company.

This early toaster was reinvented in 1909 in the U.S. when Frank Shailor patented his idea for the “D-12” toaster. General Electric ran with the idea and introduced it for use in the home. Unfortunately, it only toasted one side of the bread at a time and it required that someone stand by to manually turn it off when the toast looked done.

Westinghouse followed with its own version of a toaster in 1914, and the Copeman Electric Stove Company added an “automatic bread turner” to its toaster in 1915. Charles Strite invented the modern timed pop-up toaster in 1919. Today, the toaster is the most common household appliance although it’s only been in existence in the U.S. a little over 100 years.

An unusual online museum is dedicated to the toaster, with lots of photos and historical information.

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Scotland and its History. Burns night.

Burns Night is annually celebrated in Scotland on or around January 25. It commemorates the life of the bard (poet) Robert Burns, who was born on January 25, 1759. The day also celebrates Burns’ contribution to Scottish culture. His best-known work is Auld Lang Syne.

Is Burns Night a Public Holiday?

Burns Night is not a public holiday. It falls on Saturday, 25 January 2020 and most businesses follow regular Saturday opening hours in the United Kingdom.

What Do People Do?

Many people and organizations hold a Burns supper on or around Burns Night. These may be informal or formal, only for men, only for women, or for both genders. Formal events include toasts and readings of pieces written by Robert Burns. Ceremonies during a Burns Night supper vary according to the group organizing the event and the location.

The evening centres on the entrance of the haggis (a type of sausage prepared in a sheep’s stomach) on a large platter to the sound of a piper playing the bagpipes. When the haggis is on the table, the host reads the “Address to a Haggis”. This is an ode that Robert Burns wrote to the Scottish dish. At the end of the reading, the haggis is ceremonially sliced into two pieces and the meal begins.

Public Life

Burns Night is an observance but it is not a bank holiday in the United Kingdom.


Robert Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland, on January 25, 1759. He died in Dumfries, Scotland, on July 21, 1796. He was a bard (poet) and wrote many poems, lyrics and other pieces that addressed political and civil issues. Perhaps his best-known work is “Auld Lang Syne”, which is sung at New Year’s Eve celebrations in Scotland, parts of the United Kingdom, and other places around the world. Burns is one of Scotland’s important cultural icons and is well known among Scottish ex-pats or descendants around the world. He is also known as: “Rabbie Burns”; the “Bard of Ayrshire”; “Scotland’s favourite son”; and in Scotland “The Bard”.

Robert Burns acquaintances held the first Burns supper on July 21, the anniversary of his death, in Ayrshire, Scotland, in the late 1700s. The date was later changed to January 25, which marks his birthday. Burns suppers are now held by people and organizations with Scottish origins worldwide, particularly in Australia, Canada, England, and the United States.


The Scottish flag is often displayed at Burns Night celebrations. It is known as the Saltire and consists of a rectangular blue background with thick white bars on the diagonals. The diagonals form a cross that represents Saint Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland.

At Burns Night events, many men wear kilts and women may wear shawls, skirts or dresses made from their family tartan. A tartan was originally a woollen cloth with a distinctive pattern made by using colours of weft and warp when weaving. Particular patterns and combinations of colours were associated with different areas, clans and families. Tartan patterns are now printed on various materials.

Many types of food are associated with Burns Night. These include cock-a-leekie soup (chicken and leek soup); haggis; neeps (mashed turnips or swedes) and tatties (mashed potatoes); cranachan (whipped cream mixed with raspberries and served with sweet oat wafers); and bannocks (a kind of bread cooked on a griddle). Whisky is a traditional drink.

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My Poetry. Australia we pray.

Australia we feel for you 
In your horrible plight
The sadness and grieving
Is not out of sight.
The death of so many
Is hurting us all
The devastation is gross
And is hard to call.
Animals being roasted
Nowhere to run
No matter the fighting
Under the hot sun.
Homes distinguished
In a matter of days
As the fires burn out of hand
Under the suns rays.
We pray God sends rain
To put out the fires
Lighten the load
As the cleanup transpires.
Give strength to the people
Who work hard every day
Evacuating the citizens
Amongst the foray.
We are all with you
In this time of fear
Stepping up the aid
Shedding a tear.
As your great Country evaluates
The damage done
We hope you get relief
From the glaring sun.
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Scottish Architecture. Roman structures.

The Romans began military expeditions into what is now Scotland from about 71 AD. In the summer of AD 78 Gnaeus Julius Agricola arrived in Britain to take up his appointment as the new governor and began a series of expeditions to Scotland. Two years later his legions constructed a substantial fort at Trimontium near Melrose. He is said to have pushed his armies to the estuary of the “River Taus” (usually assumed to be the River Tay) and established forts there, including a legionary fortress at Inchtuthil.

Agricola’s successors were unable or unwilling to further subdue the far north. The fortress at Inchtuthil was dismantled before its completion and the other fortifications of the Gask Ridge were abandoned within the space of a few years. By AD 87 the occupation was limited to the Southern Uplands and by the end of the first century the northern limit of Roman expansion was a line drawn between the Tyne and Solway Firth. Elginhaugh fort, in Midlothian, dates to about this period as may Castle Greg in West Lothian. The Romans eventually withdrew to a line in what is now northern England, building the fortification known as Hadrian’s Wall from coast to coast. 

Around 141 A.D. the Romans undertook a reoccupation of southern Scotland, moving up to construct a new limes between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. The Antonine Wall is the largest Roman construction inside Scotland. It is a sward-covered wall made of turf circa 7 metres (20 ft) high, with nineteen forts. It extended for 60 km (37 mi). Having taken twelve years to build, the wall was overrun and abandoned soon after AD 160 The Romans retreated to the line of Hadrian’s Wall, with occasional expeditions that involved the building and reoccupation of forts, until their departure in the fifth century.

Beyond the area of Roman occupation, wheelhouses, a round house with a characteristic outer wall within which a circle of stone piers (bearing a resemblance to the spokes of a wheel) were constructed, with over sixty sites identified in the west and north.


Over 400 souterrains, small underground constructions, have been discovered in Scotland, many of them in the south-east, and although few have been dated those that have suggest a construction date in the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD. They are usually found close to settlements (whose timber frames are much less well-preserved) and may have been for storing perishable agricultural products.After the departure of the Romans we have evidence of a series of forts, often smaller “nucleated” constructions compared with Iron Age constructions, sometimes utilising major geographical features, as at Dunadd and Dumbarton.

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My Poetry. Another New Year. 2020

Once again we hit the end 
the Year is over again
time does fly when your getting older
not like it did back then.
You did not mind if years went in
it was shrugged away and forgot
sillyhearts never want to remember
you appreciate what you have got.
Will this Year bring anything exciting?
we always hope and pray
well even just waking in the morning is a bonus
and living another new day.
We all have dreams of what we want
and sometimes they do come true
Will this year be good to me?
and hopefully for you too.
This is a new decade ,what have we learned
ever stopped for a moment to think?
we still have youngsters pregnant at 13
or people who take drugs or drink!
There are still wars, and greed is a fashion
no matter how many years dwindle by
so what will this new year bring for us?
will some people live and not die?
HAPPY NEW YEAR is an empty thought
if nothing doesn’t change
think what you say and try to be genuine
even though that sounds very strange.
Lend a hand to your fellow man
Or even say hello
Try to be the best you can
You reap what you will sow.
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