Thursday, April 9, 2009
Not a bad cast list
A vampire, vegetables, President Obama and Bruce Springsteen - not a bad cast list for my first column back after a wee bit of a break.
However, whether readers of The South Reporter have actually missed this column of ramblings and musings from its twinned paper on the other side of the Atlantic in Scotland, I am not sure.
Regular South Reporter writer Linda Jones has kindly assured me the absence of my scribblings has been noted and I am happy to take her word for it.
My break can be put down to staff shortages, malfunctioning computer systems and just not enough time in the day to do everything that other people want you to - a feeling I am positive plenty of South Reporter readers will be familiar with in their own busy lives.
So what’s been happening since I last jotted down this column? Well, your President and First Lady received a rapturous welcome last week at the G20 summit, with a reception more akin to rock stars than politicans.
There is a real feeling that with a new incumbent in the White House and the chance to restructure the worldwide financial system onto a more fair footing, we could be at the start of a new, more honest age.
It would be nice to think so.
And another just-as-famous American is due to visit these shores later this year when The Boss struts his stuff on the stage at our national football stadium, Hampden Park in Glasgow.
And guess what? Lucky me has two tickets! It makes up for last summer when, despite having two tickets to see Bruce Springsteen play in London, my wife and I had been unable to make the trip south. I’d have been as well just setting fire to the £100 ($146.20) which I paid for the tickets.
That’s why, come the night of Tuesday, July 14, wild horses couldn’t stop me joining 60,000 other fans from being at Hampden Park. My wife, Ally, is even coming with me, although more just to keep me company than from any great affection for the Boss’ music.
It will be the second time I have seen the great man - Springsteen, that is, not Obama, although the latter is, I am sure, destined for greatness.
At home, it has been vegetable planting time in the Entwistle garden. Two raised vegetable beds have now been constructed, proudly admired, christened with a couple of beers and filled with a trailer-load of cattle manure and compost.
On Sunday, my wife and I, together with help from my 10-year-old nephew, planted out raspberry canes, blackberry and blackcurrant bushes, plus strawberries.
Now all we need is enough sun - not something you can ever take for granted in Scotland, that’s for sure - and plenty of energy to scare off the pheasants and pigeons that have already been admiring our handiwork.
As for work, this week sees me working on a fascinating story, involving adventure on the high seas, brigands, storms and a ship called Vampire.
The story involves an Internet blog site.
But what makes this blog different from the thousands that literally litter the Internet is that it tells the story of a remarkable young Borders adventurer in his own words, despite the material originally having been penned in the mid-19th century.
The blog, entitled ‘Voyage of the Vampire’, went live on the internet last week and consists of diary entries written by George Henry Scott Douglas, a young soldier from Kelso here in the Scottish Borders, and follows his daring trip aboard his ship, Vampire.
It is just one highlight from a rich collection of diaries and papers from Scott Douglas and his family that was discovered in a house in Aberdeen in the northeast of Scotland.
Entries are set up to appear online in ‘real time’ so it is as if we are really following Scott Douglas and the Vampire on its sail round Greece and Turkey which actually took place between April 1, 1846 and January 1847.
Scott Douglas fell in love with the Vampire while serving with the 34th Regiment of Foot (The Border Regiment) on Corfu. He bought the vessel, managed to obtain leave from the army and set off on an exciting cruise with two of his friends round Greece and Turkey.
The resulting journal is full of tales of adventures on the high seas, pirates and thieves.
Readers of The South Reporter can read Douglas Scott’s accounts of his adventures, with a new entry every day, online at www.voyageofthevampire.org.uk
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