Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A favorite Song of Mine By Gordon Lightfoot

Pussywillows Cattails by Gordon Lightfoot

Pussywillows cat-tails soft winds and roses
Rainpools in the woodland water to my knees
Shivering quivering the warm breath of spring
Pussywillows cat-tails soft winds and roses
Catbirds and cornfields daydreams together
Riding on the roadside the dust gets in your eyes
Reveling, disheveling the summer nights can bring
Pussywillows cat-tails soft winds and roses

Slanted rays and colored days stark blue horizons
Naked limbs and wheat bins hazy afternoons
Voicing rejoicing the wine cups do bring
Pussywillows cat-tails soft winds and roses

Harsh nights and candlelights wood fires a-blazin'
Soft lips and fingertips resting in my soul
Treasuring remembering the promise of spring
Pussywillows cat-tails soft winds and roses

Christian cops ‘are snubbed’ in Scotland

March 22, 2010

An organisation representing Christian cops has been denied official recognition – while a nationwide Scottish Muslim Police Association was launched with a political fanfare and £10,000 of taxpayers’ cash just days ago.

Scotland’s 127-year-old Christian Police Association say they feel they’re treated as "second-class citizens".

The CPA is run on a shoestring budget and has been consistently refused recognition by the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) on the grounds it would be "inappropriate".

Harry Pearson, branch leader of the Strathclyde CPA, described the situation as "unfair".

He will write to both ACPOS and Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill to demand the same recognition.

The Muslim group launched last Wednesday in Fife, with Mr MacAskill the guest of honour. It will receive an initial £10,000 of funding.

ACPOS said it will discuss "any concerns".

The Scottish Government said the CPA had not asked for funding.

Monday, March 29, 2010

An easy hardy meal of chicken and rice using Pataks Garlic Relish.

Beth's Indian Inspired Chicken and Broccoli

It's the Pataks Garlic Relish with its garlic, onions, vegetable oil, sugar, sultanas, dates, salt, chilli peppers, mustard, fenugreek, coriander leaves and mixed spices that makes this smell like heaven. I have added shrip and made it a shrimp and chicken dish at times and have also used boneless pork in the same way. The version here is just with chicken breasts. I generally use only the flowerlets or heads of fresh or frozen broccoli. You can put in as little or much as you like.

I use 2 to 3 cups of rice and about 1/2 to 2/3 of a Jar of Pataks Garlic Pickle or relish. I prefer the medium Pataks. They have hotter but its not my favorite. I use 3 to 4 boned chicken breasts cut up and simmered in a little water, olive oil and balsamic vinegar with one large onion chopped medium fine. I stir in the rice at and steamed broccoli at the end and add a little more Pataks if the rice does not have enough flavor. I have never had exact measurements on this as I made this dish up. My daughter adds carrots and sometimes bakes the chicken. If you make any basic chicken and rice dish you can make it taste wonderfully exotic and delicious by adding Pataks Garlic Relish. The smell that fills your kitchen is unreal. This is just as good with some lean pork or with shrimp added in with the chicken.

I always stir in the garlic relish from the jar after the chicken is mostly cooked and then stir in the rice and broccoli which I steam separately. I do it this way rather than stir fry it all because I want to avoid over cooked broccoli or mushy rice. If I feel there is not enough sauce I add more from the jar at this time. I cook the chicken breasts on the stove top in a skillet in a little water and olive oil. Sometimes I put a little balsamic vinegar in there too. When the breasts are cooked I cut them into small pieces with my chopper but you can use a knife or even cut the meat before cooking. I also chop onions and add a few early in the process but like to add more latter so they are a little more crisp.

Beth's Indian Chicken and broccoli is best on Basmati rice

This is a very simple meal but my family really loves it. You can make it with black beans too but I forgot to get more black beans this time. The part that makes this so easy is the seasonings are actually all there in the Pataks garlic relish or pickle as the Brits call it. You will love this because it tastes like you have been cooking all day and it really is a complete meal in one dish.

I usually get Pataks at Wegmans but many stores carry this brand although I think it is imported from England. You also can order it on line. It's great for adding just a little spice to many dishes. You need not add allot to get a wonderful burst of Indian spices.

Gordon Brown sets out ‘Christian’ vision, urges more religion in public life

March 17, 2010

Gordon Brown has set out his ‘Christian’ vision of politics and said that religion should not just be tolerated, but encouraged in public life.

The Prime Minister’s comments come in a new book in which the three main party leaders write open letters to the churches.

“I have always believed that the public square is more than a marketplace. Our common realm is not and cannot be stripped of values – can never be merely a place for calculation, contract and exchange” Brown writes.

“So I do not subscribe to the view that religion should somehow be tolerated but not encouraged in public life – that you can ask people to leave their faith at the door when they enter a Town Hall or the Commons’ chamber.”

Referring to the Christian contribution to British politics in general and the Labour Party in particular, he says that both congregations and Christian charities “have been Britain’s conscience on issues from debt cancellation to child poverty, to the good stewardship of the Earth.”

“The lessons of the gospels need not be kept separate from political life. If Christians engage with politics, we can together build a society where wealth helps more than the wealthy, good fortune serves more than the fortunate and riches enrich not just [the rich] That is why I entered politics, and [it is] the vision which inspires me still.”

In their respective contributions, David Cameron talks about the contribution of the churches to society and Nick Clegg about the contribution of children.

The book, entitled: “No Spin, Sleaze or Scandal…. Just politics” has been written jointly by Labour MP Andy Reed, Conservative MP Gary Streeter, Liberal Democrat MP Steve Clegg and Krish Kandiah, the Evangelical Alliance’s Executive Director of Churches in Mission.

The book, published by Authentic Media, is aimed at "political novices" and is being promoted as offering “spiritual inspiration for political involvement, practical advice for getting started, creative suggestions for connecting with digital democracy as well as stories, twitter feeds, interviews and case studies.”

• Full story at Ekklesia.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


by Sam Smith

I ended up supporting the health care bill. Not because it was a historic measure, or the most important piece of legislation in four decades or as an icon of Obama's greatness, but for the same reason one hands over a wallet to a robber. There are times when principle takes the back seat. But when it's all over, the robber is not your hero, but still a thug.

Obama essentially said that if you want 16 million poor people covered, you have to agree to heavily subsidize the insurance industry either through your taxes or through the individual mandate. Remember that about a third of that money will go for marketing and other superfluous industry spending that might have been avoided under a public plan.

The Maine Owl put it well: "The health bill neither is the Armageddon that the Republicans claim, nor the greatest social legislation since Civil Rights and Medicare in the 1960s. Rather, it's a warmed over version of Republican Bob Dole's individual private insurance mandate proposal from 1994. It is what Barack Obama campaigned against versus Hillary Clinton and later John McCain in 2008."

I can't recall a major piece of Democratic legislation that was so coated with corruption, intellectual dishonesty, cynicism and political disloyalty by those pushing it. Obama and the Democrats have offered us a quack cure - full of corrupt, ineffective and even unconstitutional provisions - neatly moderated by some good provisions. And we'll be years straightening it all out.

The liberal groupies at Move On and the like didn't notice or weren't bothered by all this, but much of America was, and because neither side was being honest, the public predictably floundered. The irony is that the Tea Party that the liberals love to hate built itself in no small part on the indefensible way in which the Democrats have behaved on health care. Thus, we are not only getting a badly designed bill but a future in which the right will thrive even more than it already has.


Center On Budget Policy Priorities: The plan would expand Medicaid up to 133 percent of the poverty line for all children and adults younger than 65 who are lawfully residing in the United States and not eligible for Medicare. This would mean that millions of low-income parents, as well non-disabled low-income adults who do not have dependent children (and who are generally ineligible for Medicaid today except in a small number of states with waivers), would become newly eligible for health coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid is the most cost-effective way to provide comprehensive and affordable coverage to people with very low incomes and thereby ensure that the low-income uninsured gain coverage.

Reuters - Within the first year of enactment Insurance companies will be barred from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.

Lifetime coverage limits will be eliminated and annual limits are to be restricted.

Insurers will be barred from excluding children for coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

Young adults will be able to stay on their parents' health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.

Uninsured adults with a pre-existing conditions will be able to obtain health coverage through a new program that will expire once new insurance exchanges begin operating in 2014.

A tax credit becomes available for some small businesses to help provide coverage for workers.

In 2011, Medicare provides 10 percent bonus payments to primary care physicians and general surgeons.

In 2011, Medicare beneficiaries will be able to get a free annual wellness visit and personalized prevention plan service. New health plans will be required to cover preventive services with little or no cost to patients.

In 2012, The threshold for claiming medical expenses on itemized tax returns is raised to 10 percent from 7.5 percent of income. The threshold remains at 7.5 percent for the elderly through 2016.

In 2012, The Medicare payroll tax is raised to 2.35 percent from 1.45 percent for individuals earning more than $200,000 and married couples with incomes over $250,000. The tax is imposed on some investment income for that income group.

In 2014, State health insurance exchanges for small businesses and individuals open.

In 2014, Health plans no longer can exclude people from coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

In 2014, Employers with 50 or more workers who do not offer coverage face a fine of $2,000 for each employee if any worker receives subsidized insurance on the exchange. The first 30 employees aren't counted for the fine.

Crooks & Liars: Authorizes early funding of community health centers in all 50 states. Community health centers provide primary, dental and vision services to people in the community, based on a sliding scale for payment according to ability to pay.


There is a huge subsidy for health insurers, paid for out of either taxes or required purchase of health insurance.

The bill doesn't take insurance and medical cost inflation into adequate account. For example, between 2000 and 2007, health insurance went up 100%. Under such a rise, the policy subsidies would become less valuable. Congress tends to lag badly in correcting such situations.

Major provisions of the bill don't got into effect for four to nine years. This is a considerable con, because it allows politicians to say they've passed something that may not go into effect until they are either out of office or, as with the president, safely in his second term. As a result they don't have to take responsibility for any failure or unanticipated cost.

The individual mandate is unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court doesn't strike it down, it will open the door to major new intrusions by the federal government into individual freedom of choice.

Many healthy people may prefer to pay fines than to purchase health insurance. Others would have no choice. Just because you're making a middle class wage doesn't mean you can afford all your expenses. What effect this will have - including on health insurance costs - is unclear but it's not good

Medicare will be hurt one way or another, probably most deeply by cuts recommended by an appointed budget commission with unconstitutionally broad powers.

Because of the delay in programs, the election of a Republican Congress or Senate could drastically change things. As the LA Times pointed out: "Insurance industry experts say there is no way to fully gauge the effect because of its extended time frame. Four years from now, they say, Congress and the White House could have new occupants who may try again to reshape the healthcare landscape."

There will be cuts to the Medicare Advantage plans that could reduce enrollment by as much as one third.

The bill does not deal with state actions. For example, budget cuts in Arizona may slash $385 from the state's Medicaid program and end Kids Care for 39,000 poor children. Writes Casey Newton in Arizona Central: "Programs benefiting low income individuals and families, such as Medicaid and CHIP, are politically vulnerable to the whims of conservatives wielding budget cleavers. Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona has just provided us with a prime example of that. Yet popular programs benefiting everyone, such as Medicare, are relatively impenetrable to the weapons of the conservatives. Suppose Congress had included single payer in their deliberations and eventually decided that the benefits were too great to pass up ,and so enacted an improved Medicare program that covered everyone. Gov. Brewer and her ilk on the state level would be powerless to stop it. "

One of the big sleepers in the bill is the plan to "institute efficiencies" in Medicare programs. In fact, Medicare is far more efficient than any private insurance plan in the country. Consider this snippet from CBPP: "The legislation would reduce annual payment updates to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices, ambulatory surgical centers, and certain other providers to account for improvements in economy-wide productivity. It would also reduce payments to home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities." And just what will happen to service and its availability? Remember: one person's efficiency is another's lack of service.


Sam Smith

IT'S PROBABLY to be expected of people who spend all day quoting disingenuous public officials, but the media is grossly exaggerating the importance of the health care bill. The comparisons to Medicare and Medicaid are not only wrong, they're insulting.

There are presently about 137 million people on Medicare and Medicaid. Although the Democrats claim to be providing health care to 32 million, half that number are being order to provide themselves with health care, which the government will partially subsidize. Those to be added to Medicaid represent only 12% of those currently enrolled in these programs and even if you add those ordered to buy insurance the number is only a quarter of those benefiting from earlier programs.

Further, Ezra Klein of the Washington Post has pointed out that, "the bill wouldn't really kick in until 2014. To get a more accurate annual figure, look at a year in which the bill is fully operational. In, say, 2016, the bill's spending will be about $160 billion. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, total health-care spending that year will be about $3.7 trillion. In other words, the bill's spending is equivalent to about 4 percent of what we'll spend in health care in a year."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

To the Snowdrops

Oh snowdrops, I think that
You came in the night,
In only your nighties
And that's why you're white.

The world was all sleeping
With never a sound,
You wanted to see it
So came through the ground.

I think that you're smiling,
But still feel too shy
To lift your sweet faces
To smile at the sky

by Melinda Kennedy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Peacefully taking Christianity to Ireland

St. Patrick is credited with taking Christianity to Ireland around A.D. 432. To sell his message, Irish legend says he chose the shamrock as a symbol of the Christian church. Its three leaves were meant to represent the Holy Trinity: God, Son and the Holy Spirit, joined together by a common stalk. Apparently, the shamrock campaign worked: by the time of St. Patrick's death on March 17, 461, he had created a number of churches, schools and monasteries dedicated to the faith.

Nora and Kentigern


Veteran nationalist Billy Wolfe dies at the age of 86

Mr Wolfe was credited with transforming the SNP

Tributes have been paid to former SNP leader William "Billy" Wolfe, who has died at the age of 86.

Born in 1924, he joined the SNP in 1959 and helped to define the party's political identity.

Under his leadership, the party achieved its greatest Westminster electoral success in 1974.

First Minister Alex Salmond said Mr Wolfe had transformed the SNP into a modern political party and would be greatly missed.

Mr Wolfe died on Thursday night in Udston Hospital in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, after a period of illness.

He was educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh, before qualifying as a chartered accountant.

He served in the Scottish Horse Regiment in World War II. Billy Wolfe blazed the trail in the professionalisation and organisation of the SNP

Mr Wolfe secured a surprise second place in the 1962 West Lothian by-election and went on to contest the seat for the SNP at a further six general elections.

He rose through the ranks to become senior vice chairman of the SNP between 1966 and 1969, before replacing Arthur Donaldson as party leader that year.

In 1974 the party secured 11 seats in the October general election, which remains their greatest victory in the Westminster parliament.

Mr Wolfe stood down as party leader in 1979, before taking on the role of party president a year later.

From 1991 to 2008 he served variously as a member of the SNP national executive committee and an elected member of the national council.

Deeply saddened

He unsuccessfully ran for the SNP presidency again in 2005 after Winnie Ewing stepped down.

Mr Wolfe is survived by his wife Kate and by four children from a previous marriage.

SNP leader Mr Salmond said: "I am deeply saddened at Billy's passing, and my thoughts are with Kate and his children David, Sheila, Ilene and Patrick.

"Billy Wolfe blazed the trail in the professionalisation and organisation of the SNP and he, more than anyone, transformed it into a modern political party."

He added that the party had achieved "outstanding success" in the mid-1970s under Mr Wolfe's leadership and he would be greatly missed.

Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray offered his condolences to Mr Wolfe's family.

Mr Gray said: "He played an important role in Scottish politics and was a leading figure in his party for many years. The contribution he made will not be forgotten."


Mr Wolfe, who was born in 1924, served in the Scottish Horse Regiment and, after the war, he became involved in groups that promoted Scotland and Scottish culture.

The qualified chartered accountant went on to join the SNP in 1959, convinced that "there is a nation of Scots, therefore, to survive, that nation must behave like other nations and accept responsibility of nationhood."

Three years after that he stood as the party's candidate in the West Lothian by-election.

While Labour's Tam Dalyell went on to win the contest, Mr Wolfe, who was educated at George Watson's College in Edinburgh, came in a surprise second.

He had fought the election under the slogan Put Scotland First – which went on to become a popular campaign slogan for the party in the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr Wolfe went on to stand in the West Lothian seat at six further general elections, although he was never elected as an MP.

He rose up through the ranks of the SNP, becoming its depute leader in 1966 – a post he held until he became leader in 1969.

It was under his leadership that the party had its greatest electoral success at Westminster.

The General Election in October 1974 saw the Nationalists win over 30% of the vote in Scotland and a record 11 SNP MPs were returned to the Commons.

Mr Wolfe stood down after the 1979 General Election, which resulted in just two SNP MPs being elected, and was succeeded as leader by Gordon Wilson.

A year later he took on the role of SNP party president and between 1991 and 2008 he served as a member of the SNP's National Executive Committee and also as an elected member of the party's National Council.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sir Walter Scott's stolen Waterloo souvenir returned

A stolen souvenir from the Battle of Waterloo has been returned to the Borders home of Sir Walter Scott.

The silver bowl, known as a quaich, was taken from Abbotsford House near Melrose in 1994.

However, it was spotted late last year in a French antiques market by silver expert Wynyard Wilkinson who identified it and arranged for its return.

The Waterloo Tree Quaich, one of many historic relics collected by Scott, will go on public display this weekend.

The piece is made from silver gilt and elm wood that was cut from a tree at the Waterloo battlefield. Scott collected a fascinating array of objects during his lifetime
Jacquie Wright
Abbotsford Trust

The Duke of Wellington directed his troops from a position under the tree in 1815 and it subsequently became a target for souvenir hunters.

The timbers were used to make a number of prestigious pieces including Chippendale chairs for the Prince Regent in 1821, and a chair for the Duke of Wellington, which was presented to him in 1837.

The quaich dates from 1824 and was made by Joseph Angell of London.

It is engraved with Scott's motto, "Watch Well".

'Hugely grateful'

The quaich was one of a number of items stolen from Abbotsford when it was owned by his descendants, Dame Jean and Mrs Patricia Maxwell Scott.

Jacquie Wright, executive manager of the Abbotsford Trust, said it was "hugely grateful" to Mr Winyard for spotting and returning it.

"Scott collected a fascinating array of objects during his lifetime and we're delighted that the Waterloo Tree Quaich is back in the collection and can be seen and enjoyed by our visitors," she said.

The trust is currently trying to raise about £10m to secure the future of Scott's Borders home.

It is awaiting a decision from the Heritage Lottery Fund about a grant application for more than £4m and is also consulting with the public about its proposed plans for the attraction.

Spring by Dante Gabriel Rossetti


Soft-littered is the new-year's lambing fold,
And in the hollowed haystack at its side
The shepherd lies o' night now, wakeful-eyed
At the ewes' travailing call through the dark cold.
The young rooks cheep 'mid the thick caw o' the old:
And near unpeopled stream-sides, on the ground,
By her Spring cry the moorhen's nest is found,
Where the drained flood-lands flaunt their marigold.

Chill are the gusts to which the pastures cower,
And chill the current where the young reeds stand
As green and close as the young wheat on land
Yet here the cuckoo and cuckoo-flower
Plight to the heart Spring's perfect imminent hour
Whose breath shall soothe you like your dear one's hand.

-Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Twins in their first day

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Miniature portrait of Scots naval hero goes on sale

Miniature portrait of Scots naval hero goes on sale

The miniature is expected to fetch up to £15,000 at auction

A tiny portrait of a Scottish naval officer who helped set the White House ablaze is estimated to fetch up to £15,000 at auction next month.

The miniature of Sir Pulteney Malcolm (1768-1838), from Dumfriesshire, measures just 10cm in height.

In August 1814 Sir Pulteney was third in command of a fleet which set fire to several public buildings in Washington, including the White House.

The miniature portrait has been in the Malcolm family since 1806.

The fire also raged through other buildings at the heart of US government, housing the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The attack was said to be in retaliation for the American looting of York, Upper Canada, now known as Toronto, in 1813.

High rank

The third son of George Malcolm, Sir Pulteney was born at Douglan, near Langholm, on 20 February 1768.

He went on to command a squadron in the North Sea during The Hundred Days' War, and achieved the rank of Admiral of the Blue in 1837.

He also served with the Duke of Wellington and Horatio Nelson.

In 1816, Sir Pulteney was appointed Commander-in-Chief on St Helena, guarding Napoleon Bonaparte.

He died in 1838, aged 70-years-old.

'Fierce battle'

The sale features a miniature of his younger brother, Sir Charles Malcolm, who was also a naval officer.

This lot is estimated at up to £12,000 and both miniatures are by George Engleheart.

Camilla Lombardi, of auction house Bonhams, said: "The miniatures of the two Malcolm brothers are superb examples of Engleheart's work from the pinnacle years of his career.

"Fresh to the market and with the provenance of having remained in the sitters' family since 1806, we look forward to a fierce battle to secure them on the day of the sale."

Both works will go under the hammer in the Fine Portrait Miniatures sale at Bonhams in London on 8 April.


On June 12, 1812, the United States of America declared war on Great Britain. There had been a long period of simmering disputes between the nations, including Northwest Territory land disputes, the British impressment of American sailors, and British blockades of American commerce with France during the Napoleanic wars. It was the War of 1812.

In August of 1814, the British landed to the south of Washington, D.C., and marched inland. The only resistance the British Army encountered as they marched towards Washington was the brief Battle of Bladensburg in Maryland, a last ditch attempt to defend the city. Because the organized American Army was well to the north near Canada, only a hastily organized militia was available to defend the capital. For the British, this allowed a quick victory after which they were free to enter the city.

The King's Own was one of the units who marched into Washington. In retaliation for the torching of the Canadian capitol of York (now called Toronto), and to disgrace President Madison, they set fire to the president's residence on August 24, 1814, burning down the White House.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick's Breastplate

The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,

The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,

The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,

The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today

The virtue of the love of seraphim,

In the obedience of angels,

In the hope of resurrection unto reward,

In prayers of Patriarchs,

In predictions of Prophets,

In preaching of Apostles,

In faith of Confessors,

In purity of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today

The power of Heaven,

The light of the sun,

The brightness of the moon,

The splendour of fire,

The flashing of lightning,

The swiftness of wind,

The depth of sea,

The stability of earth,

The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today

God's Power to guide me,

God's Might to uphold me,

God's Wisdom to teach me,

God's Eye to watch over me,

God's Ear to hear me,

God's Word to give me speech,

God's Hand to guide me,

God's Way to lie before me,

God's Shield to shelter me,

God's Host to secure me,

Against the snares of demons,

Against the seductions of vices,

Against the lusts of nature,

Against everyone who meditates injury to me,

Whether far or near,

Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues

Against every hostile merciless power

Which may assail my body and my soul,

Against the incantations of false prophets,

Against the black laws of heathenism,

Against the false laws of heresy,

Against the deceits of idolatry,

Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,

Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today

Against every poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against death-wound,

That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,

Christ behind me, Christ within me,

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ at my right, Christ at my left,

Christ in the fort, [i.e., at home]

Christ in the chariot seat, [i.e., travelling by land]

Christ in the poop. [i.e., travelling by water]

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today

The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,

I believe the Trinity in the Unity

The Creator of the Universe.

St. Patrick's Breastplate is contained in the ancient Book of Armagh, from the early ninth century. along with Patrick's authentic "Confession." St. Patrick is said to have written this prayer to strengthen himself with God's protection as he prepared to confront and convert Loegaire, high king of Ireland. I see in it some similarities to Paul's exhortation to "put on the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:10-18), except that it is much more detailed. I recommend St. Patrick's prayer to you as a wonderful prayer of spiritual preparedness.

Dervish should get us in the mood for Saint Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Maggie in March 2010


Maggie my tame ewe

Alan Reid of Battlefield Band and Rob van Sante performing Ballantrae

Alan Reid of Battlefield Band and Rob van Sante performing a track, Ballantrae, of their first album Under the Blue

Alan Reid who is a favorite singer of mine!

Alan Reid of Battlefield Band fame talking with his good friend Rob van Sante about recording music together.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I came from Glaswegian Stock who mined coal

Coal mining began in Scotland as early as the 12th century. The development of the steam engine by James Watt in the 18th century began to increase demand for coal. Railway development in the 19th century increased demand for coal further and mines therefore had to be dug deeper. This song was written before deep pit mining or the Industrialization of Scotland. The graphics used in this video represent mining from Burns time to the early twentieth Century. Many Coal miners from Scotland emigrated to the new world and some like my ancestors settled in the coal and steel region of Western Pennsylvania. Alan Reid sings the song Collier Laddie a song by Robert Burns about a young women who loves her coal mining lad.

Alan Reid is a founder member of the Battlefield Band and has been touring the world with this great Scottish group for over 25 years, also singing on all the many albums the band have produced over the years. Indeed many of the songs and tunes that the Battlefield Band have in their repertoire were composed or written by Alan

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Another photo of the crazy shepherd

These shots are a bit fish-eyed but I just hold the camera out from my face and snap pictures. Its very silly!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This is cool group my friend Mike introduced me to.

Tejedor is composed of three siblings from Avilés , a town in the northernmost Spanish region of Asturias. The group members, although still in their twenties, have devoted their lives to Asturian traditional music and now are writing their own, personal sounding compositions. They are José Manuel (Asturian bagpipes, low whistle and flutes), his brother Javier (button accordion, bagpipe, percussion and flutes) and their sister Eva Tejedor (traditional percussion and vocals).

Both brothers won MacCallan bagpipe awards at the Inter Celtic Festival in Lorient. José Manuel, who won this award three times, played pipes with Spanish rock band Revólver in their unplugged 1998 tour. The brothers have also won all Asturian prices as a bagpipe and drum partnership. Eva, for her part, is an exceptional singer and percussionist. José Manuel is the most elegant and virtuosistic piper in the Spanish folk scene.

This is a rich mix of Asturian traditional music and new ideas. The music produced by Tejedor demonstrates the strong ties between Asturian and celtic traditions, but Spain is never sublimated in the mix for the pure sake of making the sound more approachably "Celtic." Strong playing by all three musicians support some wonderful original and traditional songs.

Tejedor have performed all over the world in festivals as Celtic Connections (Scotland), Piping Live (Scotland), William Kennedy Piping Festival (Ireland), Festival Interceltique de Lorient (France) or Montreal Celtic Festival (Canada). Musicians like Michael McGoldrick, Duncan Chisholm, Phil Cunningham, James Mackintosh, Faltriqueira, or Kepa Junkera have guested on their three CDs to date.

1999 - Texedores de Suaños
2003 - Llunáticos
2006 - Música na Maleta

Sylvia Barnes

Sylvia’s pedigree in Traditional music is a long and distinguished one. Together with her late husband Jim, she formed the vocal nucleus of the influential Glasgow band Kentigern, and was one of an elite group of female vocalists to sing the with the Battlefield Band, before moving to England in the 80’s. She fronted several bands during this time and continued to perform as a duo with Jim, becoming firm favourites with folk club and festival audiences throughout the country and abroad, and releasing a number of well received recordings. She continues to be in demand as a solo singer, being a frequent guest at singing festivals in this country and in Ireland and was recognised as "Scots Singer of the Year" for 2006, an award sponsored by the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland. Among the very top flight of Scots singers, she is a dramatic performer with a wonderful voice. She can render passion, humour and gentle sentiment with equal ease and has been described as one of the finest ballad singers of her generation. Her deep commitment to her songs and her involvement in them bring them to life in a way few other singers can achieve.

The Crazy Shepherd

Sheep in March Sun

The sun was out today. It was really great working outside. It looks like all the ewes are bred. I can only hope.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Handweaver And The Factory Maid

The Voice of Sylvia Barnes with Scotch Measure

This is a traditional song dealing with the difficult transition from hand weaving to power weaving in Scotland. The coming of steam looms were one of the first changes that marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the many changes that came with it. The changes greatly altered the lives of the working classes, not always for the better. Mostly these power looms were used to weave cotton. I am a descendant of Agnes Liddell Maxwell, daughter of Archibald Maxwell and Christina Rae who was born on 16 August 1822 in Gorbals, Glasgow.She was a Cotton Power Loom weaver. She died on 17 January 1868 in 86 King Street, Rutherglen. Many of the photos and paintings in this video are of Gorbals, Govan, Pollockshaws and other places my ancestors lived in the Glasgow area.

This is a folk song dealing with the difficult transition from hand weaving to power weaving in Scotland. The coming of steam looms were one of the first changes that marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the many changes that came with it. The changes greatly altered the lives of the working classes, not always for the better. Mostly these power looms were used to weave cotton. This branch of the family are the descendants of Agnes Liddell Maxwell, daughter of Archibald Maxwell and Christina Rae who was born on 16 August 1822 in Gorbals, Glasgow.She was a Cotton Power Loom weaver. She died on 17 January 1868 in 86 King Street, Rutherglen. Many of the photos and paintings in this video are of Gorbals, Govan, Pollockshaws and other places my ancestors lived in the Glasgow area.
The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw a series of violent disturbances in Britain, as workers strived to defend their pay and conditions in the face of industrialization, and people of all classes campaigned for a more democratic society.

Textiles were a major industry in Scotland. in 1787 there were 19 cotton-mills within 25 miles from Glasgow, with cotton weaving being centred in Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire. A weavers' village had been founded in Calton in the east end of Glasgow in 1705, and by the late eighteenth century the area had become famous for its weavers' workshops.

Economic circumstances were against the weavers as new industrial processes threatened their traditional craft-based work practices, and the American War of Independence had reduced the supply of cotton from the plantations of the American South. These factors, together with the ever-present drive by their employers to reduce costs, led to a strike by Glaswegian weavers in 1787.


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