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The Burrell Collection is back! #2

I like the objects which you don’t get to see in Scotland, especially religious carvings from Spain and Germany. At the time of the Scottish Reformation, 1560, when Scotland broke from the Catholic Church, around 98% of religious art was destroyed, according to the Second Commandment’s injuction against the worshiping of images or idols. This is German, early 16th century. The Virgin Mary and  remakably uninjured Jesus, just taken down from the cross. Maybe most of the blood has faded over the centuries.

Fountain Garden, Paisley, #1

On the way back from Glasgow Airport I made a short stop at Paisley’s oldest public space. One which credibly can claim to have two of the finests things in the world.

The first is the Grand Central Fountain. Some years ago I was fortunate to guide a retired Austrailian professor of architecture and a group made up mostly of his former students. He told me the fountain was the highlight of their trip to Britain. I ventured that it was probably the finest example of decorative iron work in Scotland or even Britain. He said, ‘no, it’s the finest in the world!’

A face from the past…

The villiage of Crammond in Edinburgh has a claim to be the oldest continually occupied settlement in Sc0tland, though others claim this too.

We do know for sure that 40 years ago nine adult bodies and five infant bodies were found in a car park in Crammond. Recent DNA and istopic analysis has shed new light on the burials. Two of the bodies showed evidence of multiple head wounds, they belonged to different generations of the same family. They date back to the 6th century A.D. However, these were not all locals. Two had isotopic signatures suggesting they grew up from possibly more than a hundred miles away.

There speculation that this was a royal settlement of the Goddodin tribe, they would have spoken a lanuage related to modern Welsh.

You can currently see the exhibiton at the Musuem of Edinburgh. Below are photographs of a facial reconstucton of one of the bodies.

More signs of the times!

Ukrainian flags are popular in Scotland now! Maybe, as a small nation which often suffered aggresion from a larger neighbour we can identify with them. Though the last battle between Scotland and England was 1650, so this is not exactly recent history. Perhaps only in the 1540s did we last see widespread civilian masacres and the burning of towns and villages at he hands of the English king, Henry 8th’s armies. Later know as the ‘rough wooing’, Henry was trying to capture the infant Mary Queen of Scots to betroth her to his son.

This Scottish flag also has the stars of the European Union flag. Scotland vote overwhelmingly against Brexit, though as we are less than 10% of the UK population our votes did not sway the overall outcome.

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The end of COVID in Scotland?

No, unfortunatley definitely not! We were due to end all restrictions on the 27th of March, but the Scottish government has extended the recommended use of face coverings on public transport and on indoor publice areas, such as supermarkets.

COVID levels are stable, but the number of people requiring hospital treatment is low. Most likely this is due to the fact that more than 90% of the population have had a least two vaccinations, and most have also had a booster.

It feels that things are back to normal, apart from the sight of people wearing masks and it’s looking encouraging for this tourist season. One advanatage is that many historic venues have introduced ticket booking. Edinburhg Castle, for example. pre-pandemic would let anyone in who turned up and bought a tickets. This led to long delays at the ticket desks and overcrowding in the castle itself.