Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The Name Game

Around this time of year is when we see the Top 10 Baby names of the year.  I admit, I do always have a look to see what is trending. I'm a nosy bugger and am always keen to find out the name of any new born. This years can be found in the HuffPost.

A seemingly new trend on parenting and baby websites, is the lists of Top 10 unusual baby names, the Top 10 names from TV or other popular influences, top French names, Alternative names or Royal names, throughout the course of the year. Not being a particularly trendy person or follower of fashion, I didn't name my offpsring based on what was "in", I am definitely more of a "it's just what I like" sort of a person.

Kiddo's name was picked before Hubby and I were married and about 3 years before he was even conceived (both his actual name, and that if he had been a girl), and it is a family name, rather than a 'fashionable' one. In 2010, when he was born, Kiddo's name was in the Top 25 Scottish baby names that year, but now has fallen into the Top 35 names (which to be honest pleases me).

The names I like have not really changed much over the past decade - trends come and go, but my lists have remained pretty static except for one or two when, I went through a Callum/Lewis/Freya/Ava period, but they fell out of my top list due to increasing popularity.  Old Granny/Grandad Chic names are making a comeback, which is great as I love them, but their popularity is certainly not a requisite to liking a name.

So, in keeping with the timely list of popular baby names, I thought I would compile my very own Top 10  names.  If you finds yourself in need of choosing a baby name in the coming months, first of all, congratulations, second of all, look no further - here's a bonny selection for your perusal.

Lissa's Top 10 Girls Names

1. Iris - Goddess of the rainbow and my all time favourite name. Simply beautiful.
2. Pearl - My middle name is Margaret, which means "Mother of Pearl". It would have been very fitting
3. Noa - Just really like it
4. Innes - Traditionally a boys name but is actually unisex. I love "boys" names for girls and is also a family name on my side.
5. Stevie - Again with the "boys" names for girls and the family connection
6. Naomi 
7. Vera - this is a new entry. I had a dream that I had a daughter and called her Vera. Actually love this name now!
8. Violet
9. Nora

The last 3 are however constantly switching between Finley, Isa(dora) and Clara...

Lissa's Top 10 Boys Names

1. Sonny
2. Oscar
3. Rudy
4. Jude
5. Jesse - As much as I have a thing for girls having "boys" names, the same is true for the reverse.
6. Jody
7. Art(hur)
8. Grey
9. Indi
10. XXX A name has entered my Top 10, but I cannot name it here - my friend Sian named her son a most fabulous name last month, which is so unique and wonderful that it is most definitely now one of my favourites, but wouldn't want lots of littlies running about with the same name, so I'm not disclosing it here. Sorry.

There we are.  I think I may need to buy a fish tank and some tropical fish and get naming!  I wonder if there is a job as a professional baby namer that I could have - most definitely a career I would enjoy.


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Bathroom : After

It's been a while since I posted about the bathroom renovation. I am now happy to reveal that it is 95% complete! (only a new floor covering to go, which will be a January Sale purchase).  The before pictures are here .

It has been a project of much chopping and changing of minds, particularly regarding what colour to paint the walls.  We (when I say "we", I really mean me as I picked the paint colour whilst Hubby was in Sweden and proceeded to get cracking with the painting the very same weekend) started with the initial idea of a charcoal grey but it would be too dark, so chose 'Mineral Stone' instead.  Once it was up on all the walls, it was just dull. Really dreary and blah. Not at all what we hoped to achieve. Then came the fun with the tester posts, including an incredibly nauseating peachy hue which again, was not what we were looking for. I posted to Facebook asking for people's opinions regarding colour choice, from 4 samples.  The opinion was split between the really pale grey and the warm "toffee coffee" shade. Both Hubby and I liked the Toffee Coffee (Kiddo liked it based purely on its name). However, once the sample went on the wall we knew instantly that it was a mistake. I couldn't even bear to take photos of it!


After all that we ended up choosing white - I don't ordinarily do white. I thought it be too cold, clinical and stark in the bathroom, but surprisingly it is warm, light, bright and calming. Result!

So, here's the  big Tadaaah! moment after 3 months since the project began :

I went to battle with rawl plugs in order to put these shelves up. Happy to say I won.

 A little play on words and meaning...

Made a feature of a blank white wall. There are more vintage pictures to hang once I find more frames

Aaaaaaaand relax

Our bathroom has always been the one room I have been embarrassed about. It was damp and dark, falling to bits and no matter how I tried to spruce it up, it never felt relaxing and peaceful, or really clean for that matter.  Now however, it is a little oasis of calm. I love it.

 It's even getting festive in here.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

Kitchen :Before

Who ever thought is would be a good idea to get the bathroom and kitchen done at the same time wants to have a word with themselves...that would be me having a chat with myself then. The kitchen didn't need that much doing to it to be honest, but the work that was done was the dustiest!  I have done nothing apart from wipe and clear dust and stour from EVERY ROOM IN MY HOME for the past 2 weeks!

Last year we had to get our old boiler replaced, which meant that there was a lovely gap in the tiles from the chunky old boiler to where the new slim line one now resides. The tiles have been in place since the flat was built 17 years ago, and while they were not offensive, they were a bit dated and, well, meh. There was also the ugly exposed pipes to cover. Some people may consider them to be "industrial chic" but I find them unsightly. The worktop was also dated and I really didn't like the stainless steel sink/drainer. There is nothing wrong with the cupboards and in a small kitchen they can't really be reconfigured therefore I have no plans to change them So, as I said, not a big job, more just a case of "odd jobs" that are bit outwith our skill set. 

This was the kitchen before we started



Once I had cleared the room of all the kitchen paraphernalia and clutter, I was surprised by how big and bright the room actually looked. It, like much of the flat, is quite dark. The view from my window is over the bin store and the public footpath between our building the the houses on the other side of the path.


For the past 17 days we have had had various people working away both during the day and in early evening. It was meant to be a mere 5 days and done, but as always with work being carried out, it goes over (I watch Grand Designs!). Had it been done in the initial time there would have been no problem as Hubby was on annual leave, but as it ran over and he went back to work on the nightshift, working during the day when he was sleeping was not an option.

Now the work is complete (from the point of joiner/tiler/plumber/electrician) and all I have to do is paint the walls and get new lino.  I started the deep clean today within 5 minutes of our joiner finishing. The time has come to be ruthless and get rid of the kitchen crap we neither use or have room for. This is a very therapeutic process.  I also now have the time to decided where to put stuff back or re arrange, which is always fun.

My corner next to the cooker where I keep all my utensils has been sorted and cleaned. It is now time to say goodbye to amongst other things, a duplicate tattie masher and an avacado scooper we never use, along with a coffee bean grinder (not in pic)


We are delighted with the work done and now I just need to decide what colour of paint to put on the walls (currently white and most definitely not staying that way).  Originally I wanted to wallpaper one wall with

from Wilko but as I went for patterned tiles behind the cooker, I think this would be overkill in such a wee room (even though I love this paper).

Once the room is finished I will post the big reveal, in the meantime I will be cleaning......


Monday, 14 September 2015

Bathroom : Before

It has been a long time coming, but finally the bathroom is being tackled. In the 9 years I have lived here, the bathroom has been redecorated 3 times (the first involved retiling and repainting over the lilac walls with deep fuchsia, then repainting with cream, then plain white).  We have had no end of bother with damp (which ever eejit thought it was a good idea to design bathrooms with no windows wants to try living with one!) There was a leak behind the shower, tiles fell off the wall, the floor and wall behind the loo have been warped with damp and condensation and the ceiling needs repainting regularly, the list goes on. Suffice to say I HATE our bathroom. It is an embarrassment. Plus I always think I can smell damp, as does my Mum who always mentions it! So, now we are actually getting everything dealt with. And properly! No more insurance jobs as we have had to in the past. One thing I have learned about insurance jobs is that they are half arsed cowboy jobs which cover stuff up or get the job done on the cheap, resulting in further problems.  Oh, and the electrician just condemned our bathroom lighting. You're not allowed to have a swinging pendant light in the bathroom; it has to be a sealed unit. We've had that light since we moved in...

This was our bathroom on Thursday. Notice the peeling ceiling (this is above the bath/shower) and damp, the bath panel hanging off (from insurance job when the last job required a new bath to be fitted), and just the general drab depressing hovel that it was :


And this is it now : tiles all down, (including the ones over the bath that were actually tiled ontop of the old tiles!! Insurers job again - do you see a pattern here?), plasterboard down and new waterproof board put up, new ceiling in place (waterproof sealed shiny new ceiling) new bathroom appropriate light fitting, extractor fan/expelair thing new sleek and  tiny compared to old clumpy one, new loo with cistern now behind the wall, which should eliminate the condensation problem, and give more floor space too, and I have painted the wall in 'mineral stone'  (need to before the radiator goes on as won't be able to afterwards. Replaced old radiator with a heated towel rail) :


More than half way there now, just to tile and paint the walls, put up the heated towel rail and shower, the bath panels, replace the lino and put in place all my wee extras that make it home.  This is one job I cannot wait to be completed.  It will definitely have been worth the wait.


Friday, 28 August 2015

Blame the Immigrants

On we sweep with threshing oar,
Our only goal will be the western shore
Robert Plant
Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song

I don't know about anyone else, but I am sick of and sickened by the number of people who think it is perfectly OK to blame immigration for the ills of this country.   The blame and ill-feeling which is becoming more and more entrenched in people's psyche to the point where it is increasingly acceptable to comment and litter my Facebook feed with anti immigration messages, memes and sheer ignorant bollocks! The undercurrent of hate is perpetuated by the media and accepted as gospel.  There seems to be some sort of twisted joy in getting all indignant about immigrants, from ones perch upon an extremely lofty horse. Almost celebrating the anger that the subject fuels.

A plague of pests invading our country, bleeding it dry, using all our services , taking school places and drs appointments, spending benefits that go waaaayyy above the benefit cap limit, all the while oor weans are living in poverty, oor elderly cannae even live oan their pension, ordinary people cannae get a joab coz they immigrants took them while undercutting the rate of pay.

Stop! Just, STOP! Take a step back and think. Our media is driven by fear and pushing subtle intolerance (although it is hardly subtle these days), as it suits the British Government's agenda. If the public are up in arms, they [The Gov] can continue with their wars whilst arming and creating the opposition.

Greed, money and oil. Arms deals make a fortune. Refugees are the result.
Fighting for G.O.D. Gold. OIL. Drugs.

I don't want to cover the problems and perceptions with immigration generally, because I have already written about that ( last year during the Independence referendum I wrote about immigration in my 100 days series. What immigration could look like in the event of a YES vote).   This time round, I would like people to consider WHY immigration is such a 'problem' in our communities and country as a whole.

As with everything in this world, it comes down to money. Money money money! Where it comes from and how it is spent.  'Our' Government  (using the word "our" in the loosest sense being as they are very much for themselves rather than us!) is hell bent on "reducing the deficit" and making cuts to achieve such a goal. The cuts have to come from somewhere they say, and that somewhere has been decided to fall on the services and welfare. Rather than focussing on the uber wealthy tax avoiders (both personal and corporate) and offshore tax havens, for instance, where money haemorrhages from the country, completely bypassing Inland Revenue and Customs as if it were made of Teflon. So when the services, such as NHS, education and transport to name a few are stretched to capacity, they are obviously going to struggle and at time fail, to deal with the number of people relying on them. What does the Government do? Starts selling off the NHS to private investors. If it's not their service, it's not their problem.  Not able to fund or afford to maintain the service, blame the immigrants for using the services. Service that many an immigrant actually work in - and pay taxes to!  In Scotland we have a council tax freeze for the eighth year in a row. 8 years. While the cost of everything in life has increased, the amount of money our local councils have to spend has remained the same - again, they have to find money from somewhere and cuts have to be made. It would appear that the easiest expenses to fell are those that the most neediest of people rely on. Locally to me, the council tax freeze has had a terrible impact upon the lives of people living with disabilities and the services once freely available to them are now charged for at extortionate rates.  See - it's all money that is causing the squeeze.  When the Government is more than happy to fund illegal wars, renew of our own Weapons of Mass Destruction (which are actually on loan from our pals in the US), or spend over £1m on an investigation into the leak behind Nicola Sturgeon and the French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, when Alistair Carmichael was behind it all along (and get to keep his job at the end of it),  or dropping £100k in Scotland to rename the new hospital in Glasgow, yet not able to spend the funds on the "everday ordinary people" of the country, then there is something far wrong. The responsibility of that lies firmly at the door of Government, not at the feet of those who come here to live and work and provide a better life/future for themselves and families. While some people will scoff at that last 23 words of my last sentence, I wonder if these same people can explain how that is different to the 8million British expats who live around the world for the very same reason? How many of those expats speak the language of their new country and are fully integrated into communities rather than in mostly British areas? How many are earning a pretty packet in the middle east yet are coming "home" to have their babies in the NHS hospital for free - is that not still NHS Tourism???  Now when it comes up that our pensioners are living off a pittance of a pension and barely surviving, even before the issues associated with winter kick in, let us not forget that Gordon Brown raided the pension fund to the tune of £118BILLION - it's not the immigrants fault that our pensioners have such a paltry income to live off of.

When online discussion start taking place, heckles are risen and defensiveness of our opinions becomes our armour.  But the line between opinion and fact is becoming blurred. Opinion and fact are NOT the same thing, no matter how much we would like them to be. 

The distinction between immigrant, refugee and asylum seeker could not be any clearer, yet for many they are one and the same thing. Why? Because these people, regardless of circumstance, are painted by the media (when it suits) as a foreigner to our land taking what is ours on their quest for the milk  and honey. Yet the UK takes far less refugees and asylum seekers than our fellow European counterparts and pay far less to those to whom we do offer shelter. I was asked yesterday if I think we should just open our doors to everyone - no I don't. I do however think we should be offering help and support to our fair share of people in dire need being as our country is partially responsible for the circumstances from which they are fleeing. The current situation with refugees and asylum seekers is far greater than it ever has been since the time of the Second World War. The photos we see of people in camps in Calais or of bodies being washed ashore of children and adults alike are too distressing for words. Why are we (as in the Western World) so scared to help these poor souls? We should be ashamed.  This sitaution is not a "tragedy" it is mass murder. If people from outwith the UK wish to migrate here to live, then they should be able to prove that they can support themselves and their families.  If students wish to come here to study then they ought to be allowed to stay following completion of their studies in order to use the skills/knowledge they have gained here, to benefit this country via their skills and by paying their taxes.  

The much proclaimed "the UK is full" and "charity begins at home" are used as convenient excuses rather than addressing the real issues. The UK is not full. How many buildings do we have lying empty and abandoned? How many people have their main residence plus a holiday home in the country (thus pushing up the prices of desired properties to well outwith the affordability of local residents), what about the private investors from abroad ploughing their money into the seriously ridiculously over priced properties in London further exacerbating the housing and homeless problems? Of course it is not all to do with just having a roof over ones head, the impact is further reaching by ways of communities and services as previously mentioned,but we have the money to sort that which the Government chooses to spend elsewhere. The Government is the one who needs the reminder that charity begins at home, Instead it chooses to penalise those in need, practically criminalising poverty. Remember the homeless spikes outside buildings?  The vicious circle of outsourcing jobs, using machines instead of people thus reducing number of jobs available, offering part time or zero hours contracts (with no sick pay or holiday pay or any benefits), putting people in unpaid work placements (where people could do the same job and be paid for it!) then cutting benefits to the point where some people are finding themselves destitute.  How did we get to this stage?? People, regardless if they are born here or elsewhere, are not seen as people anymore; just a way for corportaions (including Governments, because lets be real, they are run by the corporations) to earn more for less.

What would happen if the tables were turned and UK found itself in the midst of war? Take a look at this 3 min video produced by Save the Children :

At the end of the day, it is irrelevant where we come from or where we were born; we are all human.

And just because I love Led Zeppelin: 

(I know it is about Viking invasion)

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Best day of my life

I'd wager a bet that most people in my position would say that the best day of their life was their wedding day or the day their child(ren) was born. But for me, it was neither. Sure, both were wonderful in their own way; celebration, joy, happiness, family, highly emotional, time of change etc etc. But with both my wedding and the birth of my son, I would change so many things if I could do them over again. Neither were as perfect as in my imagined reality, certain things still annoy me and always will surrounding both events.

No, for me the best day of my life was 9 years ago today. It was a Sunday. It was the last day of our holiday leave from work. Hubby (he wasn't then) and I were lying in bed reading the Sunday papers drinking coffee. Well, when I say reading the papers, I do believe I was reading the News Of The World (hangs head in shame...), or rather their magazine, Septic Smeg (Mystic Meg)'s column in particular. Hubby was reading the Sunday Mail (I just want to say here that our reading materials have significantly improved over the years!!), or rather their magazine, Lynne Ewart's column in particular. Hubby read his horoscope aloud and asked what Septic Smeg had to say. As I was reading the prediction for the week ahead in the life of a Gemini, he reached down the side of the bed (to get what I presumed was his coffee) saying "Thats all very interesting. So, will you marry me?" and produced the ring.

Squeal! Tears! "YES!""Ha ha" "Oooooh!" came my reply, although I'm not sure in which order. And with that we were engaged. No big fanfare, no fuss, nothing showy, no embarrassment, no audience; just us. It was perfect.

I knew we were "getting engaged" being as it had been discussed and I picked my ring one afternoon as we wandered through the Argyll Arcade in Glasgow.  Several weeks before we were engaged, Hubby took my Dad for a pint to the local and informed my Dad of his intentions "So, I'm going to ask Lissa to marry me." I picked them up from the club as we were having dinner at my parent's that evening. Over dinner my Dad could hardly contain his excitement and had I not known in advance of the impending proposal, the cat would have been well and truly out the bag as my Dad shared the news with my Mum at the table before looking at Hubby and asking if I knew! That was all I knew; it was happening and there would be jewellery. I did not know when and I did not know how it would happen.

The proposal could not have gone any better; the mood, the setting, the actual popping of the question. I would change nothing if we were to do it over again.  The rest of the day that followed was a visit to both set of parents, but not before a run in the car through to Causewayhead in Stirling to Corrieri's for ice cream. It was the calm, simpler time before the madness takes over, the madness that is organising a wedding!

Can't believe it was 9 years ago.
Cheers to perfect days.


Wednesday, 19 August 2015

First Day

Over the past week, children all over Scotland have been returning to school to continue their education; a new wave of 4 and 5 year olds just embarking on their journey at the doors of Primary 1 (P1). Today was the turn of the kids in Edinburgh, Fife and Falkirk. Facebook is on fire with photos of friend's bairns in their uniforms and looking all excited. It's lovely to see and fun to look at how much some of them have grown and changed, especially the ones with the pics of the First Years at High School (S1) shown next to their old pics of first day in P1. Today I particularly liked the ones of the kids the same age as Kiddo just starting out on their very first day (so cute!).

It was Kiddo's first day too and he was no different to any of the others this morning, except that he didn't go to school. Today we officially began our home-ed journey. What did that look like? Well, a long lie for  a start (Kiddo didn't surface until 8.30am) which was followed by a hearty celebratory breakfast feast of homemade pancakes, waffles, strawberries, raspberries, maple syrup and bacon (!); a trip to the swimming pool (the good thing about the schools being back is that there is no time limit in the pool - we had 2 hours in a pretty empty pool) and a trip to the library in the afternoon (I have to add here, as I am very proud of this fact : the books we returned WERE ON TIME!!) resulting in Kiddo taking out 10 books for his next project. No need to explain what his chosen project is.... The librarian let him stamp the books. I was a little jealous; a favourite game of mine with my sister when we were kids was playing "libraries". I loved to pretend to swipe the bar code and stamp the books (I was always the librarian) but the best bit was the noise the hardbacks made as they closed.


Thinking back to my own school days, (I loved school) one of the best bits about going back after the summer was new stationery. Who doesn't love a new pencil case and the smell of new pencils?? Kiddo got his own new pencil case filled with pencils, a rubber/ruler/pencil sharpener. He loved it so much that he hasn't looked at it since he received it. This is upsetting. Does he not understand STATIONERY - NEW STATIONERY!!!!!?????!!!!! Such simple but oh so satisfying pleasures. I remember my first day at school in the August of 1983. I mind quite clearly charging off up the street leaving my mum in my wake. I was so excited to start. Me and my fellow P1's - all 5 of us. The school I attended for the first 2 years of my primary education was a very small village school where the teacher, Miss Cassidy taught P1-4 in the one classroom, and the Headmaster, whose name escapes me, taught P5-7 in the other classroom.

5 year old me!

Do I regret not having that "first day of school" moment for Kiddo? (as I was asked today) Nope, because this is not about me - this is about him and his education. The choice allowed to us parents by the government, to choose the best choice to ensure our child(ren) are educated means that just because he is on a different path to the majority, doesn't make today any less significant. Our days won't necessarily differ much to what we have been doing up until now, we won't "actually start his education" at 9am each morning, because, if I'm being pedantic, his education, which is a life long process, began 5 years and 5 months ago.
We were excited today because Kiddo knew he wasn't going to school, he knew that he was still going to be learning and he knows that tomorrow we are spending the day with his pals at the beach, rain or shine.

Today was a great day, a memorable day, as I am sure it will have been for children across the country on their first day too.


Monday, 3 August 2015

July 2015

Loch Lomond last Tuesday

Dreich. That is how I would describe July this year.  A long and frustrating game of hide and seek with the sun (and it won); only showing itself for the briefest of spells before disappearing behind the clouds again.  For a pluviophile like  myself, that is no bad thing. The sun hates me and is hell bent on burning my peely wally pale skin regardless of sun cream factor applied! We have had some very welcome thunder storms and warm rain. I have enjoyed that rain, which falls straight to the ground without the interference from the wind. Standing barefoot on the back grass (probably to the confusion of my neighbours) just enjoying the fresh clean air and the clarity such rain brings; the sense of calm. 

But this is summer. And it's not meant to rain this much (even by Scottish standards). I don't remember such a crap summer, ever! That said, it has not stopped us from going about our business as usual.  In the 31 days of the past month we (as a family or just Kiddo and I or just me on my own) have had plenty time being busy, being bored, playing, chilling, arguing, annoying each other, laughing, learning, reading, or zombifying watching tv; living. Same as any other month.  

 Picking Berries in Inchinnan Fruit Farm, Glasgow
 Found this Large Emerald beauty resting on our front door - check out its face!!

Every day is a school day

What have we been up to ? Well, Edinburgh Zoo, Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre, Home Ed Groups (covering topics and learning about space / musical instruments / circus skills), library, berry picking, moaning about customers and their first world problems that pass through my check out (seriously contemplating writing a 'Checkout Etiquette' piece, for both customer and cashier) started an oceans project, finally watched all of The Great Gatsby from start to finish, and despite fabulous sets and costumes, being a little disappointed with the actual movie,  visiting and learning with Jupiter Urban Wildlife Centre (pond dipping / mini beast hunts / worms / mud / hayfever.. ok the last one was me suffering, but it was fun between sneezes), playing with pals, playing in the local parks and skate park, playing the play station (the boys, not me - I hate gaming, and my 'playing' ability is proof of this), enjoying red wine (me, only me), I made a filofax (terribly organised and yuppy-ish but totally worth it), helping on the local Scottish Greens street stall, out leaflet dropping with fellow Greens for local by election, visiting family, watching new programmes on Netflix (still loving Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and discovered a love for Grace & Frankie, but ditched Wayward Pines [not on Netflix] because we couldn't bear to waste any more time on it), Blair Drummond Safari Park with Grandparents, Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, Falkirk Wheel, 1 solitary barbeque for nephew's birthday (in an "it was sunny" shocker!)

So now we are in August and there has been no marked improvement weatherwise as yet.  I have been reliably informed by different customers at work that we are "in for a heat wave" and "it's to be the same as July". Needless to say I am just looking forward to Autumn - what's not to love about Autumn? Plus our autumnal calendar is filling up, I have had to book my mum in for babysitting already : 3 gigs, Scottish Greens conference, wedding anniversary, more home improvements and decorating planned.

But before I get excited for the next season, Hubby has a birthday and Kiddo has his first day "not starting school" to celebrate this month.
Happy days.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

IndyRef 2

Stewart Bremner image from here

What do we want? Independence!
When do we want it? Not right now!

Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!  Halt!  Tumbleweed............................................... Whiiiiit?????

Yip, the time is not right. As much as I want Scottish independence from the UK and want it like yesterday, (or rather wanted it from a YES vote back in September), I am terrified of having another indyref and failing again - because there is NO 3rd time lucky. We lose the next one, that it. Done. Settled. Blown. Stuck shackled to our master (by choice) certainly for the rest of my lifetime, and that is something I am not prepared to gamble.

This opinion is shared by a growing number of others too. In the past 48 hours I have read 3 or 4 blog and news articles suggesting the same. The Lallands Peat Worrier blog and The Common Space, are 2 of the best that I have read. We have to and MUST bide our time.

Yes, of course we foresaw the future of the UK and all that is unravelling before our very eyes, prompting memes such as
to go viral (I myself have re-posted it either on Facebook or Twitter).  But whilst we ranted and posted and told of what a united future would hold, it simply was not enough for enough people to either care about (because it didn't affect them directly) or they didn't believe us, or thought that indy would be worse.  We all had our crystal balls out foretelling the current state of the union, at the same time the naysayers and nawbags ridiculed us or demanded more answers, more clarity, more information. The future we saw in the event of indy was guess work - we had an idea of what it would look like, give or take, and we were prepared for some hardship and struggle for what would become a far better future, which was met with derision and scorn. We constantly defended our vision of both outcomes; we were under constant scrutiny, yet the same was not the case for the "other side". All that was at stake was the "status quo" which, lets be honest, went unchallenged in the mainstream media channels.  They were not scrutinised or demanded to give their vision of an independent Scotland other than to say how awful it would be, then move on to stating the case for remaining united. The Establishment never aired their "Plan B" had we indeed won. Voters who always, for instance, vote Labour without thinking about it, never knew what their party's vision of Labour in an Indy Scotland would look like. Going forward, that situation can't be allowed to happen again.

Alex Salmond, love him or loathe him, was quite correct when he stated on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday that a 2nd referendum was "inevitable".  Nicola Sturgeon has maintained her position that there will be another referendum called once the people of Scotland decide and that it would take a "material change" to the current situation for that to happen. Plus her party would need to be re-elected with a referendum in their manifesto - and therein lies the problem.

All over the internet I see calls for the SNP to have Indyref 2 in the 2016 Holyrood manifesto. The date of which 2018.  The army of SNP MPs sent to Westminster shows that we want it - except that it doesn't.  I know voters who voted SNP in the General Election who voted NO in September, and were there to be another referendum tomorrow, they would vote NO again. Why? They hate the Tories and didn't trust Labour, they wanted a voice for Scotland represented in Westminster and believed the SNP could delivered that en masse. But they remain unconvinced by the answers to the arguments given in the last indyref campaign.  The SNP MPs have to prove themselves in Westminster. And as much as it pains me to say this, the people who believed the tripe sold to them by The Vow, the media, the fear mongering bullshit that was Better Together/UKOK/NO Thanks need to actually live through the next 5 years and experience the consequences of exactly what that means.  They may not be affected by the budgets (personally, my household I will be £128 per year/£10.60 a month better off - woohoo, thanks to the increase in the National Minimum Wage *not living wage*) but I would guarantee that they will know someone who is.  The upcoming In/Out EU referendum is another biggie, along with the changes including the proposed abolition of Human Rights Act, fracking and TTIP, war in Syria (or anywhere else over the next 5 years that "poses a threat" to our shores, real or manipulated,) our internet freedoms, freedom of speech, the NHS, the bloody royal family, etc etc are all things we all have to live with for the next 5 years, like it or lump it.  I know, I know, NO voters didn't vote for a Tory Government (apart from in Dumfries), but lets face it - no matter who we voted for, Scotland's numbers do not elect or prevent election of any party in Westminster - even with all 59 MPs. So whether they wanted Tory or not, we were always going to get what was decided elsewhere on these islands, and we all have to live with that because we are still part of it.

Now, all the horrors coming from Westminster are indeed an affront to humanity - not just the austerity max measures, but also what the hell is happening with the Chilcot Report and the covered up peadophilia? Our MPs will oppose the government and Labour will abstain from having an opinion (unless they side with the Tory's again).  At the end of the day, it is what it is, and there is really not much we can do other than get angry and protest (for now, until that too becomes illegal).  The treatment of our MPs both by the Chamber and by their public mouthpieces (MSM) is a disgrace. I often wonder if it's done deliberately to provoke and to get a reaction either from the MPs or Scottish electorate?  Regardless, it's working. Hence the calls for the next referendum, which are coming in fast and furious every time the bold Dave or his lackeys (Osborne, IDS, Johnson, May) open their mouths.  And they know fine well that should the ref be back on the table, that NO would once again win. But of course, it doesn't do to practically criminalise the poor and  marginalise and infer that anyone not of white christian bloodline is a potential terrorist - where's the fun in that? Oh no, Dave lit the touch paper yesterday with this  (as reported in The Guardian : Dave Cameron rules out second referendum) :
 “I think it is important that a referendum is legal and properly constituted and that is what we had, and it was decisive, so I do not see the need for another one.”

*disclaimer - this is not wholly Scotland specific*

The calls for not only a new indyref on the SNP manifesto, but more urgently is that call for UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence).  I have never been comfortable with this suggestion.  I have joked that right, bugger this, it's time for UDI, when I'm angry with what's happening, but UDI as a solution? No no no!!! When the country is split (and not in our favour) we can't just declare UDI - that's not democratic in the least.  That IS a war in the making.  As a former boss of mine used to say regularly "two wrongs don't make a right", and I agree.

So what are we to do?  Getting the timing right is vital.  I don't want to be singing along with Janis Joplin's lyric "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose", because we've left it too late.  I truly believe that Westminster will happily 'let us go' once they have bled us dry of our natural resources and wealth; once we are no longer useful to them. Why else would they want to keep such a 'draining and self indulgent' country tagging on their shirt tails? Too soon is equally  disasterous.  In the days following the vote last year, when we were all regrouping, I watched a youtube vidoe of Robin Mcalpine of the Common Weal.  I liked his plan then, and still do now. His proposal was not to include a referendum in the 2016 manifesto, but keep it until General Election 2020, and be out of the UK by Christmas 2020.  Here is that video:

Key points to the plan were/are:
1. Clean out unionist parties from Scotland in GE 2015 - done!
2. Creating better services and foundations, ie every local authority in Scotland to set up a mutual bank, other projects with energy too
3. Split the vote in 2016 - use the list vote for pro indy parties to create strong pro indy Scottish Parliament
4. Create a solid case for indy - starting with proper case for Scottish currency -NOT include indyref in 2016 manifesto," but instead use the years between now and next GE to put out that plan of what indy could be and work a low level campaign, building on and up so that we have the majority  that by the next GE we stand on a full ticket for early referendum"
5. General Election May 2020, indyref Sept 2020 out by December 2020.

Point 4 above is so important - a solid case for indy. The White Paper left too many questions unanswered for too many people.  We need to reach those of whom aren't engaging online, but relying on MSM, predominantly the over 60s.  Harsh critique but one of the things that really pissed me off when talking to some older people about why they voted NO, or were planning on voting NO was because of history (I'm not pissed off with those that were scared, a great many people were scared, Better Together did a sterling job on that one! Blair Mcdougall even admitted following the vote that fear was the only tactic to use to win) - the history of the SNP, their personal history or blinkered/unwavering beliefs, when infact they were voting on a future that ultimately wasn't theirs. Now, not all older people voted NO (obviously) one of the most pro-indy supporters I know is about to celebrate his 70th birthday, while a number of my friends, old school peers and family members chose NO also.  We must find out why and what change do they want to see or what would make them change to YES? These people need answers, proper answers, not wishy washy gloss, not argy-bargy it'll right itself in the end. Where we were happy to figure the details out after, not everyone shared that same optimism and we have to respect that. We must learn from the mistakes of the previous campaign before embarking on the next, because the next time is our last time.