Tuesday 30 August 2016


All packed and ready to go.
Arrived and waiting for cocktails.
Picnic luncheon at the castle.
Inspecting the gardens.
Floral arrangements specially planted for Munguin's arrival.
With Dani and Zeta.
It's hard for a wee furry animal to keep cool,
but the fountains look good.
And there are some nice green places in the shade.
Quick meeting outside the USA Embassy with Ronnie. He was thrilled.
I wanted to them to get the parliament in but Abé had to get his head in the way.
Country residence at Lake Balaton.
A cruise on the Blue (Green??) Danube.
We visited a synagogue ... 
...and a church.
It was nice of them to put up barbers' poles to point me to the hairdresser.
So, we climbed to the top of a volcano (in the car)
We even took public transport... Me, Munguin, on the métro!! Imagine.
Our gracious host, Viki.
The view from Munguin's apartments.
The wasps were at least an inch long. No joke. Tris was scared stiff!
And finally to Lake Balaton again.
Sincere thanks to Viki, Dani, Abé, Zita, and all the other people who made the stay so marvellous. Seriously never turn down the opportunity to visit Hungary. It's one of the loveliest countries we've ever been to.


...To point out, in case you missed it in the side bar, that Mark Frankland is fundraising urgently for First Base in Dumfries.
Fund raising is a 24/7/52 job. Isn't it heartbreaking that in the supposedly 6th largest economy of the world we feed millions by charity, otherwise they would starve to death. Proud?
I know that some of you have supported Mark in the past and I'd hate you to have missed it. Here's the link to the story, and here's the link to the appeal page.
Aye, well... hard question and I'm only a government minister, not programmed for hard questions from ordinary people. Where's the exit and my ministerial car?
If you can publicise the appeal on social media, it would be hugely appreciated too.


Monday 29 August 2016


Dear Monica,

Have you ever organised one of these events? I ask, because I have and I know what it involves.

And what happens is that the organisation requests certain things of the minister or official. Will you open our new wing; talk to our staff/pupils/6th form or whatever? Oh and would you sign the book on the way out, or say a few words over our new library... or whatever!

Normally the minister/official does his/her best to comply with as many of these requests as limited time will allow.

Jack McConnell and Margaret Curran (separately) were both most accommodating to our requests when they visited our premises to talk about career opportunities for people living in areas of multiple deprivation.

I suspect that in this case the head teacher requested that the First Minister give up 5 minutes to have a few selfies with the girls she was talking to about equality in careers. In fairness, regardless of your politics, Nicola must be a bit of a role model for a teenage girl who wants to make a career for herself.

And the FM, being the kind of person who will always make time in her day if she can, agreed.

You have to wonder if Ms Dugdale would have said ... "NO, I'm far too important and busy to take selfies with school children". 

And the answer is, no, of course she wouldn't. Just like Nicola she'd have said "Yes of course I will".

If you want to have a go at the first minister try to up your game a bit, Monica. Try politics for example. Don't quibble about 5 minutes of Nicola's time. It makes you look incredibly petty. And most of all don't pick on something that your own leader would have readily agreed to. That just makes you look silly.

Maybe one day someone will ask YOU to be in a selfie.

Yours sincerely


Sunday 28 August 2016



In 1943 close to four million people in the Indian state of Bengal died from starvation, malnutrition and disease.

The British, led by Winston Churchill, took tens of thousands of tons of grain to feed its troops and allies, leaving millions of Indians to starve and die.

This photo is not retouched; it tells of a terrible man-made tragedy that is strangely missing from the glorious empire stories we were taught at school.

Saturday 27 August 2016


1. Hi. Welcome to Soppy Sunday. Munguin's back so everything's ship shape and Bristol Fashion around the place again.
2. Amazingly some people enjoy shooting these animals.
3. Nothing like a shady leaf to rest your weary wings.
4. ...Or a nice soft place to rest your weary bones. Talking of bones, I don't suppose there's a chance...
5. ...Or some nice ice to lie on, if only it weren't melting... I don't suppose there's a chance you could follow Scotland's lead and turn to green energy?

6. Oil seed rape as far as the eye can see.
7. Yes... Can I help you?
8. Awwwwwww.
9. Palouse Falls, Washington State.
10. Bhutan
11. Wanna see how to crack a nut?
12. Giant Herb Robert.
13. Jaguar.
14. I can't work out why peoples is scared of me. I'm tiny, harmless and completely cute.
15. Too wee? I think not. Too poor? Erm nope. Too stupid?
What do you think?
16. Ragwort and caterpillars.

17. You don't want to get on the wrong side of me!
18. OK, I won't!
19 What a big mouth you've got, Grey Whale!
All the better to eat you with...well, if you're a crustacean.  
20. Yes, you heard right. Munguin is back and we all have to mind our Ps and Qs. Roll on his next holiday. It was soooo peaceful.See you next week.


Having been backed by Sarah Palin in the earlier stages of the campaign, Trump has now turned to the British version for support.  Somehow the irony of a foreign politician involving himself in an American presidential campaign, and at the same time complaining about a foreign politician involving himself in a UK campaign, seems to have escaped Nigel.

 Thanks to Danny for alerting us to this piece:

Saturday 20 August 2016

Flora and Fauna on Friday II

1 Morning. Tris and Munguin are away, but I'll be your host.
I think this is my sister. We're great pals anyway.
2. What's that you say?
Nigel Farage is thinking of making ANOTHER comeback?
3 In that case, I'm outa here.
4 Glenfinnan.

5 Awwwwwwww
6 Greenland Shark.
7 Scotland from space (thanks Gerry).
8 What do you mean I'm staring at your girlfriend?
9 Come and have a go if you think you're big enough.
10 Le coucher du soleil.
11 White Tigers.
12. Blackbird singing in the ...well, ok. He's just singing.
13 Just a wee reminder of what's around the corner.
14 Aye Ricky, or anything as ugly and black-hearted
as the dentist that killed him.
15 Our beautiful capital.
16 Indian elephant.
17 I might be little but you really wouldn't
like these teeth in your toes!
18 Duck billed platypus.
19 This is our cat. 
20 And this is us playing a game.
The boss and his sidekick will be back next week!
See you then.