The threat to the future of Gaelic

What’s the Gaelic for ”can of worms”? Because it’s time to open one up by asking tough questions of the Gaelic lobby. Number one is why are we failing to save the language and failing badly in spite of massively increased resources?
In 1991, when the census figures revealed a drop in the number of Gaelic speakers from around 79,000 to 67,000, there was consternation. Government had to do more, it was said, to save the ancient language which held the key to understanding the hearts and minds, the songs and poems, of our Celtic forebears.

On a book about autism

The baby came outside under his own steam for the first time yesterday, crawling over the doorstep out into the pale sunshine, blinking hard. I was planting primroses and he crawled into the flowerbed and sat up between my legs, looking as ever like a miniaturised Mark Lawson – that round, bald bloke who presents Newsnight review. He waved his arms
largely, as if encouraging me to favour the television audience with my most rabid views on the latest cinema release, and adding something incomprehensible in baby language, he picked up a handful of black loamy soil and shoved it into his mouth.

Thoughts on Freud

Thoughts on Freud

This is a column about  the news that Pfizer had shelved female Viagra published in the Scottish Herald on 03 March 2004.

I am always rather pleased when I read that scientists have been thwarted in their attempts to reduce this or that great mystery to a few diagrams and a dull explanation. Thankfully, despite the faith our age puts in science and all its works, it still happens quite often. So just as some of the hopeful predictions of the previous generation of scientists have failed to come to pass – the paperless office, the cashless economy, unmetered electricity, to name a few – so reality is intruding on the dreams of the current crew.

Why this treehouse beats Disneyland. Holidays in Lismore

WE are walking back from the island’s only shop at a pace that would disgrace a snail. But it doesn’t matter – supper is at least three hours away, and that’s the only other thing we have planned for today. On the verge, which stands 15ft above the single-track road, we can just glimpse the top of a caramel-coloured head amid the long grass. Reuben –
who, at six, is the eldest of the eight children in our party – is commando-crawling back to the cottage.

Every now and then he stops, disappears and doubles back on himself, reappearing behind a tree further down the track. If one of the others catches sight of him, a
lengthy gun battle ensues, involving pointed index fingers and amazingly realistic sound effects. This is a Scottish holiday very much as it would have been 50 years ago, when the Broons left their tenement in Glebe Street for a two-room but and ben in an anonymous glen.

Alison Hargreaves

Mountaineer’s parents grieve for children’s loss
The Independent 

Katie Ballard – Alison Hargreaves’s four-year-old daughter – still does not know that her mother died climbing K2, the world’s most dangerous mountain, her grieving grandparents said yesterday.

Joyce and John Hargreaves broke down in tears at the news conference organised by their son-in-law, Jim Ballard, at a ski centre 700 metres up Aonach Mr in the shadow of Ben Nevis in the Highlands yesterday.
The couple who travelled from Derbyshire to be with their grandchildren were told that their 33-year-old daughter had finally been confirmed dead this weekend. “Katie just thinks she is lost, she doesn’t know her mummy is dead,” Mr Hargreaves said. The grandparents admitted that they do not wish Katie and Tom, six, to travel to see the peak where their mother died.