Monday, 1 December 2014

Fossils, First Class Flights and Fancy Tyres

To the newsagents! It’s day 2 for The National, the new pro-independence daily from the Herald and Times stable. It seems like a reasonable punt, given the record levels of political engagement and the huge number of Yes voters looking for a paper in tune with their views. Any new entrant in the tough Scottish media market is welcome; personally my media habits through the week tend to involve scanning websites and dipping in and out of Twitter; the weekend is for escaping from screens, and sitting back with a bundle of papers.

The Bairn pauses mid-mouthful of Rice Krispies to digest the breaking news on the morning radio that a new species of dinosaur has been identified from fossils held in a Canadian museum for 75 years. It’s a Pentaceratops - a smaller cousin of the Triceratops. My wee lassie may be besotted with Disney princesses but I’m heartened by her passion for pre-historic plant eaters. Dinos aren’t just for boys!
Not just for boys!

To the National Museum! It’s been something of a second home these past three years as the Bairn has gone from toddler to P1 and as we’ve settled in to our new surroundings in the Central Belt. It’s wonderful that it’s free and it has so much for kids to do. Hands-on is really a helping hand for a parent on a rainy/skint day. Today I’m here to help with the Greens’ part in the Smith Commission report. It’s nothing like the devo-max or near-federalism some on the No side talked of, and while we engaged constructively with the process it’s hard to imagine many folk, including No voters, being excited by the powers that might get devolved. Let’s see what happens when we get our hands on them.

Dunbar looks set to get the incinerator it didn’t want. Viridor are on the radio this morning ladling out the greenwash and PR gloss pretty thick. It’s a development that will create demand for rubbish rather than reducing it, and it will literally waste bucket loads of heat. As Wife-features will testify, I’m forever banging on about how brilliant Dunbar is. But John Muir’s town is always being dumped on, with this incinerator just the latest unwelcome imposition.

So, this economic recovery we keep hearing about. I’m not sure I’m seeing it. As I learn that the local foodbank has helped yet hundred more kids, and as I read new stats showing a quarter of children in the council ward where I live are in poverty, I also learn that first class air travel has increased by a third in five years. The growth of the sector is being encouraged by airlines offering gimmicks including taking a Porsche for a spin when you’re waiting to change flights. It seems a world away from the game of sardines that is the number 26 bus.
Not a free Porsche

Flat pack furniture - every dad’s nemesis - has arrived in our house once more. I begin to slay the monster but constructing a chest of drawers for the Bairn, with a wardrobe and toy shelves to come. Screwdriver palm welts beckon.

Bicycle excitement. Well, that’s the positive spin I’m putting on my latest flat tyre - this time some green glass was to blame. After consulting with colleagues I take the plunge and get new wheels for my beast. My new tyres have a Kevlar coating. I’m not kidding. Come ahead, crappy road and path surfaces! Do your worst.