Looking at the thistle with a drunk man

8 Mar

A comment popped up at the end of my Best Laid Plans post a couple of weeks ago that sent me into a grinning flap. A blank one at that.

Ian Hamilton QC – he’s over there on my blogroll, is a bit of a folk hero of mine and I’m not overstating that.


He has a full and detailed Wikipedia entry you can go check out, but the story my father told me of Ian Hamilton took place on Christmas Eve 1950 when he and three fellow Scottish Nationalists liberated the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey and returned it to Scotland. Its rightful home.

It was especially magical to me since, then and now, I’m from Scone.

pic22AOn the morning of April 11th 1951 the stone was left on the high altar at Arbroath Abbey, where on 6th April 1320 the Scottish nobility had gathered to sign the Scottish Declaration of Independence, you know the one….

“…for so long as a hundred of us are left alive, we will yield in no least way to English dominion. We fight not for glory nor for waelth nor honours; but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life.”

Or was it?Β It’s part of modern Scottish folklore that the stone found there that morning was a mere replica and that the real stone is secreted away somewhere safe to this day.

stone_of_destinyIn a 2008 movie of their escapades,Β Stone of Destiny, Ian was portrayed by Charlie Cox, he of Stardust fame.

I don’t think it’s gilding the lily to say that their actions gave Scottish Nationalism the kick in the arse it needed, and continues to need to this day… just a boot now and again to remind us what we could be and stop dwelling on what we once were. Ian lands a good number of them over on his blog, which I thoroughly enjoy and believe every person of voting age in Scotland, and even younger, should be encouraged to read.

In November 1996 the Stone of Scone was returned to Scottish soil amidst much fanfare and laid out in a display room at Edinburgh Castle. As far as we in Scone are concerned it aint home yet.

So now you hopefully understand why I was grinning and flapping a bit when he asked me to write a few words for his blog on a subject of my choice.

How blank can a mind go?

After a bit of correspondence and despite disagreeing with much of what I said, he published my post on his blog last night.

I’m tickled pink, I’m grinning insanely and so honoured.

And I can’t wait to tell my Dad!


17 Responses to “Looking at the thistle with a drunk man”

  1. Marylin March 8, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Wooo check you out!

    I am one of those kids who went to a private school. I was in a state school up till 3rd year at secondary and was at the point of topping myself because I was so badly bullied. My parents made the decision for me to go to boarding school (after asking if I wanted to of course!). For me it literally saved my life, and started a life-long love of smoking. >_< Maybe it didn't save my life after all? lol πŸ™‚

    • MrsW March 8, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

      Been there with one of mine – not good. We moved school too.

      I’m not laughing, I’m not, but I have to say it wouldn’t cross my mind to solve a bullying problem using boarding school – though I suppose it did work for my ex-SIL – like her you must have the accent that fits ya? πŸ™‚

      • Marylin March 8, 2010 at 7:13 pm #

        Well I was from Dunoon at the time, and there’s not much of an accent there to be honest, so I fitted right in! lol πŸ™‚
        There wasn’t any other school I could go to. Dunoon Grammar School was it. Would have needed to get a ferry to go to another school, so we decided that I could go to Keil where my dad had been when he was younger.

  2. Mwa March 8, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Yay for you! I did laugh at the bit where he said he didn’t agree with anything.

    • mrsw March 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

      I’m working on him πŸ™‚

  3. Niecey March 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm #


    • MrsW March 8, 2010 at 6:07 pm #

      I’m still grinning – and really I ought to go make tea or something… maybe… nah!

  4. Jinedin March 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

    Amazing post on IH’s blog. V. militant. Having spent further education surrounded by Yahs (no offence intended and “some of my best friends are Yahs…” etc, etc) I fear mainly the utter disassociation from real life prevalent in many public school attendees but is that down to their education or a priviledged upbringing?
    Kay Matheson was one of our English teachers, at Dingwall Academy. She dropped the stone and broke her toes, ending up having one amputated. Fitted right in up North after that I don’t doubt…(hee, hee).

    • mrsw March 9, 2010 at 11:52 am #

      Spooky – what small circles we move in on this interweb of tubes? Was she still a rampant nationalist? I had a French teacher who was, he wore the kilt every day, never saw that man in trousers. He and me would sit during the national anthem at school prize givings – not sure I would have been brave enough without him there (oh I probably would have!)

  5. Wendy March 9, 2010 at 3:27 pm #

    After reading your blog and IH’s…I had no idea there was such a divide within Scotland. Makes for very interesting reading and also educational at the same time. I am assuming (and you will have to excuse my ignorance if you find this to be a dumb assumption) that you were sitting down for “God save the Queen”? Was it simply an act to show that you were against English rule over Scotland or something deeper? It is unthinkable for me to not stand for our national anthem (USA)….for me, it is a show of respect for our country and for those who have died for us. I understand that for you, the national anthem is not really your anthem since Scotland was forced to forgo all her traditions/beliefs, etc… and take on the trappings of another country. Do you still sit when the anthem is played? An again, excuse my ignorance, but what is a Yah?

    • mrsw March 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

      It must look odd from the outside I’ll grant you, tho a Scotland forced by England to forgo our traditions and beliefs is fairly mythical, the Scottish nobility were perfectly capable of selling the country out without any English help! The merits of their decisions made hundreds of years ago are still debated today πŸ™‚ I prefer to look forward but still have my little quirks, the anthem being one of them.

      I do still sit when the anthem is played, in fact I do my best to avoid any situation in which it is played – Scotland v England rugby games being about the only one nowadays (and I don’t get to many of them – I can leave the room when it’s played on TV!)

      Surprising it’s not “the verse” that irks me, the one sung waaay before God Save The Queen was adopted as the British national anthem…

      God grant that Marshall Wade,
      May by thy mighty aid, victory bring,
      May he sedition hush,
      and like a torrent rush,
      Rebellious Scots to crush,
      God save the King.

      As far as I know it was never an “official” verse.

      Years of misrepresentation of Britain being synonymous with “England”, the Union flag replete with our Saltire being waved for “England” and “Englishness” just did me in. I am so glad now that the English wave their own flag of St George.

      I am not and never have been anti-England or anti-English. I do believe Scotland has a cultural and political identity worthy of standing on it’s own, beside England.

    • mrsw March 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm #

      Oh – and a “Yah” is a name for someone who talks with an affected posh accent in an attempt to align themselves with the landed gentry – either that or they are actual landed gentry – as in “OK yah?” rather then “OK yes” πŸ™‚

  6. Wendy March 9, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Thanks for explaining. Being half American and half Scottish, I have always had the feeling of defending one side or the other, depending on where I was living. When I lived in England/Scotland, I would defend the US and try to explain that certain stereotypes just weren’t true. In the US, most people do refer to Great Britain/United Kingdom as England and vice versa. My girls learned at an early age not to make that mistake.

    I looked up “God Save the Queen” and wow, it is confusing. Sometimes all verses are sung, sometimes only the first verse and sometimes the first and third. The verse you quoted was new to me…I can see how that could cause an air of bad feeling about the song. From what I read, there is also an anti-French verse which is no longer used.

    Thanks for explaining the “Yah” meaning, too. What I view as a main difference in the social unrest in both of our countries is…Scotland is about class division and the US is about race division. Both are interesting topics of discussion, but race can be a much more touchy subject to discuss openly and honestly.

    Scotland is fascinating, with a rich past and future…definitely worthy of standing on it’s own. I enjoy your blog!!

  7. John Connell March 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Someone (the apocryphal ‘someone’) once said that Scotland is not so much a country as an attitude for many of its inhabitants. I agree with that. While I am proud to be Scottish, I don’t like, and will happily ignore, the usual trappings of nationalism/patriotism, such as anthems, and especially so when the anthem in question is one that originates in another country altogether. Scotland as an attitude has one advantage, of course, in that many (most?) Scots will happily accept anyone else as Scottish if they simply like the idea of being Scottish, no matter what their origins. I like that.

    Someone else (this time identifiable as Elaine C Smith, I believe) also said once that ‘Scotland is an argument’. I like that too – not too far away from the idea of Scotland as an attitude.

    • mrsw March 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

      Our local SNP council chappie is about as English as English gets so I couldn’t agree more. Though I do rather love E.C. Smith’s version (vision?) too πŸ™‚


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