Saturday, October 26, 2013

From today's Herald.

Just recently, I took a round-trip train ride from the east Borders to London and back. For reasons involving my own inability to plan anything, it was not even half as simple as it sounds. It was interesting, though.
            Anyone who means to go from Berwick and finds himself watching sheep being herded across the track at Barrhill on a fine morning in South Ayrshire probably deserves no sympathy. But for preposterously complicated reasons I had to get from the Borders to London’s National Portrait Gallery, then to Wigtown’s book festival, then to Glasgow, then home. As far as railways go, it was an education.
            Leave aside the fact that much of Britain is badly served. Old halts that once supported communities are long gone. In the Borders, we know this as well as anyone. In our context, all the fine talk of HS2, far less the gigantic sums involved, can sound faintly amusing. The idea that trains are supposed to connect people is as risible here as it is in Galloway.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

No overmatter this time. It wasn't worth preserving. This should be in the Herald on October 9. The perfectly correct spelling of dumfounded is preserved in defiance of editorial executives who couldn't find a dictionary if it landed on their heads. Also, because the front has shifted a little, there is Twitteration: @IanBell1916.

A friend who happens to be one of Alistair Carmichael’s constituents is slightly dumfounded to hear the new Secretary of State for Scotland described as a tough bruiser. By what process has the genial, well-liked and diligent MP for the Northern Isles been transformed?
            Michael Moore would probably have an opinion, but Berwickshire’s man isn’t saying much, for now. If you believe the instant spin, he was deemed to have come off worst in a debate with Nicola Sturgeon – for who has not? – and was sacked for a lack of “toughness”. The word is supposed to set the tone for the months ahead.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Ian Bell: The Complete Tweets.

Neil asked, so this is what there is (or was). The truncated ones were meant as jokes (until, amusingly, that ceased). According to their timing, I Iasted from 4.44pm, when the clock struck 13, on September 28 until 1.38pm on September 30. I got time off in between for subversive behaviour.
            Banned twice? I haven’t been banned twice since the Scotsman was a power in the land and all referees had Tynecastle season tickets.
            For a couple, it helps if you like Curtis Mayfield. If you don’t, I might not be the person you’re looking for.
            As a serious point, since Twitter claims not to monitor and I make a point of staying legal, what happened and why? Open to quibbles, as ever, from maquisards.