Dunnett readers will likely be familiar with the history of Berwick-upon-Tweed, once one of the most important ports on the east coast of Britain, and a town which changed hands between Scotland and England at least 14 times as the border wars raged and the border itself moved back and forth. It eventually became English for the last time in the 15th century and so it has remained despite having a somewhat unique diplomatic status for a long time. However it has retained a somewhat dual character – some of its services being supplied by English authorities and some by Scottish ones. The local football team, Berwick Rangers, plays in the Scottish league and the rugby team plays in the Scottish Rugby Union leagues.
Recently there have been suggestions from members of the Scottish National Party that Berwick should return to Scottish rule and the head of Berwick Council is said to be largely in favour. The local newspaper has been running an unofficial poll and apparently about 79% of the inhabitants are in favour of becoming Scottish. Could it happen? Well the differences between Scots and English law might make things a bit tricky but as a Scot I’d love to see it. And I reckon Wat Scott would have been well chuffed!
A little off-topic this one but I know there are many members of some of the on-line Dunnett discussion groups who will recognise the term “Laudable Vices”. We’ve often discussed malt whisky because Dorothy and Alastair were both very fond of a dram and experts on the subject, and it’s kicked off many entertaining off-topic threads.
So I hope some of you will drop by a new malt whisky blog – Discover Whisky – that my good friend Mike and I have been working on. Mike is a fan of Speyside malts while I am more of a islands enthusiast so we should have some interesting discussions and hopefully connect up with a few people on the way. We’ve already got some comments from people on Islay and I’m dreaming of going back there.
We’ll be doing a series of tastings (such an onerous task!) over the next few months and hopefully developing it all into a useful resource and discussion area for enthusiasts. Please come and join us and if you like what you find then please mention us or link to the site from your blogs or journal entries so others can do the same.
Following up the earlier post about Alastair Dunnett’s book The Canoe Boys, there is to be a 3 part documentary on Radio Scotland about that epic trip. It starts on Wednesday 14th Nov at 11.30am. There is a feature on the Radio Scotland website which has a number of audio and video segments so you can get a flavour of it and it looks as if there will be a podcast available.
Any of you who were with us on the DDRA weekend trip to Stirling Castle a few years ago will remember the wonderful Unicorn Tapestries, which we were able to see on the looms and about which we heard a talk the previous day from one of the superbly skilled weavers who are undertaking their construction and who had just finished work on the first in the series – The Unicorn in Captivity.
These recreations of the original Renaissance tapestries – The Hunt of the Unicorn – which belonged to James V and which are now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in new York, have a direct link to the time period of our favourite books as well as being delightful to look at.
Now the third in the series of seven – The Unicorn is Killed and Brought to the Castle – has been unveiled and will be on display in the castle’s restored Chapel Royal. If you are visiting Scotland on holiday or live nearby then a trip to see them is highly recommended.
BBC News Article
Sophie Younger Conservation – includes photos of the first two tapestries
Historic Scotland article
Metropolitan Museum of Art feature on the original tapestries
New Yorker article on photographing the original tapestries