BBC – Macbeth Remixed

This week there has been a series of five 15 minute programmes on BBC Radio 4 telling the story of the real Macbeth – thanks to Pam Davies for alerting me to this. Although it’s now finished you can listen to it on the BBC’s Listen Again feature, but you’ll need to catch it quickly as the items are only there for a week from the broadcast. I haven’t had time to listen to it myself yet – as I write this I’m listening to the first part – so I don’t know if Thorfinn or Dorothy’s ideas will be mentioned but it may be interesting. And at least it may do a little to counteract the Shakespearean hatchet job. If you haven’t already seen it you can see Dorothy’s article on the real Macbeth in the newsletter archives here.

You may have noticed some odd changes in the blog in the last few days. After an upgrade to WordPress I noticed that the paging links weren’t working, so I’ve had to completely re-install the program and then reinstate the various added features I’d put into it. I’ve taken the opportunity to add some other facilities at the same time but it’s meant that there may have been some odd effects while it was being done. Hope no-one has been affected.

Archaeological discoveries in Dunnettland

Two settings very familiar to Dunnett readers have been the scenes of major archaeological finds recently.

In Orkney a settlement has been discovered on the Ness of Brodgar, between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness, that is being described as very significant – perhaps as important as the world famous Scara Brae. Early suggestions are that it may have been connected to these two famous sites, though whether it is composed of dwelling houses or ritual buildings seems to depend on which reports you read.

BBC News articleNews from the Site on OrkneyjarBackground to the original excavation in 2004.

In Edinburgh Castle a fragment from a tower destroyed during a 16th century siege has been uncovered during building work. The Constable Tower was previously believed completely lost but Historic Scotland archaeologist Peter Yeoman and his team discovered a finely carved piece of a window while excavating a drain being cleared prior to a new visitor facility being built.

Tollcross Online article.

Doh! – Donati

One of the contributors to the Game of Kings discussion list recently uncovered a little gem of information. The name Donati – as in Evangelista Donati, who looks after Joleta and later hands Kuzum into the care of Philippa at Zakynthos – is apparently the Italian form of Dunnett. One of those ‘obvious as soon as you know it’ snippets of knowledge, yet I don’t think anyone had discovered it previously. Well found Viviana.

So like Dorothy to drop such a connection into the story knowing that it might lay undiscovered for years. I can just hear her laughing – ‘oh good, they found one, but there’s plenty more to go’.

DDRA personnel changes

My holiday, mentiond briefly in the last entry, was much needed both by myself and my father (83) who went with me, and I’m glad to say that it went superbly well. The last few months had been a bit of a struggle and culminated in my being unwell at the time of the DDRA AGM and unable to attend. I was disappointed not to be able to see some of the overseas friends who had come over for both the AGM and the event at Saddle on the west coast of Scotland, and I hope we’ll get another chance to meet up at a future Dunnett event.

Despite my absence (or maybe because of it! 😉 ) I was appointed to be chairman of the association’s committee following Ann McMillan’s retirement. Ann has been made Honorary President and will continue to use her considerable experience to good effect in that new role.

It was all change on the committee with a new magazine editor, Sandra Hall, replacing Denise Gannon who has done such a sterling job producing Whispering Gallery for the last three years. There are also two other new faces in Jean Stringfellow and Anne Buchanan. In fact I find myself the only remaining member of the original committee, so I guess I must be getting old!

For the moment I’ll also continue my other role of membership administrator so enquiries on that score should still come to me.

Finally I’ve also been lumbered with the task of taking over from Ray Gannon’s humourous back page column in Whispering Gallery in a new feature called Ask Bill. It’s intended to be part serious, with advice on things like internet-related questions, and part humourous with some more flippant questions and answers. I hope those of you who are members will send in anything suitable.